JASH Board of Directors

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At the ANNUAL MEETING held on June 28, the JASH membership elected the following individuals to the Board of Directors:

Laird DORAN
Vice President, Government Relations and Senior Counsel, The Friedkin Group

Jack EWING
Chairman, Commonwealth International Trust

Glen GONDO
CEO, Gondo Company Inc.

Hiroki HABA
General Manager, Houston Branch, Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas)
(Concurrently) General Manager, Houston Branch, Mitsubishi International Corporation

Yukihito HONDA
Senior Vice President Tubular Products Group and General Manager Houston Office, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas

John KRISTEK
Executive Vice President, Satake USA, Inc.

Hiroko SATO
Retired Japanese language professor, Rice University

Nanako TINGLEAF
Advocate of Japanese culture

William H. WEILAND
Retired Partner, Vinson & Elkins, LLP

The newly elected/reelected members join the following individuals on the JASH BOARD.

Takeshi EBISU
President and CEO, Goodman Global Group, Inc.

Joseph A. HAFNER, Jr.
Retired Chairman of Riviana Foods Inc.

Yasushi KOKAZE
Senior Vice President, Divisional Operating Officer Energy Division and Southern States Regional Officer Energy Division, Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc.

Yuzuru NAGAWA
Vice President and General Manager Houston Office, All Nippon Airways (ANA)

James D. PRAPPAS
Director, Kane Russell Coleman Logan PC

Allen RICHARDS
Director of Sales Houston Office, United Airlines

Akemi SAITOH
Advocate of Japanese culture

Miwa SAKASHITA
Japanese businesswoman
 

We are grateful for the hard work and commitment of our Board of Directors who donate their time and expertise to the JASH mission of leading U.S.-Japan exchange in Houston.

JASH 2017-18 ANNUAL MEETING at TOYOTA CENTER

On June 28, JASH held its 2018 ANNUAL MEETING at the home of the HOUSTON ROCKETS to mark 50 years of Japan-America friendship in Houston, discuss plans for the future, and conduct our Board of Director elections.

Members were treated to food and refreshments as well as a special prize drawing and a bespoke daruma anniversary cake.

Following the presentation of the 2017-18 Annual Report by JASH President Bill Weiland, members were taken beyond the velvet ropes and into the premium areas of TOYOTA CENTER for a special glimpse of the inner workings of the arena.

Thanks go to JASH President Elect Laird Doran and JASH Corporate Sponsors The Friedkin Group and Gulf States Toyota for making JASH's 2018 ANNUAL MEETING an evening to remember.


JASH 2017-18 ANNUAL REPORT

Click here to view the JASH FY2017-2018 Annual Report.

2018 Houston-Chiba Sister City Youth Ambassadors

Five students from River Oaks Baptist School (Camron Baldwin, Lily Durden, Amy He, Lucy Katz and Ava Winn) are having a summer of a lifetime as Houston and Chiba mark 35 years of youth exchanges.

From May 31 – June 14, 2018, the 2018 Houston-Chiba Sister City Youth Ambassadors will experience Japanese culture and customs through a home stay with a Chiba family, visits to Chiba schools, and outings that highlight Chiba's history. 

The Sister City relationship between Chiba City and Houston has long provided invaluable educational and enrichment experiences, and we are very pleased that we have been able to continue this meaningful grass-roots program. 

Special thanks to Mayor Toshihito Kumgai and the City of Chiba for an enduring commitment to the fostering of friendship and understanding between the youth of Houston and Chiba City.

 

"Having a Ball" Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month

This week, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrations took us out into the community where we “had a ball” with the staff of Johnson Space Center and United Airlines Houston.

With the generous support of KendamaUSA and KendamaUSA-Texas leader Michael Martin, we were able to showcase the art of the traditional Japanese toy kendama through aerospace-themed tricks such as airplane, zero gravity, space walk and lunar lander.  We also took the opportunity to share how the kendama has played a role in NASA's International Toys in Space program.

Many thanks to all who stopped by to give kendama a try, and congratulations to our KendamaUSA Classic Kendama winners - JANE CLARKE and DIPAL PATEL!

