JASH MEMBERS enjoy 25-50% off HOUSTON BALLET TICKETS

Houston Ballet's 2017/18 Season celebrates the splendor of dance with exceptional ballet classics and intriguing contemporary work from across the globe.

JASH Members are invited to get a taste of what the season has to offer through discounts on tickets to select performances of season openers POETRY IN MOTION and MAYERLING.


Poetry IN Motion

50% off  Orchestra Level Seats

September 8th, 10th, and 15th, 2017

Music by: Mozart, Rogers & Hammerstein II, George Bizer       

Choreography by: Stanton Welch, Christopher Wheeldon, George Balanchine   

The 2017/2018 Season opens with an exhilarating mixed-repertory program featuring a collection of 3 works that reflect different traditions and expressions in ballet.  Stanton Welch’s contemporary ballet Powder for 14 dancers, done to Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major.  Rogers & Hammerstein’s beloved Broadway musical Carousel, And George Balanchine’s Symphony in C Major, this neo classical ballet radiantly showcases the full company’s technical aptitude and poise.

 

Mayerling

25% off Orchestra Level Seats

September 21st, 24th and 29th, 2017

Music: Franz Liszt, Arrangement by John Lanchbery OBE        

Choreography: Sir Kenneth MacMillan                  

Houston Ballet’s premiere of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling.  This 3-act narrative ballet is based on the historic 1889 incident involving the murder-suicide of the sole heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Crown Prince Rudolf, and his 17-year-old mistress, Baroness Mary Vetsera.  Set to John Lanchbery’spowerful arrangement of Franz Liszt compositions, Sir Kenneth’s last full-length balletboldly requires dancers to fully embody intense characters through dramatic acting and dancing.  Houston Ballet is pleased to be the first North-American company to perform this historic and lavish production about disastrous obsession and unrequited love.


Call Pam Perry at the Houston Ballet, 713-535-3258, for discounted tickets for Japan-America Society.

To purchase tickets online at houstonballet.org, use Promo Code 3525 at checkout.

14th Annual All-U.S.A. High School Japanese Language Speech Contest

On May 27, 2017, Japanese language learners from across the country competed in the 14th Annual All-U.S.A. High School Japanese Language Speech Contest.

The event was presented by the Japanese Language Scholarship Foundation (DBA Aurora Foundation) and held at the University of California, Irvine.

Texas was represented by winners of the 2017 Texas State Japanese Language Speech Contest:

  • Heewon HUH of Newman Smith High School (Carrollton, TX) [Front row: 4th from left)
  • Hannah AL-NATOOR of Clements High School (Sugar Land, TX)  [Back row: 3rd from left)

All competitors exhibited high proficiency in Japanese as they delivered speeches and answered questions on a variety of topics that ranged from personal interests and personal triumphs to broader discussions of the power of motivation and the colors of life. 

Congratulations go the following winners:


FIRST PLACE
Yu Xuan CHEN
Stuyvesant High School
New York, NY, 12th Grade

SECOND PLACE
Heewon HUH
Newman Smith High School
Carrollton, TX, 11th Grade

THIRD PLACE
Carissa Nayun SEO
Glenbrook South High School
New York, NY, 11th Grade

 

We salute all of the students and educators who participated in the contest on a job well done. And a special "congratulations" goes to Texas' own HEEWON HUH!  おめでとうございます!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japan Festival 2017

The 24th annual Japan Festival Houston was held on May 6-7, 2017.  Blue skies, warm sunshine and colorful koinobori welcomed over 20,000 visitors to Hermann Park and Houston’s Japanese Gardens for a special celebration of Japan’s National Children’s Day holiday.

The always-family-friendly event featured over 60 new and returning vendors that promoted Japan through authentic food, arts and crafts, merchandise, exhibits and demonstrations, and special “make-and-take” activities for kids.

Festivalgoers shopped for anime goods, handcrafted jewelry, and antique kimonos; sampled takoyaki, Milk Bread, kakigori, and Fuji-san cookies; tried their hand at kingyo tsukui, kabuto origami folding, koinobori bag making, and taiko; and experienced the art of Japanese tea, Japanese flower arranging, bonsai, various martial arts, and mikoshi.  They even had the opportunity to meet a JAXA astronaut and to play the role of royalty in a Ryukyu Kingdom Imperial Parade.

Newcomers to the festival included Kendama USA, whose representatives shared their skills and gave away a number of kendamas.  Hakutsuru also joined the festival to give Houstonians a sampling of sake from nigori to daiginjo.  Glico provided Pejoy to guests through a dice roll game.  And a special appearance by TV Tokyo’s “Who Wants to Come to Japan” program provided Houstonians with the chance to score a trip to Japan.

