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  1. 1. July/August 2010 JETAANY.org/magazine 1
  2. 2. Contents July/August 2010, Vol. 19, Issue No. 4 3 From the Editor, Japan Local Government Center Director 4 Nippon News Blotter / Welcome Suzuki-san 5 JETAANY Society Page By Goshippu Garu 6 JETlog featuring Byron Nagy Samurai in New York Exhibition by Mark Brandstetter 7 Bryan Lee O’Malley: The JQ Interview by Justin Tedaldi 8 Nihonjin in New York featuring Noriko Hino by Stacy Smith 9 Book Corner: Nintendo Magic by David Kowalsky 10 Nichibei Toastmasters by Pam Kavalam 11 The Funny Page The Heiz Rocks On by Hugh Prysten A Message from Ambassador Nishimiya Welcome to the Big Apple, JETAA USA! As Consul-General of Japan in New York it is my pro- found pleasure to extend best wishes to the JET Alumni Association and members of chapters from every corner of the United States gathered for the 2010 JETAA USA National Conference. Now in its 24th year, the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program is one of the world’s most suc- cessful and innovative international exchange programs. Over 25,000 Americans have journeyed to Japan on JET, promoting English language education and internationalization, and becoming bridges of understanding and friendship in schools, local government offices and communities throughout the country. But life as a JET does not end in Japan. In fact, a remarkable indicator of the program’s suc- cess is the incredible enthusiasm and dedication of program alumni. Today, JETAA chapters not only play an essential part in the selection, orientation and return of JET participants, they are organizations composed of individuals who will be at the vanguard of the Japan-U.S. relation- ship for years to come. And at this time of great change and challenge in Japan, it is especially important that we make the key role JETAA plays in the broader Japan-U.S. relationship more widely known. Finally, as cultural ambassadors you could not have picked a better time and place for this annual conference. One hundred fifty years ago, in June of 1860, a group of 76 samurai, the first Japa- nese diplomatic delegation to New York City, arrived to a magnificent welcome in Manhattan. That early encounter was the beginning of the rich tradition of person-to-person exchange be- tween Japan and America. And as the JET Program so amply demonstrates, individual exchange remains at the heart of our relations to this very day. All my best for a productive and enjoyable conference. I hope this meeting will strengthen the JETAA USA organization, ties between chapters, and your bonds with Japan. Please have a great stay in New York. Shinichi Nishimiya Ambassador and Consul-General of Japan in New York2 July/August 2010 JETAANY.org/magazine
  3. 3. From the Editor The JET Program is in danger. After 23 years of producing more than 50,000 participants from around the world, Japan’s new ruling party has decided to slash its spending. According to an illumi- nating article titled “JET Program on the Chopping Block” from JetWit.com, an 11-member panel ruled unanimously in May that a comprehensive examination should be undertaken to see if JET should be pared back or eliminated altogether. Jim Gannon, the writer of the piece, is a JET alum and executive director for the Japan Center of International Exchange in New York. JETAANY has now launched an online “Save the JET Program” petition aimed at Primed Minister Naoto Kan and His Cabinet, which we encourage all supporters to sign and circulate to others everywhere to unify our voice. Let’s go back to that number mentioned earlier. Over 50,000 participants, all of whom wanted to live and work in Japan. Some are still there, some are back home. Some have even kept the ideals ofAt the Japan Pavilion in Shanghai for World Expo 2010. JET vital by working for and establishing relationships with public figures, embassies, consulates,local government, schools, the media, or by writing books and films on the subject (see page 11 for examples featured in our back issues). These are alllives touched by their time spent abroad on JET, something we pray will be preserved for the future.Editorially yours,Justin Tedaldi (Kobe-shi CIR, 2001-02)magazine@jetaany.orgFrom the Executive Director, Japan Local Government CenterHello JETs,I am going to leave the United States at the end of July after my unforgettable three years andfour months living and working in New York. A lot of things happened in the U.S. and the worldduring this period. I enjoyed watching and experiencing them as a New Yorker. That has beenwonderful. I could even watch and be impressed with the fantastic fights by the U.S. and Japa-nese soccer teams in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.I have loved the JET Program since its beginning in 1987. I was not a beneficiary of the program;I was too old to be taught by JET participants in my school days, so they were not at all respon-sible for my bad English. However, my 18-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son are clearlydifferent. They came to America with my wife and I three years ago. Off course, they didn’t speakand understand English when they went to public school. However, they were lucky because their ESL teacher was a JET alumna who had worked as anALT in Fukui Prefecture. She enabled them to enjoy their school days, and my daughter graduated from high school and my son finished the ninth gradelast month.Although this is my personal story, it is a clear example to show how wonderful the JET Program is. We have a Japanese proverb, nasake wa hito notamenarazu. Sorry, I cannot translate it into English, so you will have to look it up yourself.I have two ambitious dreams about the JET Program and its participants from past to future. The first is that one of you will become President of theUnited States of America in the future. People in Japan, CLAIR and Japanese local governments will and should maintain this program until this dreamcomes true.The second one is that you will become sincere supporters of the JET Program and grassroots bonds between Japan and America or other countries. Notnow, not several years later after you finish your job in this program, but when you are older and retired. In your sixties and beyond, you will have muchtime and energy to do something good for the public and the world. You will be rich enough and have great networks to do so. I am sure of it. Maybe someof you will be super billionaires and I will welcome your generous multibillion-dollar donations to JET alumni activities and its related organizations.In order to realize my dreams, you have to enjoy your lives and work hard to supportyour spouse and raise your children and succeed in your career advancement in theU.S. Those things are more important than anything you can immediately do for theJET Program. And of course, that’s the beginning of my dreams.I hope and strongly believe that you are the national treasures of Japan in the UnitedStates.There is one thing that I cannot realize during my stay here. It is that I cannot attendthe monumental U.S. JET Alumni Association National Conference hosted by JETAA-NY in New York City from August 13 to 15. The City of New York, where my office, theJapan Local Government Center (CLAIR in New York) is located, is gorgeous in sum-mer, and always expensive year-round (JETAANY, I clearly understand how hard it isfor you to have the national meeting in Manhattan!).Thank you, JETs. I have been lucky to be with you these last few years. I truly enjoyedit. Goodbye and good luck. Write for the Eighth Wonder of the World!Hiroshi SasakiJapan Local Government Center, CLAIR New York Send story ideas to magazine@jetaany.org. July/August 2010 JETAANY.org/magazine 3