JASH at JAPAN FESTIVAL HOUSTON 2018

Japan Festival Houston, one of the city's largest free outdoor music and entertainment weekends, returned to Hermann Park on April 14-15 with two full days of Japanese-inspired music, dance, martial arts, food and merchants presenting an array of items reflective of traditional Japanese handicrafts and the latest Japanese trends.

In honor of the festival's 25th anniversary, the Japan-America Society of Houston (JASH) worked to highlight aspects of Japanese cuisine and culture that had long been absent from the event or had yet to be featured at the festival. 

For the first time, Houstonians were able to enjoy at the festival sweets handcrafted by a Japanese pastry chef.  Chef Nobuharu Nakanishi from Yoshinoya, a traditional Japanese "wagashi" sweets shop from Nara, Japan, gave four demonstrations on the festival's Presenter's Stage and worked without break to form sweet bean creations for those who patiently waited as long as an hour for the special treats.

Also making its festival debut was "teyaki senbei."  Rice cracker artisan Yoshinori Nemoto of Nemoto Shoten from Houston's sister city of Chiba, offered grilled rice crackers flavored with Yamasa soy sauce or chocolate.

JASH also provided festival goers with the new opportunity to procure written divinations about their near future with the help of a Texas-sized "omikuji" shaker.  After a few turns and rolls, the shaker would produce a stick bearing a number.  According to the number, a fortune-telling paper strip would be issued declaring one's level of luck.

And lucky festival attendees were to see the long-awaited return of "okonomiyaki."  JASH friends joined forces with Japanese Language Program teachers and students to grill over 800 savory Japanese pancakes.  Click here to watch JASH share an "okonomiyaki" soul food experience with KPRC's Jacob Rascon.

Special thanks go to our spirited volunteers who worked tirelessly to make JASH's many festival offerings possible!  Makoto ni arigatou gozaimashita.

 

 

JASH Harvey Relief Fund Supports MAM

JASH's Japan Stands With Houston Harvey Relief Fund contributed $35,000 to Memorial Assistance Ministries (MAM) in support of initiatives offering families in our community a new start after Hurricane Harvey.

MAM's mission is to help ensure those in need have the means to meet their basic needs by offering programs that enable long-term financial self-sufficiency, assist families in avoiding homelessness, and assure children receive an improved school experience.

We are grateful to those who helped make possible this gift in support of Harvey recovery efforts.

Learn more about MAM here:  https://www.maministries.org/about

29th Annual Texas State Japanese Language Speech Contest

 

On Saturday, March 10, 2018, JASH and the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston presented the 29th Annual Texas State Japanese Language Speech Competition.

48 participants - ranging from middle school students and life-long Japanese learners - gathered at Rice University to demonstrate their Japanese language skills.

The contest showcased students reciting poetry and presenting original speeches and, moreover, featured a creative display of student determination, devotion, and tenacity as language learners.


Special recognition was given to the top three contestants in each competition division.  The top two contestants from the Aurora Division will advance to Nationals.

Congratulations to the following students:

POETRY          

1st          Mark ONCHENGCO         Berkner High School (Dallas)                                                 9th

2nd        Simone LIM                      Bellaire High School (Houston)                                             10th

3rd         Markschanne ESPERE     Winston Churchill High School (San Antonio)                     12th

                               

HAIKU

1st      Yinou CHEN                      Bellaire High School (Houston)                                               11th

2nd     Brennan MOHRER           Johnson High School (San Antonio)                                        11th  

3rd     Tori WENDELL                 Winston Churchill  High School (San Antonio)                       10th

                                                            

FREE SPEECH WITH TEXT       

1st       Katera SCOTT                   Skyline High School (Dallas)                                                   12th                                                         My Dream Becoming a Reality

2nd      Hang QUANG                   Berkner High School (Dallas)                                                  11th                                                         Vietnam after Two Years

3rd       Caitlin RINEHART            Winston Churchill High School (San Antonio)                       11th                                                           Be Aware of Mental Health

                               

FREE SPEECH AURORA    

*1st       Heewon HUH                     Newman Smith High School (Dallas)                                  12th                                                            The True Happiness

*2nd      Jiaqi ZHU                          Bellaire High School (Houston)                                           12th                                                             Don't Stop Imitating Solitary Gourmet

3rd         Andrea LOPEZ                Winston Churchill High School (San Antonio)                     12th                                                            The Reason for Learning a New Language

*1st and 2nd place winners will go on to compete in the National Aurora Japanese Language Speech Competition in Los Angeles, CA.