Other opportunities for travel to Japan were made possible by ANA through the “Show Your Heart for Japan Festival” campaign and the ever-popular Japan Festival Cosplay Contest.

While the activities were plentiful, one of the biggest draws of the festival was the entertainment.  In keeping with this year’s theme, the Gulf States Toyota Waterfront Stage featured kagura dance and storytelling by Florida-based artist Surapsari.  Young talent from Japan was also showcased through the performances of hip-hop dance and singing group Jr. Exile of Japan’s talent development program Project TARO.

Owing to the support of the community, Japan Festival proudly remains FREE and open to the public.  To our sponsors and partners, vendors and volunteers, performers and participants, families and friends, we thank you for another wonderful year.  Special gratitude goes to the 2017 Japan Festival Sponsors:  Japan Business Association of Houston, Gulf States Toyota, Kuraray America, Inc., Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, JGC America, Inc., and ComputerDojo, among others.

来年もよろしくお願いいたします。

Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Tokyo America-Japan Society

On April 13, 2017, the Japan-America Society of Houston joined the National Association of Japan America Societies and six other societies from across the U.S. in celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Tokyo America-Japan Society at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

Their Imperial Majesties, Prime Minister Abe, Foreign Minister Kishida, and 500 other key supporters of the U.S.-Japan relationship attended the event to mark this important milestone in the history of the America-Japan Society, which has weathered both World War II and bilateral trade wars, and played an indispensable role in strengthening ties between our nations.

To watch video footage from the event, click here.

 

28th Annual Texas State Japanese Language Speech Contest

On Saturday, March 4, 2017, JASH and the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston hosted the 28th Annual Texas State Japanese Language Speech Competition.

51 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, will feature a creative display of student determination, devotion, and tenacity as language learners through carefully crafted haiku and skits performed in Japanese.


Special recognition was given to the top three contestants in each competition division.  The top two contestants from the region will advance to State.

Congratulations to the following students:

POETRY          

1st          Teagan WALTERS           Winston Churchill High School (San Antonio)               9th

2nd        Brennan MOHRER         Claudia Taylor "Ladybird" Johnson (San Antonio)        10th

3rd         Pirzada HASNAIN           Morton Ranch High School (Houston)                          12th

                               

HAIKU

1st       Elena MILLS                        Johnson High School (San Antonio)                             12th

2nd      Santiago HOFFMANN BREUSTEDT                                                                                                                                                   Winston Churchill High School (San Antonio)              10th

3rd         Carlos VAZQUEZ             Richardson High School (Dallas)                                  10th

                               

SKIT                    

1st       “The New Year’s Race for the Kagami Mochi”       Bellaire High School (Houston)

Courtney COLLIER, Leslie DIAZ,  Tin-Yi LII, Rebecca PARSONS           

2nd      “A Principal’s Perplexity”                                       Bellaire High School (Houston)

Ruth BEAUBRUN, Seven BUNCH, Julia GAY, Arlenn MALDONADO,           

3rd         “Where’s the Money”                                           L.V. Berkner High School (Dallas)

Kevin CO, Grayson DELUCAS, Syed FARDEEN, Basmah SAWALHI

                               

FREE SPEECH WITH TEXT       

1st       Olivia ESH                            L.V. Berkner High School (Dallas)                                11th

2nd      Jiaqi ZHU                            Bellaire High School (Houston)                                   12th

3rd         James SAGUN                  William P. Clements High School (Houston)               11th

                               

FREE SPEECH AURORA    

*1st       Heewon HUH                     Newman Smith High School (Dallas)                           11th

*2nd      Hannah AL-NATOOR        Clements High School (Houston)                                12th

3rd         Justin NGUYEN                Richardson High School (Dallas)                                 12th

*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       Andy XU                               University of Texas at Austin (Austin)                        Senior

2nd      Ziqing Rika YU                    Baylor University (Dallas)                                           Junior

3rd      Cyrus GHAZNAVI                Rice University (Houston)                                          Senior

 

FREE SPEECH - OPEN             

1st        Chun JUN                           

2nd      Rochelle BREEN               

3rd       Angolaoluwa OLUTIMEHIN         

 

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

·         Kanagawa-Shintech Fund

·         Japanese Teachers Association of Texas

·         Japan Business Association of Houston

·         Japanese Association of Greater Houston

·         Texoma JET Alumi Association

 

 

OFFICIAL AIRLINE OF TEXAS STATE JAPANESE LANGUAGE SPEECH CONTEST

SPECIAL SPIRIT SUPPORTER

Japan Update Houston Conference 2017

On February 10, 2017, as President Trump and Prime Minister Abe, met at the White House for the first U.S.-Japan summit of the new administration, we gathered for the 2nd annual JAPAN UPDATE HOUSTON CONFERENCE to hear experts from the U.S. and Japan weigh in the future of U.S.-Japan trade relations. 

