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


Summer 2020 Newsletter

The Japan-America Society Celebrates 40 Years!

(Part Two)

by Prof. George W. Waldner

The Founding of the JASG

     At the end of the 1970s, there were approximately 1.000 Japanese citizens and some 55 Japanese firms in Georgia. Clearly, the Japanese presence would continue to grow substantially. A study by the Japan Economic Research Center indicated that while Japanese investment in North America was $4.5 billion in 1975, it would grow to $8.5 billion by 1979 and $155 billion by 1990. Japanese business leaders ranked the top U.S. investment locations as: (1) California; (2) Texas; (3) Illinois; (4) Georgia; (5) Tennessee; (6) Arizona; (7) Indiana; (8) New Jersey; (9) Washington; (10) Michigan. Georgia's experience in the 1970's and preliminary evidence of future trends showed that the Japanese economic role and human presence would be important. 

     In 1979, a group of Georgians from business and academia came together to form a planning committee to create the Japan-America Society of Georgia (JASG) to upgrade knowledge of Japanese society, culture, and public affairs among the citizens of Georgia. The organization also aimed to extend hospitality to the Japanese citizens residing in Georgia and to make them aware of Georgia's history and traditions. The planning committee members had substantial knowledge of Japan and long-term residence in Japan for business or cultural purposes. They recognized that due to linguistic and cultural differences between Americans and Japanese, JASG would increase contact and interaction to decrease misunderstandings. JASG's mission was to conduct programs and activities to bridge the cultural gap to insure the Japanese presence in Georgia would realize opportunity for the state's growth and development.

     The planning committee members – Ann Godsey, Allen Judd, Michael McMullen, and George Waldner – were greatly assisted by the enthusiastic support of the Coca-Cola Company, particularly Ian Wilson who was in charge of Pacific operations. This assistance was highly appropriate because Coca-Cola was the most famous Georgia-based company in Japan where Coca-Coa's coffee-flavored soft drink was named “Georgia.” The leading figure in the Japanese business community to sponsor JASG’s founding was Fred Chanoki, President of Murata-Erie North America, one of the original Japanese manufacturing investors in Georgia.

     In June 1980, the JASG Board of Directors decided to incorporate as a non-profit, non-governmental, cultural and educational organization. It elected Ian Wilson as Chairman; Fred Chanoki as Vice-Chairman; D. Raymond Riddle, President of the First National Bank, as Treasurer; and George Waldner as Executive Director. Governor Busbee and then-Consul General Kawade were elected Honorary Co-Chairmen.  

     The Articles of Incorporation adopted at the founding board meeting listed JASG’s purposes:

    1. To promote greater knowledge of Japan’s culture, society, and public affairs among the citizens of Georgia.
    2. To promote greater knowledge of crucial issues and problems in U.S.-Japan relations.
    3. To promote Japanese citizens resident in Georgia with aspects of American history, culture, and lifestyles.
    4. To promote friendly relations between the people of Georgia and Japanese citizens residing in Georgia in order to secure better understanding by the people of Georgia of the country, people, and customs of Japan.
    5. To provide a forum for discussion of topics of common interest to the people of Georgia and the people of Japan, including the arts, literature, and cultural ideas, aspirations, and development of each of these areas.
    6. To foster and promote scholarship among the students of the colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning, of both countries, especially in those areas which would lead to a better understanding of one country and its people by the other.

    The newly formed organization joined the National Association of Japan-American Societies (NAJAS).  NAJAS assisted with programming to the JASG as well as to thirteen other societies around the U.S.  In January 1981 Betty Weltner became JASG’s first full-time staff member, as Executive Secretary.  Mrs. Weltner opened the JASG’s Atlanta Office at 100 Colony Square and continued in 1983 to serve as Executive Secretary. (To be continued in the Fall Newsletter)

(Dr. George W. Waldner received his PhD. in politics from Princeton University in 1975. He was Associate Professor of Political Studies and Dean of Faculty at Oglethorpe University. He retired as President at York College of Pennsylvania in 2013 and is now a Visiting Fellow at George Mason University)

Message from the Chair


  •      On a personal note, we mourn the loss of 75 Japanese citizens due to the tragic Kyushu floods, which hit Kyushu last month, with rains extending to many prefectures. There was already too much suffering as the pandemic impacts the world, so we are even more sorrowful. 

         During these troublesome times, the Japan America Society of Georgia professional staff, members and volunteers are continuing to work with Consul General Kazuyuki Takeuchi, JETRO, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and local, state and national leaders. Webinars of substance regarding supply chain, public policy and economic growth for manufacturers, service businesses and communities are timely and informative.

         Along with the strategies and tactics to work through severe problems and to create opportunities there is good news.

