by Misa Murohashi, the North American Post
The Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington (JCCCW) held its 2nd annual Tomodachi Gala on April 20th at the Hyatt Regency Lake Washington in Renton. Budokan Judo Dojo (represented by Calvin Terada, Board Member and Instructor) and All Nippon Airways (represented by Gray Weiss, Vice President) received this year’s Tomodachi Award. Budokan Judo Dojo has been an anchor tenant at JCCCW’s building and shared the sport of judo with generations of enthusiasts over 50 years. All Nippon Airways has been supporting JCCCW by donating flights as raffle prizes since it began direct Seattle-Tokyo flights in 2012.
The event started with a silent auction, where community donated goods including Seattle sports merchandise and tickets, Japanese art, and meals at local restaurants were sold. Okinawa Kenjinkai Taiko put on a performance on the main stage to welcome guests entering the Grand Ballroom. Emmy Award winning journalist and anchorwoman Wendy Tokuda and former King County executive Harold Taniguchi were on stage as Emcees. This year, most proceeds from this Gala will go to “Elevate the J” project to install an elevator and renovate the second-floor breezeway that connect historic Buildings I and II of JCCCW. This project intends to improve accessibility and inclusivity of events held at JCCCW. Partial funding for the estimated cost of $200,000 has been secured from programs under the City of Seattle, King County’s 4Culture, Washington State and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. JCCCW aims to raise $75,000 to fill the shortage through its fundraising campaign.