Press Releases

  Fourth Annual Japanese Film Festival

 February 8, 2010

 Laramie, Wyoming— The Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY) will hold its fourth Japanese Film Festival at LCCC (Laramie County Community College) in Cheyenne on Feb.20 and at UW (University of Wyoming) in Laramie, WY on Feb.27.

                 

On Feb.20, “The Blue Bird” will be shown at 2:00 PM and “Departures” at 4:00 PM in the Science Center Room 121 of LCCC in Cheyenne.

On Feb. 27, “The Blue Bird” will be shown at 2:00 PM and “Departures” at 7:00 PM in Classroom Building Room 129 at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. Doors will open 20 minutes before show time at both campuses.

This year’s Japanese Film Festival will feature two contemporary movies which present typical issues in Japanese society. These Japanese films will not only entertain but will also promote understanding of modern and traditional Japanese life. The films will be shown in Japanese with English subtitles. Admission is free. First come, first served...seats are limited.

“I previewed both of these films and thought each one was terrific,” said Janice Harris, a member of the JASWY board.  “’The Blue Bird’ steps up to the difficult problem of bullying – of anyone, anywhere -- and offers a moving, positive, unforgettable response.  Hiroshi Abe, who is superb as the main character, embodies Gandhi’s insight:  be the change you want to see in the world. As for ‘Departures,’ it is simply stunning.  I laughed and cried.  No wonder it earned an Oscar.  What’s it about?  Living, eating, loving, dying, and music.  It expands your mind and heart.” 

"The Japanese Film Festival has brought some fine films to Wyoming over the last few years, and it's also given us an entertaining look at life in a country about which most of us know far too little. It's great to be welcoming this event back on campus for another year," said Dr. Philip Holt, Chairman of the Dept. of Modern & Classical Languages.

“Departures” was a big box office hit in Japan, won 10 Japanese Academy Awards, and was also the Winner of the 2009 academy award for Best Foreign Language Film,” added Ken Matsuno, President of JASWY. “The Blue Bird” is a timely film which deals with school bullying in Japan in a unique and emotionally touching way,”Matsuno also said.  “These are excellent, heart-warming, high quality films that are not widely available in the U.S. They should be a real treat for Wyoming audiences of all ages.”

The movie schedule is as follows.

On February 20 (Sat) at LCCC in Cheyenne

The Blue Bird : 2:00 PM
(2008, 105 minutes, G, Drama)

The Blue Bird is set at a Japanese junior high school in the aftermath of a bullying tragedy. Popular actor Abe Hiroshi is an unlikely hero as a stuttering teacher, who tackles the problem in a unique Japanese way.

Departures: 4:00 PM

(2008, 130 minutes, PG-13, Drama)

Academy Award® winner for Best Foreign Language Film, DEPARTURES is a delightful journey into the heartland of Japan as well an astonishingly beautiful look at a sacred part of Japan's cultural heritage.

“Departures” follows Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki), a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and who is suddenly left without a job. Daigo decides to move back to his old hometown with his wife to look for work and start over. He answers a classified ad entitled “Departures” thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency only to discover that the job is actually for a "Nokanshi" or "encoffineer," a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life.

While his wife and others despise the job, Daigo takes a certain pride in his work and begins to perfect the art of “Nokanshi,” acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the family of the departed. The film follows his profound and sometimes comical journey with death as he uncovers the wonder, joy and meaning of life and living.


On February 27 (Sat) at UW in
Laramie

The Blue Bird: 2:00 PM
(2008, 105 minutes, G, Drama)

[see synopsis above.]

Departures: 7:00 PM

(2008, 130 minutes, PG-13, Drama)

[see synopsis above.]

The Japanese Film Festival is co-sponsored by the Modern & Classical Languages Dept., English Dept., Honors Program, and History Dept. of UW as well as UW RSO Wyoming Honors Organization in Laramie, Anime Club of LCCC in Cheyenne, Consulate General of Japan at Denver, and Japan Foundation in Los Angeles.

