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The Japan-America Society of Georgia

ジョージア日米協会 Spring 2022 Newsletter

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 Fest dates have been set! Come join us September 17-18 at the Gas South Convention Center in Gwinnett. Experience the rich culture of Japan right here in Georgia with performers, anime, children’s games, food, workshops, and JBig vendors. For more information as plans firm up and to sign up to participate or purchase tickets, please see:


Georgia Legislators Celebrate Connections to Japan


In early March 2022, the Georgia legislators celebrated the 48th anniversary of the Consulate-General of Japan in Atlanta and the various accomplishments of the Georgia-Japan community by passing a resolution - In 2019, members of the Georgia General Assembly announced the launch of the Georgia-Japan Legislative Caucus. Representative David Knight will continue to serve as one of the original four Co-Chairs of the Caucus, along with new incoming Co-Chairs Representative Teri Anulewicz, Senator Kay Kirkpatrick and Senator Sally Harrell.  The Caucus was formed to sustain and enhance economic and cultural relationships between Japan and the state of Georgia. Caucus members will work with businesses and cultural communities and collaborate with Japanese and Japanese-American groups and organizations. More than half of the 1,200 Japanese affiliated companies in the consulate’s Southeast district are in Georgia, and those companies employ more than 30,000 Georgians. The Caucus is open to all local legislators, particularly those who have Japanese-owned companies in their districts, represent Georgia-Japan sister cities, or generally support foreign direct investment in the state.

Message from the Chair


  • Hope Amidst Adversity

  •      As I write this message, we have entered risshun (立春) the period that marks the beginning of spring on the traditional


    -Tagami Kikusha (1753-1826)

    Japanese calendar. I’ve always loved the East Asian concept that spring begins not with the vernal equinox but six weeks earlier with risshun, when the plum blossoms start pushing their petals open through the snow and ice. When the custom of hanami started during the Nara period (710–794), it was ume blossoms that people admired in the beginning, not cherry blossoms. I’ve always found ume beautiful precisely because of their determination to bloom in the most adverse of conditions and the hope they bring in doing so.

         This new year certainly has brought its fair share of adversity, especially in Eastern Europe. But like

  • the ume blooming through the snow, I am determined to feel hopeful, bolstered especially by the spirit of international peace and friendship displayed during the recent Olympic games. And we definitely should be celebrating the stellar performance of Asian-American athletes, with Chloe Kim, Nathan Chen, and Eileen Gu winning gold medals in their sports. The value of having such positive role models for the next generation to emulate, especially during this particular moment in history for the AAPI community, cannot be overstated. As Nathan Chen said about Michelle Kwan, “…Having athletes that look like you certainly gives you the hope that you can do the same.” Representation brings hope to all who follow.

    But the most inspiring moment for me during the Olympics was not the gold medal wins but the courage displayed by two-time Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu attempting the most difficult jump in figure skating: the quadruple axel. A quadruple axel is so difficult that few skaters have attempted it, even in practice. For Hanyu, the quadruple axel was the biggest motivating factor in Beijing, bigger than winning a third gold medal. He was not satisfied with achieving what others had already done; instead he risked everything in an attempt to achieve what no one had done. He may not have landed the quadruple axel, but he ended his career a winner in everyone’s eyes.

         And I find much hope in the huge goal our own Society is trying to accomplish in building a Japanese bell tower for President Carter’s “Peace Bell.” To be honest, I had no idea what we were getting into when this project was first conceived one year ago. My dad, who built the home I grew up in on the weekends in his spare time, always used to say that construction projects take twice the time and double the budget you anticipate. Given my childhood experience, I’m not sure why I’m surprised that this project is any different. But let’s take inspiration from the Olympic athletes we watched this year and eliminate the obstacles that stand in our way while staying focused on our goal – to complete a magnificent bell tower celebrating international peace and friendship.

                                                      • Jessica Cork, JASG Chair

                                                        YKK Vice President of Community Engagement and Communications

ICA Georgia Seeking Host Family for 2022-23 School Year

ICA Georgia has been chosen to receive a Japanese Assistant Teacher from the ISECE Program for the 2022-23 school year. Maki Shinzato hails from Okinawa. She is currently a high school teacher teaching English. Her hobbies are playing the Okinawan sanshin and ukulele, swimming, painting and crafting. If you know anyone interested in hosting, please contact Ms. Saito-Bush ( at ICAGeorgia.

