The JASG Newsletter is a quarterly publication which seeks to promote business, cultural exchange, and mutual understanding between Japan and Georgia. The newsletter is circulated among the more than 800 Society members and community partners. Please send suggestions about articles or articles you might want to contribute to The most current newsletter is below. Other archived newsletters in pdf format are at the bottom of the page. To advertise your goods or services, please contact

Japan-America Society of Georgia


Spring 2021 Newsletter

Hideki Matsuyama First Japanese to Win Master’s

On April 11, Hideki Matsuyama became the first Japanese to win the Master’s in Augusta. He came in at ten under par, one shot ahead of his nearest competitors. “It’s thrilling to think there are a lot of youngsters in Japan watching today,” Matsuyama said. “Hopefully in 5 to 10 years when they get a little older, some of them will be competing on the world stage.” Perhaps the image that all took from the victory, though, was his caddie, Shota Hayafuji, bowing at the course to show respect. On News Channel, 6, JASG Executive Director Yoshi Domoto said, “I think Matsuyama’s winning the Master’s is a great way for Japanese, Asian-Americans and people from various backgrounds to see diverse people win a tournament like the Master’s. The Augusta victories of Matsuyama and Kajitani, who won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur the week before the Master’s, put Georgia on the map for Japanese people. Augusta and Takarazuka are sister cities. Hopefully this will help engage the sister city relationship, to bring people to August and bring people from Augusta to visit Japan.

Many JASG members responded to this event:

Kazuyuki Takeuchi, Consul-General of Japan:
“The good news continues to flood in over these past two weeks! Both announcements happened right here in Georgia at Augusta National Golf Club. Congratulations to Hideki Matsuyama for winning the Masters Tournament! It is a great accomplishment to be the first Japanese to win a major tournament on the men's tour.  Congratulations to Tsubasa Kajitani for her outstanding victory in the Women's Amateur Championship! She is also the first Japanese to win this event. These brave figures have brought courage and inspiration to all of Japan, despite the lingering covid-19 pandemic. I look forward to their continued success in the future.”

Scott McMurray, Deputy Commissioner, Georgia Department of Economic Development: "I have followed Matsuyama-senshu around Augusta National many times as I walked the course with our Japanese guests on our annual Red Carpet Tour at the Masters and am absolutely thrilled to see him finally wearing that famous green jacket!"

Akinori Yokosawa, Delta Air Lines: “I have been watching Matsuyama play in the Masters tournament since 2011.  It was the year that Japan was hit by the Earthquake and Tsunami. He was trying to finish college in Sendai.  He said he would play for the Masters to give courage to people in Tohoku.  It took him 10 years to win a green jacket but the fact he won the most prestigious and most competitive golf tournament in the world will bring tremendous moral boost to many Japanese.”

Yuko Takahashi, J.F. Oberlin University and former JOI Coordinator: “I am sure that more people in Japan heard "Georgia" and more people in Georgia heard "Japanese" because of his win. I hope this will be another step for mutual understanding between Georgia and Japan.”

Mariko Shimoda, former JASG-GEN-J Coordinator: “I was very excited about his win. The Augusta masters are well known in Japan. Many Japanese not only golf fans were proud of his achievement. Hopefully his win will cement our great relationship. His caddie's bowing to the golf course symbolizes our respect for each other. Congratulations Matsuyama-san."

Message from the Chair



    Al Hodge

    JASG Chair

    President & CEO, Hodge Consulting Services

         Traditionally, Spring in the Air equates to a new vibe and freshness in outlook for life. This year spring is full of eager anticipation with more vaccinations, better healthcare delivery and reopenings.  

  •      What a way to open April - TWO Augusta National Golf Club winners with back to back victories with Japanese players as Champions.  We congratulate Augusta National Women's Amateur winner Tsubasa Kajitani and The Masters Champion Hideki Matsuyama.  They represent their home country by upholding the High Standard of Diplomacy, Respect and Modesty for which Japan is highly regarded. This was symbolized by Shota Hayafuji bowing to show respect to the course itself.

  •      A bonus: they earned their titles immediately prior to the first State Visit, by Prime Minister Suga and President Biden.  With all that is occurring in our respective nations and the world, aren't these wins an excellent prelude to the heavy discussions about trade, security and further strengthening alliances during the coming days? We look forward to learning from Consul General Kazayuki Takeuchi following the visit for his important perspective and outlook.

  •      The Society is continuing its work to educate, learn, inform, relate introduce and renew each other and newcomers here and in Japan.  Thank you to members who are digitally virtually participating as panelists and viewers for the numerous virtual times together. We look forward to more and we also plan to meet in person in the next few weeks.

  •       Yoshi and Maki and other Staff and Member Teams are continuing to work for all of us to deliver programming and other essential work for which we are grateful.

