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Kazuyuki Matsumoto

JETAA USA 2013 Annual Conference Roundup

This year’s JETAA USA National Conference was held from September 26th to the 29th in Minneapolis, with representatives from all 19 US chapters attending. Along with CLAIR and MOFA representatives, the alumni were joined by Paige Cottingham-Streater and Laurel Lukaszewski from the US-Japan Bridging Foundation (USJBF), who were there to talk with the alumni about the project they are currently working on, to investigate the idea of creating a formally recognized national alumni support organization. Pamela Fields, from the US-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON), also attended. The conference started off on Thursday evening with a reception held by the USJBF and featuring former Vice President and Ambassador… Read More »JETAA USA 2013 Annual Conference Roundup

“Japan Night” Reception at CSG National Conference

We, Japan Local Government Center, attended the CSG (The Council of States Governments) National Conference held in Kansas City, Missouri, from Sep 19th (Thu) to Sep 22nd (Sun) 2013. On the 20th (Fri) from 5pm to 6pm, during the conference, we held the “Japan Local Government Center Reception – Japan Night”. We tried to make the reception characteristic of Japanese taste by displaying several posters of the four seasons in Japan and popular tourist destinations. We also served sushi, Japanese beer, and sake. Though it was only a 1 hour reception, more than one hundred attendees visited us. They actively enjoyed talking with each other while looking at a map… Read More »“Japan Night” Reception at CSG National Conference

Iwate Prefecture’s Ninohe City Sells the Perfect Combination

The Ambassador’s Residence on the Upper East Side was packed with an overflow crowd on Tuesday, August 27th as New York was treated to an evening reception featuring Japanese sake, lacquer ware, local foods, and koto music from the City of Ninohe in Iwate Prefecture. Ninohe is responsible for roughly 75 percent of all lacquer resin production in Japan, which is of the highest quality and is used in restoring structures such as the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto and Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, as well as for traditional bowls, cups, and other items. And what better way to enjoy the locally brewed rice wine than by drinking it from lacquer… Read More »Iwate Prefecture’s Ninohe City Sells the Perfect Combination

Governor Tasso Gives Thanks for Iwate’s “Tomodachi”

Governor Takuya Tasso of Iwate Prefecture gave a talk at Japan Society in New York on Monday evening, August 26th, entitled “Thank You Tomodachi (Friend)”, to review the events of March 11th, 2011, introduce measures being taken to foster recovery in the prefecture, and to thank everyone for their support since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The Governor outlined the prefecture’s Open Reconstruction Policy, carried out with the support of the Iwate Sanriku Reconstruction Bridging Foundation, and its Community-based Reconstruction Policy, carried out in partnership with local governments. He then laid out the three principles of the prefecture’s overall reconstruction plan, which are: 1) Ensure public safety through… Read More »Governor Tasso Gives Thanks for Iwate’s “Tomodachi”

Los Angeles and the fight to reduce congestion

Many Japanese officials may have visited Los Angeles, a sprawling city on the West coast. They may have noticed the constant traffic jams no matter what time of day or, for that matter, what day of the week. Some may have even attempted to drive in the city and experienced the congestion first-hand. Los Angeles is a typical American city. It loves its cars. Every attempt to encourage the use of public transportation has met with little success. So, why is it celebrating now? Back in the days of the 1984 Olympic Games, held in Los Angeles, the city tried to make the traffic patterns around the Olympic Village and… Read More »Los Angeles and the fight to reduce congestion

Inuyama Day at Brooklyn Borough Hall

Japanese calligraphy, swordsmanship, tea ceremony, and other arts and crafts were on display Friday, May 3rd in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall as 40 citizens from the City of Inuyama set up in the plaza to share Japanese art and culture with the citizens of Brooklyn. They were here as part of the B. Bridges exchange program run by Anthony Bianchi, a native of Brooklyn who now lives in Japan and is a member of the Inuyama City Council. The Borough Hall exchange event ran from 11:00AM to 3:00PM, kicking off with words of welcome from Mr. Fumio Iwai, Deputy Consul General with the Consulate General of Japan in New… Read More »Inuyama Day at Brooklyn Borough Hall

Governor Kuroiwa of Kanagawa Prefecture Speaks in New York

Governor Yuji Kuroiwa gave the inaugural talk of his US visit at the Nippon Club on Monday, May 6th, speaking on Kanagawa Prefecture’s recent efforts to develop a Special Zone (tokku) devoted to medical research and the development of new technologies and new approaches to improving the health of and healthcare provision for Japan’s rapidly aging population, with the ultimate goal of being able to export these innovations around the world. The Governor spoke about the Eastern approach to medicine that views health and illness as gradations of degree along a continuum, where illness should ideally be treated before it becomes severe, utilizing medicines and methods tailored to each individual… Read More »Governor Kuroiwa of Kanagawa Prefecture Speaks in New York

Saga city delegation visits their sister-city, “Glens Falls, NY”

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the sister city relationship established in 1988 between Saga City and Glens Falls, NY, a delegation from Saga City visited Glens Falls and New York City from April 10th to 15th, 2013. The delegation was composed of 27 members, including the Mayor of Saga City, Mr. Toshiyuki Hideshima, a Chairman of the City Council, Mr. Hisao Fukui, and city residents. They attended an anniversary event held in Glens Falls and a welcome reception hosted by the Consulate General of Japan in New York. “The Balloon Festival”, which is a famous event in Saga, brought the two cities together. Local balloonists from Glens Falls participated… Read More »Saga city delegation visits their sister-city, “Glens Falls, NY”

