Newsletter Volume 31

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Japan-America Society of Greater Austin
Summer 2013
Newsletter, Vol. 31
August 16, 2013
In This Issue
Daimonji Gozan Okuribi - Mountain Bon Fire
Japanese Language Program
Welcome New JASGA Members!
Go To...

    Arigatou - SummerJoin JASGA! 



 Soroban Workshop by Abacus Brain Gym


Juli Djonli

Click on the photo to see more
Soroban, the traditional Japanese abacus, is a calculation tool with 5 beads in each column. Juli Djonli, a Soroban expert talked about the benefits of Soroban use in math instruction.


May 6 @7:00pm

(Serena Room, 1F
1701 Toomey St
Austin TX 78704

Enchanting Modernity:

 Religion and the Supernatural in Contemporary Japanese Popular (Pop) Culture


Religion and the Supernatural in Contemporary Japanese Popular (Pop) Culture

Click on a photo to see more
Christopher Feldman, Professor  of Global History at St. Edward's Univ. addressed some questions to the audience. For eg, what benefits do the consumers of anime and manga gain from including supernatural themes in these stories, and what is the benefit to society as a whole?



June 3 @7:00pm

(Serena Room, 1F) 

Film Screenings: 

Japan after 3.11  




Light Up Nippon

The four series of  DVDs depicted the Japanese Society after the Great East Japan Earthquake and how the disaster changed the status of Japanese society after 3.11. 
LIGHT UP NIPPON has been held on August 11 every year since 2011.  



June 22 @3:00 PM

North Village Branch - Austin Public Library  



787 Dreamliner Austin Airport

 Click on a photo to see more


The JASGA community was invited to see the newest member of the United family: the Boeing 787 Dreamliner
As the North American launch customer of the 787,
United welcomed  us to be one of the first to experience the
technological innovations that the new aircraft offers. 

June 26 @ 5:00 PM
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport - South Terminal 




Networking Happy Hour 7.12.13

 Click on a photo to see more


At the networkng happy hour, 
the participants met those who simply wanted speak Japanese, are interested in sharing their passion and experience in Japanese arts, language, sports, music, food, culture, business and so on.

July 12 @ 5:30 PM
Sushi Zushi Downtown



Kevin, Vella, John

Click on a photo to see more
Three Austinites visited Shimane, Japan, on July 1-8 to join the 2013 Japan-America Grassroots Summit and stay in the Japanese homes in Shimane and Kyoto.  The Summit was organized by the Center for International Exchange (CIE).  We had been looking forward to hearing updates and sharing their experiences and photos with the communities on their travels. 



August 5 @7:00pm

(Serena Room, 1F) 
at the Ballpark, Arlingtontn  

Dalvish Yu

Wed, August 14 7:05PM 
At Rangers Ballpark in Arlington




 A Book Event: 


Pillow Book of the Flower Samurai

As Japanese Cultural Program Series of 2013, JASGA will present a Book Event - Pillow Book of the Flower Samurai by Barbara Lazar.



September 9  @7:00pm

(Serena Room, 1F) 
1701 Toomey St
Austin TX 78704



JASGA Friendship Salon
Konshinkai Party

classical violin pieces


October 20




2013  Akimatsuri

Japan Fall Festival


@ O.Henry Middle School


 November 16


JASGA Newsletter

 Summer 2013

is compiled and edited by:

Kako Ito 


Dear Kako,


The thirty-first volume of the JASGA newsletter marks the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, which signified the end of World War II.  The existence of organizations like the Japan-America Society of Greater Austin (JASGA) demonstrate the progress made in creating a positive global community from the war-torn past.  Indeed, JASGA committees have been working hard to vitalize the organization and plan programs/events for the communities and public for the rest of the year 2013. 

Daimonji Gozan Okuribi 京都五山送り火 
(Mountain Bon Fire) - August 16th
August is (usually) the hottest month in Japan. Summer vacation from school lasts from the end of July to the end of August. And most companies give their employees a summer holiday called O-Bon around August 14-16. 


On the last day of Obon, spectacular Okuribi bonfires on five Kyoto mountains signal the end of summer.

The Daimonji Gozan Okuribi (Daimonji Bonfire), more commonly known as Daimonji (大文字), is an event held on the evening of August 16th in Kyoto. It is the culmination of the O-Bon festival, in which five giant bonfires are lit on mountains surrounding the city. It signifies the moment when the spirits of deceased family members, who are said to visit this world during O-Bon, are believed to be returning to the spirit world--thus the name Okuribi (送り火) (roughly, "send-off fire").  It is a famous image that evokes the atmosphere of a Kyoto summer. 


One of the photographers is sending the following photo card to the people in Tohoku with pray for them who have lost loved ones on 3.11 in 2011.  

Dear Tohoku --Daimonji Gozan no Okuribi
Shoronagashi - Daimonji Gozan

UPCOMING PROGRAMS                   


Fall 2013 Japanese Language Classes


Class Kitta

JASGA will hold Japanese language classes that will begin on September 12th. The classes continue to meet every Thursday. (No class Thanksgiving week)


Check our web site at in the next week (4th week of August). The registration info will also be delivered to your mail box. 