  •      As we reopen our businesses, homes and activities, we excitedly prepare for the near and long-term future.

JASG and Make-A-Wish Foundation Join Together 

     On Sunday, March 28th, 70 friends, family and members of the Loganville, GA community came together to celebrate and cherish one of their own. Beckam, 12, is a current wish child living with a very rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. His most heartfelt wish is to visit Japan, not only to see the beautiful cherry blossoms in full bloom and visit the world’s video game capital but also to immerse himself in Japanese culture, cuisine, and history. Due to the global pandemic, Beckam’s wish was postponed. On top of his wish postponement, Beckam also underwent a very intense spinal surgery that left him bedridden for months. 

     Make-A-Wish Georgia inspires supporters to create hope, and that’s exactly what Beckam’s community did. The local Loganville police & fire department, Loganville High school & Elementary school, Home Depot, Synovus Bank and many more surprised Beckam and his family with a socially distant car parade to show love and support. Even a few of Beckam’s favorite anime characters showed up to help make his wish celebration extra special! The cherry on top was having Japanese pop artist, Junko Fujiyama, and Japanese flute artist and lion dance performer, Mie Osawa, travel to meet Beckam and perform for him, bringing a little bit of Japan to Loganville. The Japan-America Society of Georgia also provided Beckam with a full list of Japanese experiences that he could do while he waits for his trip, including a cooking class, storytelling and a language lesson. Beckam’s wish celebration just goes to show that when our communities come together to help supply a child with hope, strength and joy, anything is possible. A child’s wish begins with hope, and hope begins with you. 

     Beckam is one of 50 wish kids in the Athens, GA area who is currently waiting for their wish to come true. To learn more about how you can help us grant more wishes like Beckam’s, please visit: Make-A-Wish® Georgia.

The Japan-America Society of Georgia offers its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the heartbreaking shootings in Georgia. Loss of any life is tragic, and we are saddened by the ongoing bloodshed in our communities. We condemn violence of all kinds and pray for peace and understanding of all peoples. Please join us in spreading OMOIYARI (a Japanese term for compassion, empathy, and action) with love and sympathy in continuing the legacy of those we’ve lost.


The Japan-America Society of Georgia congratulates Mr. Day Lancaster, Senior Vice President, Japan Corporate Services at NAI Brannen Goddard, and Ms. Yumiko Nakazono, Managing Director of the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Tokyo Office, as the most recent recipients of the Mike Mansfield Awards in 2021. JASG established The "Mike Mansfield Awards" in December 1985 in honor of former Ambassador Mansfield's outstanding and steadfast efforts in fostering goodwill between Japan and the United States. The awards are presented to outstanding Americans and Japanese who have continuously contributed their efforts toward promoting better understanding of cultural and economic issues between the peoples of the United States and Japan. Fore more information, see:

Upcoming Events

May 5           BYOL In-Person Tomodachi Event with Atlanta Trees Presentation


May 11          Kayobi-kai


May 20        Women’s Series: Board Diversity:  Discussion of women’s roles in corporate and non-profit experience.

May 22        Outdoor Japanese Film Screening: Mameshiba


May 27        Cyber Security Webinar


May 29        Nihongo-Eigo-Kai


May 30        Miso Ramen Cooking Demonstration


June 12        Daruma Workshop and Demonstration


June 19        Outdoor Japanese Film Screening


July 24        Outdoor Japanese Film Screening

Global Atlanta

Young Women’s Academy to Launch Atlanta Public Schools’ First Japanese Program

An acclaimed academy for young women is set to offer Atlanta Public Schools’ first-ever Japanese language program and plans to kickstart the program with a related physical education class: karate. Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy is a STEM-certified girls school that runs from grades six through 12. It boasts a 100 percent graduation rate — an enviable achievement for any high school, much less one in one of the city’s most under-resourced zip codes in northwest Atlanta. To access the full article, please click:


What is now referred to as “JapanFest” began in 1981 as Japan Week, a biannual series of Japan-related cultural events organized by the Consulate General of Japan that took place around th Atlanta. In 1986, the name was changed to JapanFest, and the Japan America Society of Georgia, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia, and the Consulate General of Japan organized its own events under the title of JapanFest. In 1993, the first Japan Picnic & Sports Day was held at Mercer University. In 1995, Picnic & Sports Day became Japan Day at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. In 1996, JapanFest moved to Stone Mountain Park and became an annual event. In 1997, JapanFest, Inc. was incorporated as a non-profit corporation.

"We conducted a survey earlier this year and received many responses from people saying they miss JapanFest, just as we do. We are now making plans to be able to safely hold an in-person festival this year and look forward to continuing to introduce and share Japanese culture. The event may not be exactly the same as before, but we believe the event will bring the same fun and joy as it always has!"


