Newsletter Volume 39

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Japan-America Society of Greater Austin
Spring 2016
Newsletter Vol. 39
April 2016
In This Issue
New Corporate Members
Japanese Language & Shodo Program
Guest Essay


  Sakura cookie


Traditional Ryukyu dance
Click the photo above to see more
Oshogatsu - Japanese New Year - is a big celebration in which friends and family get together to share wishes for a healthy and happy year and to participate in a variety of activities and celebrations. The New Year break starts from around December 30 to January 3.

Before the Oshogatsu game played, the participants enjoy the traditional Okinawan dance performance for celebrating the new year 2016. 
Click the photo above to see more
JASGA organized a Community Service and Friends of Taniguchi Garden on February 20th for a workday in the Taniguchi Japanese Garden at Zilker Botanical Garden. 
We need the community help to keep Austin's small Japanese garden clean and lively.  Thank you so much for your participation! We had 32 volunteers including some children and 6 volunteers from Georgetown. Mr. Isamu Taniguchi, the garden creator might be so happy to see the clean garden.
G.G. Jazz concert Click the photo above  to see more
G.G. Jazz Piano Trio Click the photo above  to see more
(Photographer: Eric Dorris)
The concert video coming soon!
The Japan-America Society of Greater Austin (JASGA) presented a jazz concert in Austin with three Japanese jazz players, alumnae of the Berklee College of Music, on 3-21-2016.
They are currently living in Tokyo, NY, and Austin. JASGA was delighted to host their concert of creative, organic, and relaxing jazz music. 
Takana Miyamoto (P), Noriko Ueda (B), and Masumi Jones (Ds) formed a jazz piano trio called G.G. (Groovin' Girls) piano trio in Boston. After 15 years building their careers as musicians, the three members reunited at a studio in Tokyo in the summer of 2014. Their new album Ruby Road is a precious compilation; although each track has a theme, the recording focuses more on the trio's performance and sounds. 
G.G. New Album 'Ruby Road' is available on iTunes Music Store & Apple Music USA / JAPAN. 
Good luck with the Japan Concert Tour during Golden Week (4.29-5.5)! 
K.Asakura - E.Taniguchi
Click the photo above to see more
Taniguchi garden tour
Click the photo above to see more
JASGA invited two principal speakers from architecture and landscape engineering design firms to speak at the Zilker Botanical Garden Center Auditorium on Saturday, March 26, 2016. 
Evan Taniguchi opened the talk about his grandfather, Isamu Taniguchi, who built the Taniguchi Japanese Garden. 
Keiji Asakura talked about the Japanese garden and its relevance in our American culture in the past, present and future - how it had helped shaped our landscape and horticulture in the past, how the idea is informing and shaping our design of public spaces today, and how it may transform our relationship with nature into a more sustainable path. 
After the presentations, Evan led the participants out to the Taniguchi Garden to enjoy the plum, peach and cherry blossoms and the other plants there. We had a good turnout with many Japanese garden supporters and Austin newcomers even though it was an Ester weekend.
5/31 7:30 pm
Sekiguchi Komei sensei
7756 Northcross Dr #111
AustinTX 78757


JASGA Newsletter

 Spring 2016

is compiled and edited by:

Kako Ito 

Happy Spring!
Sakura Kyoto
Gion Shirakawa
Anyone traveling to Japan in the springtime is sure to experience one of the more exceptional natural events. Hanami, or flower viewing, is the annual Japanese custom, enjoying the blooming of cherry blossoms. There are many events around the one to two-week period where nature flourishes with color and fragrances.
The season is coming to an end in the southern, western and eastern Japan including Tokyo area. Meanwhile, the peak of the season is now in the southern and northern Tohoku Region.
Remember that cherry blossoms may only last two weeks but they always return to you!
The 114th Presentation of the Miyako Odori in Kyoto throughout April

114th Miyako odori  poster
This Odori or dance is performed by the maiko and geiko of Gion Kobu. The first performance in 1872 was promoted as part of the Exhibition for the Promotion of Domestic Industry, as a measure to promote prosperity in Kyoto after the city's decline as a result of the capital having been moved to Tokyo in 1869. Infusion of new ideas into this annual event has made it very popular. It is now one of the main events in Kyoto.