    Peace Bell Tower Update

    During these times of global unrest, a rededication to peace and global friendship is even more crucial. Japan and Georgia share a long history of friendship, economic ties, and cultural/ educational exchange. To celebrate the Japan-Georgia connection and our prayers for world peace and friendship, we are constructing a bell tower for the Peace Bell at The Carter Center.

    To date, the following milestones have been reached:

    -       Georgia Dept of Transportation has approved project

    -       Carter Center Land Survey Completed by Atwell Group

    -       Site of Bell Tower Construction Finalized

    -       Tower Blueprints from Japan translated, reviewed, and approved (in-kind by Philips Architects)

    -       Trees cut, lumber being cured, and kawara  roof tiles prepared in Japan for shipment to Atlanta

    -       1/4 scale belltower built in Konu (Miyoshi) Japan so full size tower can be built, broken down and packed for shipment

    -       Japanese carpenters to visit Atlanta in September to train subcontractors in Atlanta to build tower

    JASG Partners with Nakato

    for Culture and Culinary Peace Bell Fundraisers

    The JASG and Nakato Japanese Restaurant are excited to present a series of spectacular Japanese Art & Culture Workshop Luncheons where all proceeds will support the construction of the Peace Bell Tower at The Carter Center. All events in the series will be highlighted by a unique cultural demonstration and include a delicious, authentic Nakato Japanese lunch.

    The series will kick off on Saturday, April 23rd at 11am with a Japanese Music & Dance program featuring 2 Japanese performers. Mie Osawa will play shamisen and yokobue, and enact the  shishimai Japanese lion dance while Junko Fujiyama will do an interactive Ekaki-Uta demonstration and perform some J-Pop music. Other upcoming luncheon events include:

      • April 23: Japanese Music Workshop
      • May 21: Ikebana Demonstration 
      • June: Washoku Japanese Cooking Demo
      • July: Origami Workshop 
      • August: Bonsai Workshop


    Atlanta Sports and the Peace Bell

         JASG has been spearheading the Peace Bell Tower project now for several months. To create more widespread knowledge and expand interest in the Project, The Society has teamed up with Atlanta’s own professional sports teams: NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, NHL’s Atlanta Gladiators, and 2021’s World Series Champions, the MLB’s Atlanta Braves!  This spring, JASG “Japanese Community Night” functions in affiliation with these teams are dedicated to raise additional funds for the Peace Bell Project, as well as to cultivate stronger ties in our Atlanta community. Each respective function hosts opportunities to network with like-minded individuals, support the Georgia-Japan relationship, and to cheer on your Atlanta teams!

         The Peace Bell initiative dates at sporting events are  for the Atlanta Hawks: April 6th; for the Atlanta Gladiators: April 9th; and for the Atlanta Braves: May 29th. More information, including ticket purchase links, can be found on our website.
        The Peace Bell is projected to be erected in October of 2022.

    More Information on Peace Bell Project

    More information about the Peace Bell Tower project is available at Videos of the story of the Peace Bell and project summary are available below:

    Thank You for Your Generosity. . . .

    We thank all of you who have made a financial contribution to the Peace Bell Project. Due to your generosity we will be able to build a one-of-a-kind bell tower for the Peace Bell at The Carter Center. The JASG has now raised over $100,000 for the Project but we still have a lot to do to reach our goal of $300,000. The carpenters are scheduled to begin work in September so funds need to be acquired before that. If you have not made a contribution, please consider doing so and also encourage 3 or more friends or companies to do the same.  To stay abreast of developments, please see: the JASG Peace Bell webpage.