JASWY was founded by Laramie residents in December 2005. JASWY is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt organization whose mission is “to promote understanding and friendship between the people of Wyoming and Japan through cultural, social, educational and professional interaction.” For more information about JASWY and the Film Festival, visit www.jaswy.org

Contact Information:

Event Information:

 

 

Ken Matsuno

Japanese Film Festival

JASWY President

2:00 PM and 4:00PM, Feb.20 at LCCC in Cheyenne
2:00 PM and 7:00PM, Feb.27 at UW in
Laramie

Science Center Bldg room121 of LCCC in Cheyenne
http://www.lccc.wy.edu/about/maps  for LCCC campus map

307-721-5984

Classroom Building Room 129 at the University of Wyoming Click here for a map for UW campus.

jaswy@hotmail.com

Free Admission, open seating, Free popcorn

     

 

 Mirai DAIKO TO REVISIT lARAIE IN FOURTH “FESTIVAL OF JAPAN”
 

Laramie, Wyoming—The Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY) will present its fourth annual “Festival of Japan” from 2:00 to 4:15 PM on Saturday October 17, 2009 in the auditorium of the Laramie High School (1275 N 11th St, Laramie - (307) 721-4420). Admission is free.  The doors will open at 1:30 PM.

Performing on stage will be Mirai Daiko, a taiko drumming group, from Denver, Colorado.  Taiko is an ancient percussive musical instrument which has been practiced more than 1200 years in Japan. Taiko, usually played in a group, was originally used in battle, to intimidate and frighten the enemy but has evolved into more of a jazz team style of entertainment.

The six-member Mirai Daiko was founded in Denver in 2002 by Courtney
 Ozaki,  Shannon Umetani and Keiko Ozaki, who were all taught by Gary Tsujimoto and Nancy Ozaki of One World Taiko. Their taiko education started at a young age (10, 11 and 12 years old) and now in their twenties they have more than 30 years of combined experience. A few years later Erika Tanaka, Sarah Anderson and June Kurobane joined the group.

Mirai Daiko combines powerful beats with exciting movements. Their song repertoire includes contemporary pieces composed by Gary Tsujimoto of One World Taiko, traditional Japanese rhythms, as well as their own innovative compositions.

As the name Mirai (which means "the future" in Japanese) indicates, this young group strives to create a new and unique taiko sound. Mirai Daiko had the honor of joining One World Taiko in a performance of Rhythm Dance at last summer's (2007) International Taiko Conference, Taiko Jam concert at Seattle's Benoroya Hall. Mirai Daiko has also performed throughout Colorado at events including the Cherry Blossom Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Boulder Asian Festival.

JASWY President Ken Matsuno said “we are very excited to have the Mirai Daiko back again for our fourth Festival of Japan. Mirai Daiko is a relatively new, dynamic ensemble that is gaining a solid reputation..  They were very well received last year. Taiko music can be appreciated by everyone regardless of age, language or musical knowledge. In this year’s festival, people from the audience will have a chance to participate in the taiko performance again. This will give them a first hand experience.”


Matsuno said other highlights of the festival will include a martial arts demonstration by the Laramie Kempo Karate club headed by Amber Travsky, Japanese music played by a harpist David Shaul using a traditional Japanese musical instrument called koto and accompanied by a UW music professor Rod Garnett using a flute, and Japanese and English songs sung by a five member female Japanese a cappella group. 
Junko Garrison, the group leader, said, “Our group is called the Onigiri (rice ball) Five. We are all from Japan, we all have met here in Laramie WY, and we all LOVE singing. We are so happy to share some Japanese music with you at the festival of Japan. Enjoy the sound of the Onigiri Five!!”
 

Doors will open at 1:30 PM.  Japanese trinkets and T-shirts etc will be on sale in the lobby
 just outside of the auditorium. JASWY will also sell raffle tickets for Japanese raffle times.
 
