okikamuro island fan club, 沖家室島ファンクラブ|Kamuro party かむろ会

Nathan Funk, First Secretay of Embassy of Canada, 4th generation of Okikamuro. Canada
Speech for 65th anniversary Celebration of Tokyo Kamuro Party,2015

   Nathan Funk

Hello my name is Nathan Funk and I am a First Secretary and Trade commissioner at the Canadian Embassy in Japan and I was thrilled when my second uncle Masatomo-san invited me here to introduce myself and meet with Okikamuro members.

In terms of my current position, I am responsible for facilitating Canadian agriculture, food, beverage and seafood products trade to Japan as well as encouraging Japanese investment in Canada for these sectors. I have been working in Tokyo for the Canadian Embassy since September 2014 and will be returning to Ottawa, Canada in late August 2015, after which time I will be taking Japanese language training.

My family and I look forward to returning to Tokyo in September 2017 to resume my work at the Canadian Embassy until 2021.

I have very much enjoyed working in Japan, connecting Japanese and Canadian business and would be more than happy to have discussions with you about any aspects of Canadian agriculture, culture and food that might be of interest to you.

You may be wondering about my links to Okikamuro. Well, I have Okikamuro blood running through my veins, as my grandfather Mitsuo Yagi was born and raised there prior to moving to Canada as a young man.

My younger brother and I have fond memories of my grandfather’s songs, stories and wood carvings which were influenced by his hometown and which instilled in us a fascination for the Japanese culture and spirit.

In 2001, I fondly recall the pride I had informing my grandfather that I had been accepted by the University of Osaka to study in his homeland, as a component of my international Economics degree.

Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away shortly after I arrived in Japan but the timing of his passing allowed my family and me, through assistance from Masatomo-san, to make the trip from Osaka to Okikamuro to pay tribute to my grandfather and discover his birthplace.

Visiting Okikamuro was one of the most emotionally invigorating experiences of my life. It was particularly fascinating for us to visit the house in which my grandfather was raised and to walk along the nearby seaside which evoked images of my grandfather playing and fishing alongside as a youngster. The friendliness of the Okikamuro people and the charm of the island will forever stay in our memories. I always admired my grandfather’s friendly, approachable, loving and calm demeanor and after visiting Okikamuro it was obvious the influence this magical island had on his character growing up.

So again thank you for this opportunity to introduce myself. I look forward to meeting with and hearing stories from members of the Okikakamuro community.

As well, I would like to again thank Masatomo for inviting me here and for his tireless work to keep the bonds of the Okikikamuro community strong for generations to come

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