  4. 4. 5/28/10: Australia has said it will begin legal evolution of the solar system, as well as paving action against Japan over its whaling in the Ant- the way for future sample return missions. (AP) arctic. It will argue that the annual whaling hunt in the Southern Ocean is in violation of an in- 6/15/10: Nearly half of Japan’s commercial nu- ternational ban on commercial whaling. Japan, clear power reactors had problems requiring ac- which kills hundreds of whales every year, says tion, including the need for inspections, in their the hunt is carried out for scientific research fiscal 2009 operations, the Nuclear and Indus- purposes. Critics say this is a cover for commer- trial Safety Agency said in its first such report. cial whaling and that whale meat not used in None is deemed to have had a problem that is research is sold for food. (BBC News) not “tolerable,” while a majority got a passing grade, the agency affiliated with the Ministry of 6/3/10: Unpopular Japanese Prime Minister Economy, Trade and Industry said in “report 7/1/10: Japan relaxed its visa requirements Yukio Hatoyama said he would resign, taking cards” on problems, malfunctions and opera- for Chinese tourists, hoping to attract more the blame for his Cabinet’s plunging approval tional status at the nation’s 54 reactors in the well-heeled travelers from its giant neighbor rate brought on by funds scandals and the row year through March 31. (Kyodo News) and cash in on demand for electronics, cosmet- over relocating a U.S. base in Okinawa. Demo- ics and luxury goods. Around 600,000 Chinese cratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro 6/20/10: Renho, Tokyo’s new administrative tourists visited Japan between January and Ozawa, embroiled in a shady transfer of politi- reform minister, said the government will re- May, a 36 percent jump from the same period cal funds, will also step down from the party’s main unyielding in its quest to eliminate waste- last year, Japan’s National Tourism Organiza- No. 2 post. (The Japan Times) ful spending. She revealed that Prime Minister tion said. (Reuters) Naoto Kan asked her when she was appointed 6/4/10: Naoto Kan, Japan’s new prime min- to focus on jigyo shiwake—the ongoing review 7/4/10: Competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi ister, beat his rival, Shinji Tarutoko, in a vote of shadowy government-backed entities—to was arrested at the 95th annual Nathan’s Fa- among members of parliament belonging to the eliminate financial waste. “As long as I am in mous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eat- ruling Democratic Party of Japan. Kan, Japan’s charge, we will be giving all our efforts to reduce ing Contest on Coney Island after attempting to sixth prime minister in four years, is the first wasteful spending,” Renho said. “I don’t think storm the stage. The 32-year-old Nagano native leader in 14 years not to hail from a political going through the process while simultaneously was barred from competing over a contract dis- dynasty. Kan has talked with more enthusiasm launching discussions for a tax hike is contra- pute with Major League Eating, the sanctioning than his Democrat colleagues about the need to dictory.” Renho goes by her first name only as body of the Nathan’s event and other food-re- raise the consumption tax, a measure that is un- she used the name while working as a model lated contests. Kobayashi’s archrival, American likely to go down well with voters. (Christian and TV newscaster before becoming an Upper Joey Chestnut, clinched his fourth win in a row, Science Monitor) House member. (Japan Times) downing 54 dogs in 94-degree heat. (New York Daily News) 6/15/10: A team of scientists flew to the Aus- 6/29/10: Paraguay joined three other South tralian outback and recovered a sample capsule American nations in the World Cup quarter- 7/11/10: Japanese voters handed a stinging from a space probe, which they hope contains finals, outlasting Japan, 5-3, in a penalty kick electoral defeat to the ruling Democratic Party asteroid samples providing clues into the evolu- tiebreaker after 120 scoreless minutes in front of Japan, exit polls showed, rejecting a proposal tion of the solar system. The Japan Aerospace of an announced 36,742 at South Africa’s Loftus to increase taxes and handicapping a fledgling Exploration Agency’s Hayabusa explorer, the Versfeld Stadium. Japan missed an opportunity government struggling to keep the world’s sec- first spacecraft to successfully land on an aster- to become the first Asian team to defeat a South ond-largest economy from financial meltdown. oid that returned to Earth after a seven-year, 6 American opponent in World Cup play, drop- Estimates showed the Democrats ended up with billion km journey, was launched as part of an ping the continent’s record to 0-9-2. 110 seats, well below its goal of maintaining a ¥18 billion project to understand the origin and (Washington Post) majority in the 242-member upper house. (AP) JLGC Welcomes New Assistant Director I came here in the beginning of April. Actually, I have been to this exciting city three times so far, but I never could have imagined becoming a New Yorker myself. Learning English with native speakers is a very eye-opening experience for me. When I was a junior high school student, there were some young native speakers from overseas. They didn’t just teach me pronunciations, but they gave me the motivation to keep on studying English! Years later, I am here to assist JETAA. I cannot help think- ing that I am linked by fate to this mission. Making good use of my years of experience working for the Inbound Tourism Promotion Section, and later, the International Affairs Divi- sion in Tokyo, I hope to do my best as a liaison at the Japan Local Government Center. Dozo yoroshiku onegaishimasu. Tomoya Suzuki, JLGC4 July/August 2010 JETAANY.org/magazine