                               

FREE SPEECH - COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY                     

1st       Frenci NGUYEN                  The University of North Texas (Denton)                            Senior                                                           A Light in the Darkness

2nd      Alex BOGAEV                    Texas A&M University (College Station)                            Junior                                                          The Technical Collaboration between Japan                                                                                        and America for the Advancement of Medicine

3rd      Crystal SALINAS                University of Texas at San Antonio (San Antonio)            Senior                                                          Dream for the Future

 

FREE SPEECH - OPEN             

1st        Bowen LIU                           Texas A&M University (College Station)                         Junior                                                            'Speaking Tatemae' by Hone       

2nd      Marie ROMANO                   The Beauty of Matcha   

3rd       Mario DEPAVIA                   William P. Clements High School (Houston)                     10th                                                              Keeping Promises

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO THOSE WHO SUPPORT MADE THE CONTEST POSSIBLE:

·         The Consulate General of Japan in Houston

·         Rice University Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication

·         Japan Foundation

·         Shintech-Kanagawa Fund

·         Japanese Teachers Association of Texas

·         Japan Business Association of Houston

·         Japanese Association of Greater Houston

·         Texoma JET Alumi Association

·         Seiwa Market Japanese Grocery

 

 

OFFICIAL AIRLINE OF TEXAS STATE JAPANESE LANGUAGE SPEECH CONTEST

As Seen/Heard in the Media - Japan Update Coverage

The 3rd Annual Japan Update Houston Conference received multiple print and radio mentions.

Click on the titles below to read press coverage of the 2018 event.




HOUSTON MATTERS

Japanese Investment in Houston is Growing - Abner Fletcher, January 23, 2018

2018 Houston Regional Japanese Language Speech Contest

On Saturday, February 10, 2018, Japanese language learners from across the Houston region came together at the University of St. Thomas to compete in the 29th Annual Japanese Language Speech Contest.

Thirty-eight (38) contestants demonstrated their Japanese skills in the areas of (i) POETRY RECITATION, (ii) HAIKU, (iii) FREE SPEECH WITH TEXT, (iv) FREE SPEECH AURORA, and (v) FREE SPEECH COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY.

"Otsukaresama" to all participants and "omedetou" to all winners.

Winners are listed below by division.  Those placing in the top two will move on to the TEXAS STATE JAPANESE LANGUAGE SPEECH CONTEST, which will be held on March 10, 2018.

POETRY

1.       Thomas Kaldahl – 10th, William P. Clements High School

2.       Simone Lim – 10th, Bellaire High School

3.       Kievencia Dougé – 11th, Morton Ranch High School

HAIKU

1.       Yinuo Chen – 11th, Bellaire High School

2.       Thomas Girardet – 10th, Bellaire High School

3.       Emily Wong – 10th, William P. Clements High School

FREE SPEECH WITH TEXT

1.       Guido Brevi – 10th, Clements High School

2.       Dante Stramber – 11th, Bellaire High School

3.       Natalia Garcia-Sanchez – 10th, George Bush High School

FREE SPEECH AURORA

1.       Alice Liu – 11th, Bellaire High School

2.       Jiaqi Zhu – 12th, Bellaire High School

3.       Joel Mina – 12th, Morton Ranch High School

FREE SPEECH COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY

1.       Christopher Bogaev – Junior, Texas A & M University

2.       Leyla Kilci – Sophomore, Houston Community College

3.       Vivian Zhang – Senior, Rice University


SPECIAL THANKS TO

Consulate-General of Japan in Houston

Second Lady Pence Visits Houston's Sister City in Japan

On February 7, 2018, Second Lady Karen Pence made Chiba City her first stop on the #VPinAsia tour.