     Noriko Aoi   Taylor Bennett Holly Beyersmith 
     Elizabeth Bigler Linda Copeland  Cindy Dougherty
     Todd Guild Tim Evans Michael Fieser    
     Anne Godsey Michelle Haney Thomas Harrold
     Ben Hatch   Sarah Hawk John Hellman 
     Albert Hodge Brenda Holmes Junko Horvath
     Masahiro Isono    Elizabeth Kennett James Kennett  
     William Kennett Michiko Kinoshita Kiyo Kojima
     Jennifer Kumnick  Shin Kusanagi Day Lancaster
     Martin Long James Luckett     Miriam Machida
     Neil McBride    David Miller Virginia Murray
     Yumiko Nakazono Chris Nguyen Shoko Porter
     Mike Raymer  Vaibhav Sathe Yoshinari Sato
     Yosuke Sawada Thomas Schroeder  William Strang
     Takuya Takahashi Leif Terry Naoko Tramel
      James Whitcomb Trevor Williams    Masako Winkler
     Clark Wisenbaker  Yu Xiao Hanae Yamaki
     Tom Yamamoto Yasuo Yazaki 



    Upcoming Events

    (please see for details and registration) 

    April 14               International Networking Symposium


    April 16               Ouchi Gohan II Part 2: Chan Chan Yaki


    April 18               Spring On-line Japanese Language Classes


    April 23               Japanese Art and Culture Workshop Lunch: Japanese Music and Dance


    April 30               Nihongo-Eigo Kai


    May 10                 Kayobi-kai


    May 14                 Ouchi Gohan II Part 3: Teddy Bear Omu Rice


    May 28                 Nihongo-Eigo Kai


    May 29                 Atlanta Braves Fundraiser for Peace Belltower


    June 18                Ouchi Gohan II Part 4: Cream Anmitsu


    Sept 17-18          JapanFest 2022

    JETRO Survey on Business Conditions for Japanese Companies Operating Overseas

    In September 2021, JETRO conducted an online survey on the state of Japanese companies operating in the U.S. and Canada. 978 responses were received from 1,878 survey sent. This survey is conducted once a year to ascertain the management situations and changes in local business environments of Japanese companies in the U.S. and Canada. It is the 40th annual survey for the U.S. and the 32nd for Canada. With the reopening of the economy, earnings of Japanese companies operating in North America are expected to improve. Companies that have their sights set on business expansion in the next one to two years have surpassed the 2019 level.


    • Operating profits forecasts, 
    • Future business direction, 
    • Policy on human rights such as occupational safety and health in supply chains, 
    • Addressing environmental issues, utilization and impact of FTAs/EPAs 
    • Utilization of digital-related technologies and associated challenges, 
    • Challenges in management and changes in trade environment,
    • Biden administration’s policies, 
    • Procurement sources, manufacturing ratios, and sales destinations by countries or regions, 

    For a report summary, see:

    To read the full 117-page report, please access:

    Bonenkai Festivities Return with Carter Lifetime Award 

    After a two-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, JASG welcomed 250 guests to the 41st Bonenkai Holiday Gala at the Piedmont Driving Club December 14  to witness the Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony in honor of President Jimmy Carter. Jason Carter, Chairman of the Carter Center accepted the award on behalf of his grandfather. Among those in attendance were Consul General Kazuyuki Takeuchi, President & CEO of The Carter Center, Paige Alexander, Georgia House and Japan Legislative Caucus Representative Kim Schofield, as well as many esteemed Japanese business leaders doing business in Georgia, and prestigious Georgia executives investing in Japan. The Gala itself allowed guests to celebrate the holidays with special guest performer, Junko Fujiyama, and also provided a unique opportunity for cross-cultural understandings in the Georgia community. 

    Many people are familiar with President Carter’s contributions to protecting human rights and alleviating human suffering in countries around the world - efforts for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. However, it is less widely known that President Carter has been instrumental in laying the foundation for the enduring bonds of friendship that connect Georgia and Japan. Today, Japan is the number one foreign investor in the state as over 650 Japanese affiliated companies that employ over 35,000 people, have invested over $11 billion in Georgia.

    During his acceptance speech, Jason Carter acknowledged, “The relationships that my grandfather built when he was the (Georgia) Governor gave him the faith, I think, in himself to step to that next level when he decided to run for President… He started that life in Plains with this image of Japan as the rest of the world in many ways… A few months ago, he received from a small group of children in a hospital 1,000 cranes, and he hung it right in his sunroom... So that connection to the rest of the world that he’s had so much for his life, it really is now in that room with that incredible symbol of Japanese culture.”