Founded by Laramie residents in December, 2005, JASWY is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit 
tax-exempt organization whose mission is “to promote understanding and friendship 
between the people of Wyoming and Japan through cultural, social, educational and 
professional interaction.”  
 
For further information, please visit our web site at www.jaswy.org.
 
The Festival of Japan is co-sponsored by the Consulate-General of Japan at Denver, 
and the Laramie High School International Club and NHK club. This event is 
supported in part by a grant from the Wyoming Arts Council, through funding from the National 
Endowment for the Arts and the Wyoming State Legislature, which believes that a great 
nation deserves great art.



Contact Information:                                                Event Information:
Ken Matsuno                                                         Festival of Japan
President, JASWY                                                 Sat. October 17, 2:00-4:15 pm
307-721-5984                                                         Laramie High School, 1275 N. 11th.
jaswy@hotmail.com                                               Free Admission, open seating
                                              Enter-Reynolds Street and park at large
                       parking lot.

 

  Children’s Day Japanese Festival

 April 6, 2009

 Laramie, Wyoming-The Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY) will celebrate Children’s   Day on Saturday, May 2, 2009, at the Albany County Public Library (310 S. 8th Street Laramie, WY), Large Meeting Room, from 2:00 PM to 4:00PM.

Children’s Day is a national holiday in Japan which takes place annually on May 5, at which time many communities throughout Japan hold events to celebrate children. The purpose of this holiday is to respect children's personalities and to celebrate their healthy growth and happiness.

The JASWY Children’s Day is the second year that JASWY has partnered with the Library to sponsor the event.  The Children’s Day celebration will include the following activities led by local volunteers: reading of Japanese folk tales, learning fun Japanese songs in Japanese and English, Origami (paper folding of a Kabuto (helmet)), Shodo (Japanese calligraphy, drawing Japanese characters with brush) and tasting Japanese foods (cookies and nori, etc).  Children under age 12 are encouraged to attend. The event is free.

As part of this event, JASWY will be displaying some Japanese items in the display case at the Albany County Public Library from April 28 until May 2nd.

This event is co-sponsored by the Albany County Public Library.

Contact information : jaswy @hotmail.com  www.jaswy.org

 

 Japanese Film Festival in Laramie and Cheyenne

 February 10, 2009

 Laramie, Wyoming— The Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY) will hold its third  Japanese Film Festival at LCCC (Laramie County Community College) in Cheyenne on Feb.28 and at UW (University of Wyoming) in Laramie, WY on March 7.

        
      
© Cine Qua Non 2006                                    ©2007 “Always2” Film Partners

On Feb.28, “Hula Girls” will be shown at 1:30 PM and “Always: Sunset on 3rd Street” at 7:00 PM in the Center for Conferences and Institutes Room 120 (CCI bldg room120) of LCCC in Cheyenne.

On March 7, “Always: Sunset on 3rd street-2” (sequel) will be shown at 1:30 PM and “Hula Girls” at 7:00 PM in Classroom Building Room 133 at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. Doors will open 20 minutes before show time at both campuses.

This year’s Japanese Film Festival will feature two contemporary movies set in the 1950s and 1960s.These Japanese films will not only entertain but will also promote understanding of modern and traditional Japanese life. The films will be shown in Japanese with English subtitles. Admission is free. First come, first served...seats are limited.

"The Japanese Film Festival has brought some fine films to Wyoming over the last few years, and it's also given us an entertaining look at life in a country about which most of us know far too little.  It's great to be welcoming this event back on campus for another year," said Dr. Philip Holt, Chairman of the Dept. of Modern & Classical Languages.

“Always-Sunset on Third Street” was a big box office hit in Japan and swept the Japanese Academy Awards,” added Ken Matsuno, President of JASWY. “Always…-2” has the same cast and crew from the first film.  The sequel has drawn equally high praise from critics and even features a Godzilla sequence, Matsuno noted.  “Hula Girls” came out in 2007 and won best picture and other awards at the Japanese Academy Awards last year.  It’s been called “eminently likeable, well-made” and “a crowd pleaser.”  Matsuno also said. “These are excellent, heart-warming, high quality films that are not widely available in the U.S. They should be a real treat for Wyoming audiences of all ages.” 

