Jul 30

Professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03) presents WIT Life, a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she offers some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

A quick mid-summer hello to all and hope those Olympic fans out there are enjoying the games. In lieu of a longer post, I’m going to leave you with some related articles from the Washington Post that I think are worth sharing.

First, an analysis of why holding the Olympics was so important to Japan this year, as well as its historic role in the country’s post-war development.

Congrats to Japanese-American Olympian Erica Sullivan for getting the silver in the women’s 1,500-meter freestyle! As this article details, she wowed the crowd with the native Japanese that she learned from her mother.

Finally, this article discusses the complicated feelings Fukushima residents have toward the Olympics. Many feel the exorbitant amount of money used would be better spent on the Tohoku region’s continued reconstruction, and that the “recovery” being touted by Olympic organizers is nothing more than a PR ploy.

Happy viewing!


Jul 12

USJETAA The Same Moon: Reading and Q&A with Author Sarah Coomber

JET alumna Sarah Coomber (Yamaguchi, 1994-1996) wrote The Same Moon about her adventures after moving to Japan! Sarah will read a short passage from her book and then we will take questions from the audience. You do not need to have read the book to enjoy this event. We hope you’ll join us. Two copies of Sarah’s book will be given away via random draw to those attending live.

Date: July 22, 2021

Time: 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT

Join: REGISTER

About The Same Moon

Recently wed—and quickly divorced—twenty-four-year-old Sarah Coomber escapes the disappointments of her Minnesota life for a job teaching English in Japan. Her plan is to use the year to reflect, heal and figure out what to do with her wrecked life while enjoying the culture of the country where she had previously spent a life-changing summer that included a romance with a young baseball player.

About the Author

Ever since she turned seventeen, Sarah Coomber has held two homes in her heart: Minnesota, where she grew up, and Yamaguchi, where she spent a summer with the Maeda family, who welcomed her like a third daughter and introduced her to what became an on-again, off-again Japanese life.

That life has included teaching English in Yamaguchi on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (1994-96); teaching Japanese language and dance to children at an immersion camp in Minnesota; and studying the koto—Japanese zither—in Yamaguchi and Portland, Oregon, where she achieved her level four Seiha School certification.

Sarah has worked as a public relations professional, reporter, science writer and college English teacher, and her stories and essays on Japan have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, the Japan Times, the Star Tribune, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Memoir Journal, the Font: A Literary Journal for Language Teachers and elsewhere.

She now works as a communications/writing consultant and coach, and teaches Holy Yoga, exploring the nexus of yoga and the Christian faith. She lives … and tries to remember to breathe deeply … with her family in Minnesota. More about here at https://sarahcoomber.com/.


Apr 27

JFNY Literary Series Episode #3

JFNY Literary Series invites notable writers in Japanese literature and their translators to discuss their work, speak on the art of translation, and touch upon the current literary scene in Japan. 

This session features Kanako Nishi and her translator Allison Markin Powell, moderated by writer Kyoko NakajimaGinny Tapley Takemori from the collective Strong Women, Soft Power and interpreter Bethan Jones also joins the session. Nishi is an award-winning writer who has published more than two dozen books in Japan. Several of her writings are available in English online, all of which were translated by Powell: 

Merry Christmas

In the Age of Endless Scrolling, Jun’ichiro Tanizaki Helps Us Stand Still

On Beauty, Sexual Violence, and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

VIO 

The event is now available to watch on our YouTube channel! Watch the event here: 


Mar 31

WIT Life #352: Japan in the News

Professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03) presents WIT Life, a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she offers some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

What a difference a month makes! Here in NY the vaccine effort is in full swing for adults over 30, and many of us are keeping our fingers crossed in the hopes of snagging one. The rollout in Japan will take a bit longer, and currently Osaka and other areas seeing surges in cases. As a result, stronger restrictions (i.e. limited restaurant operating hours) have once again been implemented, much to the chagrin of proprietors. But the sakura are in full bloom in Tokyo, so hanami at least provides a nice distraction 🌸

Recently the NYT had two interesting Japan focused stories I’d like to share. One profiles the artist Kyohei Sakaguchi from Kumamoto (my JET home!). It does a deep dive into his architecture-related works, his living with bipolar, and his support of others with mental health struggles. His 2020 book Call Me When You’re in Pain details his experiences with suicidal thoughts, answering calls from strangers in crisis, and his strategies for coping. I find his activities remarkable considering the stigma of mental health issues in Japan, a stigma likely to be particularly strong in conservative Kumamoto.