  5. 5. The Society Page is back! We know you havemissed the all-knowing, all-seeing Yoku Shit-teiru’s accounts of JETAANY life. So to pickup where we left off, please welcome GoshippuGaru! Read on for updates about (almost) ev-erything JET-related from the past two months. Liz Bass and JETAANY VP Monica Yuki at Japan Day.EVENTS: each other over Ghana’s triumph over the U.S.Two successful Nihongo Dake Dinners in a row: in the World Cup.May 26 was at Vietnamese beer hall Bia Gardenon the Lower East Side, organized by Liz Bass Mie-san of Mie, Inc. has been great for hook-(NDD planner Kendall Murano was out of ing up JET alums with Japanese cultural eventstown). Despite the inexplicably intense heat in- around the city. Following the success of the tai-side, a good time, lots of great food and a few ko drumming event in May with amazing Taikoice buckets full of beer were enjoyed by all in dance group COBU, she’s put on events such asattendance—an even split between JETs and sake tastings at Soba Totto and Decibel, yaki- Nicole Bongiorno chills with a local celebrity.Nihonjin, several of whom were from non-prof- tori at Robataya, and learning about wagashi atit NY de Volunteer (see article on page 8), the Minami Kitchoan. JETS IN THE ARTS:non-profit group that brings Japanese cultural In theater, Ann Chow starred in the musicalprograms to NYC classrooms. Part II took place FOJ Jon Hills of Hills Learning Institute has comedy show Help Us Go Away at various lo-on June 30 at Ramen Setagaya in the East Vil- teamed up with Yasushi Sasaki of Two Riv- cations around Lower East Side and the Westlage. A fantastic turnout with a slightly higher ers Associates to present monthly Japanese and Village, including the Living Theatre and thenumber of native Japanese speakers had the Asian networking events in the city. Yoku deki- Stonewall Inn throughout April and May.Nihongo flowing (almost) all night long! mashita to the hardworking JETAANY event coordinators! Another JET vet, Learning to Bow authorOn June 8, NYdV had a successful FUNdrais- Bruce Feiler, wrapped a two-month speak-er at Top Tunes Karaoke bar with a few JETs JETS IN THE NEWS: ing tour in June for his new book The Councilin attendance, including Ann Chow as the Rick Ambrosio took over JETAANY’s Twit- of Dads. Earlier this spring, Malena Watrousfirst prize raffle winner, winning a giant Kitty- ter page from Secretary Janelle Jimenez. published her debut novel, If You Follow Me ,chan. At Japan Day @ Central Park on June 6, John Gauntner (a.k.a. “the Sake Guy”) gave about an English teacher living in Shika-machiCarleen Ben and Amber Liang organized a the lecture “Amazing Leverage: The Final Steps (Malena’s real-life JET placement) in ruralgroup of JETs to help run a yo-yo fishing booth of Sake-Brewing” at Japan Society on May 19. Japan. And in May, JQ contributor Yukariwith the JLGC and Japan Society, much to the American Enterprise Institute Director of Japa- Sakamoto published Food Sake Tokyo , adelight of hundreds of children hopped up on nese Studies Michael Auslin testified before guide to the very best cuisine and eateries of Ja-sakura-flavored wagashi. Congress in April about the current state of pan’s capital city. U.S.-Japan relationships.The Pre-departure Seminar at the Nippon Speaking of JQ, this publication’s very ownClub on June 26 was a success with around 60 Also, David Boling, lawyer and former Con- editor Justin Tedaldi has been writing a Newsoon-to-be-leaving JETs attending the daylong gressional chief of staff, announced his can- York Japanese Culture page for Examiner.comevent. Playwright and JETAANY board member didacy for the 2nd District Congressional seat since the start of May, and has worked and spo-Randall David Cook opened with an energet- in Arkansas. Current Wakayama JET Theo ken with a lot of interesting people on the Nichi-ic and fun keynote speech. This was followed by Thourson was featured in the Japan Times NY scene, like Bon Jovi’s David Bryan. Youworkshops on job training, city/suburb/coun- for a site called takumisheart.com, which seeks can subscribe for free alerts to all of his newlytry placements, Japanese language, etiquette, to help his Japanese friend with a severe heart published stories, and if you’re a JET looking towomen’s issues and more. disorder. Minna-san, gambatte! promote something, contact Justin at maga- zine@jetaany.org. Otsukaresama to all!JETAANY President Megan Miller Yoo put WEDDING PLANS:on a terrific event, enforcing a strict dress code David Flynn, who was one of the pioneers on JETAANY wants to know your business! E-ensuring that female presenters wore black- the first year of the JET Program and a Kintetsu mail goshippugaru@gmail.com with yourand-white patterned dresses. The day was fol- Essay Contest winner, has some happy news. news and/or photographic documentation andlowed by drinks at JETAANY favorite Faces & His daughter Caitlin, also a former JET, tied it just might end up on the Society Page of JQ.Names, where new and old JETs alike consoled the knot in July. Omedetou! We look forward to hearing from you!Amber Liang assists at the Pre-departure Orientation. Justin shows new JETs the secret to a good haircut. JETAANY President Megan Miller at the orientation. July/August 2010 JETAANY.org/magazine 5
  6. 6. the 25th of the month. We tend to lished JETAA Tokyo, the real chal- never consider just how precarious lenge begins now as we attempt our employment situation is until to grow our membership, develop we find ourselves suffering from meaningful programs, officially paycheck withdrawal, scraping for register as an NPO and make good unemployment benefits and sleep- on our lofty goals. ing on our friend’s kitchen floor. To all prospective JET alumni who But once we wean ourselves off a find themselves looking for op- salary; once we learn to innovate, portunities in Tokyo, there is un- network and collaborate; once we fortunately no perfect instruction begin to think outside the box and manual that shows the path to ca- work across boundaries; once we reer success. However, it is my sin- shoulder the risk of real freedom cere hope that JETAA Tokyo will This issue features JETAA Tokyo tential, without any formal career and develop a taste for the rewards, serve as a resource of knowledge Chair Byron Nagy (Miyazaki-ken resources or support only a hand- it is almost impossible to go back to and support, helping JET alumni CIR, 2006-07). ful are able to make the jump from working as a mild-mannered sala- network with those who came be- teaching to a business career in To- ryman. The knowledge that there fore them in order to find their own After a stint as a CIR in the moun- kyo. As a JET alum myself, it natu- will be no payday unless we go out personal path to success. tains of Miyazaki, I followed in the rally fell to me to put together a and make it rain can be a fantastic footsteps of the many JETs before training and development program motivator. If we can develop the Learn more about JETAA Tokyo at me making the trip to Tokyo in that would help my compatriots get skills necessary to work for our- www.jetaa-tokyo.org. search of a career. Without a job a piece of the Tokyo pie. selves, we grow stronger by the day lined up and lacking a specific plan as real security becomes within our on how to get one, I began the ar- After months of research and de- reach. duous task of randomly applying velopment, I was all set to roll out for job openings, attending career the new training program, dubbed Naturally, I cannot advocate this fairs and essentially flashing my ré- JETSET, just in time for the econ- lifestyle for everyone, yet it was sumé to anyone who would care to omy to collapse in the wake of the undoubtedly the right choice for look. Like many JETs fresh off the Lehman Brothers crash. In the me at the time. Over the last year, I program, I was overzealous regard- face of budgets cuts, hiring freezes worked as a freelance independent ing my job prospects (not yet jaded and corporate red tape, it slowly contractor taking on any project about working for a Japanese com- became clear to me that JETSET that captured my interest. Through pany) and generally