JASGA's Academic Lecture series presented by Professor Arthur Sakamoto of the Sociology Department at the University of Texas at Austin. By looking at the history of Japanese Americans from a sociological viewpoint, the talk by Prof. Sakamoto seeked to provide insight about where Japanese Americans are today in relationship to their cultural heritage.
The schedule and seeds for the 2012 IFAF Under-19 World Championship of American football played at Burger Stadium in Austin, TX from June 30 to July 7. Japan edged Austria 7-0 to win second U-19 Bronze Medal.
Midori Campbell shared her experiences growing up in a Japanese household in a very Texas environment, and how her late mother, Mitsuko Hiraizumi (1933-1993), influenced her, through the Japanese arts, to appreciate the beauty found in native Texas.
Summer vacation is drawing to a close and Japan-America Society of Greater Austin (JASGA) volunteers have already been working to coordinate and facilitate our programs and events like Academic Lecture in September featuring Japanese Architecture, Fall 2012 Japanese Language Prgram, or Aki Matsuri (Japan Fall Festival). Please take the time to enjoy these activities, that are only made possible through the generous support of our partners and members.
August 14 - 16th
Obon 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, graves are visited and food offerings are made at house altars and temples. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon Odori (dance).
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.
Fall 2012 Japanese Language Classes
Check your email box and watch our announcement at: www.jasga.org
JASGA will hold Japanese language classes that will begin on September 12th and/or 13th. The classes continue to meet every Wednesday (tentatively)and/or Thursday.
Donna Shands $ Family Frank & Jean Abertnathy
Kara & Jay Hartzell
Returned / Renewed Members
Julie Carlson Sladick
James & Noriko Adams
Nancy Hohengarten & Family
St. Stephen's Episcopal School
12th Grader, Senior
Co-chair, JASGA Communication Committee
August 10, 2012
Before I went to live in Japan on August 22nd, 2010, I never had any particular interest in the country. That isn't to say I was oblivious to it; I knew some rudimentary facts about Japanese culture, history, and even language. Going to Japan, however, proved to be one of the most, if not the most, enlightening experiences of my life.
Prior to departure, much of my aforementioned thoughts regarding Japan fell under the purview of stereotypes and preconceptions. Unfortunately, many of these suppositions were incorrect. Things such as the modern utilization of seppuku (or ritualistic suicide, a practice reserved for more ancient Japan) were what I knew, or was taught, as I prepared to leave. "Don't eat the raw dolphin! I hear they have it almost every day!"
I worried about other things too; I knew maybe 30 Hiragana letters, 10 Katakana letters, and a handful of Kanji before arriving. My spoken Japanese was similarly basic; aside from a simplistic introduction and request for food, I couldn't say or understand anything. As an extension of my linguistic worry, I was also very nervous about meeting and living with my host family. They had sent me a picture of their apartment (small, cramped looking), as well as one of my soon-to-be host mother and host brother. Seeing the two of them diminished my fears slightly, but I was still apprehensive.
In actually going to Japan, all my fears and worries about living with a Japanese family were erased when I moved in with the Fujii's. I was scheduled originally to stay with them for about 5 months of my 1 year exchange. Indicative of my affection for them was that I begged to extend my stay until the 9 month mark (as it turns out, that was my entire exchange, as I was forced to return home early because of the 2011 March 11th tsunami and earthquake).
While living with the Fujii's, I learned several lessons that I have since kept with me in all matters of interacting with others. From them I learned how to empathize and appreciate the situations of others, even if communication with them is difficult. Arriving in the beginning, I was disappointed to learn that our apartment was even more small and cramped than I'd initially imagined. Furthermore, initially my schedule and the family's schedules didn't particularly match up, and as a result, I felt that I was both metaphorically and literally out of sync with the rest of the family. However, as basic as it may sound, the process of adjusting something that I'd grown accustomed to helped me immensely in the pursuit of successful adaption.
Furthermore, simply by being with my host family (and especially my host mother, with whom I was extremely close, and who I frequently referred to as "mom"), and by studying/sleeping/living with them in a different culture, my attitude as a whole shifted, in a positive way, more towards internationalism.
In concluding this remembrance of things past, I feel that it is important to note that my above experiences with my host family were only a part of my overall experience as an exchange student in Osaka, Japan.
From school to friends to family to study, everything was a new and exciting adventure. Having gone to Japan, and having had the opportunity to study abroad in a new environment, I could not recommend it more highly. Whether or not it is Japan or not (though I'd personally endorse Japan), going abroad helps distill what you, as a person, represent into something more dilute and defined. Going to Japan, I feel that I became both a better person in a global sense and a better person on an individual level.