         New and expanding Japanese companies have been announced in Georgia since May of last year, with Mitsubishi’s Mytex Polymersinvesting in NewtonCounty,Toyota Financial Servicesin AlpharettaMitsui Kinzoku Die-Castingin Spalding CountyNippon Light Metalin Bartow CountyArglassYamamurain Lowndes County, and Hitachi Automotive Systemsin Walton County. Excellent public policy and marketing, led by Governor Brian Kemp and the General Assembly and Georgia Department of Economic Development led by Commissioner Patrick Wilson, are continuing to pay dividends throughout Georgia!  Thank you to our Japanese business executives for investing and creating good jobs for Georgians while continuing the value proposition for Japan and Georgia! 

         Please be sure to check the JapanFest schedule of virtual events. The decision to continue the event and its good times and goodwill will be virtually available to even more than the 25,000 who attended the weekend last year. The geographic reach and variety of offerings will expand.

         Let’s conclude this column on a happy note: Disney Tokyo is open again! Let’s hope and plan for the happiest place(s) in the world extend positive emotions well beyond the borders of the theme parks!

    Al Hodge

    JASG Chair

    President & CEO, Hodge Consulting Services

Returning to Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Are You Ready?

  • The past four months have not been “normal” for employers by any means.  Many employers scrambled to implement plans to terminate, furlough or lay off workers, while many other employees have been working remotely (teleworking).  Now that federal, state and local “stay-home” orders are gradually lifting, employers are looking toward bringing workers back into the workplace.  The process for bringing workers back needs to be carefully and thoughtfully planned.  Each workplace is different and there is no one-size-fits-all preparedness plan that will work for all workplaces.  Unique situations are bound to arise, but many issues for returning to work will be faced by most employers.  Below we address some of the common questions and issues employers will face.  We cannot emphasize too strongly that the manner in which these issues need to be addressed often will be a matter of state, county, or even city requirements, all of which are in a state of continual change.

    The Need for Advance Planning

    Can’t we just tell our workers to “come on back?”  Or do we have to do more?

      • Employers need to carefully develop a written return-to-work plan (aka an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan (“IDPRP”)). Such a plan needs to address applicable federal, state and local return-to-work orders, workplace safety issues, screening measures, and other employee health-related matters.
      • Analyze applicable federal, state and local orders that may impact the way in which your business may reopen. Adopt procedures to ensure compliance with these orders and other federal, state and local guidance.
          • Some of the requirements – including those implemented at the federal, state and local level – will vary based on the employer’s industry.
          • Check the White House’s guidelines for “Opening Up American Again”.
          • Confirm Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) guidance for businesses & workplaces.
          • Remember to check state and local health authority guidance as well.
      • Analyze applicable federal, state and local orders that may relax or repeal stay-home or quarantine orders.
          • Do such orders impose new requirements on your business?

Who should come back to work and when?

      • Employers should take steps to address workplace safety before workers return. See section below on Workplace Safety Considerations.
      • Consider taking a “ramp-up” approach, whereby workers in essential positions return first, with others returning over a period of time.
      • Evaluate whether employees can continue working remotely and/or whether there is a desire or need to continue reduced work schedules.
      • Employers should consider implementing a policy to address those workers who are classified as high-risk for development of serious illness due to COVID-19 by the CDC and other health agencies. These employees may seek accommodations or be afraid to come back to work without accommodations or additional safety measures.
      • Consult counsel to determine the impact that employee headcount will have on government loans and tax credits, including those provided under the federal CARES Act.
      • Determine whether different procedures are required for employees who will be re-hired following termination from employment (and thus, considered new hires) versus those who are being recalled from a temporary furlough or layoff.

 (To access the complete article, please visit the Smith, Gambrell & Russell website at To learn more about SGR Partner and JASG Board Member, Kiyo Kojima, please visit: )

Upcoming Events and Programs

Due to COVID-19, JASG has been unable to conduct our usual face-to-face seminars and programs. The usual programs will return once Georgia statistics for the virus are in decline. Until then, we hope you enjoy the variety of webinairs, seminars, cooking lessons, and language classes we are providing. We look forward to seeing our friends in person soon.

o  August 11 (Tues) at 7:00pm       Virtual Kayobi-Kai Dinner with Japanese Song

o  August 25 (Tues) at 1:00pm       WEBINAR: Air Travel Today & Tomorrow

o  August 26 (Wed) at 3:30pm       Virtual JASG Annual Meeting 

o  August 29 (Sat) at 10:00am     Virtual Nihongo-Eigo Kai Language Exchange

o  September 8 (Tues) at 7:00pm   Virtual Kayobi-Kai Dinner 
o  September 16 (Wed) at 1:00pm Virtual Discussion: Sustainability and Manufacturing: The  

Strategy and Approach of International Manufacturers   toward Implementing Sustainability Goals

Stay tuned at for more online programming being planned including Virtual Kamishibai Storytelling, Site Selection & Incentive Webinar, Telecommunications Webinar, Medical Technology Webinar Business Japanese Video Series, Have a Coke & Tea with the Society Series, and much more!