At the forefront of the conversations were the challenges, trends, and strategies shaping U.S.-Japan trade.  Discussions also touched on the impact of U.S.-Japan trade on the Houston area and the relevance of U.S.-Japan trade in maintaining security in the Asia-Pacific region.

Dr. Mireya SOLIS, senior fellow and the Philip Knight Chair in Japan Studies at the Brookings Center for East Asia Policy Studies, addressed issues pertaining to the U.S. domestic atmosphere on trade.  While the U.S. and Japan has had a long history of trade friction, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) provided a compromise in the form of an alignment of interests.  In SOLIS's view, a post-TPP agenda will see Japan maintaining the TPP while they gauge changing U.S. trade policies.

Yorizumi WATANABE, Professor of International Political Economy at Keio University, highlighted benefits of free trade between the U.S. and Japan in the automotive sector.   WATANABE also stressed that reinforcing economic cooperation between the U.S. and Japan is critical to ensuring China becomes a responsible partner in the international community. 

Click here to view WATANABE's presentation.

Bob HARVEY, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, shared how the Houston-Japan relationship is the most mature relationships Houston has with a foreign country.  Japanese investment in Houston has doubled in the last decade, and there is now over $4.9 billion in trade between Houston and Japan.

John MOSELEY, General Manager of the Trade Development Department of the Port of Houston Authority, noted how Japan is the largest exporter to Houston in terms of tonnage per year.  Japan also ranks as the 4th largest export destination in terms of volume.  With the opening of the Panama Canal, the Port of Houston Authority's anticipates even more interaction with Japan.

Ambassador J. Thomas SCHIEFFER, founder and CEO of Envoy International LLC, turned attention to the underappreciated points of the U.S.-Japan alliance and free trade.  Noting that 20% of all U.S. jobs are from Japan, SCHIEFFER declared that "the time to improve trade with Japan is now."


To view the speaker bios, click here.

To view the complete image gallery from JAPAN UPDATE HOUSTON CONFERENCE 2017, click here.

 

 

28th Annual Houston Regional Japanese Language Speech Contest

On Saturday, February 18, 2017, middle school, high school, and college/university students from the Greater Houston area and neighboring towns competed in the 28th Annual Houston Regional Japanese Language Speech Competition.


A record 75 participants showcased their determination, devotion and tenacity as language learners for the chance to advance to the TEXAS STATE JAPANESE LANGUAGE COMPETITION, which will be held on March 4, 2017.


Special recognition was given to the top three contestants in each competition division.  The top two contestants from the region will advance to State.

Congratulations to the following students:
POETRY:    
1st      Natalia Garcia Sanchez | George Bush High School
2nd   Pirzada Hasnain | Morton Ranch High School
3rd    Thomas Girardet | Bellaire High School 

HAIKU:    
1st       Mario DePavia | Clements High School
2nd    Doris Tang | Clements High School
3rd     Melany Santos | Westside High School          

SKIT:    
1st     “The New Year’s Race for the Kagami Mochi” | Bellaire High School
    – Courtney Collier, Leslie Diaz, Tin-Yi Lii, and Rebecca Parsons

2nd    “A Principal’s Perplexity" | Bellaire High School
    – Ruth Beaubrun, Seven Bunch, Julia Gay, and Arlenn Maldonado,  

3rd    “Valentine’s Vending machine: A love story" | Cinco Ranch High School
    – Andrew Giang, Zoha Hussnain, and Nadaa Koubaa

FREE SPEECH WITH TEXT:    
1st     Jiaqi Zhu | Bellaire High School
2nd   James Sagun | Clements High School
3rd    Gustavo Rivera | Westside High School

FREE SPEECH – AURORA:    
1st     Hannah Al-Natoor | Clements High School
2nd   Hui Song | Clements High School
3rd    Anthony Chang | Clements High School   

FREE SPEECH – COLLEGE / UNIVERSITY:    
1st     Cyrus Ghaznavi | Rice University
2nd   Chardonae Givens | University of Houston
3rd    Jessica Ramirez | Texas A&M University


SPECIAL THANKS TO THOSE WHO SUPPORT MADE THE CONTEST POSSIBLE:

  • Consulate-General of Japan in Houston
  • University of St. Thomas Center for International Studies
  • All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  • Japanese Teachers Association of Texas
  • Countless volunteers

                               

 

                   

Eat a Rice Ball, Feed the World

November is Washoku (和食) Month!  And as this month of celebrating Japanese cuisine happens to fall close to World Food Day, our friends at the charitable organization Table For Two have started a campaign that combats world hunger through onigiri (おにぎり), i.e., rice balls.

