Table Speech

“Prosperous Rotary Life with ‘Tomo’”

April 5, 2006

Mr. Teruo Hongyo,
General Secretary,
Rotary Official Regional Magazine “Rotary-no-tomo

In the March 1995 edition of the “ABC Letters” in the “Rotary-no-tomo”, there is an article entitled “Resolution to support the Rotary International Council on Legislation”. In the Council on Legislation held just five days from the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake on January 17, all 506 Rotary regions around the world passed a resolution to support the Japanese Rotarians. At that time, I was serving as a volunteer with the YMCA, and experienced firsthand the quickness of the response from the Rotary, and was deeply touched by the extraordinary nature of the Rotary organization.
On January 19, I sent in a report titled, “can we procure bicycles or motorcycles to deliver relief supplies to the victims?” to the YMCA headquarters. Mr. Miyazaki, who had received the report at headquarters, relayed the message to the Rotary members. In about one week’s time, motorcycles and bicycles were delivered to me at our site. I am sure there are many who recall an article describing, “The 12 bikes which were delivered to the Kobe YMCA from the Governor’s office are greatly contributing to the delivery of relief supplies”.
I was grateful that in less than a week, Rotary Clubs around the country responded in the way they did and, again, was deeply impressed with the remarkableness of the Rotary organization.
In June of 2002, 7 years after the experience of the Great Hanshin Earthquake, through some fate, I began to serve in the Rotary-no-tomo office. When I gave a salute to many concerned parties as the General Director, many people gave unreserved praises for “Rotary-no-tomo” as an unread best seller. I felt that I needed to learn the bad points and fix them, and should not give up just because it was not being read.
I was born in Hokkaido. In Hokkaido, we play making snowmen. A snowman is small when you start out, but as you roll it, it gets bigger and bigger. On the other hand, when you peel an onion, it gets smaller and eventually disappears. I think that it is better to take actions in the philosophy of not peeling an onion, but making a snowman.
Mr. Yoshiyuki Nakayama, the Chairman of the “Rotary-no-tomo” (currently a special advisor) says, “the wish of us Rotarians is for a building of a society where every person has good thoughts, and society is overflowing with kindness and consideration toward people in need”. I was strongly motivated by these words. I think the spirit of Rotarian is in these words, “We, Rotarians, dream of tomorrow and believe, or we are a group of people who believe that to be good”. This is the spirit of Rotary.
Great Mr. Nakayama stated, “we want to continue to publish the ‘Rotary-no-tomo’ with the hope that Rotarians who share such a view of the world, and who believe in the dream of one day that such a world would come true will increase”. This wish is the desire of those of us preparing the “Rotary-no-tomo”. “Rotary-no-tomo conveys the wishes of each Rotarian from Japan, and from around the world and contribution of paper or information sent to us from Rotary International. Efforts are made to make the contents easy to read and attractive, but I feel that it is sufficient that the thought that flows underneath, “what is important is our small acts that give light to the world around us bit by bit” is conveyed through the articles that are in the “Rotary-no-tomo” to its readers.
The “Yokogumi (line up characters in a horizontal row)” page in the “Rotary-no-tomo” contains messages from Rotary International as well as information that the Rotary International wishes to pass on to Rotarians worldwide. The “Yokogumi” page passes on what each Rotarian in Japan is thinking what the clubs in various parts of Japan are doing. We will continue our efforts under our motto, “Prosperous Rotary Life with ‘Tomo”, and we appreciate your support.