Virtual JapanFest 2020 – Wasshoi One World!

JapanFest has been popular throughout the Southeast for 34 years. Come September, over 20,000 people make plans to visit, enjoy performances, eat Japanese food, shop for Japanese goods, and renew friendships. We do not want to disappoint those aficionados. Due to COVID-19, it is not safe for so many to gather in one place, so JapanFest has become virtual from June through September with the festival finale taking on September 26-27. The variety of programs includes video messages from past guest performances, contests and challenges with a chance to win cool prizes, performances, webinars, a marketplace, guest speakers from among the many chefs and Japanese restaurants in Atlanta, and introductions to the many Japanese companies in Georgia. Learn more about various online activities, sponsorship opportunities, performer/vendor applications, and more at

Please contact the JASG to learn how you can support this year.

Global Atlanta: Japan-Southeast U.S. Conference Postponed Until 2021

  • The annual conference bringing business leaders and officials of Southeast U.S. states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee) together with Japanese investors and businessmen has been postponed until 2120 as COVID-19 continues to constrain international business travel. The 43-year-old SEUS conference was last hosted in Savannah, Georgia in October 2019, with more than 430 in attendance. The conference has traditionally reinforced the importance of Japanese companies to the U.S. economy at a rocky time for bilateral relations. As is customary with the 43-year-old alliance, this year’s conference was set to head back to Japan. While Japan has seen relative success fighting COVID-19 – its case load stands at fewer than 23,000 with just 985 deaths since the pandemic began – the country has yet to open to foreign travelers, barring a few exceptions. Foreign arrivals fell to a record 1,700 in May. In 2019, Japan averaged more than 2.5 million foreign visitors per month. All look forward to being able to get together for networking again in the fall of 2021.

    To read more and to subscribe to Georgia-Japanese news from Global Atlanta, please


The 2020 Census counts all adults, infants, and children living in the United States. Counting is performed every ten years by the U.S. Census Bureau, a government agency. The census provides important data that shape various aspects of people's lives. Many lawmakers, executives, teachers, and others use this data on a daily basis to provide support for services, products, and the community. Each year, billions of dollars of federal budget are invested in hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and more, based on census data. The results of the census serve as a basis for Congressional Representation for each state and are used to adjust or redraw electoral districts. Households throughout Georgia are completing the Census in order that their voices may be heard, but not everyone has yet completed the Census. As of July 22, 58.2% of Georgia households had returned their Census, compared to 59.5% nationwide. Everyone needs to be counted: the Asian and Asian-American populations of the U.S. have traditionally been undercounted in the national Census. Letters and reminder post-cards have been sent to Georgia households. If your household has already completed the Census via computer, phone, or paper questionnaire—congratulations—your voice has been heard. Soon, census takers will begin going door to door to count people who have not responded to the 2020 Census. Census takers are Census Bureau employees and will provide proof that they are official government employees. Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 Virus, the best way to complete the Census is to complete the form online (, so that these Census takers visit fewer families. To call or respond to the 2020 census, call 844-460-2020, available in Japanese. 

ジョージア州民の声を反映するために多くの人々が国勢調査に参加していますが、まだ全部の方が調査を完了されていません、722日の時点で全国の回答率は59.5%、ジョージア州のそれは58.2%です。全ての方の参加が必要です。特にアジア人やアジア系アメリカ人の人口は、国勢調査で従来過小評価されています。毎年何十億ドルもの連邦予算が、国勢調査データに基づいて病院、消防署、学校、道路などに投入されています。国勢調査の結果は、議会に占める各州の議員定数を割り当てる際の基本データとなり、また選挙区の境界線の決定にも使用されます。国勢調査の手紙、その後に葉書がジョージア州のご家庭に送られています。コンピューター、電話、書類等ですでに国勢調査に回答された方にはお礼を申し上げます。皆さんの声が反映されます。まだ不回答の家庭には国勢調査局員が戸別訪問をしますのでその場で回答をお願いします。その際、国勢調査局員は正規の公務員である証明書を提示します。しかし、新型コロナウイルスの蔓延を防ぐためにもオンラインで回答していただくことが一番す (。そうすることで、調査員の訪問を最小限に留めることができます。お電話での回答は844-460-2020までどうぞ。日本語の説明もあります。国勢調査のご協力をよろしくお願いします。


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Due to COVID-19, JASG has been focusing on virtual programing: webinars, seminars, cooking lessons, children's programs, and Japanese language classes. We look forward to seeing our friends in person soon.