Due to COVIID-19, JASG has been focusing on virtual programing: webinars, seminars, cooking lessons, children’s programs, and Japanese language classes. Moving forward, we will be attempting more hybrid programs that are both virtual and small groups congregating. CDC guidelines will still be followed.

 Mar 30:

Innovation and Sustainability in Agriculture

While Georgia and Japan share close ties in business and economic development with over 600 Japanese affiliated companies employing over 36,000 people, one area somewhat overlooked is agriculture.  Technological innovation and implementation and sustainability initiatives are keys to resolving new challenges in maintaining food security, keeping up with growing demand, and protecting the environment. The JASG collaborated with the Consulate General of Japan on this agriculture focused webinar that featured environmental issues and how one Japanese company is developing technology and sustainability goals to make key future impacts. After opening remarks by JASG Chair Al Hodge about historical and recent agricultural efforts by both Japanese and Georgian organizations, Phil Best introduced Kubota Manufacturing of America Corporation in Gainesville, and Kubota Industrial Equipment Corporation in Jefferson, Georgia. He is responsible for Human Resources, Training, Safety, Administration, Information Technology and the Legal Departments as well as Government and Community Relations for one of the largest Japanese companies in Georgia. Eri Saikawa from Emory also discussed her work and research on environmental health including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by all U.N. members as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. Recognizing that action in one area affects outcomes in others, the 17 SDGs are integrated  so development balances social, economic and environmental sustainability. The panel highlighted how government, academia, and the private sector can better collaborate. More specifically academic research on companies committed to innovation like Kubota, allowing farmers to be more effective producers using new technology such as drones and autonomous tractors results in protecting the environment for future generations. With Georgia and Japan’s work on agriculture and potential new partnerships, the collaborative prospects of new breakthroughs are optimistic for years to come. To view the webinar, please see: . For more about Saikawa-sensei, see:

 Mar 25:
US-Japan Now: Geostrategic Impacts on a New World

     As part of the U.S.-Japan Geostrategy series inviting experts from Japan and the U.S. to discuss geostrategic issues, this unique program featured Dr. Sheila Smith, Senior Fellow of Council on Foreign Relations, and Dr. Koji Murata, President Emeritus and Professor of Political Science of Doshisha University.

     JASG Executive Director Yoshi Domoto welcomed all by briefly discussing Georgia-Japan relations and JASG’s role in promoting mutual understanding between Japan and Georgia by promoting programs in business, culture, education, social exchange and public affairs. After thanking program sponsors, Peter Kelly, President of the National Association of Japan-America Societies, discussed the Geostrategy Series, the importance of U.S.-Japan relations, the uniqueness of the JAS network, and the importance of peer-to-peer grassroots relationships.

     Dr. Smith briefed attendees on the Biden administration and its meetings with “The Quad”, an alliance among the U.S., Japan, India, and Australia, where some major topics included security, pandemic response to COVID-19, economic trade, political alliance, and technology innovation. With the four nations sharing similar ideals and goals, the meetings set hopeful precedents for future cooperation.  Dr. Smith concluded her remarks by sharing her positive outlook on the U.S.-Japan alliance with a unified stance on the management of possible challenges with China in the future. 

     Dr. Murata remarked on former President Trump’s sustained popularity in Japan due to his strict attitude towards China. However, Japanese have become more confident about President Biden. Dr. Murata’s is optimistic about the future of the Japan-America alliance with new leadership in both countries prioritizing human rights, global health, and environmental issues. 2021 will be critical for Japan with upcoming elections and the Tokyo Olympics. He concluded by stressing the need for the U.S-Japan alliance to be stable, as China becomes the world’s largest economy.

     During the discussion, both panelists analyzed the relationship of both countries over the years. Other topics during the open discussion included the biggest geostrategic challenges and opportunities for the U.S. and Japan, insights about the politics of military power and Japanese domestic politics in relation to a rising China, Japan’s public opinion about current events in the U.S. politically and socially, and Prime Minister Suga’s relationship with President Biden. With all that is happening around the world, both panelists emphasized the enormity of a strong U.S.-Japan relationship to help shape our world positively in the future. To conclude the program, Dr. Smith and Dr. Murata discussed some key things each country can learn from the other. During closing remarks, JAG’s Chair Al Hodge thanked the sponsoring organizations and re-emphasized the role of grassroots organizations like the JASG and other regional and community groups in strengthening the unique bilateral relationship the U.S. and Japan share. He encouraged audience members to continue supporting the alliance and be active in a variety of ways to raise awareness of key issues and promote better understanding among people with different cultural backgrounds.