    While Georgia governor, Jimmy Carter welcomed YKK and Murata Electronics, Georgia's first Japanese facilities. He also opened Georgia's Trade and Tourism office in Tokyo in 1973, the State's first international office. One year later, the Consulate General of Japan was established in Atlanta, paving the way for many more Japanese corporations, government entities, and Japan-related organizations.  In 1979, President Carter later signed a proclamation in designating a week in May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week.

    Perhaps a story that embodies President Carter the most is of the bonds of friendship that formed between the people of Konu-cho in Hiroshima and Americus, Georgia, all because, through a twist of fate, Konu-cho’s temple bell was gifted it to him in commemoration of the opening of The Carter Center.  The bell, now known as the “Peace Bell,” has been housed at The Carter Center since 1985 where it will be put up in a new Bell Tower being built at The Carter Center by the JASG and other Japanese community organizations. The Bell Tower will be a replica of the tower in Konu and is expected to be completed by Fall 2022.

    For more than 20 years, Global Atlanta has been the only publication tracking Atlanta’s rise as a center for international business, education, and culture. To subscribe and read more global news, please see


    Consul General: In a Time of Strained Supply Chains,

    Japan Focused on Global Growth

         Japan’s economy is not unfamiliar with crises. Just over a decade ago, the country faced an unprecedented disruption when the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami not only killed more than 15,000 people, but also created a nuclear disaster that snarled supply chains for weeks. Dependent on external inputs and reliant on global markets, companies were forced to adapt. In the country that invented lean manufacturing, many started to carry more inventory in preparation for the next shock. 

         For more than a year, quarantines, lockdowns and restrictions on internal movements and inbound travel have wreaked havoc on the Japanese economy, which has yet to return to pre-pandemic GDP levels even after a sharp upswing in growth during 2021. Japanese Consul General Kazuyuki Takeuchi, who represents Japan in the Southeast, says that by their nature, disasters are usually unpredictable, and each one carries new consequences and teaches new lessons. “It’s quite difficult to prepare for every kind of crisis,” said Mr. Takeuchi, an economist by training, in a wide-ranging Consular Conversation with Global Atlanta held at The Carter Center in February.  

    For the whole article, please see:


    Cobb Chamber Celebrates More Than 50 Years of Japanese Investment

    We caught up with past and present leaders of the two oldest Japanese companies in Georgia to learn about the rich history of Japanese investment in Cobb. The two oldest Japanese companies in Georgia have an ongoing, friendly dispute over which was the first to start up operations in the state. But whichever is correct, their presence started a long and prosperous history between Japanese investors and Cobb County.

    A March 8 event at the Cobb Chamber of Commerce invited Japanese and local companies alike to celebrate the county’s legacy of Japanese business and investment. YKK Americas Group and Murata Electronics North America Inc., both located in Cobb, have the longest history here.

    To read more about YKK and Murata, please see:

    Annual Japan Academic Challenge Rewards Students of Japanese Language

    On March 19, 2022, 44 high school students from all across Georgia studying the Japanese language met virtually for the 2022 Annual Japanese Academic Challenge, sponsored by Temple University Japan Campus and the Japan Foundation, and organized by The Japan-America Society of Georgia.

    The Japan Academic Challenge is an annual quiz bowl-style competition that tests students’ knowledge of Japanese culture, grammar, and language.  The Challenge has 4 different levels: Level I being reserved for students who are currently in their first year of Japanese studies, Level II for second year students, Level III for third year students, and Level IV for fourth year students. This year, a total of 16 teams from 4 Georgia high schools competed in the Japan Academic Challenge. This year’s participants were: Coretta Scott King Young Women's Leadership Academy, Milton High School, Riverwood International Charter School, and Roswell High School competed in the Academic Challenge. 

    The results are as follows: Milton High School A  received first place and Milton High School B received second  place for the Level I competition. The third-place award went to Roswell High School B. Milton High School received first place for the Level II competition. The second and third place awards went to Roswell High School A and B respectively. Roswell High School received first in the Level III competition.  Second place went to Milton High School A.  Third place was awarded to Riverwood Int'l Charter School.  In the top level of competition, Level IV, first place was awarded to Milton High School. Second place went to Roswell High School.

    The Japan-America Society of Georgia 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 Georgia Association of Teachers of Japanese. 