Through November 30, 2016, every social media posting in which a photo of an onigiri appears with the hashtag #OnigiriAction, Table For Two will provide five school meals to children in need.

In support of the campaign, the Japan-America Society of Houston (JASH) has partnered with IZAKAYA WA to bring you the "WA Special Onigiri Set."  For a limited time, IZAKAYA WA will be offering on its dinner menu the "WA Special Onigiri Set" composed of one (1)  "Hakusai Onigiri" (a rice ball containing marinated mountain vegetables wrapped in pickled Nappa Cabbage) and one (1) "Sake Onigiri" (a rice ball containing grilled salmon with yuzu pepper seasoning).

All you need to do is:

  1. Have dinner at IZAKAYA WA.
  2. Order the "WA Special Onigiri Set."
  3. Take a snapshot of your onigiri. 
  4. Upload your photo(s) to the social media platform of your liking with the hashtag #OnigiriAction.

No social media presence? No problem! You can still support the cause in integral fashion by moving your photos over to the Onigiri Action website and uploading them directly to the site.

It's an excellent opportunity to do some good in an age as obsessed with cellphone photography as it is with food, so tell your onigiri to smile, and feed a child in need.

To learn more about the campaign, visit tablefor2.org.

10月16日は国連が設定した世界食糧デー、そして11月は和食月間。今年もヒューストン日米協会(JASH)は、開発途上国の飢餓と先進国の肥満や生活習慣病の解消に同時の取り組む日本発の社会貢献運動「TABLE FOR TWO」の「おにぎりアクション2016」をサポートします。

日本食のシンボルであるおにぎりの写真やおにぎりと一緒の写真を1枚投稿することで、アフリカ・アジアの子供達に給食5食分が寄付されるこのキャンペーン。JASHはメモリアル地区にある日本食レストランIzakaya Waと協力して、ディナーメニューに期間限定で、Wa スペシャルおにぎりセット「山菜の白菜巻きと鮭のゆず胡椒おにぎり」をご用意致しました。

ご家族、お友達と一緒においしいおにぎりの写真を投稿して、アフリカ・アジアの子供達に給食を届けませんか。

「おにぎりアクション2016」、及び写真投稿については、下記のリンクをご参照下さい。

http://jp.tablefor2.org/campaign/onigiri/

 

JASH GALA 2016

On October 29, 2016, JASH Gala 2016 was held to celebrate the spirit of kizuna - the human ties that connect and unite - and honor an individual who embodies this spirit, Dr. Ritsuko Komaki, Associate Director, Thoracic Center, Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.

After Japan's Great East Earthquake of 2011 and the resulting tsunami and nuclear crisis, the kanji character for kizuna - 絆 - became a symbol of strength.  The character itself is made up of two parts: the kanji for rope/thread (糸) on the left and the kanji for half (半) on the right.  When these parts are combined, two halves become stronger by being woven together - 絆.

Kizuna embodies the strength of the shared valued and interest of the American and Japanese peoples that underpin the U.S.-Japan alliance. 

This solidarity was evidenced in the many friends of JASH who were present at the annual event.

The work of JASH to further understanding and personal relationships between Americans and Japanese living in the Houston area is its expression of the spirit of kizuna. 


JASH gratefully acknowledges the support of:

PARTNER KIZUNA SPONSORS

  • Kuraray America, Inc.
  • Dr. John Stroehlein and Miwa Sakashita

ADVOCATE KIZUNA SPONSORS

  • Dr. James D. Cox
  • The Friedkin Group
  • Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas)
  • Satake USA INC.
  • Sumitomo Corporation of Americas
  • Westlake Chemical

ALLY KIZUNA SPONSORS

  • Air Liquide Large Industries
  • Chemic Engineers and Constructors
  • DAIKIN
  • Kathy and Glen Gondo
  • JGC Energy Development (USA) Inc.
  • Mayer Brown
  • Merrill and Joe Hafner
  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Inc.
  • Mitsui & Co.
  • Regina Rogers
  • Linda and Bill Weiland