     JASG appreciates support from the Consulate General of Japan, Georgia Tech Ciber, NAJAS, and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation who helped make this event possible. To view  the entire webinar, please see:

 Feb 24:  U.S.-Japan Business Leaders Series: Conversation with AFLAC

     Andrew Conrad, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and compliance Office of Aflac Life Insurance Japan and Senior Vice President of Aflac International, was featured in the JASG and NAJAS Business Leaders Series.

     Conrad addressed diversity in the workplace, remote work environments, and advancing technology in company operations. AFLAC has been especially advanced in promoting women in company leadership. Of course, some operations must still be face-to-face, but COVID has forced AFLAC Japan to rethink much of the way they have been working.  Although the Japanese still prefer the team building afforded by being present at the office, automated payroll and customer payments have improved speed and accuracy. Since process is so important to the efficient running of Japanese companies, COVID has been especially challenging.

    Conrad also emphasized that the Japanese market is very sophisticated and demanding. However, once a company earns the trust of its Japanese customers, they are excessively loyal. As long as a company has a great product and provides good service, the Japanese market is very positive. In addition to the respect Conrad feels for how business is done in Japan, he also enjoys living here. 

     Conrad reminisced about how Japan has changed in the last 25 years in terms of flexibility, transparency, and marketing. Finally, he discussed AFLAC’s contribution to the community: in Atlanta there is the Aflac Cancer Center that focuses on childhood cancer and sickle cell anemia. In Japan there are three Aflac houses for families that have children undergoing cancer treatment. Aflac Japan also gives scholarships for children to attend high school. 

     JASG appreciates support from Aflac,  NAJAS, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan who helped make this event possible.

 Feb 11:

    Manufacturing & Sustainability:  Protecting the Future Environment

    Griffin-Spalding County is now home to a growing number of Japanese manufacturing companies thanks to the development of Georgia’s first eco-mixed-use park, The Lakes at Green Valley. Two of the first companies to come to the park, Otsuka Chemical America & Toppan USA, have committed to sustainability and protecting the environment through its production of materials, supply chain and facility management.

    This webinar provided a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how activities and operational processes promoting sustainability can lead to positive impact to business and the community. Speakers were Eri Saikawa of Emory University, David Luckie of Griffin-Spalding County, Richard Cope of Toppan USA, and Shannon Michael of Otsuka Chemical USA.  To view the webinar, please see:
       Jan 29

      Re-Imagine Your Career & Life in 2021 with IKIGAI

      After having survived 2020 and about to hit the reset button to start the brand new year, Nozomi Morgan, Founder and CEO of Michiki Morgan, shared the Japanese philosophy of IKIGAI and how it can help you boost your confidence and create your unique path the success. It is the Japanese secret to waking up with Joy and Purpose every day. She provided practical ideas to shifting everyone’s life during this uncertain time and to making 2021 everyone’s best year yet.  To view the event, please see:

       Jan 12

      US-Japan COVID 19: What We Learned and What’s Next 

           The Covid Pandemic response webinar invited Dr David Ku, Infectious Disease Physician at Osaka University Hospital & Technical Advisor at the COVID-19 Headquarters of The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, and Dr Daiichi Mori, Chair Professor of Engineering Entrepreneurship, Regents' Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship's Program for Engineering at Georgia Tech to discuss the American and Japanese handling of the pandemic.

           Dr Ku began by speaking about the US response, which was not coordinated and has resulted in inconsistencies in monitoring travel, mask wearing, testing, and vaccine rollout. Next, Dr Mori talked about how Japan is culturally better equipped for things like mask mandates as people already wear them voluntarily. The Japanese government is also legally allowed to isolate infected people in hotels and hospitals. America’s culture is more individualistic which has caused a difference in how Americans respond. However, Japanese hospitals are much smaller with beds intended for chronic care, which has burdened the system. The webinar concluded was then a Q&A segment, which answered many questions about travel and comparing government responses along with closing remarks by Japan America Society Vice Chair Jessica Cork. JASG appreciates support from the Consulate General of Japan and Georgia Tech’s CIBER Program who helped make this event possible. To view the webinar, please see:  


      Apr 20

      Sakura Mochi Workshop

      On April 20, Chef Takayuki Minagawa, the official chef for the residence of the Consul General of Japan did a webinar teaching JASG members how to make delicious Sakura Mochi, a symbol of the coming of spring in Japan. To see the actual ingredients and the instructions in the recipe, please see the Culinary Corner in this edition of the JASG newsletter.