The Second Lady, who serves as Honorary Vice Chairwoman for Sister Cities International, was welcomed to Chiba City Hall by Mayor Kumagai and the 2017 Houston-Chiba Sister City Youth Ambassadors who visited Houston in August of last year.

The visit began with greetings from Mayor Kumagai and Second Lady Pence.  Following formal introductions, Second Lady Pence engaged the 2017 Houston-Chiba Sister City Youth Ambassadors in casual conversation and photos were taken.

During the visit, Mayor Kumagai highlighted the positive impact of the longstanding youth exchange between Houston and Chiba. The mayor also touched on how the “kizuna” bond between Houston and Chiba has been strengthened through mutual support and aid given in times of need. In addition, Mayor Kumagai took care to note that on his most recent trip to Houston last October he was warmly received by the Japan-America Society of Houston and the Houston community.

Second Lady Pence recounted how she, at a young age, was introduced to Japanese culture and language through her older sister who spent time in Ota City, Gunma on a sister city youth exchange program. Through her sister, the Second Lady learned the words to 『上を向いて歩こう』, also known as the “Sukiyaki” song, which she happily sang in Japanese.

Megumi Tanaka, chaperone of the 2017 Houston-Chiba Sister City Youth Ambassador Program, provided an overview the program.  Each of the Youth Ambassadors then shared what they gained from their Houston experience.  While the Youth Ambassadors were quite nervous, they all did their best to share their thoughts in English. Ambassador Hagerty’s wife, who accompanied Second Lady Pence on her visit to Chiba, stated how impressed she was by the English proficiency of the students.

It is quite honor for JASH's work on the Houston-Chiba Sister City Youth Ambassador Program to be acknowledged by the Vice President and Second Lady of the US, and we are pleased that we were able to help make Mrs. Pence’s visit to Chiba possible.

Read the White House briefing statement on Second Lady Karen Pence's visit here.

[Photos courtesy of Chiba City]

Press Release: Japan Update 2018

Japan’s Burgeoning Impact on Houston Focus of Upcoming Conference

HOUSTON, TX (January 8, 2018) – Japan’s escalated investment in Houston, from financing of the Texas bullet train to the more than 150 Japanese-affiliated companies now in the Bayou City manufacturing products ranging from air conditioning systems to coatings for laundry detergent pods, will be on full display when the Japan-America Society of Houston presents its Japan Update Conference on Friday, January 26.

The third annual conference exploring Japanese investment in Houston and the Lone Star State will be held at the Petroleum Club, 1201 Louisiana, starting at 11:30 a.m.  

Featuring presentations by Shinya Miyake, Regional Head for the Americas, Japan Bank for International Cooperation; Carlos Aguilar, CEO of Texas Central Partners, developer of the Houston-to-Dallas high-speed train; Norman Bafunno, Chief Competitiveness Officer for Toyota Motor North America; and Takeshi Ebisu, President and CEO of Daikin’s Goodman Global Group, the luncheon will provide the most comprehensive look at the scope of Japan’s influence in the region as the second-largest foreign investment market for Houston, outpaced only by the United Kingdom. 

“Japan’s impact on Houston in terms of jobs, exports and investments tends to fly under the radar,” notes William Weiland, president of the Japan-America Society of Houston, now in its 50th year of advancing the mutual interest of American and Japanese peoples.  “The reality is Japanese businesses can be found in almost every sector of Houston’s economy.”

Between 2010 and 2015, Japanese-affiliated businesses in Houston grew by more than 34 percent.  During the same time span, total trade between Houston and Japan grew from $2.2 billion to $5.1 billion.

There are currently 156 Japanese-affiliated companies in the Houston area, according to the 2017 Japan Business Association of Houston directory.  

In 2015, Texas exported more than $8.6 billion of goods and services to Japan, second only to California, according to a 2015 report by the East-West Center in Washington D.C.  The same report shows Japan as the fourth-largest creator of U.S. jobs from trade after Canada, Mexico, and China, including more than 46,000 in Texas.

Most recently, Japan Central Railway, the company that developed the system for the Japanese Shinkansen bullet train, announced plans to collaborate with Texas Central Partners to develop the Texas bullet train from Houston to Dallas.