KIZUNA HOST COMMITTEE

  • Advanced Oilfield Innovations
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Mr. and Mrs. Martin Beirne
  • BDP International, Inc.
  • Chubu Electric Power Company U.S.A. Inc.
  • Dr. and Mrs. Satoshi Hata (MHIA Compressor)
  • INPEX Corporation
  • JERA Energy America LLC
  • JTB USA, Inc.
  • Kaneka Americas Holding Inc., President & CEO Mr. and Mrs. Kazuhiko Fujii
  • Marubeni America Corporation
  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Compressor International Corporation - President Mr. and Mrs. Masanori Kobayashi
  • Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal U.S.A., Inc.
  • Nanako and Dale Tingleaf

KIZUNA UNDERWRITERS

  • FLORAL - Dr. and Mrs. Louis Daily
  • PHOTOGRAPHY - The Mundy Companies
  • PRINT - Kuraray America, Inc.
  • WAGYU - Marble Ranch
  • SUSHI - Glen Gondo/Sushic

KIZUNA DONORS

  • Coyote Logistics
  • Mrs. Nancy W. Freed
  • Gandtade Corporation
  • Dr. William J. Cuningham
  • Mrs. Charlotte Hill
  • Linda & Barry Hunsaker
  • Mr. and Mrs. Meredith J. Long
  • Mr. Mitsuhiko Matsushita | MC Tubular Products, Inc.
  • Nippon Shokubai America Industries
  • Dr. and Mrs. Barry Samuels
  • Mr. Hideaki Tada
  • Yokogawa Corporation of Americas

2016 Texas State Japanese Language Speech Contest

Students of the Japanese language from across Texas competed in the 27th Annual Texas State Japanese Language Competition on March 12, 2016.

Over 50 participants from eleven schools showcased their determination, devotion and tenacity as language learners.


While all contestants are winners in JASH's book, special recognition was given to those placing in the top three in each division. 

Congratulations to the following students:
POETRY:    
1st      Santiago HOFFMAN, Churchill High School, San Antonio
2nd    Elena MILLS, Johnson High School, San Antonio
3rd    Khanh VU, Morton Ranch High School, Houston
    
HAIKU:    
1st      Camilla CHEN, Cinco Ranch High School, Houston
2nd    Sadie WARD, McCallum High School, Austin
3rd    Andrea LOPEZ, Churchill High School, San Antonio
    
SKIT:    
1st     “Unexpected Result,” Bellaire High School, Houston
    – Harvey GAO, Anthony HOANG, Eunice VALENZUELA, Susan YU
2nd    “Ghost in School," L.V. Berkner High School, Dallas
    – Olivia ESH, Daniella LIM, Gillian POST
3rd    “Restaurant Manners," Richardson High School, Dallas
    – Jing LIU, Leila MILLER, Genny WHIDBY, Kitty YU
    
FREE SPEECH WITH TEXT:    
1st     Justin NGUYEN, Richardson High School, Dallas
2nd   Bernice TSAO, Bellaire High School, Houston
3rd    Cynthia CORSIGA, L.V. Berkner High School, Dallas
    
FREE SPEECH – AURORA:    
1st     Heeyong HUH, Newman Smith High School, Dallas
2nd   Amy NGUYEN, Richardson High School, Dallas
3rd    Fiona YEUNG, Bellaire High School, Houston
    
FREE SPEECH – COLLEGE / UNIVERSITY:    
1st      Sean NIXON, Baylor University
2nd   Jessica RAMIREZ, Texas A&M University
3rd    Melissa PEREZ, University of Texas at San Antonio

FREE SPEECH – OPEN:    
1st      Kirti SHARMA
2nd   Julia HOLZ
3rd    Suji HONG


Special prizes were also awarded those placing first in the POETRY RECITATION, HAIKU, FREE SPEECH WITH TEXT, AURORA, COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY, and OPEN Divisions. 

  • POETRY RECITATION 1st Place Prize:  Japanese Goods courtesy of the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston
  • HAIKU 1st Place Prize:  Skosh Box subscription courtesy of TEXOMA JETAA
  • FREE SPEECH WITH TEXT 1st Place Prize:  Buddha Board courtesy of JTAT
  • FREE SPEECH AURORA 1st Place Prize: $1000 scholarship courtesy of JAGH
  • FREE SPEECH UNIVERSITY 1st Place Price:  $1500 scholarship courtesy of JASH Shintech-Kanagawa Fund
  • OPEN 1st Place Prize:  Round-trip ticket from Houston to Japan courtesy of ANA


In addition, the AURORA Division 1st and 2nd place winners will be flown to LA to represent Texas in the AURORA All-USA High School Japanese Speech Contest.