      Mar 20

      2021 Virtual Japan Academic Challenge

      On March 20, 2021, 31 high schoolers from across Georgia studying Japanese met virtually for the 2021 Annual Japanese Academic Challenge. The Japan Academic Challenge is an annual quiz bowl-style competition that tests student knowledge of Japanese culture and language. The Challenge has 4 levels: Level 1 for students in their first year of Japanese, Level 2 for second year students, Level 3 for third year students, and Level 4 for fourth year students. This year, a total of 13 teams competed. The results were:

      Level 1 First Place: Milton High School; Second Place: Georgia Virtual School B; Third Place: Georgia Virtual School A;

      Level 2 First Place: Riverwood International Charter School; Second Place: Milton High School; Third Place: Georgia Virtual School;

      Level 3 First Place: Milton High School A; Second Place: Georgia Virtual School; Third Place: Riverwood International Charter School;

      Level 4 First Pace: Roswell High School; Second Place: Milton High School.

      The JASG would like to express gratitude for the gracious support from event sponsors, Temple University Japan Campus and The Japan Foundation. Special thanks also goes to The Japan-America Society of Washington D.C., The Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta and Georgia Association of Teachers of Japanese.
      March 18

      Webinar: Vulnerability, Authenticity, Feminism in Japan & Beyond

      On March 18, JASG hosted a discussion by Tokyo-based author Shu Matsuo Post, a successful Japanese businessman who chose to take his wife’s last name when he got married. The opposition he encountered gave him an unexpected glimpse into a woman’s world, so he decided to write a book entitled I Took Her Name to share his experiences. The discussion delved into such topics as what benefits being a feminist can hold for men, why women take their husband’s last name in 96 percent of Japanese couples, how Japanese men can take advantage of paternity leave, the ways in which sexism is ingrained in Japanese language, and what men can do to promote feminism and better support their partner’s ambitions. The talk was followed by a lively Q&A session, with so many participants asking engaging (and tough!) questions that Matsu Post graciously agreed to extend the webinar to answer every question. To experience this fascinating discussion, check out

      Shu Matsuo Post sent JASG the following comments: “When my wife and I got married in 2017, we decided to combine our last names. In the U.S., where she is from, the name-changing process was simple. But it was far from simple in my home country, Japan. To date, Japan doesn't allow married couples to combine last names so I decided to take my wife's name.  And that changed my life. Until I went through the name-changing process, I didn't know that 96% of women in Japan end up taking their husband's name after marriage. That means only 4% of men in Japan change their name. If society were equal, why wouldn’t that number be near 50%? The more I thought about inequality in society, the more issues I noticed around the world: Why do men get paid more than their female counterparts for doing the same work? Why are there overwhelmingly more stay-at-home moms than dads? What would be the benefits of achieving gender equality for men? I never had to think about because I was born a male. My mom took my dad's last name when they got married. So did all of my friends' parents growing up. I thought it was just what everyone was supposed to without knowing the reason behind it.  My dad was the sole family breadwinner and so were most of my friends' dads. I thought men were supposed to make more money because they had to provide for their families. My mom stayed home to take care of my brother and me and so did most of my friends' moms. I thought women were supposed to be the caregivers to children because all babies come from mothers. I thought gender equality was something only women were supposed to fight for. I kept asking myself questions: Why do boys struggle academically at school? Why are prisons full of men? Why is the most common cause of death for men under 50 suicide? Because men have been conditioned to believe manhood is supposed to be a certain way: never cry, be strong, don't show your feelings, play through the pain, suck it up, win at all costs, don't lose, be aggressive, get rich, and get laid. “Yes, patriarchy hurts men, too. But when I realized that all those supposed to's didn't have to be that way, I got out of the cage I was trapped in. I found the freedom I wanted. Searching for gender equality gave me the courage to live my truth. Until we create a culture that people can live the life they choose regardless of who we are, we are all trapped in a cage. Gender equality isn't just about women's empowerment. It's for men to confront expectations and fly out of the cage freely.” For more information see Post’s website: 

      Mar 11

      Japan on Georgia’s Mind – 10 Years After 3/11/2011

      March 11, 2021 marked the 10-year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The Japan-America Society of Georgia collaborated with the Consulate General of Japan and communities all over Georgia creating messages of hope as part of a remembrance project to pay tribute to the strength, resiliency, and resurgence for to those affected by one of history’s most devastating natural disasters in Japan. The Japan on Georgia’s Mind webinar began with a message from the Consul General of Japan in Atlanta about his perspective about the destruction, relief, and rebuilding efforts in the Tohoku area.  The third panelist was Trevor Williams of Global Atlanta who talked about how business relationships transform into personal relationships between the people of Japan and Georgia.  Jessica Cork then honored Taylor Anderson who was an English teacher on the JET program and the first confirmed American casualty of the natural disaster. The Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund exists to aid in recovery of the Ishinomaki region where she was a teacher and to help bridge Japan and America. The webinar concluded with a shortened version of the “We Remember” video tribute, which combined the voices of people all over Georgia sending a message of support to the people of Japan.  To view “Japan on Georgia’s Mind,” see