lacked direc- wasn’t happening and that all my avid networking, I had the oppor- tion in terms of what I wanted to do work had been for naught. In ret- tunity to work in marketing, HR or was even capable of. All I knew rospect, this was for the best. recruiting, PR consulting, busi- was that I wanted to do something ness development, translation and “international” using my linguistic A diehard idealist, my primary interpretation, event planning and ability and prior cultural experi- concern was putting together a journalism. I learned more in the ence in Japan. I was probably not program that would help my fellow last year as a freelancer than in all the first one to think this way. alumni to develop a career in Tokyo my years as a salaryman combined. and create value for the JET com- I have been bitten by the entrepre- Photo from Samurai in New York: The First Japanese Delegation, 1860 It wasn’t until my first trip to the munity here. This conflicted with neurial bug and fear my symptoms bathroom in the Shin Marunouchi my company’s objective, which was might be terminal in that I will “Over sea, hither from Niphon, building that it finally sunk in how of course to make money and ben- never be content working a regular Courteous, the Princes of Asia far I had come from the yakuba efit from the positive PR associated job again. Swat-cheek’d princes, back in Kyushu. The high-tech with “internationalizing” Japan, First-comers, guests, two sworded Washlets looked like they had been one gaijin at a time. The realiza- As a result of the challenges I faced, princes…” lifted from the Death Star and were tion of this fact compounded with the experiences I had and the peo- so clean and shiny that you could my growing frustration with being ple I worked with along the way, a -Walt Whitman eat your bento off of them. I con- a cog in the corporate machine led year later I was able to come full templated the bygone days of squat me to hand in my resignation in circle to fulfill the vision I almost Thanks in part to contributions toilets and inaka work uniforms search of a better way to achieve gave up on. Thanks to the help from The Japan Chamber of Com- as I made my way back to my desk my vision. Thus ended my days as a and dedication of countless other merce and Industry of New York, alongside the other immaculately salaryman and marked the start of JET alumni in Japan and abroad, Canon U.S.A., Daiwa Capital Mar- dressed Japanese salarymen and one of the most turbulent yet pro- JETAA Tokyo was created and ap- kets America and NTT Docomo, OLs. I had finally hit the big time, ductive and enlightening years of proved as an official chapter of the the Museum of The City Of New landing a post-JET job doing new the rest of my life. JET Program Alumni Association. York is presenting a special exhibi- business development at a flashy With the original ideals of the JET tion through Oct. 11 entitled Samu- Japanese HR firm. I realize now that I am essentially Program and a vision of a someday rai in New York: The First Japanese unemployable. As company em- truly international Japan in mind, Delegation, 1860. At the museum, My firm saw JETs as a potentially ployees, we are given just enough JETAA Tokyo is charged with the you can learn about the origins of valuable human resource for Japa- autonomy to make our jobs bear- goal of creating positive value for New York City, from the pre-Co- nese companies looking to inter- able and discourage us from risk- JET alumni and the society we lumbian era to the very recent past. nationalize and expand business ing uncertainty. We are lulled into live in through the three pillars of In this case, Samurai in New York abroad. While many JETs fresh a false sense of security and anes- Career, Community and Service. commemorates the 150th anniver- off the program possess great po- thetized with a cash injection on Although we have officially estab- sary of Japan’s first diplomatic en-6 July/August 2010 JETAANY.org/magazine
  7. 7. voys to the United States, display- etc.—is flying me out for businessing rare artifacts and ephemera for reasons. I want it to be a trip with athe public as well as photographs definite purpose, not just a pleasureof the event. According to director cruise, because I know I’ll just geekBarbara Livenstein, the museum out too hard and get lost in somehas loaned these vintage relics used manga store or whatever andfrom the Kato San Museum in Gifu it’ll be really embarrassing. Or I’llPrefecture just for this exhibition. Growing up in Canada, Bryan Lee For Scott Pilgrim , what indi- get stuck in a ramen shop and have O’Malley did what a lot of 10-year- vidual scenes/character de- to eat ramen until I explode. TheJune 16th, 1860 saw nearly olds in the late ’80s did—play Nin- velopments in the series are whole thing is sad, really.500,000 New Yorkers crowding tendo. Fast forward to today: kids you most proud of?along the sides of Broadway to still like Nintendo, but O’Malley’s I’m not sure! I’m pretty disgusted In addition to music, the Scottcatch a glimpse of over 70 Samurai hit the big time with Scott Pilgrim, with the whole thing, really. It’s Pilgrim series has a wealth offrom Japan with their traditional a six-volume manga-styled series pretty much a wash. Better luck insider game references likekimono and swords. This special that began in 2004, fusing ele- next time as they say. River City Ransom, Drumma-diplomatic envoy from the Far East ments of old-school video games, nia and Clash at Demonhead.met with then-President James Bu- classic anime, slacker comedies Your drawing style for Scott Are all of these planned in ad-chanan, attended balls held in their and indie rock. Pilgrim reminds me of Rod- vance, or do you drop them inhonor, and the occasion of the Jap- ney Greenblat’s work for based on how the story devel-anese procession down Broadway The f nal volume, Scott Pilgrim’s PaRappa the Rapper. Were ops?was marked with a poem penned Finest Hour, was released in July, there any other styles or art- It’s a bit of both, I guess. A lot of theby Walt Whitman. The New York and the live-action f lm adapta- ists that influenced its evolu- video game stuff just gets thrown inTimes described it as “One of the tion, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, tion? while I’m doing the art or the letter-most novel and imposing spec- ing, but the larger, more structuraltacles ever witnessed in this City.” references like the River City Ran-For our readers unfamiliar with som stuff in volume 2 or the Ninjathe historically momentous event Gaiden scene in volume 4 were a bitfor New York City, some back- more premeditated.ground information for context: What can you tell us about theThe island nation of Japan held a Scott Pilgrim film now that it’sstrict policy of isolation from the complete?outside world from 1600 to 1850. Nothing. It’s a secret.After decades of contact and tradewith visiting Portuguese and Dutch Many recent anime- and videotraders, Japan’s most powerful game-turned-Hollywood filmsmartial group was able to unify have films bombed at the boxother warring clans across Japan office. What do you think theinto one empire. The new system of studios should keep in mindgovernment ruled by a military dic- when developing future