You can view these webinars in their entirety via the the JASG YouTube site at:

 Jul  16:
Webinar: Restrictions & New Immigration Guidance for Foreign Nationals
Our speakers reviewed President Trump’s proclamation placing restrictions on foreign nationals’ entry into the U.S. and the challenges for skilled/specialized workers, multinational managers and trainees, new and existing immigration restrictions for Japanese companies and Japanese nations, suspension restrictions on visa issuance and H-1B cases, exceptions to travel restrictions, future regulations and ways to strategically navigate immigration policies. 
 Jun 25:
Webinar: Impact of Census 2020 on Japanese & American Communities in Georgia

Billions of dollars as well as the number of U.S. representatives are at stake for Georgia in the 2020 Census. The webinar featured ideas and best strategies and tactics for how to ensure a complete count in the Japanese-American community. To view the entire Webinar, please see:

 Jun 17:   Southeast-US Japan Networking Night 
 Jun 10: 

Virtual International Women’s Series

Panelist Darrah Brustein, author, serial entrepreneur, and networking guru discussed the practical and tactical strategies to evaluate and re-imagine your future. The moderator was Claire Angelle, founder of Angelle Consulting.

 May 28 Webinar: Impact of COVID-19 on Telecommunications

As business across the globe imposes work-from-home guidelines to keep employees safe and healthy, telecommunication companies must focus on increasing network resiliency and reliability. This Executive Dialogue Webinar features experts discussing how the telecommunications industry is coping with the pandemic. To view the entire Webinar, please see:

 May 21 
Webinar: Impact of COVID-19 on Economic Development

Companies and government agencies across the globe are working tirelessly to maintain business operations while keeping the employees safe and healthy during the current COVID-19 crisis. This JASG Executive Dialogue Webinar features economic development experts discussing how Japanese companies cope with the pandemic. To view the entire webinar, see:

 May 19 
 May 06 Webinar: Forecasting 5 Ways COVID-19 Could Play Out

This Executive Dialogue Webinar features industry leaders discussing the impacts of COVID-19 in Japan and the U.S. highlighting Japan’s response to the pandemic in comparison to what is happening globally. Two experts from Tokyo are featured. To view the entire webinar, see:

 April 23 
Webinar: How MedTech Companies are Fighting COVID-19

While healthcare professionals across the globe work tirelessly to keep patients healthy, experts in medical technology are using innovative approaches to fight their own war against the COVID-19 crisis. This Executive Dialogue features industry leaders who discuss ways technology is key to overcome the pandemic. To view the entire webinar, see:

 April 16 
Webinar: Economic Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis

As people across the globe try to stay safe and healthy in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, the stay-at-home quarantine, interrupted products/supply chain, and decline in trade will have an unprecedented impact on the world economy. This Executive Dialogue discusses current state and future outlooks for the economy and insights on short-term and long-term measures to ease the effects of the pandemic. 

 April 09  Webinar: COVID-19 Crisis Management for Universities  

Colleges and universities across the globe are working to keep their students, faculty, and communities safe and healthy while trying to maintain academic operations in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. This Executive Dialogue features education leaders discussing ways for high education to cope with the crisis. To view the webinar, see:

 April 02 
Webinar: Crisis Management for Manufacturers

Manufacturers across the globe are working to keep their teams and communities safe and healthy while maintaining business operations in the midst of COVID-19. This webinar features manufacturing industry leaders discussing how they are coping with the pandemic. To view the webinar, see:

First month of service FREE for JASG members.

Please access the offer here: 20Special%20Offers/Vonage.pdf. 


     From July 13, the JASG and JapanFest Atlanta kicked off a week-long Virtual Summer Camp, an opportunity for children of all ages to engage in an interactive experience that immersed them into Japanese culture–all from the comfort of their own homes.With the COVID-19 pandemic rampant around Atlanta, the summer camp provided an opportunity for JASG  to expand its mission of mutual understanding while young, virtual campers could take advantage of an exciting change of pace from their days of quarantine. Using YouTube, Zoom, and Netflix Party, the summer camp was an unprecedented safe experience for all. Featuring several special guests, hands-on activities, and language learning, the Virtual Summer Camp was as educational as it was entertaining. 

     Each day campers followed a schedule packed with lessons highlighting both Japanese and Georgians keeping the spirit of Japan aflame. Mornings began with ‘Radio Taiso’ lessons, calisthenics popular in Japan. This was followed by a quick Japanese lesson. Then campers were invited to take a lunch break while enjoying a show shown via the web extension, Netflix Party. Showcasing the spread of Japanese animation, the popular media franchise Pokémon was shown, allowing participants to watch synced episodes and chat in real-time. Then campers had fun with printable activities. From coloring sheets to Matsuri (festival) themed maze sheets, campers worked individually before coming back for group Zooms. 

