Michael Lumsden, Austin Pond Society reviewed their mission, talk about their monthly programs, and activities and about the 17th Annual Austin Pond Tour. He provided a brief overview of pond design elements, including those for Japanese watergardens. He also spok briefly about the joy of owning koi.
The 2nd JASGA Friendship Golf Tournament was held on the Spicewood Course at Balcones Country Club. All participants enjoyed the clear sunny weather, the golf, good food, awards and door prizes, and meeting new people. It was a memorable day for everyone.
On July 7, Japan Family Fun Night was hosted by JASGA at Highland Mall in coorperation with Japanese Folk Dance Group and Austin Taiko. We celebrated Tanabata Star Festival and Japanese Bon folk dance. Thanks to our photographers (Satoshi & Nancy) , Ms. Horn for bamboo, Austin Taiko, Folk Dance Group, and all volunteers!
JASGA held a traditional Japanese Chiyogami dollmaking workshop using washi paper for its Cultural Workshop series.
Japanese paper dolls are hand-folded from chiyogami or washi paper. The participants enjoyed to make dolls from chiyogami.
JASGA Cultural Workshop Series in 2011 enjoyed Texas Country Line Dance. We invited Ms. Joan Cox, a Line Dance instructor and more than 20 community participants enjoyed learning in the Texas country line dance.
JASGA Cultural Salon series in September 2011 will present Japanese Anime and American Pop Culture. Greg Simoes, a represetative of Ushicon will talk about how Japanese anime has inspired pop culture in the US.
Summer vacation is drawing to a close and Japan-America Society of Greater Austin (JASGA) volunteers have already been working hard to coordinate and facilitate our events and programs like Aki Matsuri (Japan Fall Festival), September Cultural Salon featuring Japanese Anime and American Pop Culturre or Fall Japanese Language Prgram. Please take the time to enjoy these activities, which are only made possible through the generous support of our members and donors.
Bon Festival in Japan
Obon is an annual Buddhist event for commemorating one's ancestors. It is believed that each year during Obon, the ancestors' spirits return to this world in order to visit their relatives.
Traditionally, lanterns are hang in front of houses to guide the ancestors' spirits, Obon dances (Bon Odori) are performed, graves are visited and food offerings are made at house altars and temples.
Obon is celebrated from the 13th to the 15th day of the 7th month of the year, which is July according to the solar calendar. However, since the 7th month of the year roughly coincides with August rather than July according to the formerly used lunar calendar, Obon is still celebrated in mid August in many regions of Japan.
At the end of Obon, floating lanterns are put into rivers, lakes and seas in order to guide the spirits back into their world. The customs followed vary from region to region.
JASGA's fifth Annual Japanese Festival
Taiko drums, traditional and festival Japanese dance and musical instruments, the beauty of the tea ceremony, Kendo swords -- all this will bring the artistry of Japanese culture to Central Texas during the 2011 Aki Matsuri, the Japan Fall Festival.
Visitors will enjoy a range of Japanese food, drink sampler, a Yukata photo booth, calligraphy, origami, and Japanese carnival-style games and entertainment. In addition, there will be a Silent Auction for items such as gift certificates for Japanese restaurants, massage and spa visits, art collections, Anime conference tickets, games, kimono, airline tickets, and much more!
Ace Walter Furman
Alice Lee & David Hart
Mai Kotari & Anthony Tang
Takeshi & Mami Udagawa
Kayoko & Yoshi Omikawa
Nancy Parker & Hajimu Kawa
Welcome Corporate Sponsor Members
Kumon of Westlake
Harmony Real Estate Group
My first time volunteer experience
in Ishinomaki, Miyagi
August 14, 2011
It was 10:45PM on Friday, June 10th. I was hurrying to the meeting point at Shinjuku in Tokyo. It started to rain but I didn't care. I was excited about what the next 48 hours would bring. When I got there, many people were already waiting. I talked to a man who was standing next to me. "Is this your first time?" "Yeah, I'm a little nervous.." "Me too..." Then I talked to a young lady standing in front of me, "Is this your first time?", "No, 3rd time.." "Oh, you are a seasoned veteran!" We boarded the bus with heavy luggage full of the gear and outfits. At 11PM, the bus left Shinjuku for Ishinomaki, Miyagi carrying the Team "NADIA". NADIA is an international volunteers group that has been helping the recovery of Ishinomaki by every weekend since March.
After a bumpy 8 hour bus ride, we arrived at Ishinomaki in the morning and immediately put on the outfits and gear we brought with us, such as safety boots, goggles, a mask, gloves and a hard hat. Our first job was to dig out seafood cans from the mud and debris that covered the floor of the seafood factory. Then, we went to the nearby school used as a shelter where a few hundred people still lived to help prepare for a big ceremony. The school yard was very muddy due to the low ground level that prevents water from draining. The clock on the wall of the building still shows 3:48 PM, the time when Tsunami hit the area.
We also removed mud
and debris from the water drain canal in front of a house. The hardest part was to remove the concrete slabs covering the canal weighing about 90 pounds each. Sand bags full of mud were
very heavy too. The air in the area was full of the foul odor of dead fish and the roads were not safe for pedestrians due to lack of sidewalks and heavy traffic of construction and military vehicles. But they did not prevent us from doing our work.
After work, we stayed at a Ryokan in Sendai where we enjoyed a hot bath and a Japanese style group dinner in a big tatami room.
On Sunday we cleaned the graveyard of a temple all day. There was a thick layer of mud. Quite a few tombstones were down. At 4PM we left Ishinomaki and returned to Shinjuku at 10pm.
Although the situation in Ishinomaki still looked very bad, lots of improvements have been made already. Probably it will take very long to get back to normal, but I am convinced that every small bit of help by every volunteer will count and it will eventually make a huge difference. It was a humbling experience to see the area for myself. It was also an amazing experience to have worked with such a wonderful group of people who devote their time to volunteer week after week.
Last but not least, I wanted to express my sincere appreciation to the support from all over the world. The majority of the people on the team I worked with were Americans, Canadians, French, Taiwanese, Chinese, and Indonesians who live in Japan. I saw a bus load of French people too. I am already looking forward to my next opportunity.