**If you would like more information on the annual competition, please email pybrown@jas-hou.org.


SPECIAL THANKS TO THOSE WHO MADE THE CONTEST POSSIBLE:

Co-presenter

  • Consulate-General of Japan in Houston

Sponsors

  • Japan Foundation
  • Japanese Teachers Association of Texas (JTAT)
  • Rice University Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Japan Business Association of Houston (JBAH)
  • Japanese Association of Greater Houston (JAGH)
  • TEXOMA JET Alumni Association (JETAA)
  • Shintech-Kanagawa Fund
  • LaVerl Daily
  • Cole Chemical

Judges

  • Deputy Consul-General Atsushi IWASAKI, Consulate-General of Japan in Houston
  • Mr. Yuzuru NAGAWA, All Nippon Airways
  • Mr. Junji KUROKAWA, Japan Business Association of Houston
  • Mr. Kenichi YAGI, Japanese Association of Greater Houston
  • Prof. Naoko OZAKI, Rice University & Japanese Teachers Association of Texas
  • Prof. Yukiko ASANO, Japanese Teachers Association of Texas
  • Prof. Fumie HOWARD, Japanese Teachers Association of Texas
  • Mrs. Yoshimi SHERIDAN, Japanese Teachers Association of Texas

Dedicated volunteers

JAPAN UPDATE HOUSTON CONFERENCE

Over the last several years, Houston and Harris County have welcomed a large number of new Japanese companies and residents.  During this period, the greater Houston area has witnessed substantial new Japanese investment in the areas of oil and gas exploration, construction and ownership of LNG facilities, air conditioning, electrical equipment, manufacturing, petrochemicals, environmental services, aerospace, medical technology and services and process engineering.

The inaugural Japan Update Houston Conference, which was held on February 19, 2016, at the Petroleum Club of Houston,  allowed JASH to draw attention to this growth in Japanese-affiliated business in Houston and to share with the Houston community information on the evolving opportunities for U.S.-Japan cooperation.

In addition, the Japan Update Houston Conference served to bring together over 100 high-level American and Japanese business people in a way that allowed for meaningful exchange.


KEYNOTE SPEAKER

  • Admiral Dennis Blair

Chairman of the Board and CEO of Sasakawa USA

Former director of U.S. National Intelligence

Former Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command


PANELISTS

  • Ambassador Thomas Schieffer

Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan

  • Bob Harvey

President and CEO, Greater Houston Partnership

  • Marc Watts

President, The Friedkin Group Inc.

  • George Avdey

President, Kuraray America, Inc.

  • Prof. Hisanori Nei

Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Study

  • Dr. Michelle Foss

Chief Energy Economist, Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin

  • Tadashi Ishizuka

Chief Operating Officer, Mitsui & Co. LNG Investment USA, Inc.


PRESENTATION MATERIAL

Click here to access Prof. Nei's presentation.

For material presented by Dr. Foss, click here.

27th Annual Houston Regional Japanese Language Speech Contest


Students of the Japanese language from across Greater Houston and neighboring cities competed in the 27th Annual Houston Regional Japanese Language Competition on February 13, 2016.

Over 60 participants from eleven schools showcased their determination, devotion and tenacity as language learners for the chance to advance to the TEXAS STATE JAPANESE LANGUAGE COMPETITION, which will be held on March 12, 2016.


Special recognition was given to the top three contestants in each category.  The top two contestants from will advance to State.

Congratulations to the following students:
POETRY:    
1st      Khanh Vu, Morton Ranch High School
2nd   Alice Liu, Bellaire High School
3rd    Gustavo Rivera, Westside High School
    
HAIKU:    
1st       Yu Sun, Bellaire High School
2nd    Tin-Yi Lii, Bellaire High School
3rd     Camilla Chen, Cinco Ranch High School
    
SKIT:    
1st     “Unexpected Result,” Bellaire High School
    – Susan Yu, Eunice Valenzuela, Anthony Hoang, and Harvey Gao
2nd    “Nina’s Heart," Bellaire High School
    – Yenny Nguyen, Emma-Leigh Crooks, Anh Nguyen, and Alan Barron
3rd    “Untitled," Bellaire High School
    – Hana Bryson and Kendra Shelvin
    
FREE SPEECH WITH TEXT:    
1st     Bernice Tsao, Bellaire High School
2nd   Daniel Hingco, Westside High School
3rd    Indah Rahmadina, James E. Taylor High School
    
FREE SPEECH – AURORA:    
1st     Fiona Yeung, Bellaire High School
2nd   Danna Najjar, Cinco Ranch High School
3rd    Aisha Aslam, Westside High School
    
FREE SPEECH – COLLEGE / UNIVERSITY:    
1st     Jessica Ramirez, Texas A&M University
2nd   Amanda Petty, Texas A&M University
3rd    Yves Perez, Lone Star College


SPECIAL THANKS TO THOSE WHO MADE THE CONTEST POSSIBLE:

  • Consulate-General of Japan in Houston
  • Japanese Teachers Association of Texas
  • University of St. Thomas Center for International Studies
  • All Nippon Airways
  • LaVerl Daily
  • Countless volunteers

Journey Through Japan - JASH Gala 2015

JASH Gala 2015 was held on October 31, 2015 at the Omni Hotel and Resorts Galleria Houston. 