proj-tator, called a shogun, began a strict ects?hierarchical class system that heav- They should continue to try toily taxed its peasants and brought make films that don’t suck. Youabout the emergence of the war- know, I don’t think anyone everrior caste of samurai. The shogun, sets out to make a crappy movie,Tokugawa, banned all contact with but there are a lot of forces work-the outside world for the next 250 opens in August, starring Mi- It was heavily influenced by the ing against those people who areyears. Japan’s policy of isolation chael Cera and directed by Ed- googly eyes of [1964 Christmas TV trying to make something decent.prohibited, under penalty of death, gar Wright (Shaun of the Dead). special] Rudolph the Red-Nosed There are a lot of fine lines to walkany Japanese person from leaving O’Malley talked with JQ in the Reindeer, to be completely honest. and small battles to fight. It takes athe nation and any foreigners who midst of moving to his new home lot of balls to make a good movie,may have found their way onto its in Los Angeles. Lately, there have been heat- I think.shores either by navigational error ed discussions online aboutor bad weather. This period of isola- Now that the Scott Pilgrim se- whether or not video games What are some of your fa-tion came to be historically referred ries is winding down, what are are art. What’s your take on vorite experiences from yourto as the sakoku (“locked country”) you planning to do next? that? guest appearances at animeperiod. This extended period of Nothing! Hoping to nap, or drop I think they can be art. I’ve certain- and comic book conventions?cultural isolation has played a huge dead. ly played games that provoked a Seeing people cosplaying my char-role in shaping Japan’s history real emotional response or serious acters is always a blast.and forming its people’s customs, How did you get into video thought processes. I think [Roger]language, perception of things games and anime/manga? Ebert et al. are being completely Any other messages for ourforeign, and its national identity. What were some of your ear- silly when they say that this one readers? liest influences from both particular medium can never be Stay out of school and don’t not doUnder the general sentiment of fields? art. I also don’t care enough to read drugs!its emperor and its people, Japan The first Nintendo game I ever got their arguments, so I’m not sure ifushered in an era of rapid scientific was Clash At Demonhead. I got they’re right. Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour hitsand military advancements unseen into anime and manga thanks to stores July 20, and Scott Pilgrimin modern history. The six years that Canadian classic, Sailor Moon. Have you ever been to Japan? vs. the World opens in theatersbetween United States Naval Com- What places/things would you Aug. 13.modore Matthew C. Perry’s arrival When you have time, what do want to see if you get the op-in 1853 and the first diplomatic en- you play now? portunity to go? Visit Oni Press for more infor-voy to New York City were marked Haven’t had time for a while, but I’ve always said I’ll never go to Ja- mation on the book, and www.with a furiously paced acquisition looking forward to playing Red pan unless some major company scottpilgrimthemovie.com forby Japanese nationals of all things Dead Redemption when things set- —publisher, movie studio, game the f lm site. Visit Bryan online atforeign. As Japan was [con’t on 9] tle down. I bought it, at least. developer, whoever’s reading this, http://radiomaru.com. July/August 2010 JETAANY.org/magazine 7
  8. 8. ample, I have been honored by the TV channel of the most popular gatherings for us because NY1 as “New Yorker of the Week,” and we have most of our members are new to New York and received awards from New York City on two oc- do not speak English well. But JETAA members casions. The first was in 2007 when I was an are so friendly and are used to hearing broken honoree at Comptroller William C. Thompson’s Japanese English, so it feels much easier to Asian Pacific Island Heritage celebration. Then communicate with them. We have joined some this year NYdV received a Volunteer Apprecia- of the happy hours as well. Noriko Hino is the founder of the groundbreak- tion Award from Parks and Recreation in rec- ing Japanese volunteer group NY de Volunteer. ognition of our dedication and commitment to Since 2007, many JETAA members have come The slogan of this non-pro f t organization is the after school program. In Japan, I was desig- to our Explore Japanese Culture After School “uniting global citizens in translating goodwill nated a “Lifestyle Expert 2005” by the Cabinet Program as guest speakers, and some have even into action,” and it truly makes this a reality. Office’s Social Policy Bureau Division. become advisors for NYdV and helped out with JQ talked with Hino about NY de Volunteer’s writing grant proposals. So I feel very lucky that activities, as well as her personal background JETAA and NYdV have met and enjoyed lots of and goals. activities together, and I look forward to build- ing a stronger relationship. Arigato, JETAANY!! Where are you from in Japan and what brought you to the States? What have the challenges been for NYdV I was born and raised in Ota City, Tokyo in 1967, due to the economic downturn? and following graduation from a junior college I Fundraising has been difficult for us. We actu- worked at a Japanese event production compa- ally were supposed to have a big summer fes- ny as an event coordinator and planner. I came tival which would have called for over 200 vol- to the States in 1993 at the height of the Internet unteers, but we were forced to cancel due to the bubble, so I began to work at an IT company as economic situation. So times like this are tough, their Web designer and art director. The event but we are getting by thanks to our companion- production and Web design skills that I gained ship and passion! from these experiences came in handy when I decided to enter the volunteer arena. The first What is the direction you hope to take activity I joined was as part of the NPO NY de NYdV in the future? Volunteer—known as NYdV—which I estab- I have become more active in the field of social lished in 2002, where I am currently the execu- marketing projects, and expect to continue this. tive director. Due to the favorable reception that the after school program has received, we are looking to Can you tell us a little bit more about cultivate other places where we might be able your organization? to offer it. Let me know if you have any ideas! With the promotion of both international mu- We are also hoping to develop more advanced tual understanding as well as activities that programs. contribute to society as our goals, we are dedi- cated to expanding our activities while trying to So how do you spend your free time, as- “JETAA members are role models for the children we remain flexible in regard to our thinking. To be suming you have any? teach at Explore Japanese Culture After School.” honest, the Japanese community in New York I like samba, shopping and walking, so I am City is often thought of as having a weak pres- Very impressive! I’m curious as to what pretty active during my down time as