The other article discusses why QAnon never gained traction in Japan, a hypothesis also evaluated in an AV Club article yesterday. One reason for Japan’s resistance is the idea that it is already well versed in conspiracy theories and therefore not as susceptible to new ones. Another factor is the conflict-averse nature of Japanese society, as well as the reluctance to talk about politics. However, one commenter in the latter article disagrees with this assessment, referencing the term “JAnon” which was used to refer to QAnon supporters in Japan. For more about this phenomenon, check out this Bloomberg podcast. Happy reading/listening!


Feb 27

WIT Life #351: Loneliness in the time of Corona

Professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03) presents WIT Life, a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she offers some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

The ongoing coronavirus is taking its toll on each of us in different ways. The rise in 自殺 (jisatsu or suicide) and other 絶望死 (zetsuboushi or deaths of despair) that we are seeing here in the U.S. is also being seen in Japan. To combat its own 孤独という伝染病 (kodoku to iu densenbyou or loneliness epidemic), the Japanese government appointed its first Minister of Loneliness, Tetsushi Sakamoto. He was already in government as the minister in charge of raising Japan’s low birthrate and revitalizing regional economies.

Japan recently appointed Tetsushi Sakamoto as its first Minister of Loneliness

Despite only recently taking on the additional role, Sakamoto has already introduced an emergency national forum to discuss the issue and share the testimony of lonely individuals. The hope is that via knowledge gained from this and other efforts, he will be able to implement policies designed to fight isolation and lower suicide rates. The government also set up a task force spanning various ministries that seeks to address the problem of loneliness, coordinated by Sakamoto.

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Nov 30

JQ Magazine: Book Review — ‘The View from Breast Pocket Mountain’


“Finding one’s home is often an experience. If told correctly, its story can be thrilling. The View from Breast Pocket Mountain will captivate those eager to learn more about gaikokujin who have made a home in Japan.” (Senyume Press)

By Rashaad Jorden (Yamagata-ken, 2008-10; Kochi-ken, 2018-2020) for JQ magazine. A former head of JETAA Philadelphia’s Sub-Chapter, Rashaad is a graduate of Leeds Beckett University with a master’s degree in responsible tourism management. For more on his life abroad and enthusiasm for taiko drumming, visit his blog at www.gettingpounded.wordpress.com.

There are gaikokujin whose journey to Japan is quite an adventure. One of them is Karen Hill Anton. She takes readers on a tour of her unconventional life in The View from Breast Pocket Mountain: A Memoir (the mountain is the translated name of the area home of her and her husband’s farmhouse). This is a life that sees her become a columnist for two Japanese newspapers as part of a 45-year (and counting) history with her adoptive country.

Anton’s story starts in New York City, where she grew up in a tenement apartment. The author spends most of the early chapters telling stories of life in the city. Her father often struggled to find work (but did so occasionally as a presser) while her mother was institutionalized. View really takes off when Anton details the period when she traveled outside the United States for the first time. Her adventures took her around Europe (often getting around the Old Continent by sticking her thumb out), where she hung out with a cast of colorful characters, including Swedish painter and textile artist Moki Karlsson, the mother of Swedish music star Neneh Cherry.

The European portion of the book includes more than anecdotes involving interesting figures she met. Anton adroitly captures the vibe of not just a bygone era, but apparently a different planet from the United States—writing that it’s “common sense” in Denmark (where she gave birth to her first child) to put babies outside. You get the sense that she’s completely in tune with her surroundings there as she includes other fascinating tidbits about the Scandinavian country. Through her writing, she comes across as someone who can feel at home almost anywhere.

