The Tomodachi Dinner (“tomodachi” is the Japanese word for friend), a social international exchange event was held at the Official Residence of the Commandant of Cadets, Brigadier General Stephen C. Williams, at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 5:30pm. The event was co-hosted by the Consulate General of Japan in Denver and the USAFA in which official chef, Ms. Kozue Yamanaka, provided a wide variety of Japanese foods as part of the purpose to provide an opportunity to broaden Japanese-American international exchange and further strengthen the alliance between Japan and the United States. Approximately 70 guests, including the USAFA Superintendent General Michelle Johnson and other top-ranking officials, Cadets currently studying Japanese language, the Cadet Chorale team, and members from the Japan-America Society of Southern Colorado, attended the event.
The event opened with performances of the national anthems of both countries. General Williams’ youngest daughter, Ms. Ashley Williams, sang the Japanese National Anthem, and following the USAFA Cadet Chorale team sang the American National Anthem. Consul General Ono gave an opening remark, which was proceeded by a toast from General Williams.
Consul General Ono expressed his felicity toward the holding of the event, as well as his gratitude to the United States military force for their aid in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. He also mentioned his desire to deepen the friendship between Japan and the United States through opportunities like the Tomodachi Dinner that utilizes food as a means of promoting international exchange. General Williams stated in his remarks the importance of knowing about the culture of a country, and how he was able to establish very good relations with Japan through becoming familiar with Japanese culture during his two tours in Japan. He also commented that such friendships are what will be the foundation of future America.
After an explanation from the American-side regarding American cuisine, Chef Yamanaka explained the history and special characteristics of Japanese food, and provided background information on each dish being served. Thereafter, she performed a live demonstration on how sushi is made. The guests were impressed by Chef Yamanaka’s explanations and admired her delicate yet firm handling of the ingredients, and ate every piece of sushi until none remained. The guests thoroughly enjoyed eating Japanese food while engaging in lively conversation. The Tomodachi Dinner not only proved successful in providing fruitful opportunity for Japanese-American exchange, but it also reconfirmed the significance of the alliance between Japan and the United States.
（Picture Captions※From upper left)
Ms. Ashley Williams Performing the Japanese National Anthem
The USAFA Cadet Chorale team performing the American National Anthem
Cadets listening to the National Anthems performance
Consul General making opening remarks
Greeting by Commandant of Cadets,Brigadier General Stephen C. Williams
Official Chef Kozue Yamanaka explaining about Japanese food
Live Demonstration by Chef Yamanaka（1）
Live Demonstration by Chef Yamanaka（2）
The closing clap given by General William
Group Picture(Front center: Consul General, Front Center Right: USAFA Superintendent, General Michelle Johnson, Front Center Left: Commandant of Cadets, Brigadier General Stephen C. Williams)