well. How- ence, but with our societal contributions we are inspired you to form NYdV? ever, I also enjoy reading, visiting museums and hoping to hold strong appeal to the local com- It actually emerged from my first trip to Coney beauty salon treatments when I want to relax. munity on behalf of the Japanese. In diverse Island in 1994. I was disappointed by the beach As for food, I love going out to eat for cuisines areas like education, medicine and the environ- which was overflowing with garbage, and be- as varied as Korean, Turkish and dim sum, and ment, we have carried out as many as 700 activ- gan picking some pieces up myself. Then some brunch is a favorite meal. I am also interested in ities with about 7,000 volunteers, such as clean- people joined me and began to help, and I was Japanese flower arrangement. ing up bathrooms and other facilities at public moved that we were able to share this feeling. parks. In doing this, we have especially focused I was also greatly struck by the power of what How about your favorite haunts in New on involving the Japanese community, a group you can accomplish due to the strength of many York? which tends to not be as familiar with the idea individuals working together. That would have to be the Neue Galerie New of volunteering. We do this with an operations York, MOMA, the Guggenheim, Riverside Park, staff of around 30 and 15 advisors. Also, for a big city like New York where connec- the West Village and rooftop bars. tions between people can be tenuous, volun- With such a wide variety of activities, is teering serves as a bridge to strengthen these And your go-to spots back home? there one in particular that you focus on? bonds by allowing you to overcome differences Onsen! In Japan you can enjoy all four seasons, In 2007 we began a program called Explore in age, race and social status. It turned my at- and each region has its own culture. For this rea- Japanese Culture After School in response to a tention to the fact that it could help with com- son, I think that the localities have more charm request from New York City. We implement it at munity formation, and I wanted to share my ex- than Tokyo—though when I lived in Japan I had recreation centers throughout the five boroughs perience with as many people as possible. This absolutely no interest in countryside areas. during the school year from September to June, is why I began volunteer activities and how I got and it is the only cross-cultural understanding to where I am today. Any other final thoughts you want to im- educational program here in the city. Our pro- part to our JETAA readers? gram has the goal of creating “global citizens” What kind of collaboration has taken JETAA members are role models for the chil- whose horizons are broadened by interacting place with JETAA up until this point? dren we teach at Explore Japanese Culture Af- with different cultures. Hundreds of children The origin of NYdV’s and JETAA’s collabora- ter School. I would love for more of you to come each year have the chance to take part in this tion was when one of our founders, Ms. Kazu- and share the valuable experiences you had in program, where Japanese culture is introduced mi Terada, knew about JETAA and thought it Japan with them! If you do, you will help their after school for the purpose of promoting Ja- would be a perfect match. So in 2004 we went dreams grow. Come try any NYdV activity! I pan-America mutual understanding. to a JETAA gathering at Coney Island where I promise that you will have fun as well as enjoy met several members. Since then, we have par- giving back to the community. Over the years, this program’s innovative plan- ticipated in some of the New York Cares clean- ning ability and strong leadership has received up events together, and NYdV members have For more info, visit New York de Volunteer at great acclaim from several sources. For ex- attended Nihongo Dake Dinners. This is one www.nydevolunteer.org.8 July/August 2010 JETAANY.org/magazine
  9. 9. the book really centers on explaining Ninten- annual trade show for the computer and video do’s surprising rise in the video game industry games industry) Nintendo will outline its plan with the release of the dual screen Nintendo for Wii Relax, which will be packaged with the DS handheld console in 2004 and Nintendo Wii Vitality Sensor (a device capable of send- Wii home console in 2006, and that these two ing vital information like one’s heart rate to the releases were actually Nintendo’s brilliant re- Wii) and released in time for the 2010 holiday sponse to the realization around 2002 that the season.” Well, E3 2010 came and went, and theI’m no gamer, but there is still a certain mystique company was in serious trouble as fewer people Vitality Sensor was nowhere in sight, but at theeven for me about Nintendo, the phenomenally were playing games. show Nintendo did introduce glasses-free 3Dsuccessful Japanese video game company. Only gaming with a new handheld console—the Nin-in the last year have I discovered Vertical, a New There is no question this is a very pro-Nintendo tendo 3DS—intended for release by April 2011.York-based publisher that specializes in English book with no shortage of praise for Nintendo. If there is a future paperback edition of Ninten-translations of contemporary Japanese books. What makes the book worth reading is Inoue’s do Magic, I look forward to reading yet anotherWhen I noticed earlier this spring that Vertical weaving in and really bringing to life the highly update: this on one the 3D gaming wars!was publishing a book about Nintendo, it was entertaining profiles of several key people, in-an easy choice to select as my first book to read cluding Satoru Iwata, the current president and *From Geek.com: According to Nintendo’sfrom this publisher of popular novels, non-fic- CEO; Shigeru Miyamoto, the senior executive Executive VP of Sales and Marketing Cammietion and graphic novels. deeply involved in the creation of both the DS Dunaway, the Wii Vitality Sensor has not been and Wii; Gunpei Yokoi, the first head of Ninten- cancelled. She told GameSetWatch that theNintendo Magic: Winning the Videogame do’s R&D section, who was responsible for lay- reason they didn’t show off the Vitality SensorWars is the first book by Osamu Inoue, a cor- ing a large part of Nintendo’s foundation; and at E3 was because Nintendo already had toorespondent for Nikkei Business Publications finally, Hiroshi Yamauchi, the third president much other stuff to show off, and that E3 itselfin Japan, which publishes Nikkei Business . As of Nintendo, who is still an active advisor to the didn’t seemexplained in the prologue, the book grew out company since retiring in 2002. like the bestof a special series of articles that ran in Nikkei environmentBusiness based on interviews with leading Nin- There is no easy way to end a book trying to cov- to introduce atendo executives. There were constraints on the er the never-ending competition in the home product that’samount of the material from the interviews that console wars between Nintendo’s Wii with Mi- really about re-would fit in the magazine format, leaving the crosoft’s XBox and Sony Computer Entertain- laxing.door open to take lots of unpublished material ment’s PlayStation series. Plus don’t forget theand write a book, which is what Inoue has done. Nintendo DS family versus the Apple’s iPhone Read more for portable games. Inoue wrote an epilogue to about Nin-The book jumps around in time, covering every- the Japanese edition of the book in 2009, and tendo Magicthing from Nintendo’s early history as a maker then an update for the newer English edition in at Vertical’sof traditional hanafuda playing cards in the February 2010. Both provided quality analysis, homepage:late 1800s, all the way up to and then past the but unfortunately, are already out of date. www.verti-new era of portable gaming wars that started in cal-inc.com/2008 when the Apple iPhone App Store down- In the English version, Inoue speculated that books/nin-load service opened for business. The focus of “it seems likely that at the June 2010 E3 (the tendo.html.