In addition to Mitsubishi, Mitsui and Sumitomo, notable Japanese majority-owned companies in Houston include Daikin, a multinational air conditioning manufacturing company; Kuraray, a manufacturer of adhesives and chemical products such as water-soluble films that encase single-dose detergent packs; and Satake, a manufacturer of food processing equipment for the rice industry.    

Tickets are $45 for members of the Japan-America Society of Houston and $55 for non-members.

For tickets and information, go to www.jas-hou.org or call 713-963-0121.

The Japan Update Conference is supported by the National Association of Japan-America Societies with a grant from The Sasakawa Peace Foundation.

About The Japan-America Society of Houston

The Japan America Society of Houston (JASH) is the leading organization that connects Houston’s diverse community, local businesses, and individuals to advance the mutual interest of American and Japanese peoples. Its programs in language and education, arts and culture, and business initiatives and networking provide opportunities for collaboration and important people-to-people exchange. www.jas-hou.org

About The National Association of Japan-America Societies

The National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS) is a private, non-profit, non- partisan organization that offers through its member Japan and Japan-America Societies education, cultural and business programs about Japan and the U.S.-Japan relations to the general public. NAJAS is the only national non-profit network in the United States dedicated to public education about Japan. NAJAS consists of approximately 40 independent Japan-related organizations located in 32 cities around the country. Its membership cuts across usual group boundaries (business, political, academic, American, Japanese, etc.) and affords a variety of perspectives on U.S.-Japan relations. www.us- japan.org

About The Sasakawa Peace Foundation

The Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) was established in 1986, in Japan, with a mission to contribute to the welfare of humankind and the sound development of the international community, and, thus, to world peace, by conducting activities fostering international understanding, exchange, and cooperation. The Foundation’s efforts in support of this mission include surveys and research, development of human resources, invitation and dispatch of personnel, organizing and supporting international conferences and other forums. www.spf.org


PRESS CONTACTS

For all inquiries regarding the event, please contact the Bernard Kaplan of Kaplan Public Relations at (713) 784-1077.

JAPAN SOCIETY JUNIOR FELLOWS PROGRAM

 
"The program allowed me to build incredible connections, complete a successful research project that has given me insight into many issues, and challenge myself to understand what a leader is and how I can become one." —Participant from Linwood, NJ

The Japan-America Society of Houston’s sister organization in New York – Japan Society – is offering an exciting opportunity for high school students to visit Japan..

The Junior Fellows Leadership Program is a three-week culturally immersive learning experience for high school students who possess strong leadership skills and demonstrate potential to become future leaders.

During this program conducted in New York and Japan, Junior Fellows have the opportunity to build networks with current industry leaders and program alumni, stay with a host family in Tohoku (northeast Japan), attend a local high school, and experience Japanese history and culture through hands on experiences and historical site visits.

 


PROGRAM SCHEDULE*

  • JUNE 3: Program orientation at Japan Society, New York (long distance Fellows will participate via Skype)
  • JULY 9—11: Pre-departure orientation at Japan Society, New York
  • JULY 12—13: Depart for and arrival in Japan
  • JULY 13—29: In-country program
  • JULY 29: Return to the U.S.

*Program contents and dates are subject to change.


PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Meet and learn from industry leaders in business, arts and sciences, nonprofit organizations and government
  • Visit leading companies to learn and compare what they value and look for in building the future
  • Live with a host family and explore local communities in northeast Japan
  • Experience Japanese high school life
  • Carry out an independent project on a global issue
  • Learn about Tohoku’s current status and recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011
  • Visit significant cultural and historic sites
  • Learn basic Japanese in an immersive setting

QUALIFICATIONS

U.S. high school students from 9th to 11th grade are eligible to apply.

Junior Fellows will be selected based on demonstrated leadership potential and skills, as well as the qualities necessary to have a successful and engaging experience with other program participants; including (but not limited to): ability to adapt to a foreign culture, emotional and interpersonal maturity, strong academic background and a demonstrated interest in Japan.

Knowledge of Japanese language is helpful, but not required.


TUITION | PARTICIPATION FEE

$3,500

Need-based scholarships are available.