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Sep 13

Posted by Tom Baker

Warren Decker and Michael Frazier are two JET poets living in Japan who will each be hosting a workshop at the Oct. 10-11 Japan Writers Conference. This year’s conference is being held online, so you don’t need to be in Japan to attend. For details, see http://japanwritersconference.org. Official descriptions of the workshops appear below.

Warren Decker

Pterodactylic Pentagrameter: Working with Rhyme and Meter

Craft Workshop

Poetry

In this workshop we will focus on poetry that incorporates rhyme and meter. As a participant, please bring 2-10 lines of rhymed and metered poetry for us to discuss. Please also be ready to share your unique techniques for finding the right meter and rhymes for your poetic lines.

Paradoxically, the confines of rhyme and meter can often serve to open unexpected creative doors. One who sets out to write about “fractals” may find “pterodactyls” swooping into their poem. Maintaining a regular pattern of stressed and unstressed beats might lead a poet—after many hours at the keyboard—feeling as though a supernatural rhythmic force is guiding them to choose the perfect words and in the perfect order. 

In this workshop, while looking at specific examples of rhyme and meter as exhibited in the participants’ samples, we will collectively attempt to recall the wonderful technical terminology describing syllabic meter (for example: “iambic pentameter,” and “dactylic tetrameter”), but also consider looser and more intuitive accentual poetic rhythms. 

Furthermore, we will discuss the incredible variation contained within the seemingly simple concept of “rhyme,” focusing on concrete examples to understand how and why certain rhymes work.

Warren Decker has published poetry, fiction and non-fiction in The Best American Poetry 2018, NOON, The Font, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Acorn, The New Ohio Review, THINK, Sou’wester, Fifth Wednesday, and several other online and print journals. He also performs his poetry online and in front of live audiences in Osaka.

Michael Frazier
I AM MY FAMILY (a persona workshop)
Craft Workshop
Poetry

This is a poetry workshop (open to writers of all genres) who are interested in writing about and through their family. We will use the persona form—writing in the voice of family members—to interrogate ourselves. Some poets we’ll look at include Natalie Diaz, Paul Tran, and Julian Randall.

No one can move forward without looking back at where they’ve come from. This is the principle that guides this workshop. Persona poetry is poetry in the voice of someone, or thing, other than ourselves: shiba inu, wild iris, Sailor Moon, Kanye West, or even your bed. We will use the persona to focus on and interrogate our own families and make meaning out of the relationships that have formed us. In order to embody the voices of our family (biological or chosen) we must practice radical empathy. While a persona is in the voice of someone else, my hope is that in the poems we will write, we will turn inwards and learn something new about ourselves. We will look at writers who wield the persona and voices of their family with urgency like Paul Tran, Yalie Kamara, Hiwot Adilow, K-Ming Chang, Natalie Diaz, and Eduardo C. Corral.

Michael Frazier is a poet in Kanazawa. He graduated from NYU, where he was the 2017 poet commencement speaker & co-champion of CUPSI. He’s performed at venues including Nuyorican Poets Café & Lincoln Center. On staff at The Adroit Journal, his poems appear in COUNTERCLOCK, Construction, Visible Poetry Project, among others.


Sep 6

Charles Kowalski to dissect villains at Japan Writers Conference

Posted by Tom Baker

Many JETs are writers before coming to Japan, while others find that Japan give them something to write about. And many JET writers get involved in the Japan Writers Conference, which this year is being held online, Oct. 10-11.

One of this year’s featured writers is novelist and JET alum Charles Kowalski, who will describe how to give your story a compelling villain.

Here’s the official description of Charles’ presentation:



Masterminds, Minions, and Monsters: Creating 3D Villains
(Craft Workshop)

Create compelling villains that readers will love to hate! This workshop will introduce three main villain motivations (the “3 D’s”) and show how these form seven archetypes, plus six effective recruiting tools for henchmen (FLAMES), the top five justifications for villainy, and how to defeat the villain for a satisfying ending.

“A story is only as good as the villain.” – Clive Barker

Bad guys make good stories, and this workshop will focus on creating compelling villains that readers will love to hate.

