An enthusiastic crowd of more than 75 supporters of the US-Japan alliance attended a special March 31 reception at the Residence of Kazuhiro Nakai, the Consul-General of Japan in Miami, to launch the Japan-America Society of Miami/South Florida (JASMSFL), a new, Miami-based, grassroots non-profit organization devoted to promoting friendship between the people of South Florida and the people of Japan. The large turnout reflected the recognition that a metropolitan area of the size and importance of Miami-Dade and its surrounding counties needs an organization devoted to enhancing mutual understanding and further strengthening our bilateral ties in such areas as business, technology, culture, art and sports. JASMSFL, in Japanese, will serve the counties of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, working closely with various institutional partners in those counties to further strengthen people to people connections between the U.S. and Japan. The launch of this new Japan-America Society chapter was made possible with the generous support of the National Association of Japan-American Societies and the Embassy of Japan. Guests at the March 31 cherry blossom-themed event were treated to a preview of what the JASMSFL has in store with specially created “ikebana” flower arrangements, Japanese food and sake, and a performance of koto, considered by many to be the national musical instrument of Japan. In addition to listening to remarks by Consul-General Nakai and VIPs from NAJAS, guests witnessed a “Daruma Ceremony.” The Japanese ceremony, in which a first eye is colored in on a special “Daruma” doll as a wish is made, symbolized the Japanese Consulate’s and JASMSFL’s joint wish that this reception is just the first of many more such programs to expose local residents to Japanese culture. With the support of friends of Japan like those in attendance, we hope to be coloring in the second eye in our Daruma very soon!