      Tomodachi Club was established in October 1981 under the sponsorship of JASG to promote friendship, cultural exchange, and understanding among Japanese and American women.  Membership ranges between 55-60 women in two membership categories: Active members who attend both our General Meetings and Small Group Meetings, and Support members who attend only our General meetings.   Our General Meetings are held five times each year on Wednesdays in September, November, January, March, and May, and consist of a program followed by lunch at a local restaurant or club. The small groups meet at least twice a year and arrange their own activities. To become a member of our Tomodachi Club or for additional information, please contact Ms. Maki Murahashi at the JASG office, Tel. 404-842-1400 or

      Although the 2020-2021 Tomodachi year has been challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tomodachi Club continued to meet virtually on their regular schedule via the Zoom platform, for both General and Small Group meetings. Members logged on to the Zoom link at 10:30 am for about 30 minutes of socializing in breakout rooms.  The programs would begin around 11:00 am, followed by a question-and-answer period, finishing at noon.  Members would then enjoy lunch in their own homes instead of at a restaurant. Although we met virtually, the programs were interesting and informative and members were very supportive to keep the group together.

      On Wednesday, September 9, 2020, we held our very first virtual meeting. The program was titled “Orchids: Divas of the Design World,” and Terry Furuta, an orchid specialist who owns her own shop in Buckhead, acquainted us with the various orchid varieties, how to care for them, and how to decorate with orchids in unique ways. As Terry presented the program from her shop, it was very easy for her to show us the orchid plants as she discussed them. Terry also provided our members with a care sheet.

      Our November meeting was originally scheduled for Wednesday, November 4th, but due to the tornadoes that struck the north metro area and caused a power failure, we had to postpone the meeting until November 18th.  Utako Tanigawa, a Tomodachi member and concert pianist, not only entertained us with beautiful music but also educated us about the music of three of her favorite composers: Beethoven, Schubert, and Chopin. Before playing each musical selection, she acquainted us with the history of the piece as well as a short biography of the composer.

      In January, our program turned to food with a program titled, “A Taste of Japan.”  On Wednesday, January 13th, Chef Ikumi from Nakato Restaurant demonstrated several recipes, including how to make Temari Sushi, Dashi Stock, and Chawanmushi.  Several days before the program, Chef Ikumi provided members with a copy of the recipes as well as photos of the ingredients in their original packaging so they could be recognized and purchased from the Japanese section of Buford Highway Farmers’ Market.  Members could then prepare the dishes at home while following Chef Ikumi’s demonstration.

      Our March meeting was held on Wednesday, March 3rd, the same day as the Japanese Hina Matsuri Festival, also known as “Girl’s Day” or “Dolls’ Day.” On this special day, Japanese homes with daughters set up a multi-tiered display of dolls representing the Emperor and Empress, three ladies-in-waiting, five musicians, two guardians and miniature pieces of lacquer furniture. In keeping with the date of this celebration, Anne Godsey, Tomodachi Co-Chair, presented a PowerPoint titled, “The World of Japanese Dolls,” using some examples from her collection. Japan has the greatest variety of dolls in the world with most of them for display rather than toys.  In addition to discussing the Hina Matsuri dolls, Anne discussed other varieties of dolls, including the beautiful Hakata dolls from Kyushu, the Kokeshi dolls that are found in tourist spots all over Japan, Kimekomi dolls, imperial Gosho dolls, etc.

      Our final meeting for the 2020-2021 Tomodachi year will be held on Wednesday, May 5th, and after more than one year of virtual meetings, we will finally meet in person again in the backyard of our member, Carol Dew. To keep everyone safe and healthy, we will practice social distancing and wear masks in accordance with the current Covid-19 protocols.   In keeping with the outdoor theme and venue, our program will be presented by Greg Levine, Co-Executive Director of Trees Atlanta.  Greg will tell us about the mission and vision of Trees Atlanta and acquaint us with their specific projects.  Members will bring the main course of their own lunch, while the Tomodachi Club will provide individually-wrapped desserts and drinks in bottles or cans.

      Over the summer, the four Tomodachi co-chairs, Kaori Dixon, Silvana Eakin, Anne Godsey, and Keiko Lillis, will be very busy planning the five General Meetings for our 2021-2022 season.  Further information about the program and venue for each meeting will be available in late August.  In addition, the Tomodachi Club has two small group meetings, in October and February, which are planned and organized by the small group co-chairs.