Here are the questions to be asked and answered in this workshop.

What makes a compelling villain? How can the BOOM technique help create a villain with a believable backstory?

How do the three main motivations of villains intersect to form seven villain archetypes? What are the common personality characteristics of each?

What are the six tools used by master villains to recruit followers? What are the top five justifications for villainy?

What are the five main patterns of villain defeat and their common variations?

Come find out!

Charles Kowalski is the award-winning author of contemporary thrillers MIND VIRUS and THE DEVIL’S SON, and the Japan-themed historical fantasy SIMON GREY AND THE MARCH OF A HUNDRED GHOSTS. When not writing, he teaches at Tokai University.


Aug 24

Panel discussion on MFAs at 2020 Japan Writers Conference

Posted by Tom Baker

Many JETs are writers before coming to Japan, while others find that Japan give them something to write about. If you’re thinking about furthering your writing career by getting an MFA, then you might want to listen to what JET alums Percival Constantine and Warren Decker have to say about.

The two will be part of a panel discussion at the 14th annual Japan Writers Conference, titled “The MFA: The Good, The Bad, and The Expensive.”

Due to the pandemic, this year’s Japan Writers Conference is being held online, meaning there is no travel involved. Here’s the official description of Percy and Warren’s event:

The MFA: The Good, The Bad, and The Expensive

John Gribble, Kristina Butke, Percival Constantine, Alec McAulay, Warren Decker
Panel Discussion

Should I get an MFA or other graduate-level degree in writing?
Aren’t they expensive? Are they difficult? Are they any good? What sort of program should I look at? What kind of benefits should I expect to receive? These questions and others will be addressed in this session.
Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and other advanced degrees with a writing emphasis have become a viable option for those seeking to improve their writing skills and advance themselves professionally. Some programs are full- or part-time on a university campus, some are on-line, some are hybrids, blending elements of both. The panelists, all with advanced writing degrees, will each talk about the programs they attended, their own experiences and answer your questions.


John Gribble is a noted gasbag. He rarely knows what he is talking about, but he states his ignorant opinions with great vigor. He has spent far too much of his life in school and other institutions. He is also a poet, co-organizer of the Japan Writers Conference and the Tokyo Writers Workshop, and earned his MFA at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina.


Kristina Elyse Butke is an American writer, editor, and teacher who indulges in cosplay, art, and all things otaku. She has a BA in English Literature from Capital University and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. A former college English teacher, playwright, and composer, she now writes fantasy and horror. Her work has been published by ExFic, First Class Literary, and Synaeresis Magazine, among others. She’s also worked the convention circuit, presenting panels on writing fanfiction and genre fiction at events such as Ohayocon, Matsuricon, and Colossalcon. In terms of editing, one of her latest projects included subtitle edits for Pied Piper Inc.’s release of the anime Skip Beat!, and she currently edits and contributes to Speculative Chic.


Kristina lives in Kumamoto prefecture in Japan, where she works in multiple high schools as an assistant language teacher. When she isn’t working on all the things, she travels to shrines, hunts for Kumamon, and spends more money than she should at the JUMP shop.


Raised on a consistent diet of superhero comics, action movies, and video games, Percival Constantine wanted to grow up and write the type of fiction he consumed. Now as a prolific author of pulp fiction, he’s written around thirty books across various genres. He’s also the host two podcasts—Japan On Film and Superhero Cinephiles. When he’s not working on projects, he somehow finds time to teach classes in literature, film, and English. Born and raised in Chicago, he’s now based in Kagoshima, Japan.


Alec McAulay is an award-winning writer and director. Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, he has lived in Japan since 1989. He teaches Creative Writing at Yokohama National University. Alec has an MA Screenwriting (Distinction), and a PhD (Screenwriting) from the Faculty of Media & Communication, Bournemouth University. His children’s novel Robot Santa (unpublished) is about a ‘hafu’ Scottish-Japanese girl who builds a robot Santa to save Christmas.