8-day Fellowship in Japan For Social Studies Teachers

Keizai-Koho-logo.jpg

Keizai Koho Center (KKC), in cooperation with the National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS), will be hosting the KKC Study Tour to Japan 2018 for U.S. and Canadian social studies teachers from June 25-July 2, 2018.

The 8-day study program is designed to allow educators to learn first hand about contemporary Japanese society and to enhance their classroom teaching of global perspectives.  Highlights of the fellowship include visits to Japanese schools, major companies, and industrial facilities.  In addition, sightseeing excursions are planned to provide fellows with memorable cultural experiences.

KKC provides round trip air transportation from participants' home city to Japan, as well as accommodations, ground transportation and meals associated with the ten day program.

Click here to download the program brochure.


 ELIGIBILITY

 To be eligible, applicants must: 

  • Have skills and experience in developing curriculum and a strong interest in Japan;
  • Have never lived in Japan nor visited Japan on a similar study tour; and
  • Be middle or high school classroom teachers of Economics, Social Studies, Geography or History (grades 6-12).

 REQUIREMENTS

  •  To participate in the Study Tour, applicants are required to agree to: 
  • Make a presentation and contribute to discussions at a symposium organized as part of the program.
  • Submit a lesson plan on Japan for their own classroom to KKC by Oct. 31, 2018.
  • Submit a final report to KKC by January 10, 2019, which describes how experiences and findings on the tour are used in the classroom and other occasions. Relevant copies of any school newspaper/magazine articles are appreciated.
  • Consent that the lesson plans and the final reports become the property of KKC to be posted to its website for use by other school teachers.
  • Understand that the demands of the itinerary are such that only individuals physically able to travel without special assistance should consider the participation, special diets cannot be provided and a smoke-free environment cannot be assured.
  • Understand there will be no provisions for spouses to accompany fellows due to the nature of the program and logistical requirements.

HOW TO APPLY

Applications are being accepted on-line through February 1, 2018.

For details, please click on the link below.

http://www.us-japan.org/programs/kkc/k2018/index.html


SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS

The Keizai Koho Center (KKC) is the independent, nonprofit organization affiliated with Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation). Its mission has been to promote a better understanding of Japan's economy and society, both in Japan and abroad through a variety of publications, programs, fellowships and exchanges.

The  National Association of Japan-America Societies, Inc. (NAJAS) is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization that offers educational, cultural and business programs about Japan and U.S.-Japan relations to the general public through its member Japan and Japan-America Societies. NAJAS is the only national non-profit network in the United States dedicated to public education about Japan. NAJAS consists of approximately 40 independent Japan-related organizations located in 32 cities around the country. Its membership cuts across usual group boundaries (business, political, academic, American, Japanese, etc.) and affords a variety of perspectives on U.S.-Japan relations.

Baylor & Tohoku Universities Joint HUMANS OF MINAMISANRIKU Project

HumansOfMinamiSanriku.jpg

JASH is pleased to share that the students of Baylor University and Tohoku University, inspired by the "Humans of New York" photoblog, have joined forces to share the stories of the citizens of Minamisanriku who were impacted by the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami.

Scroll down to learn more about how the project came to be and to watch the newly-released "Humans of Minamisanriku" videos.


PROJECT BACKGROUND

The Baylor in Japan (BIJ) Summer Intensive Japanese program began in 2012, merely a year after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. The BIJ program not only focuses on language learning but also emphasizes community service. In the summer of 2012 following the tsunami disaster, during a time where basic shelters were practically non-existent, we had the privilege of visiting the tsunami-stricken area owing to everyone’s support. We initially arrived with trepidation at Minamisanriku in fear that our presence would further cause burden, but as we met the people and volunteered in the community, the people of Minamisanriku welcomed us with smiles despite the catastrophic devastation. We realized that we needed to go back to Minamisanriku and continue our support. 

We have been visiting Minamisanriku ever since. We were amazed by the resilience and determination of the people of Minamisanriku as we witnessed their town improve year after year. Amidst their unwavering strength, their worst fear was to be forgotten by the rest of the world. It was then we began to consider what we could do to create a lasting impact.