The movie schedule is as follows.

On February 28 (Sat) at LCCC in Cheyenne

Hula Girls : 1:30 PM
(2006, 108 minutes, comedy/Drama)

In 1965, a cold, northern Japanese coal mining town was facing unemployment due to reduced coal use as oil became the predominant energy source in Japan. In a desperate move to revive the town, local women and an urban-born dance instructor from Tokyo formed a hula dance group as a major attraction of a Hawaiian-theme resort the town plans to build.  Based on a true story, the film has been called reminiscent of “Footloose” and “Shall We Dance.”

Always: Sunset at 3-chome: 7:00 PM

(2005, 133 minutes, comedy/Drama)

Set in Tokyo in 1958, this film depicts human dramas of downtown residents who lived at the time of the construction of the Tokyo Tower—a symbol of Japan’s economic growth in the mid-20th century.


On March 7 (Sat) at UW in
Laramie

Always: Sunset at 3-chome, 2: 1:30PM
(2007, 145 minutes, comedy/Drama)

The story revolves around a young man (Chagawa Ryuunosuke [Yoshioka Hideo]) who aspires to become a professional novelist, a boy (Yoshiyuki Junnnosuke [Suga Kenta]) whose custody Chagawa fights over with the boy’s biological father, and a financially troubled dancer (Ishizaki Hiromi [Koyuki]) who is attracted to Chagawa
 

Hula Girls : 7:00 PM
(2006, 108 minutes, comedy/Drama)

[see synopsis above.]

The Japanese Film Festival is co-sponsored by the Modern & Classical Languages Dept., English Dept., Honors Program, and History Dept. of UW in Laramie, Anime Club of LCCC in Cheyenne, and Japan Foundation in Los Angeles.

JASWY was founded by Laramie residents in December 2005.  JASWY is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt organization whose mission is “to promote understanding and friendship between the people of Wyoming and Japan through cultural, social, educational and professional interaction.” For more information about JASWY and the Film Festival, visit www.jaswy.org

Contact Information:

Event Information:

   

Ken Matsuno

Japanese Film Festival

JASWY President

1:30 PM and 7:00PM,  Feb.28 at LCCC in Cheyenne
1:30 PM and 7:00PM,  Mar.7 at UW in
Laramie

CCI bldg room120 of LCCC in Cheyenne
http://www.lccc.wy.edu/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=16 for LCCC campus map

 

307-721-5984

Classroom Building Room 133 at the University of Wyoming  Click here for a map for UW campus.

Jaswy@hotmail.com

Free Admission, open seating, Free popcorn

               A Taste of Japan-Sake Tasting Festival

 February 3, 2009

Laramie, Wyoming—The Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY) will hold its 2nd “Sake Tasting Festival” from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM on Friday February 20, 2009 at the Alice Hardie Steven's Center in Laramie.

One aspect of Japanese food culture which is not well recognized outside Japan is the traditional rice wine called “Sake” (pronounced more like Saki). Sake is the national alcohol of Japan and has been around for more than 1,000 years. Although beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Japan at this time, sake is still popular. Just like beer, there are many kinds of sake because there are many different kinds of rice grown in Japan. It is estimated that there are currently about 1700 brewers of sake in Japan. Moderate drinking of sake is believed by some to lower blood pressure and prevent the occurrence of some types of cancer. Sake is also popular in Japanese cooking.

In the Sake Tasting Festival, you will learn some background such as the history of sake, how it is made, and how it is consumed as you drink two or three different kinds of sake. Participants can eat some Japanese foods as well. The tentative menu is as follows, Sushi rolls, Kenchin-jiru (soup with lots of vegetables) , Gyoza (dumpling), Edamame (soy beans), Arare (rice crackers), Takuwan (pickled radish), and Mochi ice-cream (ice-cream in mochi rice shells). Rod Garnett, an accomplished flutist, and David Shaul, a koto (traditional Japanese string musical instrument)  player will play Japanese music. We will also have a silent auction featuring Japanese goods.