     On Monday, campers were joined by world-famous Japanese storyteller Motoko. In a charming hour recounting a Japanese folktale, Motoko created an imaginative experience for the campers, encouraging them to create their own creative tales as well. This was followed by a cooking demo featuring Beard Papa’s, a worldwide, Japan-based cream puff pastry company. Tuesday was filled with musical entertainment as singer/songwriter Junko Fujiyamaled campers in an ‘Ekaki-Uta’ or drawing song, where they drew famous Japanese cartoon characters such as Doraemon and Pikachu. Wednesday was all about hands-on work, as campers made an Origami Mobile. This was followed on Thursday with activities meant for the kitchen, where Atlanta's very own Nakato Japanese Restaurantand the educational Wa-shokuikuprogram led campers through two cooking demos featuring two Japanese delicacies––Temari Sushi and Dorayaki, a sweet bean-filled pancake. The camp came to an exciting close on Friday, as actor Yoshi Amao led a Samurai Workshop followed by an energizing ‘Bon Odori’ dance and crafting session. 

     With each day of the camp characterized by memorable activities, it is no surprise that participants were filled with a fervor for learning more about Japan and its unique culture. Although the camp came to serve the Atlanta community as an uplifting virtual response to inactivity due to the world's recent pandemic, it is certainly an event that could be highly anticipated by many in the coming years.


On May 29, May 15, and April 3, JASG provided virtual English conversation classes for Japanese nationals.  From April 20 to June 12 and then again from July 20 to September 11, JASG conducted its regular Japanese classes. As they were virtual instead of face-to-face, students joined from all over the East Coast.

JASG Programs to Assist Teachers

     On April 28 three members of the JASG Board of Directors came together to conduct a webinar for middle and high school teachers focusing on Japan-United States trade relations and economic development. Moderated by Mike Raymer from the Georgia Council on Economic Education, the main speakers were Jessica Cork from the YKK Corporation of America and Joseph Huntemann from the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

     Jessica Cork led the conversation by discussing YKK’s long and successful history in Georgia, its approach to business in the face of an ever-changing manufacturing landscape, and YKK’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Joseph Huntemann followed by sharing his insight into the process of recruiting Japanese businesses to Georgia, the main goals of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and his recent experience in helping to bring Nippon Light Metal to Cartersville.  

     Both speakers spoke at length about the successful Japan-Georgia business and trade partnership and the many benefits all Georgians receive as a result of this important relationship. Other topics discussed included Georgia’s pro-business climate, crucial trade alliances and partnerships, and the critical role played by the Port of Savannah and other key transportation/infrastructure networks within the state.

     Teachers in the webinar were exposed to numerous business insights and stories they will be able to share with students in order to give them adeeper understanding of the importance of the Japan-Georgia trade relationship and the its positive economic impact on all Georgians. 

     The webinar was one of many educational programs offered by the JASGin recent months. With a mission of promoting mutual understanding between the people of Japan and the State of Georgia through establishing and promoting ties and culture, customs, education, commerce and politics programs, the JASG continues to create meaningful opportunities for all Georgians to engage in ways that help educate everyone on the importance of the Japan-Georgia relationship. 

    Upcoming educational programs include a virtual sake brewery tour and tasting, a virtual dinner with Japanese song, and a virtual discussion on sustainability and manufacturing. Like all the JASG’s educational programs, these virtual offerings have been designed to further the vision of making Georgia the most desirable place in North America for Japanese and other international visitors to live and work – and to make Georgia’s citizens and businesses the most internationally aware in North America. Please visit www.jasgeorgia.orgto learn more about future JASG educational opportunities and to register for programs.

  • Across

          2. JASG Chair Hometown

          4. Savannah’s Sister Port in Japan

          6. Japanese Animal at Zoo Atlanta

          8. Founding and Still Active Member of JASG

          9. JASG Logo is a Cherokee _____

          10 CGJ in Atlanta


    1.  Mythical JPN Creature that Prophesies Epidemics

    3.  Japanese Holiday on 7/7

    5.  JPN/ENG Dual Immersion Charter School

    7. Theme of JapanFest 2020

2020 Asia-Pacific Children’s Convention

by Debra Owen

Well, certainly much has changed since my last article regarding the Asian-Pacific Children's Convention!! COVID-19 has forced everyone to pivot quickly and shift our regular activity. In April, the directors of the 32ndAsia-Pacific Children's Convention (APCC) made the tough decision to bring this year's convention virtual! 