The geiko and maiko of Gion perform annual public dances, as do those of all five geisha districts in Kyoto (Gion).The 
Miyako Odori, literally Dances of the Old Capital or referred to as Cherry Blossom Dances, staged by the geisha of Gion Kōbu.  The dances run from April 1 to 30 each year during the height of the cherry blossom season. 
Miyako Odori video
2016 the 26th Grassroots Summit in Atlanta
Grassroots logo Atlanta
(Grassroots Summit in Greater Atlanta logo)

The Japan-America Grassroots Summit is an annual gathering of Japanese and American citizens, held alternately in Japan and the United States. Each year an average of 200 people travel across the Pacific to take part. The Summit aims to strengthen the peaceful relationship between the two countries by fostering friendships at the grassroots level.
The 2016 Japan-America Grassroots Summit will take place in Georgia from October 4 (Tue) to October 10 (Tue). Opening in and closing in Atlanta, the week-long Summit will span the scope of Southern hospitality as well as the region's cultural achievements. Residents of 15 greater Atlanta cities will open their homes and hearts to the Japanese visitors for a three-night local homestay program. 
Summit brochurer
  Click image above to see the summit brochure.

For information of host cities and summit schedule, click here
JASGA New Corporate Members
SACHEM   Asakura Robinson
Tokyo Tunes
Thank you, Kumon Westlake (Dr. Yuriko Kiguchi) and Harmony Real Estate for supporting our activities as Entrepreneur levels for 6 years!  Best wishes for your new start!
Mark Walters, Lea Komar, Kazuko White, Diana PuglisiKyle Milner, John Conley
JASGA has Japanese language and Shodo (Japanese Calligraphy) classes that began in the end of January. The classes continue to meet every Wednesday until April 20. 
Beg IV Shodo
Summer 2016 
Japanese Language and Shodo Program
The registration for Summer 2016 Japanese language and Shodo classes will start in the mid of May. Please visit our home page ( and calendar in the beg May. You will also receive a registration info via email.  Please watch your email box!
Guest Essay

Comfortable Space in Japanese Calligraphy 
(Shodo 書道 )
Aya Koga 
Certified Japanese Calligrapher
Instructor, JASGA Japanese Calligraphy Class
You may try to create your living room comfortably. Which furniture should I buy for a room? How should I choose color for a room? Time flies when you think about these things, right? This is enjoyable time, but at the same time it makes you exhausted. No doubt, it is difficult to create a comfortable room. I think that the world of Japanese Calligraphy (Shodo) is alike. 
The thing which I pay attention the most when I create Calligraphy artworks is to create a comfortable and beautiful space in a paper. In other words, I always check my work whether it has a nice balance of color between black (ink) and white (color of paper). This process makes me both happy and struggle. 

_ IYASHI  comfortable
IYASHI - Comfort / comfortability / nurture
I believe most Japanese Calligraphers like this. To make sure of a fact, I talked my friend who has a higher skill of Japanese Calligraphy. As I expected, she told me, "My master of calligraphy always says how important to create a space of white. So, I have to care of it".  We continued to discuss about how important and hard to making a nice space and we thought Japanese flower arrangement (The way of flower called Kado 華道) might have same idea. After I hung up, I talked with other friend who is the master of Kado and she agreed with us. 
My journey of creating an attractive space is definitely continuing.  I believe a lot of experiences effect to my creation of Calligraphy work. Of course, living here in the U.S is big movement to create my work... Shining, big landscape, and so on. 
Definitely people interested in Japanese culture hope to like Shodo, plus a person such as who is good at drawing and is studying design might be attracted to the world of Japanese Calligraphy. Our JASGA Shodo class welcomes you any time!!
HANA _Cherry Blossoms_ Poem
HANA (Cherry Blossoms) Lyrics /Poem
Stay active and see you at JASGA's upcoming program and events.  We'd love to see all of you!

JASGA logo   



Japan-America Society of Greater Austin