Murchison Middle School 


Hiragana & Katakana workshop:

O. Henry Middle School

Welcome New Corporate Partner/Sponsor!


Welcome New Lifetime Member!

Welcome New Individual & Friend 
Members! (May 1 - August 15, 2013)
NEW Student / Senior / General / Family Members
Logan Eyhorn
Ella Holcomb
Vellae Salazar
Bill Louden
Eric Bundschuh
Mia Finley
Satoshi Matsumae 
Helen Hernandez & family
Quintin Mitchell-Reyes
Isaac Lill
Shanon Holt
Maria Katayama-Lee
Corie Johnson
Sherwood Moffett
Clayton Whittet
Melissa Goodrich
Karl Lewis
Michael Monceaux
Sarah Tompkins
Roland Klober


Thank you for renewing the Corporate Sponsorship!

 (May 1 - August 15, 2013)


Buffalo Technology (USA) Inc. 

  (Bronze Bridge-Builder $500)

Kumon of Westlake  (Entrepreneur $200)    

TX Sake   (Startup $100)


Thank you for renewing your membership! 

Friends of JASGA ($100)  

  Mignon McGarry 


Renewed Student/Senior/General/Family Members


Merrill Eng
Erin McDonald
Stefan Uelpenich
Julie Carlson Sladccik
Richard Henson
Danna Christine Thorp
Kara & Jay Hartzell
Susan and LW Moreland
Katie Amatangelo
Lakisha Haran
Chris Feldman
Yukie Aida
David & Jeannie Williams
Kazuko White
Allen Lea 



ONGOING EVENTS                    



Two films every Sunday in August at the Alamo Drafthouse The Ritz!


ShinToho Mindwarp - Yellow Line Born of the fires of dissidence in 1949, always teetering on the verge of greatness and the brink of disaster, Japan's Shintoho studios specialized in making horror, noir, and risqué oddities. Though they produced works by masters like Kurosawa and Ozu, they are most well known for their exploitation fare. Condemned as cheap, disposable trash at the time, these films proved massively influential and revolutionized Japanese genre movies, populating them with bizarre ghouls and ghosts, rebellious teenagers, vampires, gangsters, and curvy girls in bikinis. 


The company went bankrupt in 1961, and few of their films have been seen in the West-until now. Join us for the Texas premiere of these eight newly-remastered hidden gems and experience the glory days of Japanese exploitation cinema.  


August 18:

August 25:


UPCOMING AUSTIN EVENTS                    


When: Tue, September 3 
Where: Stateside at the Paramount

VIP Reception @ 5:15 PM Screening @ 6:30 PM, Q&A follows

Submit requests for invitations @

For more details, viist: 


Friendship through Friendship 


Kevin Dedon
JASGA Japanese Program


August 10, 2013

When I signed up for the CIE Grassroots Summit, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I read the flyers and brochures that were handed out by JASGA, but what really caught my attention was the location. Growing up in a small town, I have always enjoyed the slow pace of the countryside. Browsing through the pages of information about Shimane piqued my curiosity. Titled "The Land of the Gods," it was full of natural beauty and rich with cultural heritage; a perfect place to visit. I worried a little about the possibility of constant lectures or staying in a stranger's home, but I threw my apprehensions aside and sent in an application.

After arriving in Japan, my preconceived notions of what to expect from the trip were immediately shattered. I met many of the prominent individuals involved with the CIE, all of whom were staying with us and taking part in the same experiences we were. I spoke with people who had participated in past summits, and learned of the long-lasting friendships they had formed. 
Friendship through frendship
It was during this whirlwind period that I realized the true meaning of what the grassroots summit was all about: learning about friendship through friendship. It is one thing to preach friendship; it is another to practice it. I didn't have to sit through lectures to learn about the friendship between John Manjiro and Captain Whitfield
descendants of John Manjiro
because I was able to share a boat ride around Matsue castle with their descendants. I witnessed first hand their dedication to the ideals that the program represents. They continue to extend the friendship their ancestors had forged to each new generation, both inside the family and to complete strangers, by demonstrating how these bonds are changing their lives today.
It was then that we all went our separate ways to join our host families. The impact that this homestay had on me goes beyond words, yet one of my most treasured experiences is actually one of the simplest. My host father has a relatively large garden in which he grows various vegetables. On the second morning after breakfast, he walked me through the garden showing off its produce. After a quick tour, we sat down on a bench for a can of coffee. Neither of us spoke the other's language and until two days before we were complete strangers, yet here we were now enjoying each other's company as friends. 
Kevin  vegetable garden
In the end, I was able to experience the Japanese countryside. I even had time to take a lightning trip through Tokyo. I did a lot of touristy things, but none of that compared to the true impact this trip had on me as a person. Saying goodbye to my new friends was much harder than saying goodbye to Japan.
waterfall in coutryside of Shimane Pref
In two years, I hope to be the person welcoming newcomers to the summit and telling them about my plans to visit my friends in Shimane and Kyoto. In sharing my story and enthusiasm, I believe that I too can plant a seed of friendship and help the grassroots summit continue to grow, joining both our culture and our people.
For more information about Japan-America Grassroots Summit in 2013 (Japan) and in 2014 (USA), visit 
Wishing you delightful Summer days!



Japan-America Society of Greater Austin