Seattle Tomonkai

About the Seattle Tomonkai

In March of 1988, a number of Waseda alumni living in the Seattle area gathered together to throw a last-minute welcome party for Waseda’s “High Society Orchestra” that was then passing through Seattle on tour. The party planners then took this opportunity to form the Seattle Tomonkai.

From that moment on, the Tomonkai in Seattle has aimed to promote friendship amongst its members by hosting regular summer barbeques, New Year’s parties and other events. Our current members can be roughly divided into three categories: long-term, permanent residents, workers on overseas assignments, and students staying short-term for study abroad. Because of the increasing diversity among our members, more ingenuity than ever is needed to encourage mutual ties among them. We are also on friendly terms with the local Mita-kai, the alumni association of rival university Keio, and we often co-host golf matches and other events with them. In this same vein, we held a joint Waseda-Keio New Year’s party in 2012, our first in 5 years.

A barbeque

The Waseda-Keio joint New Year’s party

The attractive points of Seattle

The city of Seattle is located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States with the Canadian city of Vancouver to the North and Portland to the south. It is the home of the famous Seattle Mariners, which has listed such luminaries as Ichiro Suzuki, Hisashi Iwakuma, and Munenori Kawasaki in its roster, and is also nicknamed the “Emerald City” because of its scenic beauty. Although it is on roughly the same latitude as Russia’s Sakhalin Island, thanks to warm ocean currents the weather is actually quite mild. The winters here are very rainy, but in return residents enjoy wonderfully brisk and clear summers half a world away from Japan’s damp rainy season.

In addition, the corporate headquarters and offices of a number of cutting-edge firms such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Boeing and coffee giant Starbucks, are also located here, making Seattle the epitome of the “spirit of enterprise” so often lauded in Waseda’s school song.

Facing the dazzling Pacific Ocean and surrounded by lush green hills, Seattle provides its citizens with ample opportunities for outdoor sports such as skiing, kayaking, hiking and golf; and residents dine on fresh fruit, wine and seafood all year round. Additionally, thanks to its large population of immigrants hailing from Japan, Korea, China and India, Seattle has been deeply influenced by Asian cultures and its residents are quite familiar with Asian values as well.
Makoto Ishihara(Secretary General、Graduated in 1987, School of Law)

Seattle’s famous Space Needle and Mt. Rainier

Message from the Chairman

Seattle is blessed with a lush natural environment, and as a result outdoor activities are a part of daily life here. Among American cities, Seattle is one of the closest to Japan and represents a unique fusion of Japanese and American cultures.

Our organization has 48 current members, including 9 study-abroad students, and 6 special members who have kept their membership active even after returning to Japan. At our 2012 New Year’s party we had a remarkably large turnout of Waseda students studying abroad in the area. Traditionally the mission of the Tomonkai has been to encourage ties between fellow alumni, but I hope that in the future we are able to accommodate more current students as well and serve as a pillar of support for them during their study abroad.

Finally, we have also started a facebook page (see below for web address) as a way to share information among current members and attract new members as well. Feel free to come and join us anytime!
Junji Oki(Graduated in 1972, School of Engineering)

Messages from the Members

Seattle is the closest mainland US city to Japan and the two are connected by a number of direct flights. For sports fans and outdoor enthusiasts, Seattle is truly a special place. Sandwiched between the mountains and the sea, the city offers lush green parks at every turn. In summer you can enjoy golf or tennis at a local neighborhood spot or else head to the sea for some fishing; and in winter, the closest ski slopes are only an hour away by car. As for professional sports, Seattle is of course home to the world-famous Mariners (Baseball), but also hosts the Sea Hawks (Football) and The Sounders (Soccer), who enjoy a popularity rating on par with the Urawa Red Diamonds back in Japan. And after the game, fresh seafood and beer are always a wonderful way to celebrate. Seattle is truly the best!
Kosuke Yabe (Graduated in 1995, School of Commerce)

Watching a Mariner’s game

I’ve been studying education in a graduate program here at the University of Washington since 2011. I also studied abroad at UW as an undergraduate and fell so in love with the area that I decided to move back after I graduated.