Inspired by the photoblog “Humans of New York”, which has touched the lives of about eighteen million people, Baylor and Tohoku University students in 2017 collaborated to establish the Humans of Minamisanriku project (BIJ’s cultural exchange program with Tohoku University was established in 2015). We dream of showcasing the town of Minamisanriku, its people, and their stories to the world.

Building on our experiences in Minamisanriku, we aspire to grow as human beings and reflect on what it means to serve.

We would like to extend our thanks to the town and residents of Minamisanriku, the “Shuketsu: Disaster Prevention Dream Team and the Shuketsu Assist Team” for their support since 2012, and Mr. Seietsu Sato, the local guide, for leading the students since 2013.

ベイラー・イン・ジャパン(Baylor in Japan:BIJ) 夏季訪日日本語研修旅行は、東北地方太平洋沖地震(東日本大震災)の翌年、2012年より実施しています。このプログラムでは、言語学習だけではなく、被災地支援を始めとした地域奉仕活動にも重点をおいています。震災から1年ほど経過したばかりの2012年夏には、一般宿泊施設もほとんどなく、誰にも迷惑をかけないようにと恐る恐る南三陸町を訪れ、交流やボランティア活動に従事しました。地元の方々は、想像も絶するような体験をしたにもかかわらず、笑顔で私たちを受け入れてくれました。そこで、気づいたことは、一度限りの訪問による自己満足で終わらせずに、同じ場所を毎年訪れ地元の方々との絆を強め継続して地域の支援に取り組むということでした。

私たちは、毎年夏に南三陸町を訪れ、震災後の経年変化を目の当たりにしながら、町の人々の精神力や忍耐力の強さに感銘を受けました。しかし、被災地の人々は震災が風化してしまうことを最も恐れていると知らされ、震災数年後の今、自分たちができることは何かと考え始めました。

BIJの東北大学での交流は2015年から始まりましたが、この、ベイラー大学と東北大学の学生共同プロジェクトであるHumans of Minamisanriku*(ヒューマン・オブ・南三陸)は、2017年に立ち上げられました。Humans of New York からインスピレーションを得て、現在、「Humans of 〜〜」という名前で、世界中様々な国や地域でそこに住む魅力的な人々を取り上げるプロジェクトが実施されています。このプロジェクトもそれに擬え、素敵な南三陸町とそこで暮らす素晴らしい住民の方々を世界中に紹介することを目的としています。

これからも、南三陸での経験をどのように活かし、一人の人間として成長できるか、そしていかに社会貢献ができる人間になれるかということを、学生と共に考え続けて行きたいと思っています。

南三陸町の皆様、並びに2012年より被災地訪問のサポートをしてくださっている防災ボランティアドリームチーム集結と集結を応援する会、2013年より現地サポートと語り部として私たちを導いてくださっている佐藤誠悦様には、この場をお借りして心より感謝申し上げます。


HUMANS OF MINAMISANRIKU VIDEOS

 
 

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Japan ICU Foundation - Full Tuition Scholarship Opportuniity for US Students

The JAPAN ICU FOUNDATION has recently launched a merit-based scholarship for US citizens to attend the INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY (ICU) in Mitaka, Tokyo called the JICUF Global Scholarship - U.S. Scholars Initiative (USSI for short). 

The SSI will cover the entire cost of tuition for four years of undergraduate study at ICU. 

Eligible applicants must :

  • be a United States citizen
  • be graduating from U.S. high school in spring 2018
  • exhibit strong interest in Japan and the Japanese language
  • have interest in liberal arts education
  • be single with no dependents

Applications are being accepted through December 1, 2017.  Apply online here.

For those students or families who are interested in learning more, JAPAN ICU FOUNDATION is hosting a webinar on Thursday, November 2 at 8:00pm (EST). Registration for the webinar can be found here: https://jicuf.clickmeeting.com/ussi-11-02-17/register.

JASH "JAPAN STANDS WITH HOUSTON" Team Wins Inaugural Harvest Marathon

Japan stood with Houston today at the inaugural Harvest Marathon Relay benefiting the Houston Food Bank!

The JASH "JAPAN STANDS WITH HOUSTON" team of 11 runners broke the tape at 2:59:38 and brought home...

