JASGA Cultural Salon series in September 2011 presented Japanese Anime and American Pop Culture. Greg Simoes, a represetative of Ushicon talkeds about how Japanese anime has inspired pop culture in the United States.
JASGA Cultural Salon Series in October 2011 presented Iaido demonstration by Mike Ross, Iaido Dojo-cho in Austin. Iaido is a Japanese martial art that is concerned with attack and defense against an opponent from the position of having the Japanese sword in the scabbard. Using the simultaneous draw and cut, the demonstration focused on Araki Mujinsai Ryu Iaido Koryu that is over 400 years old.
The participants at the Haiku workshop learned how poets writing in the English language have adapted the traditional Japanese haiku form, endeavoring to honor the spirit of traditional haiku while bringing it into a very different linguistic, literary and cultural context. They also explored the art of writing English language haiku and senryu and tried their hands at writing their own poems.
Fall has arrived in Austin and central Texas as signaled by falling the leaves. Volunteers from the Japan-America Society of Greater Austin are working hard to facilitate programs and events for you during these upcoming months. Please take the time to enjoy these activities, which are only made possible through the generous support of our members and sponsors.
Labor Thanksgiving Day
Labor Thanksgiving Day November 23
Labor Thanksgiving Day [kinro-kansha-no hi] is a national holiday in Japan. It takes place annually on November 23. It formally recognizes the importance and sanctity of human rights, as well as a celebration "for the people to honor labor, celebrate manufacturing and give thanks to one another."
During this time, local communities would harvest their first crops of Japan's most famous agricultural product, kome (rice). They offered it to the kami, spirits, at their local shrine to pray for a fine harvest and healthy crops in the year ahead. This practice still continues in rural Japan, while in Tokyo, the Emperor holds a private ceremony at the Imperial Palace each year to continue the wish for growth and health.
Many thanks to all those who helped us to make the JASGA's Aki Matsuri -- Japan Fall Festival 2011 -- such a great success!
The effort and dedication of all groups, including performers, demonstrators, vendors, exhibitors, photographers, volunteers, Japanese language class students from Liberal Arts & Sience Academy, Fulmore middle school, Austin high school, Austin Community College as well as the generosity of our auction and prize donors, are much appreciated.
Chihiro & John Legris
Theodore & Mary Shrader
Yoshiko Fujii Gaines
Lynn C. Haxton
Richard, Madeline, Erika Meier
The Honorable Jota Yamamoto, the new Consul General of
Japan in Houston, arrived in Texas on October 7. He has
worked in the United Kingdom, Russia, and most recently in Pakistan. Welcome to the United States!
Please read his official greetings at the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston website.
On November 3, the announcement of Imperial Decorations contained good news for Bill Farrell (and NAJAS); he is one of 11 Americans included in the 53 recipients of the 2011 Fall Imperial Decorations. Bill's award is the Order of Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon. Congratulations to the Chairman William Farrell!
JAPANESE SNOW MONKEYS ENJOY THE HOT SPRINGS
Tomio Yamakoshi Petrosky
Center for Complex Quantum Systems
The University of Texas at Austin
November 23, 2011
It is already cold and snowing in the mountainous districts of Japan. Within these districts are Japanese snow monkeys who enjoy the mountains' hot springs. Photo 1 is a picture I took a few years ago of Japanese snow monkeys in the hot springs, SIBU-ONSEN, located in the valley known as JIGOKU-
DANI ("Hell valley") in Nagano prefecture.
A colony of the Japanese snow monkeys were brought to the South Texas Primate Observatory in 1972 where they continue to live today (photo 2).
For anyone who has ever taken a hot bath in the winter, you probably experienced the intense chill the cold air can have on your wet skin. It is amazing that these monkeys do not seem to have such trouble and enjoy the hot springs at JIGOKU-DANI even in the coldest of winters. They, of course, have an advantage to humans. First of all, after having lived in the northern part of the world for a long time, their bodies developed a special fur beneath their regular fur. This special fur is entangled and repels water, keeping the monkeys dry and protected from the cold. This fur has the same structure as fur from dogs that come from other northern regions, such as the Labrador or the Border Collie. These breed of dogs are thus able to swim in cold water. But the Japanese snow monkeys of SIBU-ONSEN have another advantage. SIBU-ONSEN is warmer than most Japanese hot springs, often reaching temperatures of more than 115F. Thus, the furs on these monkeys rapidly dry up
after their baths before they can feel the chill of the cold air.
But when they are not in the hot springs, the monkeys have found another way to stay warm. They cluster together in a group as shown photo 3.