The seed for this organization began to sprout when several Japanese women wanted to help a senior foreign resident who was having trouble communicating in Japanese when visiting the hospital for a serious health condition, which required difficult decisions to be made. These women realized that a lot of foreigners who had been living in the area for a long time could not understand well enough many of the details concerning taxes, pensions, health care, housing, etc.
Of course there are people of many different nationalities interested in learning about these topics, so it was decided to use English as the common language for communication. However, we typically book bilingual presenters or monolingual speakers with translators on hand to explain difficult concepts and facilitate questions and answers in both languages. It is important to ensure that someone proficient in both English and Japanese is present at all events, because many Japanese members are also interested in learning more about the details of each topic. Additionally, we request that presenters provide bilingual materials (e.g. slides and handouts).
After four full years of operation, HMSC now has a multinational Executive Committee of volunteers working together to organize approximately bimonthly events. These presentations and social events have succeeded in helping all of us learn a lot about the society in which we live and to understand each other much better than we had ever imagined. We advocate for those who need our help. We have discovered that even a little help can go a long way to improving the lives of many.
That is why we are especially happy to find new volunteers who share our commitment to helping others in the world. A helping hand is always greatly appreciated!
If you feel you can help, then please do not hesitate to contact us
We are always looking for those who would like to share their expertise and experiences with our group members as speakers or serving on the Executive Committee or in an Ad Hoc capacity. For seniors, the learning process will never stop. For those of you who feel you do not have enough time to help, we hope you will consider donating funds to help us cover the expenses associated with putting on meetings, presentations and other events. All donations are used to cover real operating expenses and no member receives any money for their volunteer time and service. Please visit the Donations page for more details.
We are most grateful for the support provided by Neighbors during the first four years of operation, and that of the Sapporo International Communication Plaza, which has worked closely with our group to facilitate presentations and surveys. We are expanding our goals for 2019 and beyond, and we look forward to reaching out to all Japanese and foreign residents in Hokkaido who wish to support the multinational community in their local areas.
We appreciate the advice and support of the staff at the:
The HMSC Executive Committee Members as of November 2020
Ken Hartmann, Chairperson
Keiko Takeda, Treasurer
Kathleen Riggins: Recording Secretary
Margaret Shibuya, Vice Co-Chairperson, Membership Coordinator
Michi Goto, Vice Co-Chairperson, Co-Program Coordinator
Teruo Ooi, Co-Program Coordinator
Sally Kobayashi, Publicity/Public Relations
Yasuhiko Takasaki, Facilities/ EC Club Liaison
HMSC is dedicated to improving the lives of Hokkaido residents, by providing support through informative bilingual presentations and promoting social interaction, especially for seniors and those who are foreign nationals.
HMSC is dedicated to supporting both foreign and Japanese residents of Hokkaido with a primary focus on seniors. Often lacking sufficient language skills and having an inadequate understanding of Japanese culture, foreign senior residents require a constant flow of relevant information in English related to aging in Japan. In addition, because all seniors are vulnerable to isolation, they need regular opportunities for different types of social interaction with like-minded residents.
Short-term to long-term objectives include establishing a central meeting place in Sapporo where multinational residents can meet for a variety of purposes from formal presentations to informal social activities. Our mid-term goal would be to encourage the City of Sapporo to make similar facilities available in each ward, in order to support as many multinational residents as possible, as well as, work with local governments throughout Hokkaido in a joint effort to support all multinational residents in Hokkaido. The long-term objective is to develop a multinational residential care facility where English is a primary means of communication.