First Prize in the Challenge Team Division!!!!!

Thanks to all our runners who ran a minimum of 2 miles each.  Special gratitude goes to our fearless leader Ansai Bucho who crafted the roster and coached us over the finish line in under 3 hours!

We were honored to help the Houston Food Bank raise over $10,000, and look forward  to continuing our support -- as well as defending our title -- next year!

来年も頑張りたいと思います。

2017 Houston-Chiba Youth Ambassador Exchange Program

From August 13-24, 2017, five (5) middle school students representing Houston's sister city of Chiba, Japan, traveled to Houston to help mark the 45th year of the Houston-Chiba Sister City relationship and the 35th year of the Houston-Chiba Sister City Youth Ambassador Program.

The Chiba Youth Ambassadors -- Shunsuke, Ayami, Yuko, Rio, and Yui, along with chaperone Megumi -- were welcomed by River Oaks Baptist School Ambassadors -- Mitchell, Peyton, Lily, Hannah, and Cameron -- and their families.

Students visited Houston landmarks such as Battleship Texas and the Museum of Natural Science, toured one of the largest factories in the U.S., spent a week in classes in an American school, and even met Houston celebrities along the way.  Thank you, Mayor Turner and Dallas Keuchel!

Unfortunately Hurricane Harvey cut the program short; however, lasting memories were made and lasting friendships were forged.

Special thanks go to River Oaks Baptist School for making the experience a special one for our friends from Chiba.

 

JASH BOD Welcomes NAJAS CHAIRMAN to Houston

JASH Board Members alongside NAJAS Secretary Dr. Bill Duncan welcomed to Houston Ambassador David B. Shear.

Ambassador Shear, Senior Advisor for Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia Practices with McLarty Associates, is the recently elected Chairman of the National Association of Japan America Societies (NAJAS). During his Foreign Service career, he served as US Ambassador to Vietnam, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs and as a Foreign Service officer in Japan. See below for his bio.

Ambassador Shear was in Houston for the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA's inaugural event in The Alliance Working in America Series, which focused on the U.S.-Japan Partnership on Energy, Business and the Challenges of China and North Korea.

Ambassador Shear provided insight into the security environment in the Asia Pacific in the face of growing threats from North Korea and marked how U.S.'s "alliance with Japan is an island of certainty" in a sea of insecurity and unpredictability.


AMBASSADOR DAVID B. SHEAR

David Shear performed the duties of Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from June, 2016 to January 2017. He was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs from September, 2014 to June, 2016.

Prior to his confirmation in July 2014, Mr. Shear served for 32 years in the American Foreign Service, most recently as the United States Ambassador to Vietnam. He has also served in Sapporo, Beijing, Tokyo, and Kuala Lumpur. In Washington, he has served in the Offices of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean Affairs and as the Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs. He was Director of the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs in 2008-2009 and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs in 2009-2011.

Ambassador Shear was a Rusk Fellow at Georgetown University’s institute for the Study of Diplomacy 1998-99. He is the recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award and the Defense Department’s Civilian Meritorious Service Award for his work in U.S.-Japan defense relations.

Ambassador Shear graduated from Earlham College and has a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He has attended Waseda University, Tai-wan National University, and Nanjing University. He and his wife Barbara have a first degree rank in the practice of Kendo. He speaks Japanese and Chinese.

Niigata City Stands With Houston

JASH received a kind letter of sympathy from Mayor Akira Shinoda of Niigata City

Niigata City and Galveston have enjoyed over 50 years of friendship as sister cities, and JASH is honored to be a supporter of this longstanding relationship.

Many thanks to Mayor Shinoda and our Niigata friends for their concern and support.

Letter for Japan America Society of Houston, Mr.Weiland-page-001.jpg

Seiwa Market & Ramen Bar Ichi Stand With Houston

JASH friends Seiwa Market and Ramen Bar Ichi helped kick off the #JapanStandsForHouston campaign with a contribution of 300 handmade onigiri, bread, tea and treats.

All items were received by the Katy Police Department and distributed to first responders and victims in need in the Katy area.

Thank you, Seiwa and Ichi, for encouraging Texans to stay strong through your generous contribution.