The residents of Seattle are by-and-large very friendly and warm-hearted. Though my English skills are still somewhat lacking, thanks to the support of my friends and local residents, I’m able to live very comfortably here. Although I’ve only just recently joined the Tomonkai, everyone so far has been very friendly and it has quickly become a source of emotional support for me. Meeting as we do on foreign soil, Waseda alumni can’t help but feel a strange and powerful bond with each other; I’m very grateful to Waseda for making such an experience possible.
Saki Ukaji (Graduated in 2011, School of International Liberal Studies)

Cherry trees on the University of Washington campus

One of my favorite memories from my time at the Tomonkai was a party at a member’s house in the suburbs of Seattle where we sang “Miyako no Seihoku” together around a roaring campfire. During my time as secretary-general here we also held a joint Waseda-Keio new year’s party commemorating Waseda’s 125th anniversary, and raised enough funds to have the Seattle Tomonkai’s name engraved on a memorial plaque within Okuma auditorium. In 2007 an article about the Seattle Tomonkai appeared in Waseda’s alumni magazine “Waseda Gakuho”, and I’m very grateful to see that our organization was featured once again in 2012.
Toshinori Amemiya (Former Secretary General, resident member 2003-2009, Graduated in 1978, School of Commerce

It’s been 12 years since I first moved to Seattle. My husband and I currently have 2 children (11 and 8 years old) and a dog as well. It’s said that Americans place a lot of value on family time. Following this example my husband leaves for work early in the morning and comes home at 7 to have dinner with the family. And apart from supplementary Japanese language classes, we don’t send our children to any kind of cram school. As a family we often go camping, kayaking and rock climbing in summer and skiing in the winter in the hills surrounding Seattle. Thanks to all the time my husband and I spend with each other and with our children, we are a very close family and lead a wonderful and easy going life here.
Ayano Kuraishi (Graduated in 1991, School of Letters, Arts and Sciences)

I’ve been a member of the Seattle Tomonkai ever since I first arrived to study law at University of Washington (JD program) in 2009. Since joining I have often felt that the Tomonkai here is like a miniature version of Waseda University itself. It is a place where members of all ages and backgrounds, from elder alumni to current Waseda students can come together and interact freely. Studying abroad program in a foreign country is an experience filled with unknowns and uncertainty, but knowing that other, more senior members of the club have gone through this same experience fills me with courage. I will always treasure the friendships I have made here at the Tomonkai in Seattle.
Kenji Amma (Graduated in 2008, School of International Liberal Studies)

A dinner party with classmates

List of Overseas Branches/
Overseas Tomonkai/
Overseas Tomonkai
Japanese Branches

Overseas Branches
Alumni Association in China / Alumni Association in Korea / Alumni Association in Taiwan
Overseas Tomonkai
Bangalore Tomonkai / Bangkok Tomonkai / Beijing Tomonkai / Cambodia Tomonkai /
Dalian Tomonkai / Hanoi Tomonkai / Hong Kong Tomonkai / India Tomonkai /
Jakarta Tomonkai / Kanan (South China) Tomonkai / Malaysia Tomonkai / Manila Tomonkai / Mumbai Tomonkai / Myanmar Tomonkai / Saigon Tomonkai / Seoul Tomonkai / Shanghai Tomonkai / Singapore Tomonkai / Suzhou Tomonkai / Taipei Tomonkai / Ulan Bator Tomonkai
Brisbane Tomonkai / Melbourne Tomonkai / Perth Tomonkai / Sydney Tomonkai
North America
Boston Tomonkai / Chicago Tomonkai / Georgia Tomonkai / Hawaii Tomonkai / Los Angeles Tomonkai / Michigan Tomonkai / New York Tomonkai / San Francisco Tomonkai / Seattle Tomonkai / Toronto Tomonkai / Vancouver Tomonkai / Greater Washington Tomonkai
Central and South America
Brazil Tomonkai / Chile Tomonkai / Lima Tomonkai / Mexico Tomonkai
Belgium Tomonkai / Berlin Tomonkai / Denmark Tomonkai / Dusseldorf Tomonkai /
Frankfurt Tomonkai / Geneva Tomonkai / Moscow Tomonkai / Netherlands Tomonkai / Paris Tomonkai / Stockholm Tomonkai / UK Tomonkai
Middle East
Abu Dhabi Tomonkai / Qatar Tomonkai / Tehran Tomonkai
Egypt Tomonkai / Johannesburg Tomonkai / Kenya Tomonkai
Overseas Tomonkai Japanese Branches
Bangkok Tomonkai Japanese Branch / Beijing Tomonkai Tokyo Branch / Dusseldorf Tomonkai Tokyo Branch / Gaoxiong Tomonkai Alumni Association / Hanoi Tomonkai Japanese Branch / Jakarta Tomonkai Alumni Association / Los Angeles Tomonkai Japan / New York Tomonkai Tokyo Branch /
Paris Tomonkai Tokyo Branch / Saigon Tomonkai Japanese Branch / Shanghai Tomonkai Tokyo Branch / Singapore Tomonkai Japanese Branch / Tokyo Brazil Tomonkai / Tokyo Hong Kong Tomonkai / Tokyo Melbourne Tomonkai / UK Tomonkai Tokyo Branch