Co-chaired by George Avdey, CEO and President of Kuraray America, Inc., and Miwa Sakashita, the event showcased Japan's splendid blend of traditions and modern culture through a "Journey Through Japan: From Antiquity to Today."

Joining in the celebration was Honorary Chair Hideki Kunugi, Senior Vice President and General Manager of The Americas of All Nippon Airways (ANA), who played a key role in making possible the daily non-stop flight between Houston and Tokyo by ANA from June of this year.

Keynote Speaker Harris County Judge Ed Emmett also honored JASH with his presence and special stories from his own Japan journeys.

The annual gala, which features a cocktail reception, a silent auction, and a seated dinner, is JASH's primary fundraiser and secures support for programs that highlight the important and increasingly dynamic cooperation between Japan and the United States.

We are grateful to all our sponsors, donors, guests and volunteers for their generous support.

CHIYODA SPONSORS

  • Kuraray America, Inc.
  • Dr. John Stroehlein and Miwa Sakashita

HANZOMON SPONSORS

  • The Friedkin Group
  • Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas)
  • Satake USA Inc.

MITA SPONSORS

  • Air Liquide Large Industries US, L.P.
  • Chemic Engineers
  • JGC Energy Development (USA) Inc.
  • Joe and Merrill Hafner
  • Dr. Ritsuko Komaki and Dr. James Cox
  • Mayer Brown
  • Yasuhiko and Akemi Saitoh
  • Sumitomo Corporation of Americas
  • William and Linda Weiland
  • Yokogawa Corporation of America

UNDERWRITERS

  • Kuraray America, Inc.
  • BakerHostetler
  • INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA

HOST COMMITTEE

  • A.O. International
  • BDP International
  • Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, L.L.P.
  • Cole Chemical & Distributing, Inc.
  • Harold S. Goldstein
  • Glen and Kathy Gondo
  • U.S.-Japan Council
  • Nanako and Dale Tingleaf
  • Tokio Marine
  • Vale Russell

DONORS

  • Computerdojo, Inc.
  • FDIII LLC
  • F-O-R-T-U-N-E Personnel Consultants of Houston, Inc.
  • Gantrade Corporation
  • Mr. and Mrs. Yukio Inagaki
  • A.R. “Tony” and Maria J. Sanchez Family Foundation
  • George O. Suman, Jr.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Barry Hunsaker
  • Mrs. Tomiko Mita-Mayo
  • Mr. and Mrs. Koushik Mitra
  • NA Industries, Inc.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Yukio Inagaki
  • Mrs. Akiko Sato-Fredricks
  • Mrs. Chiharu Hakone
  • Mrs. Tomoe VonGruenigen
  • Ms. Joanie Patrick
  • Prof. and Mrs. William Cunningham

Special thanks go to:

  • Consul-General Nozomu Takaoka and Mrs. Yumi Takaoka
  • Mistress of Ceremonies Shara Fryer
  • Kuraray America, Inc.
  • Mrs. LaVerl Daily and The Tachibana Ikebana Center
  • Our many volunteers, particularly those from Satake USA, Inc.

Happy Trails to You, Consul-General and Mrs. Takaoka!

After two-years in Houston, The Honorable Consul-General Nozomu Takaoka and Mrs. Yumi Takaoka will be returning to Japan. 

JASH bid farewell to Consul-General and Mrs. Takaoka in a Texas-themed soiree on November 19.

At the event, Consul-General Takaoka was named an honorary member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR) by HLSR President and CEO Joel Cowley.  President Cowley was joined by HLSR Board Members Jim Brock and Sharleen Walkoviak to present Consul-General Takaoka with an HLSR jacket and belt buckle.

We thank Consul-General and Mrs. Takaoka for their support of JASH and their dedication to the promotion of friendship and ties between Houston and Japan.  

Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.
Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again.

Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.
It's the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here's a happy one for you.

Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.

Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again.
-Lyrics to "Happy Trails" by Dale Evans Rogers

 

Annual Fall Garden Cleanup

Despite the forecast of rain, nearly 30 friends came out for the Annual Fall Japanese Garden Cleanup on Saturday, November 7th. 

