On March 6, NCF and PIJLC Academic Adviser, Kenjiro Ogata sensei celebrated his 65th birthday. Coincidentally, this year also marks his 25th year of unwavering commitment to Japanese language education in the Philippines. To celebrate the two joyous and momentous occasions, teachers, students, and staff of the schools presented a surprise tribute video to Ogata Sensei during the recently concluded Faculty Development Program (FDP) at the NCF Makati campus last March 19, 2017.
Before the video presentation, staff brought out a birthday cake and started singing “Happy Birthday” to Ogata Sensei to his surprise. After the greetings, FDP manager, Keli Biscarra Sensei, engaged the teachers in a short trivia game, which included fun questions and facts about the birthday celebrant.
In the tribute video, colleagues and students thanked Ogata Sensei not only for his invaluable contributions to the schools, but also for his support and guidance in their Nihongo studies and training. There were heartwarming anecdotes from students who are now also Nihongo teachers of how Ogata sensei taught them and helped them pass their Japanese proficiency test.
Moreover, staff and school administrators shared their stories about sensei that reflected the long history of his career as a Nihongo teacher in the Philippines. Throughout the 8-minute long video, Ogata sensei quietly watched with a big smile as everyone wished him good health and more birthdays to come.
In addition, The Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation (PJFF), which established and oversees NCF and PIJLC, tendered a separate dinner for Ogata Sensei on March 6. PJFF board members who were present included Amb. Joey Laurel, Mr. Francis Laurel, Ms. Marilen Laurel-Loinaz, Ms. Ditas Laurel-Marquez, Mr. Toti Torres, Mr. Bobby Castillo, and Mr. JJ Soriano. NCF and PIJLC President, Philip Sanvictores, together with other school officials and faculty, also attended the intimate dinner where everyone offered a toast to congratulate Ogata sensei and wish him more years at NCF and PIJLC.