19 February 2013 Today we bade a tearful farewell to our Judo master Michihiro Yamasaki who flew back to Japan. He spent almost 3 years in Bhutan helping to build up Bhutan’s first Judo program. Starting absolutely from scratch, in a country where most people knew little more than the name of the sport, Michihiro was able to create a solid base of judo students ranging from primary school students to army soldiers.

Michihiro helped establish the Pelkhil Judo Club which now boasts a membership of about 60 regular members. Members have earned belts from white to black. After 2 years of intensive training, Michihiro helped six of the club members earn the coveted black belt. The exam was conducted by a senior delegation from Japan sanctioned by the Kodokan.

Michihiro worked well beyond what was expected of him, sometimes conducting 3 intensive training sessions per day and working every day of the week. We are truly grateful for his effort and the fruits of his hard work are there for all to see. The Pelkhil Judo Club is now attaining greater recognition from the Bhutan Olympic Committee and it is our hope that one day Judo in Bhutan will be under a full-fledged federation affiliated with the International Judo Federation.

Michihiro joins his new company Mitsubishi from the 21st of February. We are confident that this is not the last we have seen of him and expect to welcome him back in Bhutan again in the not too distant future!

Arriving the same day was Tomomi Konishi, our new teacher in the new pre-primary classes opened at Pelkhil. With 11 years of experience in Japanese primary and kindergarten schools, she is a solid asset to the school. Although tired after a long day, she was very excited to be in Bhutan and eager to get started. She will work under Mdm Karma Pokto and take care of extra-curricular activities of the PP students including arts, crafts and music. Our parents should prepare for the real ‘early child care and development’ program!

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