New York Tomonkai
About the New York Tomonkai
The New York Tomonkai was established in 1970. With approximately 300 members, the New York Tomonkai is the largest Tomonkai outside Japan. The New York Tomonkai holds an annual meeting typically in the winter, and a reception to welcome new members in the summer. There are many more programs and events to encourage interaction across all generations and professions, such as cultural lectures, fishing trips, wine or sake tasting, and visits to baseball games to name a few. There are also golf competitions against the New York Mitakai, Keio University’s alumni association twice a year.
Our sister organization, the Tokyo Branch of the New York Tomonkai was created in 1993 by the former New York Tomonkai members who returned to Japan.
Please visit our website: http://nytoumon.exblog.jp/
The attractive points of New York
In the famous song “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra, there is a verse that goes like this:
If you can make it there,
you can make it anywhere.
It’s up to you － New York, New York.
If you are in Japan, New York may be the first place you think of when you think of America. It is actually a unique place with diverse cultures. Its one-of-a kind characteristic is widely recognized among Americans.
It’s the city where professionals and experts from every field imaginable congregate from all over the world. It attracts many immigrants with big dreams and high hopes for freedom to start a new life. It challenges you to try your best even if you have nothing much more than your talents.
New York serves you either as your final destination or a stepping stone at your various stages of life. The city never sleeps; it is always moving, and it is always evolving. Just take a walk through Manhattan － every dozen blocks or so you are likely to experience a whole different world. The combination and diversity of people, cultures and events gathered in this city constantly fuels a new, powerful and roaring force of energy. It is that appeal and excitement that keeps New York on its pedestal as a city unlike any other.
Message from the Chairman
I had the privilege of studying at DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana as an exchange student from Waseda in 1976, the year of the United States’ bicentennial celebration. On my way to Indiana, I spent a few hours during transit to see the sights of the Big Apple. That was my first encounter with New York.
In spite of the warm welcome I received, the experience at DePauw was tough since I had accustomed to an idle campus life at Waseda,. However, I was mostly given an easy way out in class as a poor little thing from Japan with limited English capabilities.
Later, Waseda gave me another opportunity to come to the United States. This time, I went to The University of Chicago for my post graduate studies. There, I witnessed how ruthless these seemingly good-natured Americans could be when it came to making better grades. There was no more “poor little thing treatment”. I found myself in the midst of severe competition.
My experience is nothing like the success story of the American Dream, a story of a poor student making her break in the big city. Rather, it is an example of an ordinary person who has been able to make a modest but comfortable living in the city that I love, and through the profession which I believe I was born for. I would not be here had it not been for the opportunities provided by Waseda. And today, my friends at Tomonkai and their support is an indispensable part of my life.
Chizuko Ueno is an attorney practicing primarily in the areas of international transactions. She received her first law degree (LLB) from Waseda in 1980, and completed her graduate program at the Graduate School of Law at Waseda in 1983. She spent one year at DePauw University in Indiana and another year at The University of Chicago in Illinois. She also received a law degree (LLM) from Harvard Law School in 1991. She has been a resident of New York since September 1991.
Messages from the Members
The members of New York Tomonkai are utterly complacent in matters of the annual meeting – new members have been known to become organizers the following day, and small scale “Waseda Drinks” often happen outside formal occasions. Our alumni friends, who had once adopted a healthy dose of the “devil-may-care” attitude in Miyako no seihoku, now share a comforting bond with each other in this city that celebrates liberty and individual uniqueness.
Tsuyoshi Hoshino (Graduated in 1985, School of Letters, Arts and Sciences)
Joining the New York Tomonkai felt just like joining a student circle at Waseda. I’ve made friends with older and younger alumni members from a variety of generations and industries, all of whom show such ageless free spirits. Here I find more opportunities to think how fortunate I was to be a part of Waseda, more than when I had been at University or living in Japan.
Maiko Kitagawa (Graduated in 1999, School of Letters, Arts and Sciences)
The New York Tomonkai is made up of members involved in a diverse range of fields and is an excellent place to build a valuable network of people and exchange information which you would have a hard time collecting in Japan – especially for someone like me in their mid-20s.
Takuya Mihara (Graduated in 2007, School of Human Sciences)
The New York Tomonkai pursues invigorating activities to temporarily let go of the daily rush and recapture our “Waseda DNA”. I wish for our university to keep bringing out people who can further Japan’s presence and gain success in the global field.
Keisuke Yorihiro (Graduated in 1985, School of Commerce)
As a part of Waseda University’s 125th anniversary celebration, the New York Tomonkai joined Yale University Alumni Association’s local volunteering activities.
Yale University Alumni Association organizes various humanitarian activities in their local communities in and around May each year. Tomonkai participates in selected activities.
The New York Tomonkai continues to look for opportunities to offer help to our communities in concert with other universities or non-profit organizations, as it is a potential opportunity to give back to the local community and create new relationships and social occasions outside the Tomonkai.
Covered in Waseda Gakuho, February 2011 Issue
Return to Alumni Network World Map