Back Story: Akie-san and Nozomi Project
A collective “ohhhhh” of appreciation and some surprise escaped from the group gathered for our morning meeting. On the table in front of us was some mail that had come the previous day: a handwritten note accompanied by a photo of the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, First Lady Akie Abe, United States President Donald Trump, and First Lady Melania Trump.
“I’m sorry it took a while to send you a photo. I don’t have a set plan to visit Ishinomaki for now. But whenever I get the chance, I’d love to visit Nozomi Project… - First Lady Akie-san”
Last summer, Sue & Eric Takamoto were honored to receive a prestigious award from the Foundation for Social Contribution on behalf of their team’s work in Ishinomaki, particularly with the Nozomi Project. The award was presented to the couple by Akie Abe, the First Lady of Japan. Akie-san graciously admired the Nozomi necklace (Aki ornate on Natsuko silver collar) that Sue was wearing at the time.
Our Nozomi team sent Akie-san a complimentary necklace of her own with matching cufflinks for her husband. We received a polite, somewhat generic thank you postcard. Sue replied, inviting Akie-san to an event Nozomi had coming up. We continued to pray for Akie-san and her husband, who are very much in the public eye.
We didn’t hear anything for a long time.
In July, almost exactly one year after the award ceremony, Akie-san emailed Sue back. “I hope to come visit Nozomi when I’m up there next. I wore the necklace you gave me when [my husband and I] went to visit the Trumps at their home in Florida.”
Sue was at the beach with some of our team when she saw this email come through, but there was no “we’ll just wait until we get home” – drop everything; we need to do a google search now! Noses pressed to phone screens, we excitedly confirmed from various press photos that you can, in fact, see Nozomi around the First Lady’s neck!
Sue wrote back, expressing our gratitude for her support and wondering if there was an official picture she could send us. Since then, Sue and Akie-san have exchanged several personal emails. We were thrilled when Akie-san sent the beautiful photo (above) with a handwritten note.
We are so excited to have such a prestigious figure as Akie-san supporting (and sporting!) Nozomi jewelry! But we are perhaps more excited about this unique opportunity to build a friendship with her.
In Akie-san's honor, we have saved our favorite blue and white pottery and created a special Blue is Beautiful 2018 Collection. We think you'll love it too!