The virtual convention was named Bridge Summer WEB Camp 2020 and consisted of four programs. The first was the virtual performance event. As you may know, every year, the delegations attending from each country create and perform a dance that highlights their country. Most of the countries participating have beautiful traditional dances and elaborate costumes. This task is much harder for the Atlanta delegation, as Atlanta and the U.S. overall is so very diverse. This year, we chose to highlight and support our diverse American culture and promote the OMOIYARI of respect and understanding. In light of recent events in our country, we danced to songs performed by black American artists. The video came out wonderfully. If you would like to view it, follow this

The next program was the Bridge Question Exchange. With this exchange, we asked questions of the other countries assigned to our group, and in turn, the other delegations asked questions of us. The way we answered the questions was via a visual drawing or photo, with the child in it! Participating in this project helped the children understand the culture and differences of the various participating countries. Our delegation did such an excellent job with this project!  

The third program is the #SmileMaskMovement. The Smile Mask Movement is a Facebook-based project where all the 2020 delegations, as well as the entire Bridge Club, were requested to post a photo of themselves with a facemask on with a smile attached, and the Bridge Club logo. Wearing a facemark has become a part of everyone's daily routine since the outbreak of COVID-19. While wearing a mask can protect yourself and others from the virus, it also makes you miss out on seeing people's facial expressions. The movement is meant to spread smiles by using masks, which is called the "#Smile Mask Movement."

And finally, the last project, which is not yet complete is the OMOIYARI Art Contest. The theme of the submitted artwork is "OMOIYARI in Everyday Life" - expressing the idea of respect and understanding. The deadline for submissions for this project was July 31.

I am so very proud of this young group of people. Although I know they were disappointed, they handled the change to virtual so well and with great perseverance and attitudes. They have been officially certified as part of our Bridge Club-Atlanta, and they make an excellent addition.

Bridge Club Atlanta News

Our Bridge Club activities also had to pivot since the outbreak of COVID-19. Since none of us can meet in person, the Bridge Club Head office has started holding monthly Zoom based meetings called "Friendship Circles." We have had two meetings so far, with over 200 participants. They begin with updates and group activities by the leaders, and then we are all sent into much smaller "breakout rooms." Moderators lead the breakout rooms, and we all get to share things about ourselves or our countries. These meetings have helped keep our Bridge Clubs strong! 


August 1     Virtual Sake Brewery Tour and Tasting

July 30        Virtual Dinner and a Movie: ‘Departures (Okuribito)’

July 25         Virtual Sake Tasting & Pairing Demo

June 28        Virtual Japanese Cooking Class & Demo

June 26        Zoo Atlanta Virtual Trivia & Re-Opening Info Session

June 06       Let’s Connect and do Radio Taiso Together!

May 29         Japanese Cuisine Watch Party

May 05         Drums of Noto Hanto: Virtual Interactive Storytelling

April 22       Japanese Movie & DocuSeries Virtual Watch Party

Virtual Sake Tasting & Pairing Demo

     On July 25th, we kicked off our Virtual Sake Tasting and Pairing Demo with our partner, MGK Hospitality, owners of Chirori and Wagaya Japanese restaurants. Led by MGK Founder Takashi Otsuka and Manager Christina Lu, we had an exciting and informative night filled with unique Japanese tastes and interactive experiences. The session began with Christina giving viewers a quick,detailed overview of Sake (), highlighting its history, brewing process, and what sets it apart from other types of alcohol. 

     Christina also led viewers in the pairing demo, sharing her expertise on how to prep their Sake for tasting, what to look for in flavor, and what aromas to expect. The pairing demo featured three unique bottles of Sake, Kizakura Hana, Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai and Kiku Masamune Taru, all of which can be purchased locally at Chirori’s Japanese grocery store, a new addition to the Atlanta restaurant. All of the sake was skillfully paired with simple items that could be purchased from the local supermarket: strawberries, blue cheese, and popular Korean kimchi.

     Towards the end of the pairing demo, viewers could ask questions as well as listen to advice on trying Sake with their own creative pairings. During this time, Christina was able to give Sake recommendations for beginners and experts. Viewers are now equipped to venture into the world of Sake all on their own! A big thank you to MGK Hospitality for helping JASG make this event possible!

Nakato Virtual Cooking Class

     As a part of our series of interactive virtual events, the JASG was proud to present our Virtual Japanese Cooking Class & Demo featuring Atlanta’s Nakato Japanese Restaurant. During this exclusive event which featured access to discounts for online orders with Nakato, our viewers followed along as the restaurant's owner, Sachiyo Nakato Takahara and Chef Ikumi led a demo including some Nakato’s specialities, Temari Sushi and Chawan Mushi.

     The class featured an introduction by Mrs. Takahara, of the Japanese dishes, giving viewers an opportunity to learn about the name origin of dishes, as well as their unique attributes. Chef Ikumi took over from there, moving step-by-step into the cooking process, giving tips along the way. Explanations for some of the distinctive Japanese cooking methods for the featured dishes were given through the demo, making for an experience that immersed our viewers into what makes Nakato’s cuisine so special. Additionally, there were ample recommendations on where to buy authentic Japanese tools and ingredients for the best possible end result.