This festival is going to be a fun event especially for couples because by tradition people pour sake into each other’s cups rather than serving themselves

The number of participants is limited to 45.  Registration is required to participate in this event.

For registration, please click here.

Founded by Laramie residents in December, 2005, JASWY is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt 
organization whose mission is “to promote understanding and friendship between the people of 
Wyoming and Japan through cultural, social, educational and professional interaction.”
 
Contact Information:                                            Event Information:
Ken Matsuno                                                         Sake Tasting Festival 
President, JASWY                                                 Fri. Feb.20, 6:30-8:00 pm  
                                                                               Alice Hardie Stevens Center 
jaswy at hotmail.com                                             603 E Ivinson Ave, Laramie, WY
                                              $30/person, $25/JASWY member

     Mirai DAIKO TO PERFORM IN third “FESTIVAL OF JAPAN”

September 7, 2008

Laramie, Wyoming—The Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY) will present its third “Festival of Japan” from 12:00 noon to 4:15 PM on Saturday October 4, 2008 at the Laramie High School (1275 N 11th St., Laramie). Admission is free.  

Performing on stage will be Mirai Daiko, a taiko drumming group, from Denver, Colorado.  Taiko is an ancient percussive musical instrument which has been practiced more than 1200 years in Japan. Taiko, usually played in a group, was originally used in battle, to intimidate and frighten the enemy but has evolved into more of a jazz team style of entertainment.

The five-member Mirai Daiko was founded in Denver in 2002 by Courtney
 Ozaki,  Shannon Umetani and Keiko Ozaki, who were all taught by Gary Tsujimoto and Nancy Ozaki of One World Taiko. Their taiko education started at a young age (10, 11 and 12 years old) and now in their twenties they have more than 30 years of combined experience. A few years later Erika Tanaka and Sarah Anderson joined the group.

Mirai Daiko combines powerful beats with exciting movements. Their song repertoire includes contemporary pieces composed by Gary Tsujimoto of One World Taiko, traditional Japanese rhythms, as well as their own innovative compositions.

As the name Mirai (which means "the future" in Japanese) indicates, this young group strives to create a new and unique taiko sound. Mirai Daiko had the honor of joining One World Taiko in a performance of Rhythm Dance at last summer's (2007) International Taiko Conference, Taiko Jam concert at Seattle's Benoroya Hall. Mirai Daiko has also performed throughout Colorado at events including the Cherry Blossom Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Boulder Asian Festival.

 

JASWY President Ken Matsuno said “we are very excited to have the Mirai Daiko for our third Festival of Japan. Mirai Daiko is a relatively new, dynamic ensemble that is gaining a solid reputation. Taiko music can be appreciated by everyone regardless of age, language or musical knowledge. In this year’s festival, unlike in past years, people from the audience will have a chance to participate in the taiko performance. This will give them a first hand experience.”


Matsuno said other highlights of the festival will include a demonstration of traditional Japanese kimono dressing instructed by Janice Harris, and a martial arts demonstration by the Laramie American Freestyle Karate club headed by Ryan Fotheringham.


Professor Janice Harris recently retired from the English Dept. of the University of Wyoming in May, 2008
after thirty years on the faculty. She was in Japan from March 2004 - March 2005, teaching at Kobe College for Women.  There, she had lessons in wearing kimono from Ms. Kishigami Fusako, a Japanese teacher of chado (tea ceremony).  That’s how she learned to wear kimono, the traditional Japanese clothing.

 

Professor Harris has taken students for study abroad trips to Japan 3 times, May 2005, 2006, and 2007.  She has taught "Introduction to Japanese Literature" 3 times, and "Modern Fiction of Japan" 1 time -- all at the University of Wyoming.