Warren Decker is a teacher and writer based in Izumi, Japan. He has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in The Best American Poetry 2018, The New Ohio Review, Modern Haiku, Sou’wester, and other journals. His first book of poetry The Long Side of the Midnight Sun is available from Isobar Press. He has an MFA in creative writing from the online program at the University of Texas, El Paso.


Jun 26

WIT Life #343: Dispatches from Japan (courtesy of NYT)

Professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03) presents WIT Life, a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she offers some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

We entered Phase 2 this week and it looks like New York continues to move in the right direction, though the same cannot be said for other parts of the country. Tokyo has also seen a slight rise in cases, but the alert was recently lifted so perhaps that has something to do with it.

I’ve been watching the Japanese news and reading the New York Times to keep tabs on how the virus is affecting Japan, and I’d like to share some articles I found most informative and/or interesting.

Last month there was a NYT article about how the pandemic has affected Japanese men and their domestic duties. This month’s reporting focused on the deeply ingrained culture of mask wearing in Japan, as well as how it has been able to maintain a low jobless rate despite the crisis. Happy reading!


Apr 29

WIT Life #341: Hanami at home

Written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03), WIT Life is a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

Hope everyone is holding up ok as we enter our second month of sheltering at home. Some days are better than others, but one thing I’m really missing is soaking up spring. This would typically be the season when I’d be attending all of the 桜祭り (sakura matsuri or cherry blossom festivals) in various parts of Queens, but of course that can’t happen this year.

Thankfully the Sato Sakura Gallery has a virtual fix for people who are craving the cherry blossoms. Check out this related article, which discusses 花見 (hanami or flower viewing) culture, as well as the museum’s amazing collection of sakura screens and paintings. For those who want a literal taste of sakura, try the cherry blossom shake at Shake Shack or pick up some sakura mochi at your local Japanese supermarket.

Hope this tides you over until next year, when we can hopefully enjoy the blossoms by sitting under them with food, drink and friends!


Apr 8

Posted by Tom Baker

The annual Japan Writers Conference is seeking writers, editors and translators to give presentations at this year’s event, to be held in October in Kanagawa Prefecture. Through the years, many JETs and JET alumni writers, including freelancers, have spoken at or attended this event. This year, former JET Charles Kowalski will be cohosting the conference at his university.

The organizers are aware that the coronavirus has added uncertainty to everyone’s plans this year, but they intend to go ahead with the event if it is safe to do so in the autumn. However, they are also contemplating online options, so it might become possible to attend remotely. Here’s the official announcement:

Each year, English-language writers from many fields gather at the Japan Writers Conference to share ideas and experiences on the art, craft and business of writing. In 2020, the 14th annual Japan Writer’s conference will be held on Oct. 10-11 at the Shonan campus of Tokai University in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. Award-winning novelist and JET alum Charles Kowalski, a popular speaker at past conferences, will cohost this year’s event with food and travel writer Joan Bailey.

“The Japan Writers Conference is something special,” said poet John Gribble, a co-organizer of the event. “It is open to all, beginner to pro. It is also an annual collection of rigorous, authoritative lectures, workshops, and discussion groups. Anyone with a concern for the written and published word would benefit from coming.”

The conference is now accepting proposals for presentations. All published writers, as well as translators, editors, agents and publishers, are welcome to submit proposals.

Last year’s JWC presenters included astrophysicst Elizabeth Tasker on writing about science, novelist Evan Fallenberg on writing about sex, and screenwriter Steven Wolfson on structuring plots. Authors Holly Thompson and Mariko Nagai held a workshop on revising young adult fiction.

“This has been a year of isolation for everyone,” Kowalski noted. “But for English-language writers in Japan, that’s familiar territory, and it’s often the most fertile soil for the seeds of inspiration to take root. I hope that, come autumn, we’ll all be able to poke our heads above ground again and share a rich harvest of ideas.”

Writers and others interested in giving presentations, or simply attending the 2020 conference, can find details, including proposal guidelines and a submission form, at http://www.japanwritersconference.org. The deadline for proposals is June 1.