      • The JASG Young Professionals (YP) was established in 1996. YP is dedicated to creating a friendly, stimulating environment in which young professionals with an interest in international business and U.S.-Japan relations can gather and learn from local experts and from one another. Informal, informative and interactive YP programs enhance member knowledge of Japan and U.S.-Japan relations. The YP meetings are also about having fun. Members are encouraged to get to know one another socially. Young Professionals are friendly, supportive, and excellent sources of information on a variety of subjects. Please consider joining them. To join, go to:

        • April 17       YP and Family Online Trivia Challenge

          On April 17, JASG Young Professionals and their families gathered on Zoom to compete in a trivia quiz that tested knowledge on anime, music, film and US-Japan-Georgia relations virtually with friends and family. Winners received fun prizes for their efforts. Some of the questions included:

            • 1. What year was the JASG founded?
            • 2. In what country did sukiyaki originate?
            • 3. Who was the only Japanese prime minister to visit Atlanta in 1981?
            • 4. Before Tokyo, Japan had a number of capital cities. What was the capital before Tokyo?
            • 5. Which Japanese artist influenced by Walt Disney is considered the father of manga?
            • 6. What Japanese fish delicacy contains a neural toxin that must be specially prepared?
            • 7. What is Atlanta’s sister city in Japan?

      Asia-Pacific Children’s Program

      by Debra Owen

      The Japan-America Society of Georgia (JASG) invites students in Georgia born between August 1, 2009 and July 31, 2010 (10 and 11-year-olds) to participate in the 2021 Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC), a unique cultural exchange program promoting peace and understanding among kids from all over the world. The APCC is normally held in-person in Fukuoka, Japan – Atlanta’s Sister City, but because of the global pandemic, this year’s program will be online through the APCC’s BRIDGE Virtual Summer Camp. Apply by May 31, 2021 at

      Once again, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the APCC. Although the APCC was initially scheduled to be this held in person, in Fukuoka, this year, because the pandemic continues to flare up around the world, the APCC again made the difficult decision to hold the convention virtually and call it the BRIDGE Virtual Summer Camp. 

      This news was tough to deliver to the 2020 Junior Ambassadors, who were very excited about the prospect of attending the 2021 convention in person. I am super proud of all of them, as they handled the news like champs, and 3 of them have decided to continue with the virtual program this year. In addition, the JASG has been offered the ability to select 4 additional students to participate in this unique opportunity this year. The students must be 2 boys and 2 girls and be born between August 1, 2009, and July 31, 2010. The addition of these children will be a great leadership and mentoring opportunity for the older 2020 Junior Ambassadors!

      On March 9, we were informed that both Bridge Club Atlanta Peace Ambassador Applications for the 2021 program were accepted. Congratulations to Nithya Guithikonda (JA, 2015) and Jamie Marlowe (JA, 2016) on their acceptance to the 2021 Peace Ambassador program! We are proud of them. They will represent Bridge Club Atlanta very well. Regarding her participation in this year's Peace Ambassador program, Jamie Marlowe said: "I'm so excited to participate in this year's PA program to strengthen global connections, meet and collaborate with new people, and make Bridge Club Atlanta the strongest it has ever been! I am so honored to have the opportunity to work with people across the world." Nithya Guthikonda also commented: “I am thankful to represent Bridge Club Atlanta this year as a 2021 PA! We are working towards creating a stronger global network by meeting others through this opportunity and making friends. Our goal is to foster empathy and peace, and I am excited to be a part of this mission!”

      Bridge Club Atlanta News

      Our Bridge Club activities continue to be remote because of the global pandemic. Since our last report, Bridge Club Atlanta has met virtually with Bridge Club Hawaii. Our meeting comprised of icebreaker games that we played together to get to know each other better. In addition, our Co-Presidents, Jamie Marlowe, Nithya Guthikonda, and I (as advisor) all participated in the Bridge Club Presidents Meeting on April 16th. Watch out soon for our continued Smile Support Fundraising projects to ensure the continuance of this unique and vital cultural program.

      Member Spotlights

      Have a Coke and Tea Society

      From one year ago, the JASG has instituted a series of interviews with its individual and corporate members that are posted on the JASG YouTube page. We hope that the JASG members learn more about each other by enjoying these interviews.

      Trevor Williams is the managing editor of Global Atlanta whose beat is Asia. Global Atlanta offers a free monthly email newsletter offering the deepest reporting on business, educational and cultural ties between Georgia and Japan.  To enjoy his interview and learn about his story, see:

      Ramona Houston, PhD, PMP is a social impact strategist who is passionate about community engagement and solving social problems. She believes that all business enterprises have the capacity and responsibility to serve the community and address social challenges. Ramona founded Kaliráh Strategies to support businesses, embrace social responsibility, champion diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), and invest in social impact. To enjoy this interview and earn about her story, see: .

