Friday, August 29, 2008

Welcome Reception

We attend a welcome reception. It's funny, Brazil had very little in way of centennial celebration souvenirs. We found a t-shirt and some people got pins. Argentina, on the other hand, had a slew of merchandise at the reception!

The hall had long tables set up. Each table had the name of a village/city. I finally figured out that we were supposed to find our table and stay there. :) At the Naha table, one of ladies from our tour was reunited with her classmate/neighbor who she had not seen since his family emigrated to Argentina and hers to Hawaii. That was really amazing to see how touched and excited they were.

I started talking to his son Paulo, an engineer. He and his father had traveled by bus from Mendoza Valley (home of Malbec!!!) to attend. We drink Malbec wine and share stories. He convinces me I should at least find the Itoman table.

I get a wonderful surprise when I do eventually find the table. Natalia Yamashiro, a colleague I met years ago in California at an oral history conference, is there! Natalia was born in Argentina but now lives and works in Southern California.

We had no idea we were both from Itoman! Natalia introduces me to Augustin Kanashiro, president of Itoman Argentina. :) I asked Augustin how Itoman Hawaii can connect to Itoman Argentina. We're not sure but we're going to keep in touch and figure out an answer!

Random thought: The bathrooms at this hall had a bizarre soap option. I found it disturbing. You rub your hands on the soap and then wash them. Isn't it kinda unsanitary as you put your dirty hands on the soap?

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