お疲れ様 and ありがとう to all who volunteered their time to tidy the tea house and groom the garden grounds.  We greatly appreciate your help!

Now Extended: Due To Popular Demand

photos: Thomas Dubrock

Many thanks to Glasstire for naming I am Content With What I Lack: The Poetics of Japanese Gardens as one of the Top 5 Exhibitions in Texas this week.  Click here for more.

Due to popular demand, I am Content With What I Lack: The Poetics Of Japanese Gardens is now extended through Saturday, September 26.

The exhibition features the work of four local Japanese artists in a beautiful garden setting:

  • Keiji Asakura
  • Terry Hagiwara
  • Mari Omori
  • Masaru Takiguchi

Admission is free. 

Times vary by day of the week.  Contact JASH at 713.963.0121.

Tuesday, Wednesday:  11AM - 3PM or by appointment
Thursday, Friday, Saturday:  11:30AM - 5:30PM

Sayoonara, JJ Naoki

Long-standing JASH leader, esteemed Chairman Emeritus Junjiro "J.J." NAOKI, will be returning to Japan this week after over 15 years in Houston.

Mr. Naoki first came to Houston in 1998 as the President and CEO of Satake U.S.A. Inc., the industry leader in optical sorting technology for the food industry.  Recognizing that global thinking and cultural understanding are powerful business tools, he wasted no time in becoming a leading advocate of U.S.-Japan friendship in the community.

His achievements/contributions include:

  • Serving on the JASH Board over 10 years and as JASH Board President since 2011
  • Supporting the formation of the Japanese Association of Greater Houston
  • Securing gardeners from Japan to renovate and maintain the Japan Garden in Hermann Park and guiding the formation of an advisory council to ensure the garden’s upkeep
  • Forming a delegation to visit Japan in honor of the 40th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Houston and Chiba City
  • Organizing The Manjiro Society for International Exchange, Inc.’s Grassroots Summit in Houston in 2002
  • Welcoming the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Training Squadron on their stop at the Port of Houston in 2006
  • Providing leadership and monetary support to ensure the sustainability of annual Japan-related community events, from the annual Bento Contest, Regional and State Japanese Language Speech Contests, and Japan Festival Houston

In recognition of his contributions to the City and citizens of Houston, Mr. Naoki was appointed Honorary Citizen of Houston and selected to serve as a Goodwill Ambassador of Houston.

We thank Mr. Naoki for his long-standing leadership of JASH and his dedication to the promotion of Japanese culture in Houston.  We will miss you, JJ!!

 

2015 Houston-Chiba Sister City Youth Ambassador Exchange

The 2015 Houston-Chiba Sister City Youth Ambassador Exchange Program (Program) offered four (4) middle school students from Chiba City the opportunity to contribute to an enduring relationship between the U.S. and Japan by serving as goodwill ambassadors to Houston from August 16-29, 2015. 

While in Houston, the Chiba Youth Ambassadors visited NASA, Battleship Texas, San Jacinto Monument, Houston Museum of Natural Science, and more.  The students also tried their hand at kayaking and ice skating, and even had the opportunity to visit with Mayor Anise Parker, who took time to explain the City of Houston seal. 

The highlight of this year's Program was undoubtedly the week spent at River Oaks Baptist School (ROBS).  The Chiba Youth Ambassadors attended classes alongside their host sibling or school buddy.  They also took the time to share Japanese culture through dance in a performance of the "soran bushi" in front of the entire school.

We commend the Chiba Youth Ambassadors and their ROBS hosts for having the initiative, courage, and maturity to embrace this opportunity to foster mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of Houston and Chiba.

__________________________________________________________________________

History of the Houston-Chiba Friendship

The Houston, Texas—Chiba City, Japan sister city relationship was established in 1972.  Over the years, there have been many official and private exchanges and visitations between citizens of the two cities.  As a two-way program, shared by both communities, the sister city relationship brings together both the municipal and volunteer community resources, and offers a mechanism for individuals and organizations, youths and adults, to be involved in the rewarding field of international relations.

Annual Youth Ambassador Exchange

The backbone of the Houston-Chiba Sister City relationship has long been the annual middle school student exchange program, which has been active since 1982.  In alternating years, middle school students and a chaperone from each city participate in a homestay for two weeks.  Students stay with host families, meet city officials, attend classes at middle school, interact with teens their age, make cultural presentations, and enjoy visiting local sights, while experiencing home and school life in a culture very different from their own.  Participants gain new insights into another culture as well as their own, increase maturity and independence, make life-long friends, and become a part of a global community. Students are selected based upon their ability to demonstrate flexibility and an open mind, have an above-average academic record, and are involved in community and extracurricular activities.