      Akinori Yokosawa is Delta’s Manager of the Joint Venture Asia Market, overseeing the sales and distribution strategy of Delta and JV Partner Korean Air. A 28-year Delta veteran, Akinori e is currently responsible for 16 Asian countries.  Akinori has experience working in Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. To enjoy his interview and learn about his story, see:


      The Georgia Department of Economic Development is the state’s sales and marketing arm, attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses. Meet Deputy Commissioner of Global Commerce Scott McMurray, new Managing Director of the Tokyo Office Joseph Huntemann, and new Project Manager overseeing Japanese projects Mellissa Takeuchi. To enjoy this interview, see:

      • Culinary Corner

      • Culinary Corner: Sakura Corner

      • This recipe is provided by the personal chef of the Consul General of Japan: Takayuki Minagawa.

      • Crepe Recipe


                                            Cake flour    60 grams

                                            Mochiko or sweet rice flour or potato starch or tapioca powder  10 grams

                                            Sugar                        15 grams

                                            Water            125 cc

                                            Red Bean Paste to taste

                                            Red Food coloring

                                            Cherry Leaf


        Homemade red bean paste:
          • 1.    Soak 300 g of red beans in water overnight
          • 2.   Pour red bean and water mixture into a pot and add a teaspoon of baking soda and bring to boil for 1 minute
          • 3.   Drain the mixture using a colander
          • 4.   After draining the water, pour the remaining beans back into the pat and heat over low heat for about 3 hours
          • 5.    Once the beans are soft, add 500 grams of sugar and simmer until the liquid evaporates and red beans are concentrated

         Instructions to Make Crepes

          • 1.    Mix the rice cake flour and water
          • 2.   Add sugar and flour and mix together gently
          • 3.   Add red food coloring (by using a toothpick to gently drop in color until batter becomes pale pink
          • 4.   Use a hot plate heated to 320 degrees F or a frying pan on low heat, spread the batter into an oval shape to cook
          • 5.    Flip to cook both sides


          • Cherry Leaf is traditionally salted and dried but as this ingredient is not readily available in the US, please use a leaf from your own garden. The leaf will keep for a few days in the refrigerator and is used only for decoration.
          • Red bean paste can be bought from a Japanese or Asian food market for convenience.
        If the ingredients are not available at your regular supermarket, please go to Tomato Japanese Grocery or H-Mart in Atlanta or your local Asian supermarket.

      Japan America Society of Georgia

      Newsletter Contributors:

           Jessica Cork

           Maria Domoto

           Yoshi Domoto

           Albert Hodge

           Anne Godsey

           Kazuko Lilie

           Caitlin Marshall

           Takayuki Minagawa

           Sophie Monsibais

           Nozomi Morgan

           Maki Murahashi

           Debra Owen

           Lindsi Pearson

           Trevor Williams

      To advertise in future newsletters,


      The Japan-America
      Society of Georgia

      1900 Century Place NE
      Suite 112

      Atlanta, GA 30345

      Tel: (404) 842-1400
      Fax: (404) 842-1415


      New Corporate Members

       Cobb Competitive Edge  Institutional Member
       Maxis Advisors     Small Business Member
       Metro Atlanta Chamber   Institutional Member
       Nippon Light Metal Georgia   Regular Member
       Otsuka Chemical America    Regular Member
       Valdosta-Lowndes County Economic Development  Institutional Member
       World Options
       Small Business Member

      New Individual Members     

        Naomi Akita   Noriko Aoi   Amy Armistead   Gerrai Bailey
        Emily Becker   John Becker   Paul Boshears   Lisa Bradley
        Hailey Brett   Daniel Brown   Ada Cepeda   Jennifer Chang
        Ike Chi   Adam Cobis-Ribeiro   A’tiana Cooper   Leigha DeHaan
        Kennard Edwards   Alex Hammett   Rich Hammett   Deva Hirsch   
        Nathan Juster   Cherissa Kell   Luca LaFaire   Jenny Leasure
        Linda Lee   Jason Lehrer   Teresa Lei   Jacqueline Lewis
        Hannah Lynch   Joan Magwood   Parag Marather   Jeff McCool   
        Victoria McEntire   Sharnise McMichael   Rueben Medina   Chandler Meyers
        Elizabeth Miles   Candida Moyer   Izumi Mueller   Maya Negishi
        Dalton Nickerson   Alexandria Pearson   Michelle Poust   Sonali Pradhan
        Jeff Siewert   Bailey Sowka   Olivia Stallings   Emiko Suzuki
        Laura Szymanski   Karen Takada   Laura Takeshita   Leif Terry
        Matthew Unwin   Bill Winans    

      The Japan-America Society of Georgia, Inc.

      is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located

       in Atlanta, Georgia with the mission

       to promote the mutual understanding 

      between the people of Japan and

      the State of Georgia


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