[con’t from 7] beginning to form ships within the Japanese grass-its self image of modernity, small roots community. Japan Day’sgroups of Japanese envoys, sci- main aims to educate New Yorkersentists and officials crisscrossed about Japanese culture throughthe Western world, taking notes food, entertainment and traditionaland acquiring as much knowl- games boasts an annual average at-edge as they could to bring home, tendance of nearly 50,000 people.notably in the fields of construc- The Big Apple commemoratedtion, fashion and military tactics. the historic moment between Ja- pan’s community and the CityThe envoy’s purpose was not only of New York with a reenact-to establish Japan’s first diplomatic ment of the original samuraimission to the United States after procession. The parade, led byCommodore Perry’s arrival, but the NYPD marching band, hadto ratify the new Treaty of Friend- about 180 people dressed as feu-ship, Commerce and Navigation, dal era lords, ladies and warriors.which saw the United Statesbenefiting from a trade partner And on June 16, the Empire Statein the Far East, and Japan ac- Building was lit up in red and white Ambassador and Madame Nishimiya with MCNY directors. (Andrew Hinderaker)quiring new scientific and mili- from sunset until 2 a.m. to marktary technologies from the West. the promise of a Manifest Destiny. a Victorian-style dress decorated the anniversary to the day of the with Japanese patterns are just a first Japanese envoys who cameIn 1860, New York City had a popu- The delegation’s arrival symboli- few rare pieces the museum offers. to New York all those years ago.lation boasting over 800,000 resi- cally linked the two nations, anddents, with a surge of immigrants while the average person living in This significant anniversary has Check out Samurai in New Yorkfrom Western Europe. This was New York at the time knew very been celebrated and commemo- at The Museum of The City ofAmerica’s largest and most devel- little about Nippon, the customs, rated in other areas as well. The New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue atoped city, and while it may have language and clothing elicited great fourth annual Japan Day @ Central 104th Street, open Tue.-Sun. Forbeen young compared to its Euro- curiosity. Some of the most inter- Park was held in the East Mead- more info, visit www.mcny.pean counterparts, New York was esting pieces from the exhibition ow on June 6, comprised of local org/exhibitions/future/the bustling symbol of a promising displayed the cross-cultural influ- members of the Japanese commu- Samurai-in-New-York.htmland exceedingly robust new nation. ences that the visitors elicited. A nity and its supporters to boost a and www.ny.us.emb-japan.The new country was full of self- Japanese-style folding fan with the greater understanding of Japanese go.jp/150JapanNY/en/index.pride for its country’s successes and image of President Buchanan and culture and to strengthen relation- html. July/August 2010 JETAANY.org/magazine 9
  10. 10. tronic dictionary. If you are fluent and my palms tend to get sweaty or have intermediate or advanced [when I speak in public], but I try level Japanese, this would be a to obtain an effective level of confi- great opportunity to strengthen dence in speech by practice as well your skills, through formal pre- as trying to steal others’ techniques pared speeches or brief, impromp- on how to make my speech more tu public speaking. Also, it’s a great unique, attractive and believable. When I returned from Japan and fourth Tuesday of each month opportunity to meet not only native Another thing, which is also very last summer, I found myself job- at the American Association of Uni- speakers but other advanced Japa- important to me, is to maintain less and looking for things to do. versity Women headquarters—a re- nese learners. good Japanese. As you may notice, My sister recommended joining ally beautiful space. The first hour- many Japanese who live abroad are a Toastmasters public speak- long English session is divided What are the costs/require- prone to using ‘Janglish’ even in ing club, and I found the Nichibei into parts: an introduction by the ments of joining the club? Japanese conversation. They can’t Toastmasters, a group that links Toastmaster, which includes a wel- To join Toastmasters there is a process or translate “correct” Japa- Japan and the U.S. Its members come of any guests; a word of the one-time $20 initiation fee. This nese into Japanese conversation recently answered questions for because they have used English so JET alums or anyone interested in frequently. At Toastmasters, many learning more about this unique people’s ears can pick up even a club. tiny mistake—this makes my sense of Japanese much more sharpened What is Toastmasters? up ever than before.” However, this Toastmasters International is a is not something to be afraid of— non-profit organization designed the atmosphere is congenial but it to help people develop their pub- is no doubt a strong learning-cen- lic speaking skills in a friendly but tered environment. formal group setting. While its reputation grew because of inter- How have you improved since est from people in the business being in Toastmasters? industry, with 76 clubs in New Miki is a product designer who York City alone, the organization joined the club in 2008: “Nichibei has evolved. Local clubs include Toastmasters has helped me not Humorous Toastmasters, Pride only improve my English and Japa- Toastmasters, Greenspeakers and nese speaking skills, but it has also numerous corporate-based clubs helped me build confidence signifi- such as the Ringers (Verizon) and Nichibei Toastmaster members on Halloween. (Courtesy of their homepage) cantly! People understand what I Bullish Expressions—seemingly a say much more easily now, and I reference to Wall Street. day to be used throughout the ses- includes the cost of your welcome can communicate more effectively sion; a joke; and three impromptu packet and manual, which you will at work and at social occasions. How did Nichibei Toastmas- speeches about a timely topic. Then use to prepare for your speeches. There have been only benefits be- ters get started? we move into one or two prepared The manual includes your evalu- ing a Nichibei Toastmasters mem- Misako, a project manager at a speeches, which vary in length ation record as well as speech as- ber.” large