Newsletter Volume 23

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Japan-America Society of Greater Austin
Newsletter, Vol. 23

Augsut 15, 2011

In This Issue
PROGRAM Follow-Up...6/6
PROGRAM Follow-Up... 6/11
Upcoming Event...8/22
Upcoming Event...9/12
Featured Article
Bon Festival in Japan
2011 Aki Matsuri~Japan Fall Festival
Fall 2011 Japanese Language Classes
Japan Foundation Grants
Go To...








Cultural Salon Series

 Japanese Pond and Koi

Japanese Koi
 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.


 JASGA Friendship Golf Tournament 2011

JASGA Friendship Golf Tournament 6-11-11

click on the picture to see more.

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. 


Tanabata Star Festival and Bon Dance

at Highland Mall

Bon Dance

Click on the picture to see more



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!



Chiyogami Dollmaking Workshop

with Masako Wetzel

Chiyogami Dollmaking workshop
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.


Cultural Workshop Series

 Texas Country Line Dance

with Joan Cox

TX country line dance wkshop


 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.



Japan Relief Effort


 Hair, Makeup & Fashion

Waterstone Aesthetics  

presents MODE-KEI

Japan inspired hair and make up experience
A Japan inspired hair and make up experience benefiting the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Doors @ 8PM

Show @ 9PM

801 W 5th Austin TX 78703




 Japanese Anime and

American Pop Culture 

 by Ushicon

Hatsune Miku

 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.

 Casa de Luz 
Cielo Room South (2F)

1701 Toomey Rd

Austin, TX 78704


JASGA Newsletter - Summer 2011

is compiled and edited by:

Kako Ito 

Japan-America Society of Greater Austin


Dear Community,
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.

August 14-16:
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. 

  Shoro Nagashi

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. 



2011 Aki Matsuri

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. 2011 Aki Matsuri flier

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! 


Click here to download the flier.


2011 Aki MatsuriSaturday, October 1
O. Henry Middle School
2610 W 10th St Austin TX 78703

Free for JASGA members & under 18
$5 for non-members


JASGA thanks everyone who will donate generously to our Silent Auction and Fall Festival sponsorship.


UPCOMING PROGRAM Beg II class                

Fall 2011 Japanese Language Classes 



Murchison Middle School 

3700 North Hills Dr.

Austin, TX 78731


Wed: Sept 7-Nov 30

6:15-7:15pm  Intermediate I

7:15-8:15pm  Pre-Advanced II


Instructor:Chihiro Legres  


Thu: Sept 8-Dec 1 

6:15-7:15pm Beginning I 
7:15-8:15pm Beginning III
Instructor: Kaori Kitta 


*No classes on November 23 & 24.

Click here for more details.


Welcome Individual/Friend of JASGA Members

(May-July, 2011)


Friend of JASGA:
Kazuko & Ben White


Aaron Silberman
Ace Walter Furman
James Howell
Abby Audet
Alice Lee & David Hart
Harold Rogers
Summer Pruett
Herman Prager
Barbara Lazar
Mai Kotari & Anthony Tang


Chizuko Franklin
Nancy Hohengarten
Yukie Aida
Ginger Hansel
Kay Hetherly
Cecil Lawson
Takeshi & Mami Udagawa
Kayoko & Yoshi Omikawa
Nancy Parker & Hajimu Kawa
Mark Eaton


Welcome Corporate Sponsor Members 

(May-July 2011)



Kumon of Westlake

Harmony Real Estate Group



My first time volunteer experience

in Ishinomaki, Miyagi  


Jim Yatsu

Tokyo Electron


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.


Earthquake Tsunami relief volunteerWe 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. 

 Tsunami relief volunteer3

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 sincereErthquakeTsunami relief volunteer2 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.
Wishing you a delightful late summer!



Japan-America Society of Greater Austin