 

Ryan Fotheringham has been practicing martial arts for almost 20 years. He started with Ms. Amber Travsky (Teacher of the Laramie Kempo Karate Club) and in 1995 joined Mark Matthews’ class (Travsky’s former student). Fotheringham has a second degree black belt in the system. He has also studied ju-jitsu and judo and some muay thai. He has been involved with MMA (Mixed martial arts) for 6 years and has a fight record of 6-6. Fotheringham has been teaching for 6 years for Laramie American Freestyle Karate.

 

At the Festival, from noon to 1:45 PM, the public will be invited to visit booths and exhibits 
that will be set up in the cafeteria. We will have booths for local clubs such as kendo (Japanese 
fencing) club, karate (martial arts) club and go (Chinese chess) club. The exhibits will feature 
interactive demonstrations of paper folding (origami), ink brush writing (calligraphy), and use of 
chopsticks (children can learn to pick up jelly beans with chopsticks). 



JASWY will sell Japanese food and drink (such as sushi, a sweet bean rice cake called “Daifuku”,
rice crackers and green tea), beautiful event T-shirts, and Japanese items (such as fans, chopsticks, 
and Hello-kitty goods). There will be some self-explanatory exhibits, such as flower arrangement 
(ikebana), and Japanese Kokeshi dolls. We will also sell raffle tickets for a beautiful Japanese plate 
and for the ikebana arrangement.
 
From 2:00 to 4:15 PM, the audience will be invited to the auditorium for a free show of Japanese music
 (taiko), martial arts and kimono wearing.
 
Founded by Laramie residents in December, 2005, JASWY is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt organization
 whose mission is “to promote understanding and friendship between the people of Wyoming and Japan 
through cultural, social, educational and professional interaction.”  
 
JASWY is planning a “Slide Show on Japan” on September 15th at 5:30 at the Eppson Senior Center, 
and a “Sake Tasting Festival” on November 7 at the Alice Hardie Stevens Center in Laramie. 
 
For further information, please visit our web site at www.jaswy.org.
 
The Festival of Japan is co-sponsored by the Consulate-General of Japan at Denver, the UW GO Club and the Laramie 
High School International Club. This event is supported in part by a grant from the Wyoming Arts Council, 
through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wyoming State Legislature, which 
believes that a great nation deserves great art.



Contact Information:                                                Event Information:
Ken Matsuno                                                         Festival of Japan
President, JASWY                                                 Sat. October 4, 12:00-4:15 pm
307-721-5984                                                         Laramie High School, 1275 N. 11th.
jaswy@hotmail.com                                               Free Admission, open seating
                                              Enter-Reynolds Street and park at large
                       parking lot.

 

Children’s Day Japanese Festival

April 21, 2008

Laramie, Wyoming—The Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY) will celebrate Children’s Day on Saturday, May 3, 2008, at the Albany County Public Library, Large Meeting Room, from 2:00 PM to 3:00PM.

Children’s Day is a national holiday in Japan which takes place annually on May 5, at which time many communities throughout Japan hold events to celebrate children. The purpose of this holiday is to respect children's personalities and to celebrate their healthy growth and happiness.

The JASWY Children’s Day event on Saturday May 3rd will include the following activities led by local volunteers: reading of a Japanese folk tale, learning fun Japanese songs in Japanese and English, Origami (paper folding of crane and Kabuto (helmet)), demonstration of Pianika (combination of piano and harmonica) and tasting Japanese cookies.  Children age 5-10 are encouraged to attend. The event is free.

As part of this event, JASWY will be displaying some Japanese items in the display case at the Albany County Public Library from April 17 until May 3rd.

This event is co-sponsored by the Albany County Public Library.

