Aomori Delegation to Maine is November 10 – 14, 2014!



MASSAC and Friends of Aomori would like to bring you exciting news!  The Aomori Delegation will be visiting the State of Maine from November 10 – 14, 2014 to celebrate 20 years of the sister-state relationship between Maine and Aomori Prefecture!

We are in the process of planning the events and schedule of the delegation activities, which will be updated on the website and our Facebook page!

We would like to sincerely thank the Aomori Prefecture’s Tourism and International Affairs Strategic Bureau for their understanding of our cancellation of the Maine Delegation to Aomori last year.  The Maine-Aomori relationship is very important to us, and we are deeply honored to host Aomori delegates this November!

2014 celebrates the close people-to-people relationships we have created over the years.  Let’s make it one of the best delegation visits yet!

MASSAC Meeting Minutes 2/11/14


Hello Friends!

The Maine-Aomori Sister-State Advisory Council’s Meeting Minutes for 2/11/14 are in PDF form below.   Please read and keep up to date on the groups’ activities!


The discussion focused on the overarching goals for the upcoming Aomori Delegation to Maine in November to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the sister-state relationship.  We are excited to host this special visit from our friends from Aomori!

MASSAC Meeting 2/11/14 20th Anniversary Delegation Discussion

Hello Friends!

There will be a Maine-Aomori Sister-State Advisory Council (MASSAC) Meeting today from 4:00PM to 5:30PM in Room 417 Wishcamper Center on the University of Southern Maine Portland campus discussing the upcoming Aomori delegation this year.  All are welcome!  Free Parking is available in the parking garage next door.  The meeting minutes will be posted here shortly thereafter.

Campus Map:

Friends of Aomori Meeting Minutes 11/6/13

Friends of Aomori

Friends of Aomori had a very positive and successful meeting tonight! Thank you for attending and providing your valuable input! We discussed and acted on some immediate essentials for the organization regarding many different aspects of the sister-state relationship! Meeting minutes are available below that will update you on Friends of Aomori’s current activity and course of action!

Please read the meeting minutes here FoA Meeting Minutes 11.5.13(pdf).

Friends of Aomori Meeting on Tuesday November 5!

Hello Friends!

We will be holding a  Friends of Aomori this coming Tuesday, Novemeber 5 from 4:30-6:00 at the USM Portland Glickman Library 4th Floor Conference Room.  All are welcome to attend!  The purpose for this meeting is to discuss and reevaluate our goals, restructure our organization, discuss membership in a constructive manner, revisit our fundraising possibilities, and create small, easily attainable goals with quick deadlines to get things in motion.  Planning for the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the sister-state relationship has already begun!  Please join us!

Mr. Kawaragi’s Performances (Pictures)

Below are pictures of Mr. Kawaragi performing for Maine students at various schools.  Thank you very much, Kawaragi-sensei.  It was very fun!  本当にありがとうございました。とても楽しかったです。 Your performances have positively impacted hundreds of students of the State of Maine!  We look forward to your performances next year!

If your school or organization would like to participate in a cultural exchange like Mr. Kawaragi’s performance, please use our contact form to speak  with Friends of Aomori.   We have already begun planning for Kawaragi-san’s performance schedule next year, so please contact us to express your interest!  This year, most performances lasted 45 minutes in length and were at school assemblies at the beginning or end of the school day, or during an individual class or group session.

There are more photos and videos of Mr. Kawaragi’s visit among other interesting updates on our Facebook page.

Kawaragi-sensei’s and Mike Herrick’s Visit to Maine! Sept. 29 – Oct. 15!

Mr. Herrick and Mr. Kawaragi during one of their performances this year
Mr. Herrick and Mr. Kawaragi during one of their performances this year

Hello Friends!

Kawaragi Katsutoshi, our fantastic guest between Maine and Aomori for many years, has planned to visit Maine this Sept. 29 – Oct. 15! As the leader of the Hachinohe Enburi dance group and the United States – Nippon Friendship group (USN), Kawaragi-sensei has been one of the pillars of the cultural connection for the sister-state relationship. He currently lives in Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture, Japan.

He will be accompanied by his lifelong friend and retired professor Mr. Mike Herrick!  Mr. Herrick has been involved with Japanese language instruction and East Asian Studies for many years, and will be a part of Kawaragi-sensei’s performance by serving as the MC.  He will provide English explanations of the performance to the students!

During his stay in Maine, Kawaragi-sensei will perform his traditional Japanese dances and activities at Reiche Elementary, PATHS, Greely Middle School, Georgetown Elementary, West Bath School, Moore Middle School, Hall-Dale Elementary, Marcia Buker Elementary, and Dresden Elementary! He will also volunteer at the Preble St. Soup Kitchen in Portland, ME!

Welcome to Maine, Mr. Kawaragi and Mr. Herrick!  Thank you very much!

Skype Meeting with Aomori Prefecture’s International Affairs Division 9/27/2013

Dr. Don Hudson, the Chair of the Maine-Aomori Sister-State Advisory Council (MASSAC), and Mr. Henry Prosack, President of Friends of Aomori,  had a Skype video meeting with the Aomori Prefecture International Affairs Division on September 25, 2013.  It was delightful to see members of the International Affairs Division that we had not met previously.

The meeting focused mainly on planning for the 20th Anniversary Celebration.  All parties have agreed that Aomori Prefecture will host a Maine delegation in Japan in 2014!  The main themes of the delegation are planned to consist of ocean energy, fisheries and aquaculture, education, and the 20th Anniversary of the Maine-Aomori sister-state relationship!

We would like to thank Aomori for their understanding of our cancellation of the October visit this year.  We remain dedicated and strong to the cause, and are eager to enhance the sister-state relationship to new heights.  MASSAC and Friends of Aomori look forward to further ties, establish new connections, and provide additional benefit to the citizens of both states.

Skype meetings with the International Affairs Division will be conducted on a regular basis in addition to our routine email communication.

Our website will be updated frequently with the progress and activity of both MASSAC and Friends of Aomori.

Dinner at Consul General Muto’s Residence in Boston

Photo provided by David Clough
Photo provided by David Clough

On July 27, 2013, Consul General Muto from the Consulate of Japan in Boston invited representatives from several Maine-Japan organizations to his personal residence in Boston for dinner.  The occasion turned out to be a remarkable night, as Mr. Muto was a very generous host, the food was exquisite, and the discussion was positive and productive.  Consul General Muto’s receptiveness and engagement in the specific issues pertaining to Maine and each organization was promising for the improvement and expansion of the Maine-Japan organizations.  Mr. Muto explained Japan’s interest in student exchanges between the United States and Japan and Japanese language instruction in U.S. schools.

The Maine visitors were treated with the utmost warmth and courtesy.  Consul General Muto expressed his appreciation for the ongoing efforts to strengthen relations between Maine and Aomori.  He plans on visiting Aomori Governor Mimura and wishes to bring a letter from MASSAC and Friends of Aomori with specific suggestions on how both Maine and Aomori can expand and improve upon their relationship!  The opportunity to address our thoughts to Aomori Governor Mimura is a great privilege!  Thank you!

Friends of Aomori and MASSAC were truly grateful for Consul General Muto’s offer to hand-deliver a message on behalf of both organizations.  The outreach from Mr. Muto represents the positive direction the relationship between Aomori and Maine is heading.  We look forward to further collaboration with the Consulate of Japan and enriching the relationship with Aomori Prefecture we hold dear.  Thank you, Consul General Muto!