A Taste of Tohoku : Food, Sake, Recipes & Stories

“A Taste of Tohoku : Food, Sake, Recipes & Stories”  was  held  on April 11 at the  Japan Society in New York. The main purpose of the event was to introduce a selection of Tohoku’s dishes, and the lecturer was the Japan food journalist, Ms. Elizabeth Andoh, who has lived in Japan for a long time and reports on Japanese traditional foods. There was an audience of about 200 in the event hall. There were two parts to the event. First, Ms. Andoh lectured about a selection of Tohoku’s traditional dishes such as Iburigakko (pickled daikon), Sasa-Kamaboko (steamed fish paste), Zundamochi (rice cake with mashed green pea), Kiritanpo (mashed rice… Read More »A Taste of Tohoku : Food, Sake, Recipes & Stories

RMJETAA Gets Things Moving at the Denver Kizuna Reception

The Rocky Mountain JETAA chapter recently participated in the Kizuna Reception hosted by the Consulate General of Japan in Denver and the Japan America Society of Colorado, representing the JET Program and bringing a bit of Japanese fun to the festivities by way of rajio taiso. Held on March 22nd, the event was a celebration of the many student exchanges between Colorado and Japan and the support given to Tohoku following the 3.11 disasters. Among the attendees were the students from Littleton High School who just returned from touring the affected areas in Tohoku, exchange students from Sendai now visiting Littleton, and the Montbello High School Drum Line, who will… Read More »RMJETAA Gets Things Moving at the Denver Kizuna Reception

A new CLAIR Report, “Learning from successful financial reform in St. Lucie County, Florida”, has been released!

The global recession has severely affected not only the business community, but also local governments in the U.S. from the latter half of 2008. Despite the fact that a large number of local governments faced serious financial difficulties, some of them could avert or overcome financial crisis. St. Lucie County, Florida, is one successful example, due to their rapid response to the unfolding crisis. Award ceremony for County “Leader of the Year” at the 2011 National Association of Counties Annual Conference St. Lucie County Commissioners, Ms. Outlaw, Chairman of the Citizens Budget Committee, and Naomi Maki Because of the global recession, St. Lucie County, Florida, encountered a serious financial crisis,… Read More »A new CLAIR Report, “Learning from successful financial reform in St. Lucie County, Florida”, has been released!

“LIVE YOUR DREAM: The Taylor Anderson Story” Premiers in Japan

The Japanese premier of LIVE YOUR DREAM was held on March 4th at the International House in Tokyo. The film tells the story of Taylor Anderson, a JET Program participant from Virginia who worked in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, and perished in the Great East Japan Earthquake. The film is 85 minutes long and has been subtitled in Japanese. It consists of interviews with Taylor’s family, former teachers, classmates, JET colleagues from Ishinomaki and Miyagi Prefecture, and many of the Japanese people that she came to know, along with photographs and news footage. It relates how she fulfilled the dream arising out of her passion for Japan and how much she… Read More »“LIVE YOUR DREAM: The Taylor Anderson Story” Premiers in Japan

JET Alumni Meet Prime Minister Abe in D.C.

On February 22nd, around 15 JET alumni were invited to the reception held by Japan’s Prime Minister Abe in Washington, D.C. Among them were Mr. Michael Green (Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair, Center for Strategic & International Studies), Mr. James Gannon (Executive Director, Japan Center for International Exchange/USA), Mr. David Boling (Deputy Executive Director, The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation), Ms. Paige Cottingham-Streater (Executive Director, Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission), and Ms. Leigh Ann Mastrini (President, JETAA DC). The families of Taylor Anderson and Monty Dickson were also invited. They talked with Prime Minister Abe about various topics, including how the JET Programme has influenced their lives, and the… Read More »JET Alumni Meet Prime Minister Abe in D.C.

“Cool Japan”? Maybe…

Perhaps those who visited Japan might have seen some of these “city mascots.” Yes. Believe it or not, these mascots dancing to the tune of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” in the following videos are sponsored by Japanese local governments to promote each jurisdiction, local tourism and local products. They are called “Yuru-Chara”, meaning relaxing mascots. (FYI, the following videos were officially produced by the Japan National Tourism Organization.) Western Japan: Eastern Japan: Yuru-Charas are quite popular in Japan. There has been annual Yuru-Chara Grand Prix contest since 2010. In 2012 contest, nearly 900 Yuru-Charas were registered. As you may know, the number of local governments in Japan is… Read More »“Cool Japan”? Maybe…

JET Alumni Meet With Kizuna Project Students From Tohoku Visiting San Francisco

A group of 35 students from Kozukata High School in Iwate Prefecture and Toride-Shoyou High School in Ibaraki Prefecture visited San Francisco in mid-January to talk about their experiences during and after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami (“3/11”) that devastated much of the Tohoku region of Japan. As part of their visit, the students met with representatives of the JET Alumni Association of Northern California, where Mark Frey, vice president of the chapter, gave a presentation on what current JETs and JET alumni have done since 3/11 to support the people of Tohoku. Mark focused especially on those efforts that have received support from the JETAA USA Relief… Read More »JET Alumni Meet With Kizuna Project Students From Tohoku Visiting San Francisco