     Our Executive Director, Yoshi Domoto, was in constant communication with Mrs. Takahara and Chef Ikumi, asking questions essential to the preparation process and assisting in guiding our viewers through the demo. After the demo, Mr. Domoto continued to facilitate the Q&A portion of the class, allowing our viewers to ask about best practices for cooking, the restaurant's most popular dishes, how to order during COVID-19, and more. 

     After the dishes were finished, Mrs. Takahara was able to walk viewers through Japanese eating practices tailored to the particular foods, previewing what one might expect when eating them in Japan. Finally, she explained the guidelines for the restaurant’s eventual reopening, planned for later this summer. 

Public Affairs Committee

U.S.-Japan Sister City Bell Ringing: 75 Years of Peace since Hiroshima and Nagasaki



On August 6, 1945, at about 8:15 a.m. Japanese time, the U.S. aircraft Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima. The devastation was unlike anything in the history of warfare, ushering in the era of weapons of mass destruction.

Three days later, the U.S. launched a second mission against the city of Nagasaki, instantly killing at least 40,000 people.

On August 15, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's surrender, bringing the hostilities of World War II to a close. The power of the atomic bomb would usher a change in geopolitics that still reverberates to today.

As the inaugural initiative of the newly created “Japan Committee” of Sister Cities International, the Committee solicits participation to promote the simultaneous ringing of bells in sister cities and other communities across the U.S. and Japan to mark 75 years of peace since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They called on citizen diplomats and city leaders to coordinate these bell ringings in sister cities across the United States and Japan. These can be bells big and small—houses of worship, hand bells, call bells, cow bells…anything! Bell ringing occur twice–first at 4:15pm, Wednesday, August 5 (U.S. PDT) and second at 7:02pm, Saturday, August 8 (U.S. PDT), to coincide with the actual times and dates the atomic bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Information on this project, including examples of how to design a commemoration ceremony, can be found on the organization’s website: This is a locally led, nationally supported project, so the national organization will not be holding an event of its own. This means each locality has the opportunity to customize design their experience.  Thank you to those who participated and shared your memories (e.g., pictures, newspaper articles, reflections). Please use the hashtag #USJapanBells in your social media posts. Help us spread the message of peace across the Pacific Ocean to our sister cities in Japan with bells ringing clearly enough for the whole world to hear!

“Japan knows the horror of war and has suffered as no other nation

under the cloud of nuclear disaster. 

Certainly Japan can stand strong for a world of peace.” 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Reflection:  JASG Delegation visits Hiroshima

Last November, the Japan-America Society of Georgia partnered to send twenty (20) Georgia students and five (5) adults to participate in a Japanese program organized by The Japan Foundation, “Grassroots Exchange Network-Japan (GEN-J)” which included a visit to Hiroshima. 

  • Language Corner

  • Hang in There


    It’s been a while since I’ve written an article for the JASG “English Corner.”  I hope everyone is okay physically and mentally.  I know it’s a stressful time for everyone, especially if you are far away from your home and your loved ones.  Hang in there!   We use expressions like “Hang in there” to encourage people who are in stressful situations.  It means to be patient, to not give up, to keep being hopeful.  Other similar expressions are, “Hold on” or “Hold tight,” when a specific situation requires you to be patient.  Those expressions can also mean just “please wait.”  

    私が前回JASGの英語コーナーに記事を書いてからしばらくが経ちました。皆さん、心身共にお元気でいらっしゃることを願っています。皆さんにとってストレスの多い時ですね。もし故郷や愛する方と離れていれば尚更です。頑張りましょう!私達はこの“Hang in there”という表現をストレスの多い状況にある人を励ます際に使います。我慢して、諦めないで、希望を持ち続けて、という意味です。他の似ている表現には、“Hold on” “Hold tight,”があります。これらは、我慢が求められる特定の状況において使用されます。これらの表現は、単に『待ってください』ということもまた意味します

    Another expression that means to be patient is “Hold your horses!” “Hold your horses” is not used to encourage people, but rather to warn them against doing something too quickly.  For example, if you take your kids to the lobby of the movie theater and they want to run into the theater, you might say, “Hold your horses!  First we have to buy our tickets and then let’s get some popcorn.  THEN we can go into the theater.”  Other casual expressions to show mild irritation with someone wanting to go too fast are, “Keep your shirt on,” or “Cool your jets!”  Isn’t English interesting!?  I’m wishing you all the best and a quick, healthful resolution to the pandemic.  Meanwhile, “hang in there!”  