    Braving Pandemic, Obirin University Students

    Return to Atlanta for Spring Semester

    After a 2 year COVID delay during which JASG could only offer online study abroad programs, the JASG is excited to welcome 23 students from Japan to Atlanta for J.F. Oberlin University’s College of Business Management Global Outreach Program from March/April to July 2022 for a total of 16 weeks. On March 6, 14 students arrived to study at Georgia Tech and on April 2, 9 students arrived to study at Georgia State University. Students study 16 weeks of English as a Second Language (ESL) and will also participate in a 8-week business practicum where they will visit various Japanese and American companies to learn the secrets to business success. Students will partake in a capstone project to create their own company and write a business plan and do a final presentation at the end of the semester. The JASG thanks all of the host and friendship families for generously hosting a Japanese student, and all of the companies and organizations that will support the business practicum and helping to make their time in Atlanta an invaluable experience. Please contact the JASG to learn more about J.F. Oberlin University programs and to be part of next semester’s programs by hosting a student in the Fall.


    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.

    JASG Confronts Geostrategic Issues for US, Japan, Russia & China Relations

    The Japan-America Society of Georgia in partnership with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and the National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS) hosted “US-Japan Now: Geostrategic Impacts on a New World” on March 22. The program featured Bonnie S Glaser, Director of Asia Programs at the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Atlanta, and  Yasuhiro Matsuda, Professor of International Politics, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia at the University of Tokyo, in Japan. Attendees were both in-person at Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business and the Hotel Indigo as well as on-line.

    With new administrations, the U.S. and Japan both face unique, changing geostrategic challenges and opportunities in relation to China, North Korea, and the re-emergence of Russia, among others. The program started with remarks by Peter Kelly, President of NAJAS, and Atsushi Sunami, President of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. The panel discussion focused heavily on the war in Ukraine and its impact on US-Japan and China-Russia relations. Ms. Glaser pointed out China’s goal of great global influence and the danger this posed democracies. Professor Matsuda added the Japanese perspective about security concerns as its neighbors China and Russia are not allies. The Japanese public’s reactions range from pacifist to realist with realists upset by how Russia’s invasion affects Ukranian civilians. There are also economic issues related to trade with Russia and China as well as Japanese investments. Ms. Glaser calls this a wakeup call for democracies. Professor Matsuda also highlighted the Japanese concern over whether China would soon act with force against Taiwan. Both experts then spoke about how this situation will affect current political administrations.

    Ms Glaser also discussed America’s relationship with Asia, particularly with China, over recent years, and focused on the Biden and Xi Jinping relationship as well as the Japanese Prime Minister Kishida’s relationship with China. With her unique perspective on Ukraine-Russia relations through her work at the German Marshall Fund, she shared some insights from Germany and other parts of Europe as well. Professor Matsuda, on the other hand, went into more depth about US-Japan relations during Prime Minister Abe’s tenure, Prime Minister Suga’s short time in office and the current Prime Minster Kishida’s administration as well as how he expects it to develop over the next two and a half years. Ms Glaser continued to present the Biden Administration’s Indo-Pacific Strategy report outlining how it plans to deal with China and to better secure and improve the region for the international community. and Professor Matsuda stressed why U.S.-Japan relations are so important and how will they shape our world in the future. Both speakers ended by speaking about what young people can do and the importance of obtaining a global perspective.

    While the JASG began holding all programming virtually since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, this” U.S.-Japan Now: Geostrategy in A New World” emphasized the importance of offering a hybrid model so that programming could be available to more individuals. To view the entire presentation, please see:

    Apr 8

    Symposium on Asia-USA Partnership Opportunities

    Organized by the Asian Studies Program at Kennesaw State, SAUPO has been to one of the largest Asia business conferences in the U.S. since 2011. It brings together business leaders, investors, policy makers, community leaders, scholars and diplomats to discuss innovative business ideas and valuable networking opportunities. The SAUPO Symposium featured three panels: Panel #1: Pandemic, Communication and Organizations, Panel #2: Supply Chain Bottlenecks, Reshoring & Environmental Issues, and Panel #3: Doing Business with Asia. Featured speakers included Consul-General Takeuchi, executives from Murata, TOTO, YKK, and the Georgia Department of Economic Development as well as business representatives from other Asian countries.
        Mar 25

