I traveled to Taiwan in mid November to attend the D67 Fall Convention in Taichung. It was my 10th visit to Taiwan. I had a special mission of my own. To thank the Taiwanese for showing their compassion towards the Japanese plights on and after 311.
Convention programming is usually a hectic one, allowing no interruptions and changes. Foreign visitors are usually recognized by the District Governor and I dared to grab the opportunity, with the prior consent and approval of DG Grace Shih, through Dennis Chen, an old friend and the founder of Taichung Central Japanese club. My speech went like this:
Hello, Taiwan Toastmasters! I wanted to come and thank you personally for the very much needed help from the Taiwanese who pitched in right after the 311 Earthquake/Tsunami that hit Tohoku Japan. Thank you, Taiwan.
I didn't attend the Spring Conference but got your jia-yu (加 油）messages posted on the wall during the Spring Conference that was carried back by our delegates to convey to the rest of Japan.
Taiwan topped all quake donors through the Red Cross along with your rescue teams and relief goods that were dispatched.
So in order to physically express gratitude, the Japanese swimmers did a 110 kilometer open water swim in relay from Yonaguni Island of Okinawa to Su-Ao Taiwan, despite the approaching typhoon, calling it the Xie-Xie Taiwan Project. I'm a swimmer myself. I would have joined them if I was younger.
Please accept our Xie-Xie Taiwan voices from District 76. All of the Japanese Toastmasters are very appreciative and deeply touched by your warm feelings for the Japanese.
After the session and during the break, some Taiwan Toastmasters came to shake hands with me. I was happy that I got my message through.