Here in Vancouver, BC we have been the honoured hosts for athletes and supporters from 85 countries for the 2010 Winter Olympics (February 12 – 28) and will now host 45 countries for the 2010 Paralympics (March 12 – 21). Multiculturalism and cultural diversity have been much in evidence throughout the games during these past few weeks. There has been much criticism directed at the lack of ethnic diversity during the Opening Ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics given our huge and dynamic Asian population. I am glad that Canada’s aboriginal and French ethnicity were showcased, but do agree that there should have been more presentation in regards to our growing Asian population, especially when the Opening Ceremonies were being watched around the globe.
On attending some of the free events and activities during the Olympics, I was pleased to see many displays of our diversity through featured foods, arts, and music around Vancouver. Many of the musical entertainers here during the Olympics satisfied my love of music and arts. I was also please to see that many of the fine multiethnic restaurants that we have here in Vancouver have done their utmost in appeasing the palettes of all of our guests.
Many Nikkei have shown support for both Canada and Japan during the Games. I think the key is being able to acknowledge the fact that during the Olympics, people from all over the world are able to express emotions of excitement or disappointment, whether it be for a specific athlete or a specific country. Athletes participating here have worked very hard and very long to achieve their goal of representing their country during the 2010 Olympics. All should be recognized for their efforts, whether they receive a medal or not.
I would like to acknowledge the tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who was killed on Friday February 11 during a final practice run when he lost control of his sled and slammed into a trackside pole at high speed. We were all shocked and saddened by this terrible accident, which forced Olympic organizers to modify the course to reduce the speed and reinforce safety features for the luge course. The GVJCCA joins countless others around the world in offering its condolences to the Kumaritashvili family.
Upcoming on March 20th , at Nikkei Place, the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association will be holding its Annual General Meeting from 2 – 4 PM at the JCCA office on the second floor. The GVJCCA’s work has always been important in the Nikkei community and having a strong directorship is important in order to meet our mandate. Nominations are still being accepted for our Board of Directors for the upcoming term. The GVJCCA will be seeking individuals who will work within the framework of the Japanese Canadian community and its budgetary confines. I hope you will join us in bringing together a better tomorrow for our children.