RI President: Receiving a goat in Kenya

RI President Sakuji Tanaka receives a goat as a gift during his visit in Kenya.

By Sakuji Tanaka, in English and Japanese

While I was in Africa recently, I traveled through eight countries and nine cities, meeting people and projects along the way. What I saw amazed me.

For example, I met Rotarians who had an impressive ability to identify the needs of orphaned children. They were using grants from The Rotary Foundation to help support a dairy farm in Kenya. Continue reading

A soggy lobster bake shines with Rotary spirit

Marty Peak Helman with RI President Sakuji Tanaka during the Changeover ceremony in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, 1 July. Photo by Ann Lee Hussey

By Marty Peak Helman, governor of District 7780 (parts of Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, USA)

On his first day as RI President, Sakuji Tanaka joined Rotarians in my hometown of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, taking part in a Changeover ceremony for six district governors and 46 club presidents.

Rotarians came from Quebec, New York, New Jersey, and all over New England – some making a 10-hour drive — in order to shake hands with Tanaka-san, hear him speak, and be formally inducted by him into their new Rotary offices. It was a remarkable honor for all. Continue reading

RI President: Parade grand marshal

RI President Sakuji Tanaka (right) served as grand marshal in Evanston’s Independence Day parade. With him are RI General Secretary John Hewko and his wife, Marga.

By Sakuji Tanaka, in English and Japanese

I was honored to have been the grand marshal of the Fourth of July parade in Evanston, Illinois, USA. Being in the parade was a great opportunity to represent Rotary and the work of Rotarians — especially our polio eradication efforts.

Despite the record heat, I was surprised at the number of people who lined the streets well in advance of the parade in order get a place along the route. It was an impressive display of patriotism. I was happy to have been a part of this event, and I hope that future Rotary International presidents participate in this parade. Continue reading

RI President: Through service, we can bring peace

RI President Sakuji Tanaka

By Sakuji Tanaka, in English and Japanese

It’s a great honor to serve as your 2012-13 RI president and represent you in Rotary.  Since joining this organization in 1975, it has changed my life and given me more than I ever anticipated. I look forward to sharing some of that with you.

Through Rotary, I learned the purpose of my life wasn’t to earn more, but to help others.  Through our service, we learn that the problems that may seem large to us are really very small. Continue reading

Rotarians in Japan work to bring back a local economy

To celebrate the rebirth of northeastern Japan’s fishing industry after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, five Rotary clubs in the Oshu-Mizusawa area threw a party in September at the Plaza Inn Mizusawa. The guests enjoyed a dinner that showcased fish from Ofunato, a coastal town in Iwate Prefecture.

Before the event, Plaza Inn chef Kowa Sato, a member of the Rotary Club of Mizusawa-Isawa, drove about 25 miles with his team to buy fish at the Ofunato market, which had reopened that May. The video above featuring Sato captures the sushi-making process from start to finish. Continue reading