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Newsletter Volume 25 | JASGA

Newsletter Volume 25

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Japan-America Society of Greater Austin
Newsletter, Vol. 25

February 3, 2012

In This Issue
Newsletter Editor
Japanese Language Program
Welcome New JASGA members!
Go To...



Join JASGA! 





La Presentation du Texsas Sake

Texas Sake presentation - Yoed
JASGA Cultural Salon Series in December 2011  presented Texas Sake by Yoed Anis,  the President and Toji of the Texas Sake© Company in Austin.
Mon, Dec 5 @7:00pm

 Casa de Luz 

1701 Toomey Rd
Austin TX78704




Year-End Party


December  2011 - BonenkaiClick on the photo to see the 2011 Bonenkai photos.


Thu, December 8


@Ryu of Japan 

11101 Burnet Road
Austin TX 78758




Oshogatsu & Shamisen Performance

Shamisen performance -Ryuto Koike

Karuta game

As the first Cultural Salon Series of 2012, JASGA celebrated Japanese O-Shogatsu (New Year) and hosted a Shamisen performance by Ryuto Koike,
Sapporo,  Japan..


Mon, Jan 5 @5:00pm
1701 Toomey Rd
Austin TX 78704



Austin Regional Japanese Speech Contest


2011 Div III winners 


  February 11 

1:00-4:00 pm  


Lamar Middle School

 6201 Wynona

 Austin, TX 78757 




Japanese Rakugo Performance 



Katsura Kikushin   

February 15 
@7:00 pm 


Tokyo Electron Lobby

2400 Grove Blvd
Austin, TX 78741 




A Cookbook

An Illustrated Talk

 (with vegan nibbles)  


 Elizabeth Ando book cover 

 Mon, Feb 27 @7:00pm
1701 Toomey Rd
Austin TX 78704

JASGA Newsletter

 Winter 2012

is compiled and edited by:

Kako Ito 


Dear Community,


Happy Setsubun!


The Japan-America Society of Greater Austin (JASGA) enjoyed hosting many events for the community last year and has many more to come this new year. We hope that you will take the opportunity to enjoy them!


February 3rd 
Setsubun (Bean-Throwing Festival)  


"Setsubun ("seasonal division") is a festival held on February 3 or 4, one day before the start of spring according to the Japanese lunar calendar.   


Around the 13th century, for example, it became a custom to drive away evil spirits by the strong smell of burning dried sardine heads, the smoke of burning wood and the noise of drums. While this custom is not popular anymore, a few people still decorate their house entrances with fish heads and holy tree leaves in order to deter evil spirits from entering.

In modern days, the most commonly performed setsubun ritual is the throwing of roasted beans around one's house and at temples and shrines across the country. When throwing the beans, you are supposed to shout "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" ("Devils out, happiness in"). Afterwards you should pick up and eat the number of beans which corresponds to your age.
As all traditional festivals, setsubun is celebrated in many variations throughout the country.


ONGOING PROGRAMS                 

Spring 2012 Japanese Language Classes 


 Thursday Class Fall 2011

JASGA has Japanese language classes that began in January 2012. The classes continue to meet every Wednesday, and Thursday.



Murchison Middle School 

3700 North Hills Dr.

Austin, TX 78731


Welcome Individual, Family, and Friend of JASGA Members!  

(December 2011 - January 2012)


Friend of JASGA ($100/annual)

  Sheila Fling (Upgraded)


Student/Senior/General/Family ($15/$20/$35/$50)

  Annisa Chan
  Mie Arntson
  Gerlinde Leiding
  Christina Baker
  Merrill Eng
  Mary Moss
  L Jane Rose
  Derrick Marble
  Jerry Shores
  Rob Oblander
  Ho Wun (Edna) Chan
  Shari Coffron
  Dennis Chiang
  Tom Garney
  Ryan Knight
  Vanessa Barr
  Jared Raia
  Robert Horan
  Samuel Mintz
  Angela Milliman
  Glenn Manlongat
  Elizabeth Patterson  


  Stefan Uelpenich
  Tomio Yamakoshi Petrosky
  Kyle Milner
  Ruth Hemenway
  Mutsuko Myslinkski
  Johanna & Masaaki Kuwajima
  Teri Kurihara
  Gene Kurihara
  Eri Suzuki & Steve Banasaka 


The Japanese Monument at The Alamo


Takeshi Udagawa

Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics

The University of Texas at Austin 


February 1, 2012  


I visited the Alamo in San Antonio for the first time soon after moving to Austin in1970. At that time, I was very much interested in the Alamo, since just before moving to Austin, I had seen the John Wayne movie The Alamo and  was acquainted with the story of the Alamo and also such names as Davy Crockett and James Bonham. Since then, I have been there probably more than ten times.
On my first visit to the Alamo, I happened to find a small gray granite monument, about five feet high, deep in a corner behind a giant live oak tree in the courtyard there. You can see a photo of the monument and the inscriptions on it.  On the top front, the English part of the inscription says, Monuments

     「To / The Memory of The Heroes / of / the Alamo」
which is followed by a kanshi (a Japanese poem written using only Chinese characters). At the bottom are the words
     「Professor Shigetaka Juko Shiga, Tokyo / San Antonio, Texas / September 1914」

The Japanese words  inscribed on the left corner says that the monument was presented by Shigetaka Shiga in 1914.  From these English and Japanese words inscriptions, I could see that the monument wass a gift from Professor Shiga given to the City of San Antonio in September 1914, commemorating the heroes of the Alamo. Shiga was a geographer, a writer, and a professor at Waseda University. On the back, it says:
   「Stone / from the native province of / Suneemon Torii / The Bonham of Japan /  in the province is Nagashino, / The Alamo of Japan」

Most of Japanese know  the battle of Nagashino in 1575, in which almost all of the defenders in Nagashino Castle, besieged by Takeda Katsuyori's forces, died in a very similar manner as the heroes of the Alamo did. Suneemon Torii carried out a similar mission as James Bonham did at the Alamo.
Professor Shioga, who was a native of Nagashino, had heard about the story of the Alamo at a very critical time when anti-Japanese sentiment became very strong in California. He was very much worried about it and decided to dedicate the monument with the hope that that would help to promote the friendship between Japan and the United States, especially Texas. The kanshi inscribed on the front was composed by Professor Shiga.
Since 1914, the monument has been standing at the place where it was built. Even during WWII, the monument was not removed. I have heard an interesting story how some people in San Antonio tried to keep the Monument from being removed.  
During the war, of course, there was a strong sentiment that the monument should be removed. But there were people even at that time who tried to defend the monument's presence. These people used the fact that on front of the monument a Chinese poem is inscribed. The defenders of the monument argued that the donor, unable to express his sentiments in his own language of Japanese, had resorted to Chinese, aDr. Shiga_goodwill_gesturend since the Monument was in no way connected with the Japanese government and was not even in Japanese, no American should find it offensive. The defenders succeeded, so that the monument is still there.   
2014, which is coming soon, will be the 100th anniversary of  the monument. I am sure that there will be a celebration for that, and I am very much looking forward to joining it.


Dr. Takeshi Udagawa (Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics, University of Texas at Austin, and principal of the Austin Japanese school) is a theoretical physicist and researcher at the University of Texas at Austin. His achievements have contributed to the overall improvement of the status of Japanese researchers. His efforts to establish a fund to promote academic exchanges between the United States and Japan culminated in an exchange program with the University of Texas at Austin and Oita University in Japan that has greatly cotributed to the Austin Sister City program.

Wishing you delightful days!



Japan-America Society of Greater Austin