        Celebrating Women Who Are Breaking Biases

        JASG celebrated International Women’s Month with a panel discussion on being a female leader in today’s world of unprecedented change and uncertainty in a multicultural and global setting. Women leaders were invited to a fireside chat to share their real life challenges and wisdom to succeed in today’s multifaceted environment. The moderator was Nozomi Morgan and panelists were Jessica Cork, YKK Corporation; Akiyo Hewett, Smith, Gambrell & Russell; and Mellissa Takeuchi, Georgia Department of Economic Development.
         Mar 03

        US-Japan Business Leaders Series: Conversation with Delta Air Lines

        Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline industry has had to navigate uncertain revenue streams, government travel restrictions, and new health and safety measures on aircraft and in airports. Delta Air Lines executives Victor Osumi, Managing Director & President (Japan) and Athar Khan, Director of International Specialty Sales discussed the challenges they have faced and how they have overcome them at the webinar ”Leadership in the Sky: Lessons in Leading in Crisis.” The JASG presented this program as part of the ACCJ/NAJAS Business Leader Series, a collaboration with The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and the National Association of Japan-America Societies. The series highlights Japan-based global corporations, U.S. and Japan strategies, business successes and challenges.

          Feb 9

          Forsyth County – A Future Forward for National & Global Businesses

          Distinguished speakers presented their views on some industries of interest for Forsyth County like Advanced Manufacturing, Health Technologies, Information and Data Center Technologies followed by Q&A. Session 1: Past and Current Trends of Growth in Businesses. Session 2: A Future Forward for Domestic & Global Businesses.

          On this 1-year commemoration of the heartbreaking shootings in Atlanta-Georgia on March 16, 2021, The Japan-America Society of Georgia offers its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims. 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.


          Macon Cherry Blossom Parade

          This year on March 20, JASG had the privilege of participating and walking in Macon, GA’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival parade. Walking side-by-side with JASG Gold Member (and the Festival’s exclusive partner) YKK Corporation of America, the JASG team was comprised of volunteers, partners, and our Obirin University (Japan) exchange students who were ecstatic to be present and active in one of Georgia’s most popular and internationally-oriented events.

          What began 40 years ago as a small 3-day festival, the Macon Cherry Blossom Festival has since grown into a month-long celebration with hundreds of events to entertain all ages and backgrounds. The festival is a catalyst for the enhancement of community, fellowship, and civic pride of Macon and all Georgia residents through the encouragement and development of recreational, social, and cultural activities. Known as the “Cherry Blossom Capital of the World,” Macon boasts over 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees.

          Japan Arts Festival 

          On March 26, The Japan-America Society of Georgia and JapanFest collaborated with Georgia State University Perimeter College Dunwoody to hold the Japan Arts Festival celebrating Japanese art and culture with the objective of promoting mutual understanding among Japanese and Americans in the Southeast. The event featured cultural booths promoting various types of Japanese art, Japan-related exhibitors, vendors, and activities ranging from bonsai, ikebana, daruma workshop, kamishibai, origami to anime, and live performances of Japanese taiko drums, dance and music. JASG volunteers participated by helping guide visitors, distributing wrist bands, doing origami and name writing, and selling yukata at the booth. It was a wonderful opportunity to create awareness of the many aspects of Japanese culture and resources available locally.

          Back by Popular Demand Ouchi Gohan Japanese Home Cooking Returns

          In the fall, JAS Georgia, JAS Houston, and JAS Boston collaborated to offer cooking lessons virtually. The last in the fall series was December 11, which featured Matcha Marble Cake and Matcha Latte. The first two classes in the fall were for Nikujaga and Hakusai Salad on November 13 and Onigiri on October 30.

          The fall programs were so popular that the three Societies have decided to continue this spring with Ouchi Gohan II. On March 19, Debra Samuels taught how to make the popular Chirashizushi (please see Culinary Corner in the newsletter for the recipe).  The rest of the spring programs are Chan Chan Yaki and Spicy Edamame on April 16, Teddy Bear Omu Rice on May 14, and Cream Anmitau on June 18.

