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Greetings from Osaka

In Japan, May is the "month of fragrant breezes." I would like to extend a warm welcome to all Rotarians joining us in Osaka for the 95th RI Convention. Please join RI President Jonathan Majiyagbe and me during this beautiful time of year to celebrate the vibrant spirit of Rotary fellowship and service.

It's been more than 25 years since the last RI Convention was held in Japan. That meeting, held in Tokyo, sent an attendance record with more than 39,800 registrants. Rotarians in Osaka and the Kansai area are eager to introduce you to their corner of Japan. Considered the cradle of Japanese civilization, the Kansai area (which includes the cities of Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara, Shiga and Fukui on honshu Island) is an unsurpassed travel destination, offering the richness of traditional Japanese culture against the backdrop of modern society and high technology. Most important, you will have the opportunity to experience the warmth, energy and hospitality of the Japanese people.

As the official convention airline, Japan Airlines is offering discounted airfares and service from all the world's major cities. On your arrival, you will disembark at the modern, efficient Kansai International Airport, the first to be constructed on an artificial island. Osaka is a major commercial port with state-of-the art facilities, first-rate hotels, and an extensive public transportation system. It is only a 30-minute train ride to the center of Osaka, site of the three main convention venues.

The plenary sessions weill b e held at the 40,000-seat Osaka Dome, which can accommodate all convention goers at one time. the nearby Rihga Royal Hotel will be the site of the House of Friendship, which will spotlight traditional Japanese arts, including the tea ceremonies, flower arranging, and geisha dances. The hotel is also the venue for the Secretariat booths, the Rotary Fellowship exhibit, and the Club and District Projects Exhibition. Next to the hotel is the Osaka International Conference Center, one of the largest convention facilities in western Japan. The center will house registration services, the Osaka International Institute, a seminar, workshops, and discussion groups.

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