    我慢してという他の表現に、“Hold your horses!” があります。これは、人を激励するために使われるのではなく、何かをするのに急ぎすぎている場合、注意のために使用します。例えば、お子さんを映画館のロビーに連れていて、子供たちが劇場に向けて走りたがっている時に、『落ち着いて。ちょっと待って。』というように使えます。はじめに、チケットを購入しなければならないですし、ポップコーンを買いますよね。そして、それから、映画館に入ることが出来ます。また誰かがとてもはやくどこかへ行きたがっている際に、軽くイライラを示す他の気軽な表現として、“Keep your shirt on,” “Cool your jets!” があります。英語はとても面白いですよね!?簡単ですが、皆様のご多幸と感染爆発下でのご健勝をお祈りしております。その間、『くじけないで』。

    By the way, Bigler ESL is now completely online!  We’re offering small group classes and private lessons via Zoom. Please contact us for a free no obligation 20-minute evaluation and mini-lesson! Liz Bigler is the owner of Bigler ESL, which provides personalized English coaching and accent reduction for individuals and families in Atlanta, Japan, and anywhere else in the world.

    ところで、Bigler ESLは現在、完全にオンラインにて行っております。Zoomによる少人数グループや個別レッスンを提供しています。完全無料の20分間の査定とミニレッスンにつきまして、ぜひご連絡ください。リズ・ビグラー先生は、Bigler ESLのオーナーで、個別対応の英語コーチングと発音矯正を個々に、またご家族向けにアトランタ、日本、そして世界中のどこへでも提供しています。

Japan America Society of Georgia

Newsletter Contributors:

    Liz Bigler

     Charles Coney

     Maria Domoto

     Yoshi Domoto

     Stephen Haverfield

     Albert Hodge

     Kiyo Kojima

     Kaitlin Motley

     Maki Murahashi

     Debra Owen

     Mike Raymer

     Mariko Shimoda

     George Waldner

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

    Small Business       Regular        Long Distance
 Fren Inc MARTA  CLDG Inc
 Brookwood Associates    

New Individual Members

 Jill Adams  Courtney Ammerman  Brad Botnick 

 Alice Brockwell

 Debra Brown
 Megan Carter 
 Chase Davis 
 Damian DeArment 
 Nick DeCinque 
 Christine Doi 
 Marie Encarnacion 
 Darla Ficco 
 DeAnte Fogle 
 Addison Haggard 
 Laura Hennninghausen 
 Erin Hinsley 
 Frank Huang 
 Jelani Ichimura 
 Caroline Iizuka 
 Steven La Voie 
 Neil McBride 
 Ann-Marie McGaughey 
 Joan Ming
 Mike Nassar 
 Petek Ozgui 
 Kate Powers      
 Georgia Premoli 
 Edward Rhee 
 Katie Rocco 
 John Stauter 
 Francisca Venegas 
 Jugna Voly 
 Justin Voly  Tahjamare Warren 
 Malik Watson 
 Blair Weaver 
 Emily Werner 
 Candice Wilson 
 Fiona Yang 

     On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of the Japan-America society of Georgia, we hope this message finds you and your family safe and healthy. With all the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, we recognize and understand the challenges facing you, and we are working tirelessly on behalf of our members.

     From our COVID-19 Resources web page at to advocacy for our members and promoting US-Japan relations, the Society is committed to helping navigate these difficult times. The work by our professional staff continues through the offering of: 

o Complimentary webinar series on timely COVID-19 related topics and best practices for crisis management (; 

o  Resources made available at the local, state, and federal levels, and from other Japan-related organizations in the U.S. and Japan;

o  Free online English lessons to the Japanese community and discounted Japanese language classes for American members;

o  Virtual social networking and cultural exchange programs; 

o  Assistance for teachers, students, and host/friendship families.

Through these unprecedented times, our number one priority remains serving as the voice of our members so please do not hesitate to let us know if we can help support you in any other way during these times of need.

     The JASG relies heavily on support from members. We respectfully ask for your continued support by renewing membership dues. Your continued commitment enables us to ensure our ability to offer business, cultural, educational, and social exchanges, and fostering business opportunities now and in the future. Please keep your membership current by making your dues payment. Any additional contributions you are able to make would be much appreciated – donations made to the JASG may be tax-deductible. Please follow the following link to renew your membership or to make a contribution:

     With our cultural, educational, and social ties at an all-time high, your continued membership and support will certainly strengthen friendship and the mutual understanding between the Japanese, American and many other international communities not only in Georgia but in Japan as well. Thank you very much and we look forward to continue working with you to promote friendship and mutual understanding between the people of Japan and Georgia. If you have any questions and/or if you would like to discuss other membership options, please call the JASG office at 404-842-1400 or vial email at  

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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