          To register for these special cooking classes, please go to the JASG Events Page  (

          Debra Samuels is the lead curriculum and recipe developer for Wa-Shokuiku, cookbook author, cooking teacher and 2020 recipient of the John E. Thayer III Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cultural Exchange Between the United States and Japan. Debra leads the program content and curriculum development of TABLE FOR TWO USA’s  Japanese inspired food education program,  “Wa-  Shokuiku -Learn. Cook. Eat Japanese!”. She was a food writer and contributor to the Food Section of The Boston Globe and has authored two cookbooks: My Japanese Table and The Korean Table. She curated the exhibit, “Obento and Built Space: Japanese Boxed Lunch and Architecture,” at the Boston Architectural College (2015) and co-curated  “Objects of Use and Beauty: Design and Craft in Japanese Culinary Tools,” at the Fuller Craft Museum (2018). Debra worked as program coordinator and exhibition developer at the Boston Children's Museum (1992-2000).  She lived in Japan for 12 years and specializes in Japanese cuisine. 



          The Tomodachi Club, the Women’s Friendship & Culture Group of JASG, will conclude its 2021-2022 membership year on May 4th with a celebration of the organization’s 40th anniversary. Founded in October, 1981, a year after the founding of the Japan-America Society of Georgia (JASG), the mission of the Tomodachi Club continues to be the promotion of friendship, cultural exchange and mutual understanding among Japanese and American women. Our membership averages around 55-60, almost equally divided between American and Japanese ladies.

          To celebrate our 40th anniversary, our May 4th  meeting will be held at the beautiful East Cobb home of co-chair Anne Godsey.  Members and co-chairs will contribute photos and reminisces to put together a Power Point retrospective of the various meetings and events organized by the Tomodachi Club during the past 40 years.  It will be great fun to see some of the older photos of our members and how they have changed over the years.  Our program will be followed by a delicious bento box lunch provided by The Orient Restaurant. With the successes of the past 40 years under our belt, the Tomodachi Club is ready to launch its next 40 years!

          Since the Fall JASG newsletter, the Tomodachi Club held two meetings over Zoom as some members were still reluctant to meet in person due to the new variants of COVID-19. On Wednesday, January 12th, co-chair Anne Godsey presented a PowerPoint program entitled, “Japanese Prints: From Ukiyo-e to Sosaku Hanga.”  Using photos of prints from the Godseys extensive collection of nearly 400 Japanese prints by 75 different artists, Anne explained the progression of Japanese printmaking from the early ukiyo-e prints of the 18th and 19th centuries to the sosaku hanga and kindai hanga prints of the present day.  She also discussed the differences between an original print vs. a reproduction, the four major techniques of printmaking, and the numbering system employed by contemporary Japanese printmakers. The Godsey collection, collected over the past 50 years since they lived in Japan from 1970-77, will eventually reside at the Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL.

          Our March 2nd virtual meeting was a change of pace when Tomodachi co-chair Kaori Dixon presented a program on “Posture Walking for Exercise & Confidence.” Kaori-san is the first US-based posture walking instructor certified by the Posture Walking Association of Japan. Although she only became certified in 2020, Kaori-san was recently recognized by the Posture Walking Association as the best new instructor for the year 2021! She explained to members how to posture-walk for great exercise and how easy it can be to integrate posture walking into one’s daily life and be enjoyed by anyone at any time.  It is a simple, healthy approach to beautifully shape the body and improve self-confidence.

          Over the summer, the four Tomodachi Co-chairs will be organizing new programs and venues for the 2022-2023 Tomodachi year, which extends from July to June.  All meetings are held on Wednesdays, usually with a social time from 10:30 am until the program begins at 11:00 am, followed by lunch around noon.  The tentative dates for the five general meetings for the 2022-2023 membership year will be September 14, 2022, November 2, 2022, January 11, 2023, March 1, 2023, and May 3, 2023.

          Since the new 2022-2023 membership year will begin in July, now is a great time for female members of JASG to join us.  Membership is $40 for individual members and $50 for family members.  All Tomodachi Club members are automatically members of JASG. Please contact the JASG office at 404-842-1400 if you wish to become a Tomodachi Club member. 