Run entirely by volunteers, the Japan Writers Conference is a free event open to all. Inquiries should be sent to japanwritersconference@gmail.com


Apr 6

Job: Tourism-related writer (Japan) or copyeditor (anywhere)

Posted by Tom Baker

This job listing come from Brendan Craine, a managing editor at Export Japan, a small translation and content production company in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. The job involves the production of expository text for Japan’s various tourist sites under the auspices of the Japan Tourism Agency. Applicants must complete certain trials by April 10. They can receive the trial material by emailing their credentials to writing@export-japan.co.jp with the subject line: “JTA Signage Revision Project 2020 – Inquiry about Freelance Work [first and last name].”

The following is the description provided by Craine, lightly edited:

**********************************

Information about the project (in Japanese) can be found here.

This project has been ongoing since May 2018. Last year alone, we produced over 500 pieces of text for 24 different localities. These texts ranged in topic and medium, from museum panels about national parks to online text about castle ruins, and had our writers traveling to well-known sites in Kyoto and Nikko as well as seldom-traveled islands like Oki and Ogasawara.

The project will continue in this coming year, and we are looking for writers and copyeditors to assist in the text production process.

Position: Writer or Copyeditor
Term: Ongoing between May 2020 and January 2021
Duties: (see trials for in-depth explanation)
Writer: Preliminary research on assigned location, accompanied coverage of local site, production of text and revision in response to editor feedback
Copyeditor: Preliminary research on assigned location, editing of drafted text
Compensation:
Writer: ¥18,000 per 250-word piece of text
Copyeditor: ¥5,000 per 250-word piece of text
(Participants are assigned 15 texts on average)

[Candidates with Japanese language proficiency equivalent to JLPT N2 or better are highly preferred.]

Because writing signage text is markedly different than writing for journalistic or academic publications, the JTA has mandated that writers and copyeditors must be vetted with trials. In order to be considered for either position, you will need to submit its associated trial. (Applications for both positions are also accepted, provided both trials are submitted.) Trials will be accepted until April the 10th.

Although writers residing in Japan are desirable, transportation to/from Japan can be provided for a strong candidate living overseas. Any lodging and transportation costs associated with coverage will be provided. The copyediting work can be performed entirely from overseas.

If you have any clarifying questions/other inquiries, please feel free to respond and ask.
This position is open to any qualified candidate, and referrals are welcome.
In that case, please have your colleagues email their credentials to writing@export-japan.co.jp with the subject line:

“JTA Signage Revision Project 2020 – Inquiry about Freelance Work [first and last name]”


Feb 27

Written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03), WIT Life is a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

Recently I had the chance to check out the newest exhibition at the Sato Sakura Gallery, Curious Beasts. As the name indicates, this collection of paintings is of animal portraits ranging from cats and tigers to dogs and birds. The works are from the artists Fumika Koda and Yuji Musashihara, and being a cat lover I was partial to Koda’s paintings as they mostly feature felines. In particular, I liked her painting Beautiful Spring Day (春うらら, haru urara), which shows a cat caught under falling cherry blossoms (花吹雪, hanafubuki).

Beautiful Spring Day (春うらら)
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Jan 14

WIT Life #338: Get to Know Kanagawa Prefecture!

Written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03), WIT Life is a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

明けましておめでとうございます! 今年もよろしく お願いします。 (Akemashite omedetō gozaimasu! Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu).   Or in more casual parlance, アケオメことよろ (ake-ome-koto-yoro)! Hope 2020, a.k.a. the Year of the Rat, has been treating you well so far. With the Tokyo Olympics around the corner, Japan is already in full gear.

But of course there is much more to Japan than just Tokyo. As part of its Get to Know Japan Series, Japan Society is kicking off the new year with a slew of programs related to Kanagawa Prefecture. The first offering takes place on January 23rd at 6:30 pm, and it has the catchy title of Get to Know Kanagawa: Hot Springs, Japan and the Great Wave. It will be moderated by my friend Susan Miyagi McCormac, Japan cultural connoisseur and founder of JapanCulture·NYC. If that is not enough of an incentive for you, the discussion will be followed by a tasting reception featuring maguro donburi (tuna rice bowl) from Misaki Port and Kanagawa sake!

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