Hiroba Newsletter



 *Hiroba is the Japanese word meaning an open space or public square 

December 2009 Edition

Website of the Consulate-General of Japan, Perth WA : http://www.perth.au.emb-japan.go.jp/


End-of-year party (bonenkai)  

It is customary in Japan for companies to hold parties known as bonenkai at the end of the year. This is a time for colleagues to gather and forget all the hard times they went through during the year, in preparation for the next year. Such a party is usually held at an izakaya or at a restaurant, where everyone indulges in plenty of food and drink. The Japanese izakaya is similar to a bar or pub, which specialize in serving a range of alcoholic beverages like beer, sake (rice wine) and shochu (a clear, distilled liquor) with a selection of Japanese foods, such as boiled, salted soya beans, chilled tofu, grilled chicken skewers, stir fried noodles, fried chicken, grilled Atka mackerel and yaki-onigiri (baked triangular rice balls).

The bonenkai would be equivalent to our Christmas party here in Australia.

It is interesting to note that in Japan, New Year's Day is a bigger event than Christmas Day. Christmas Day is a normal working day and the celebration of Christmas in Japan usually consists of pre-ordering a Christmas cake ( typically a sponge cake) to be eaten on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. The evening of Christmas Eve is also when young couples like to spend time together.

Upcoming Events

Photograph Exhibition 

An exhibition of Japanese photographs will be held at Central Institute of Technology's Gallery Central from 21st until 30th January, 2010. This event is sponsored by the Japan Foundation in Sydney and will circulate to all other major Australian cities in addition to Perth. 

For further details of this exhibition, please contact Gallery Central on the following:

website: www.gallerycentral.com.au

telephone: (08) 9427 1318 


Japanese Opera Singer to Perform at UWA

In January 2010, a well-known Japanese opera singer, Mr Takao Okamura, will perform a concert at the University of Western Australia. This charity concert is presented by Perth Waseda Alumni and supported by the Australia-Japan Society of Western Australia, Japan Australia News and the JET Alumni Association of Western Australia. Details of the concert are as follows:

Date:  Sunday 24th January 2010

Time:  Doors open 3:00pm; Performance begins 3:30pm

Venue: Octagon Theatre, University of Western Australia

Admisssion: Free

Further inquiries: Perth Waseda Alumni, TEL: (08) 9367 6191


Consulate-General News 

Japanese Icebreaker Shirase Visits Fremantle

From 23-29 November, the Japanese icebreaker Shirase made a port call at Victoria Quay, Fremantle. The visit to Fremantle was part of the ship's first voyage, carrying the Japanese government's 51st Antarctic Research Expedition team to Antarctica.

During its visit, a reception was held on board the ship on the evening of Wednesday 25th November. The reception was hosted by the Commanding Officer of JS Shirase, CAPT Mitsuo Koume and by the leader of the 51st Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition team, Dr Youichi Motoyoshi. The ship's captain, crew, Consul-General of Japan at Perth, and members of Perth's Japanese community attended and wished the crew well for its upcoming research in Antarctica. Speeches were given by the captain of the ship (pictured), leader of the 51st Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition team, Dr Youichi Motoyoshi, Member of Legislative Assembly of WA, Mr William Marmion, as well as by Consul-General of Japan at Perth, Mr Torao Sato. A traditional Japanese ceremony known as kagami-biraki, in which a new cask of sake is opened for people to enjoy, was then performed by the Consul-General, Dr Youichi Motoyoshi, Capt Eric Atkinson, Mr William Gaynor and CAPT Koume (pictured below).

Shirase, which is based in Yokosuka in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan,  is an icebreaker which is operated by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). It is a newly commissioned ship, which replaces the existing icebreaker of the same name. 

The original Shirase was constructed in 1981, operated for 25 years as an Antarctic research ship and was recently decommissioned in July 2008. It was named after Lieutenant Nobu Shirase (1861-1946), a Japanese army officer who was responsible for the first Japanese expedition to Antarctica between 1910-1912. 

 The newly built Shirase is slightly larger than its predecessor, has state-of-the-art ice-breaking capabilities and is Japan's fourth icebreaker. 

The Antarctic Research Project, which is a joint undertaking between Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Defense, has been carried out since 1956. 

Captain Mitsuo Koume's speech on board icebreaker Shirase

 preparing for kagami-biraki: breaking open the cask of sake


Emperor's Birthday Reception

On Thursday 3rd December, a reception celebrating the Emperor's Birthday and the twentieth anniversary of His Majesty the Emperor's accession to the throne, hosted by the Consulate-General of Japan, was held at the Parmelia Hilton Perth hotel. A number of guests from the areas of government, business, education, culture, consular-corps and the local community attended to celebrate the 76th birthday of His Imperial Majesty the Emperor Akihito, which falls on 23rd December. 

Speeches were given by Consul-General of Japan at Perth, Mr Torao Sato, Deputy Premier and Minister for Health & Indigenous Affairs, The Hon Dr Kim Hames MLA  (representing the Premier of WA), and Member for Balcatta (Australian Labor Party, representing the Opposition Leader), The Hon John Kobelke MLA. A DVD entitled, "Celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of His Majesty Emperor Akihito's Accession to the Throne" was then screened.

The Hon Dr Kim Hames MLA delivers his speech

Consul-General of Japan at Perth and Mrs Sato greet the Hon John Castrilli MLA, Minister for Local Government, Heritage; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests


Ikebana Exhibition

From Wednesday 9th until Friday 11th of December, an ikebana exhibition, organised by the Australia-Japan Society of Western Australia (Inc) and supported by the Consulate-General of Japan in collaboration with the Forrest Centre, was held in the foyer of the Forrest Centre building, located at 221 St Georges Terrace in Perth. The exhibition featured the works of 30 students who have just completed the second semester's Beginners and Intermediate/Advanced Classes of Ikebana, which have been held here at the Consulate-General for the past few months. 

The exhibition followed the completion ceremony for second semester's ikebana classes, where Consul-General Mr Torao Sato presented each student with a certificate in recognition of their hard work over the second semester. 


flowers on display at the ikebana exhibition in the foyer of the Forrest Centre

Please Note:

2010: 1st Semester Ikebana Course of the Australia-Japan Society of WA

Free Demonstration: Wednesday 17th March, 10:30- 11:30am

1st Semester Classes: Every Wednesday for 15 weeks from 31st March - 14th July 

                                         (except for 5th May)

                                        Beginners Class: 10:30am- 12noon

                                        Intermediate/ Advanced Class: 12:30- 2:00pm

For information on next year's first semester ikebana classes, please contact Mr Emmanuel Savundra of the Australia-Japan Society of WA on: (08) 9384 8048 

Japan Brief

NB - Japan Brief is an original production of the Foreign Press Center, Japan ,and does not represent the views of the Government of Japan or that of any other body

Japan's First "Pluthermal" Nuclear Generation Begins

20th Anniversary of Emperor's Enthronement

Japan, US Leaders Agree to Start Deliberation Process to Deepen Japan-US Alliance

Office Information  

Please note the Consulate-General will be closed on the following days:

Friday December 25: Christmas Day

Monday December 28: Boxing Day 

Tuesday December 29: Japanese Year End Holiday

Wednesday December 30: Japanese Year End Holiday

Thursday December 31: Japanese Year End Holiday

Friday 1 January: New Year's Day

Opening Hours

Monday - Friday

       General Enquiries: 9:00am - 1:00pm and 2:00pm - 5:00pm

   Visa Enquiries: 9:00am - 12:30pm and 2:00pm - 4:00pm


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