          • The JASG Young Professionals (YP), established in 1996, is dedicated to creating a friendly, stimulating environment for young professionals to enjoy informal, informative and interactive programs to enhance knowledge of Japan and U.S.-Japan relations. The YP meetings are also about having fun socially. Please consider joining them in 2022. To join, go to:

            The JASG’s Young Professionals continues to stay active in 2022, finding time to gather monthly for a variety of activities. On January 16, the group met at The Plaza Theatre for a special film screening of ‘Drive My Car,’ a 2021 Japanese film based on a shorty story by Haruki Murakami. The film won 3 awards at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. In February, the YPs were part of 2 group outings at local sports games - the Atlanta Hawks Lunar New Year Celebration Night featuring the Toronto Raptors’ Yuta Watanabe and an Atlanta Gladiators ice hockey game. In March, YPs accompanied Japanese students to the Macon Cherry Blossom Festival’s parade marching along side the YKK float.

            In addition, the YPs have been active hosting the Society’s monthly Kayobi-Kai Networking Dinners and Nihongo-Eigo Kai language exchange meet-ups. Kayobi-Kai dinners have been hosted at Wagaya Japanese Restaurant, Tofu House, Taka Sushi, and Los Bravos. Other dinners will be held at Nakato Japanese Restaurant, Agora, Tokyo Shokudo, and Beard Papa’s. The Nihongo-Eigo Kai language exchange meet-ups have been held online to allow for participants from Japan to join in on the conversation but plans are being made for in-person meetings in the near future.

          As Atlanta’s liaison office for the 34th Annual Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC), The Japan-America Society of Georgia (JASG) is again able to share a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for 4 elementary school students (two boys and two girls) and 1 chaperone from the State of Georgia through this fully funded exchange program in Fukuoka, Japan (Atlanta’s Sister City).

          The APCC is normally held in-person in Fukuoka, Japan – Atlanta’s Sister City, but because of the ongoing global pandemic, this year’s program will be held online through the APCC’s BRIDGE Virtual Summer Camp. The camp will take place virtually, on Saturday evenings during the months of July to September 2022.

          Applications for 2022 are due on Monday, May 9, 2022 and all application materials must be received by the JASG by 5:00pm EDT that day.

          Junior Ambassador Invitation Letter & Application Instructions

          Junior Ambassador Application -

            Culinary Corner:

            • CHIRASHIZUSHI

              Chirashizushi is mixed sushi rice with toppings. Families typically make chirashizushi for Dolls Festival on March 3rd or other celebratory events at home during the year. Whereas few Japanese eat sushi at home, chirashi sushi is made at home.    



                          Sushi rice:

                                 3 cups cooed short or medium grain sushi rice (1½ cups raw rice) – rice should be warm

                                 5 tablespoons rice vinegar

                                 3-4 tablespoons sugar

            •                   ½ teaspoon salt

            •                   1 tablespoon canola oil

                          1 egg – made as an omelet and then cut into narrow strips

                          10 fresh pea pods or string beans or ½ cup frozen green peas, thawed

                          1 cup shredded (julienne) carrots (pre-shredded packaged carrots work well)

                          8 fresh shiitake mushrooms or dried shiitake reconstituted (or any brown mushroom like crimini)

                          10 cooked shrimp or 6 slices of smoked salmon (optional)

                          1 sheet of nori (roasted seaweed) – sliced into narrow strips

                          salmon roe (optional)

                          burdock (optional)

            •            1 tablespoon soy sauce

            •            Water for cooking vegetables and shrimp

                          5 strawberries

              1. Boil the rice and mix it with the vinegar, sugar, and salt.
              2. Beat the eggs and strain the mixture; put the strained eggs into a fry pan; swirl the egg mixture; cover the egg mixture with a cover; shred the ‘omelet’ by cutting it into julienne strips
              3. Add the other ingredients after they've been cooked
              4. Sprinkle soy sauce over the mixture

            Japan America Society of Georgia

            Newsletter Contributors:

                 Jessica Cork

                 Joeph Clark

                 Maria Domoto

                 Yoshi Domoto

                 Anne Godsey

                 Eric Kendrick

                 Global Atlanta

                 Sophie Monsibais

                 Maki Murahashi

                 Debra Samuels


                 Shirley Susilo

            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



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            The Japan-America Society of Georgia, Inc.

            is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to promote

            mutual understanding between the people of Japan

             and the state of Georgia 


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