On February 14, we were thrilled to welcome over 250 guests to the Ushiba Memorial Gymnasium to celebrate Nishimachi’s 70th anniversary.
The gym, which was decorated with beautiful flowers donated by current parents Lien Do and Paddy Hogan, was filled with the smiling faces of alumni, former and current parents, and former and current faculty and staff. Everyone sipped on wine generously donated by alumna Kotoe Shirakawa ‘00 and beer subsidized by Baird Brewery, and enjoyed the delicious food provided by our long-time caterers/school lunch provider Kiwi Kitchen, followed by cake that was donated by Nishimachi-Kai.
Our head of school, Karen O’Neill, honored “Nurse Nancy” Tsurumaki, Philippe Eymard, and Kazuhiko Hotta, all of whom will be retiring after twenty, twenty-three, and thirty-seven years, respectively, of dedicated service. She went on to speak about the importance of remembering our past, focusing on the present, and looking to the future. Our school has come a long way since opening its doors in 1949 to just four students. Today, we have just under 470 students who are weaving their memories into the next 70 years of our school’s history.
As many alumni know, there has been one constant in Nishimachi’s 70 years, and that is the Matsukata House, home to generations of students and witness to decades of growth and change. Did you know that our beloved Matsukata House turns 100 next year? She is doing just fine for the most part, but we all know that anything that makes it to 100 needs a little bit of extra support. We are asking the Nishimachi community for its help in protecting this enduring symbol that lies at the heart of many a fond Nishimachi memory. The goal is to repaint the exterior and refurbish the interior of the building, thus adding years and new vitality to an already long life. Additionally, we plan to create a museum within its walls that will allow us to preserve our school’s history and to share it with others.
Director of Development Philippe Eymard kicked off the “Matsukata House 100th Campaign” at the school’s 70th anniversary celebration by personally making the first donation of one hundred 100 yens (i.e.,10,000 yen), which he dramatically dropped into the donation box. Many guests followed suit, and the total donations received on February 14 totaled a whopping 1.1 million yen, for which Nishimachi extends its sincere gratitude. Our target is 20 million yen.
We are living in uncertain times, facing unprecedented challenges, Nishimachi students have been distance-learning since March 2, and the timing is still uncertain as to when things can return to “normal.” The very good news is that our campus still stands—and will for generations to come. With this in mind, we would like to invite our entire Nishimachi-Kai to be a part of this very meaningful campaign. Please know that every “100” counts.
Further, if you have any objects relating to the history of the school that you would like to see displayed in the Matsukata House museum, please drop us a line at development@nishimachi. ac.jp. We received the first item for the collection on the evening of the 70th anniversary social: the 1980 junior high boys’ “A” Team Basketball Tournament trophy, brought home by David Robinson, Henrik Gistren, Larry Spiwak, Jeff Zavattero, the Paton twins, and so many more. This was the very first trophy any sports team at Nishimachi had ever won. Also on display will be the 1980 spring season junior high girls’ “A” Team Basketball Tournament trophy!
Nishimachi is a non-profit gakko-hojin, and tuition covers teacher and staff salaries, keeps the lights on, and provides the best education for our students. Special projects such as preserving the Matsukata House require additional funding. https://www.nishimachi.ac.jp/giving/ways-ofgiving The Matsukata House 100 Campaign has a goal of 20 million yen and will run through June of 2021.