bank who has been a mem- from five to 10 minutes. Then each signments, such as focusing on ber since 2002, says, “The club speech is evaluated in front of the body language, expression, etc. For What are some challenges for was started in 1991 by a Japanese group. Next, the timer lets us know every six months, the renewal fee the club? American who studied public who went over and under time; the is $70, which goes mainly toward I think the main issue we have is speaking both in English and Japa- “Etto Counter” tallies filler words space rental. There is no required time. What I love about the club is nese in San Francisco. She created for each speaker; a grammarian of- number of speeches to do, but gen- how everyone is so accomplished in a group for those who are interest- fers insight on both mistakes and erally everyone does three to five their fields and personal lives—we ed in both languages and cultures successes; and the Toastmaster speeches a year and has a small to have multilingual people who work to improve communication skills and general evaluator conclude significant role in each meeting. in TV production, organic farm- and foster friendship. We are go- the session. The Japanese session Observers are allowed up to four ing, European exports and textile ing to celebrate the club’s 20th an- has the exact same procedure. The visits to our meetings before join- design who also love to travel and niversary next January.” Misako is meeting is brought to a close with ing as a member. have families. However, this also also the regional Toastmasters con- the business section, which deals means that people sometimes need test champion, which is no small with club matters such as upcom- What is the Nichibei commu- to miss meetings because of work feat for New York City! ing speech contests, roles for the nity like? or other obligations. We have one following week, social events, feed- Teresa, who works in animal care, member who is currently on a six- How is Nichibei different from back from the guests, etc. After the is a visitor hoping to join soon: month backpacking trip around other Toastmasters clubs? meeting, a group goes out for din- “The people are welcoming and the world and another who is tak- Terry, an environmental consultant ner at a nearby restaurant. warm. I was surprised, because it’s ing an intensive Japanese class and member since 2006, explains, hard to find places like this espe- for the next few months. This has “Nichibei is the only Toastmasters What level of Japanese is nec- cially in New York, with these types been such a great opportunity to club on the East Coast using both essary to be in the club? of people and also a club that has make friends while also improving Japanese and English. Because of To be a part of the English session, Japanese and English in it. Plus, my public speaking and Japanese its uniqueness, we have many dif- you don’t need any Japanese at all. you can learn about the culture skills. I’d really love to see some ferent kinds of people who want to Actually, no Japanese is allowed. and language, and hopefully find new members (especially fellow make a contribution to society. It is In the Japanese session, you can language partners and friends too! JET alums!) so we can keep our a really inspiring and fun experi- serve as an observer or take part in Sugoi desu!” meetings going strong throughout ence to be in the club, and everyone smaller roles, like the timer or Etto the year. is willing to help create bridges be- Counter, which require minimal What do you like best about tween the two cultures.” Japanese. As someone who studied being in the club? For more info, visit Nichibei Toast- Japanese informally for about two Akira, who works in global product masters online at http://nichi- What is a Toastmasters meet- years while on JET, I use the sec- development at a major cosmet- bei.freetoasthost.us or e-mail ing like? ond half to hone my listening skills, ics company, joined Nichibei in Pam at pamela.kavalam@ Meetings take place on the second while making sure to use my elec- 2009. She says, “I still get nervous nyu.edu.10 July/August 2010 JETAANY.org/magazine
  11. 11. The future of JET is in flux, but we stand proudly by what we do. So instead of the usual oyaji gyagu, JQ and JetWit present the... Top Ten “Best of JQ” Articles That Support Our Cause Visit http://jetwit.com/wordpress/2010/07/11/jet-roi-top-ten-best-of-jq- articles-that-support-our-cause to see how JET alumni worldwide have benefitted their communities back home by promoting Japan and deepening internationalization.Firstly, thanks for your time!For our readers, would youmind telling us a bit aboutyourselves?Yes! We are the Heiz! Let me intro-duce our members…Shaku Keiji (guitar and vocals)Watanabe Asako (bass and vocals)Kimura Takashi (drums and vo-cals)What’s the story behind yourband name?As a group we really liked the word “Heiz,” but there isn’t any meaningbehind it.How long have you been playing together?For two years.What was the main reason you started playing together?We all came from playing in different bands. We met five years agoand had a jam session. Then two years ago we decided to get togetherand make a band. We wanted to make “rock soul”…and that’s how westarted as the Heiz.I know your band was on tour and did 45 dates! Well done!Can I assume that NYC was your favorite city?New York is an amazing place. It has a similar skyline to Tokyo. You For more Life After the B.O.E., visit www.lifeaftertheboe.com.should definitely go check out Double Down Saloon NYC. How about a favorite neighborhood?Any crazy stories you could share about your time on the We didn’t get to sightsee much but we all thought Manhattan was amazing.road?We got arrested at the Texas Border Control. It was the first time I had Mets, Yankees or...Cubs?to put my hands in the air and then against a wall. It was a pretty crazy Yankees!day and it was hella cold. Can you tell us about your album?Who were your favorite bands that you played with? Our latest album is a self-titled album that has the influences of Chuck Ber-The Vermin. We played with them in Las Vegas. They are really kind. ry, the Beatles and the Ramones. It’s the “Rock Soul” sound we were talkingThey covered one of our tracks. We totally want to tour with them one about. We think American people will really like it.day. Are you planning on touring the U.S. again?How did you find the crowds you played to compare with We think we will be touring again this year!what you are used to in Japan? What are your Japanese fanslike? How can our readers find out more about your band?American fans are really great. They really listen to our music and Check us out at www.myspace.com/theheiz.when they are having a great time, they dance and sing with us. Theybought our CDs and T-shirts and even bought us drinks! We love Thanks for your time!American fans! Japanese fans tend to be pretty shy and quiet. Thank you! Rock ‘n’ roll!!Did you have any favorite restaurants that you ate at in NYC? Check out the Heiz’s self-titled debut CD on Tokyo No Records at www.Double Down Saloon NYC, of course! tokyonorecords.com. July/August 2010 JETAANY.org/magazine 11
  12. 12. JETAANY SHOPPING WO SHIMASHOU!!!12 July/August 2010 JETAANY.org/magazine