Academic Lecture Series - Winter
Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging
Dr. Nancy Stalker, a professor of Japanese history and culture at the University of Texas at Austin
talked about Ikebana and Industry in Postwar Japan. The lecture examined the circumstances and strategies that facilitated rapid and massive growth among Japan's largest Ikebana schools in the postwar period: Ikenobo, Ohara and Sogetsu.
JASGA Cultural Salon Series
Sadako and the Origami Crane as a Symbol of Peace
The JASGA cultural salon series presented a guest speaker from Hiroshima.
Ms. Yumie Hirano, a native of Hiroshima and a volunteer member of the Never Again Campaign (NAC), talked about why paper cranes are a symbol of peace for the people of Hiroshima. The participants in JASGA cultural salon learned of the ancient art of origami and make their own origami crane.
Japanese Taiko & Dance Performance
Thanks to the efforts of many volunteers and the supports of Martha Durham, Austin Taiko and Japanese dance groups, Hanabira and Mirei.
Japanese Dance Workshop
by Chieko Kojima
The workshop was simple enough for beginners to learn some of the fundamental body movement of Japanese dance, and a variation of interest to more experienced dancers.
EVENT FOLLOW-UP 5/2
Academic Lecture Series - Spring
Japanese & American Communication Pattern
A devoted Japanophile and
A clinical psychologist and Distinguished Professor Emerita of Texas State University, Dr. Sheila Fling, talked about the differences in Japanese & American verbal & non-verbal communication patterns. She discussed possible reasons for and advantages & disadvantages of each, improved communication when the differences are respected and accommodated.
JASGA Newsletter - Spring 2011
is compiled and edited by:
Japan-America Society of Greater Austin
The Japan-America Society of Greater Austin would like to announce to that we will celebrate the beautiful fall season during the Fall Festival, or Aki Matsuri this year.
Festivals honoring certain times and seasons of the year are an important part of Japanese culture. JASGA's Festival has become an annual highlight for the Austin community. JASGA received incredible feedback about last year's May festival. Please mark on your calendar and you won't miss out on JASGA's Aki Matsuri this fall or October.
Golden Week in Japan
Many Japanese workers get about a week off around the end of April and beginning of May. This is because there is cluster of national holidays during this time.
The week starts on April 29th, a national holiday that used to be celebrated as the birthday of Emperor Showa, who passed away in 1989. It is now celebrated as Greenery Day, a day for nature appreciation.
May 3rd is Constitution Memorial Day. The present Constitution of Japan came into effect on this day in 1947. May 5th is Children's Day, set aside to pray for the healthy growth and happiness of boys and girls. Because May 4th falls between two holidays, this day, too, was designated a national holiday. Some companies give employees a day off on May 1, which is May Day.
The word "Golden Week" was first used by movie companies to get people to take advantage of the "golden" opportunity to go see a film. The term gradually began being used by other people to refer to this string of holidays.
Golden Week comes at a very pleasant time of the year in Japan; temperatures are neither too cold nor too hot.
Meanwhile, for the golden week this year, we have many benefit events and programs in Austin and central Texas to help out the Japan relief.
In Japan, there are many opportunities for "Golden Week Volunteering" for Tohoku Relief; for example, "Giving back during Golden Week", "For Many, Golden Week Is Opportunity to Help", or "Call for Sludge Removal Volunteers during the Golden Week!".
Volunteers are helping clean a cemetery at Jionin temple in Ishinomaki,
Japan Relief Fund
JASGA thanks everyone who has donated so generously to our Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund over the past month. As of April 30th, the fund raised nearly $8,600. Yet the need is still acute, and your donations will make a difference, not just for the short-term, but for the mid- and long-term recovery efforts that lie ahead, long after the initial wave of support has subsided.
Your generous donations will be contributed to Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectural Government offices in the areas worst affected by the earthquake and tsunami.
To contribute to the Japan relief fund, please click here or send a check to:
The Japan Foundation Los Angeles office has announced a number of grant programs to support Japanese language education.
The first is a new 5-year program to invite 32 High school students who are studying Japanese to travel to Japan each summer. It is basically all-expenses paid. It was created in honor of the two American JETs who sadly lost their lives in the earthquake and tsunami. The deadline is coming up fast - Friday, May 13.
The second is a grant program of upto $1000 to schools that want to purchase materials, equipment, supplies, etc. for their Japanese language programs.
by Tomio Yamakoshi Petrosky
Center for Complex Quantum Systems, UT
April 29, 2011
I wonder if you noticed that we had an extraordinary beautiful pink carpet of Buttercups (Pink Evening Primrose) instead of the blue carpet of Bluebonnets this spring. I think this is due to a severe drought this year. As you know, wildflowers in Texas are famous. A drought means the weather in Texas is not so comfortable for the flowers. In severe weather, the pollination period is short, and the plants should bloom at the same time in this short period. Moreover, the flowers should attract insects as much as possible. Hence, the flowers in severe weather have more beautiful colors than the flowers in comfortable weather. This is the reason why, for example, that we have so many beautiful flowers in the high mountains, such as in the Rocky Mountains and in the Alps. Indeed, many garden flowers originate from the Alps. However, there are also a few beautiful garden flowers that do not come from the high mountains. When I was in Japan I found Buttercups and (which is also a typical Texas wildflower) in a Japanese nursery store.
Flowers appeared on the Earth about 80 million years ago. Before the plants had flowers, they used wind to pollinate. This means most dinosaurs did not see flowers, because the dinosaur had its heyday about 100 to 200 million years ago. Around 80 million years ago, plants noticed that insects could pollinate. Hence, if you see a picture of dinosaurs sitting in the flowers next time, you should see that this picture is totally a fiction. It was lucky for us that insects could see colors. Otherwise, flowers would not have such beautiful colors.
I noticed that there are three major countries that produce new kinds of flowers and export them to the world. These are The Netherlands, Britain and Japan. For example, The Netherlands is very famous for tulips. Britain and Japan both are famous for their beautiful gardens.
Japanese have a long tradition of improving the breed of flowers. Among them, the Morning Glory is a typical example, as shown in the picture. This book on varieties of the Morning Glory was written in the Edo period (1603-1867) in Japan. If you read "The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin, you notice that he starts his argument by considering the human improvements of pigeon breeds. But forty years before Darwin's book was written, Ryuou Kamata (1754-1821), a Japanese medical doctor, wrote a book "Shingaku Oku no Kakehashi [心学奥の桟(かけはし]" (The Bridge to the Interior of Shingaku) in which he presented the theory of evolution through the studies of the improvement of the Morning Glory.