A Stellar Goji-Kara Gathering at Subaru

September 21, 2009

Members of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawaii (JCCIH) attended a very special Goji-Kara at the base facility of Subaru on the evening of August 20, 2009. Goji-Karas are typically after-five social and cultural activities that encourage fellowship and networking among JCCIH's members. Subaru's directors have been members of the 58-year-old organization for over ten years and have been grateful for the opportunity to interact with its multi-cultural members to further JCCIH's mission: to promote the well-being of the community through business and personal relationships.

Adorned with tropical plants, displays about the observatory's construction and operation, and beautiful images of stars, galaxies, and nebulae, Subaru's lobby soon filled with over 80 guests eager to participate in the evening's activities. Invited to be the host for the August event, Subaru developed diverse activities and provided refreshments and prizes to express its appreciation to JCCIH and the community for its support. The evening gave the guests a chance to learn about Subaru and its achievements since the telescope saw first light in 1999.

Dr. Masahiko Hayashi, Director of Subaru Telescope, warmly welcomed the members in the large conference room, expressly set up with numerous chairs, photographs, and a video screen for the program. Dr. Hayashi gave an enthusiastic presentation about the special features of the Subaru Telescope and the ways in which it contributes to science and our understanding of the universe. He later narrated a video presentation of the images and discoveries captured by Subaru Telescope.

Esteemed community members gave Director Hayashi congratulatory messages for its 10th anniversary and expressions of appreciation for Subaru's role in the local community and the state of Hawaii. Mr. Allan Onishi, President of the JCCIH, presented a koa plaque, carved in the shape of the Big Island, with an engraving that said, "Thank you for your stewardship of our precious Mauna Kea." Mr. Delbert Nishimoto represented U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye in conveying a congratulatory message, and Mr. Marc Miranda, representing State of Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, bestowed a commendation, part of which read: "The Subaru Telescope brings prestige to Hawai'i, and we appreciate the staff for serving as positive role models for our younger generation." Topping off these tributes, Ms. Charmaine Shigemura, representing the County of Hawaii and Mayor Billy Kenoi, presented a proclamation from the mayor that praised the scientific exploration and astronomical research conducted by Subaru as well as Subaru's dedication to the Big Island, "providing leadership, education, and work opportunities for our young people to share in the dream of exploring new worlds."

Throughout the evening, guests could see for themselves some of the ways in which Subaru pursues scientific excellence. Many took the rare opportunity to tour the base facility with Subaru staff, viewing and learning about the optical simulation lab and the remote observation room. Everyone enjoyed Subaru's hospitality and the range of local foods provided for refreshments, including a large birthday cake picturing the Subaru Telescope.

Continuing Subaru's tradition of thanking those who have supported Subaru Telescope, Associate Professor Dr. Saeko Hayashi gave special gifts of gratitude from Subaru to the representatives who had participated in the program and then handed out door prizes to guests who held the lucky numbers in a drawing. Announcement of the grand prizewinner of the drawing concluded the festivities. A 12 year-old girl was thrilled to win a special tour of the Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea summit for a six-person group. While her family may take advantage of the prize now, she will need to wait to have her guaranteed tour when she is 16, the minimum age allowed for visiting the summit.

The Goji-Kara at Subaru was special from beginning to end. And, it was true to the meaning of the original word "sumaru" from which Subaru's name is derived-to "get together" or "tie together".

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