 JASWY was founded by Laramie residents in December 2005.  JASWY is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt organization whose mission is “to promote understanding and friendship between the people of Wyoming and Japan through cultural, social, educational and professional interaction.” For more information about JASWY and the Film Festival, visit www.jaswy.org

Contact information : jaswy @hotmail.com  www.jaswy.org

Japanese Film Festival

March 27, 2008

Laramie, Wyoming— The Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY) will hold its second Japanese Film Festival in Classroom Building Room 133 at the University of Wyoming, from 1:30 to 3:50 P.M., and 7:00 to 9:00 P.M. on Saturday, April 19. Doors will open 20 minutes before show time.

This year’s Japanese Film Festival will feature one contemporary movie and one Samurai movie. These Japanese films will not only entertain but will also promote understanding of modern and traditional Japanese life. The films will be shown in Japanese with English subtitles. Admission is free. First come, first served...seats are limited.

"Laramie is woefully short on chances to see foreign films, and I think it's great that JASWY is giving us this opportunity to get a closer look at Japan.  The inaugural festival last year was well attended and a lot of fun, and I expect this year's film-screenings to be the same," said Dr. Philip Holt, Chairman of the Dept. of Modern & Classical Languages.

“Japan is a developed country that superficially looks like western countries. But she has a long history and offers a very unique way of life to western viewers. One of the best ways to learn about Japanese culture and people is to watch Japanese movies. I believe that the Japanese film festival offers this opportunity and will be worth watching,” added Ken Matsuno, President of JASWY.

The movie schedule is as follows.

Always: Sunset at 3-chome: April 19 (Sat) 1:30 PM

(2005, Family movie, 133 minutes, Drama)

Set in Tokyo in 1958, this film depicts human dramas of downtown residents who lived at the time of the construction of the Tokyo Tower—a symbol of Japan’s economic growth in the mid-20th century.


Zatoichi: April 19 (Sat)
7:00 PM

(2003, R, 119 minutes, Samurai movie)

 A blind masseur and sword master helps two youngsters avenge their parents at a gang-infested local town of pre-modern Japan. (Caution: This movie contains some graphic scenes of violence.)

The Japanese Film Festival is co-sponsored by the Modern & Classical Languages Dept., English Dept., Honors Program, and Japan Culture Club at the University of Wyoming.

JASWY was founded by Laramie residents in December 2005.  JASWY is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt organization whose mission is “to promote understanding and friendship between the people of Wyoming and Japan through cultural, social, educational and professional interaction.” For more information about JASWY and the Film Festival, visit www.jaswy.org

Contact Information:

Event Information:

Ken Matsuno

Japanese Film Festival

JASWY President

1:30-3:50PM and 7-9 PM,  April 19

307-721-5984

Classroom Building Room 133 at the University of Wyoming  Click here for a map.

jaswy at hotmail.com

Free Admission, open seating

 

Parking: Park around the UW campus

 

A Taste of Japan-Sake Tasting Festival

September 30, 2007

Laramie, Wyoming—The Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY) will hold its first “Sake Tasting Festival” from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM on Friday November 9, 2007 at the Alice Hardie Stevens Center in Laramie.

When you think of Japan, probably you think of automobiles, electronic products, samurai, sumo wrestlers, geisha girls and anime. In the last decade or so sushi has become very popular in the world as well.

One aspect of Japanese food culture which is not well recognized outside Japan is the traditional rice wine called “Sake” (pronounced more like Saki). Sake is the national alcohol of Japan and has been around for more than 1,000 years. Although beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Japan at this time, sake is still popular. Just like beer, there are many kinds of sake because there are many different kinds of rice grown in Japan. It is estimated that there are currently about 1700 brewers in Japan. Moderate drinking of sake is believed to lower blood pressure and prevent the occurrence of some types of cancer.

In the Sake Tasting Festival, you will learn some background such as a history of sake, how it is made, and how it is consumed as you drink two or three different kinds of sake and eat delicious Japanese food such as sushi, edamame (green beans) etc. This festival is going to be a fun event especially for couples because people pour sake into each other’s cup. The number of participants is limited to sixty.  Registration is required to guarantee your seat.

Founded by Laramie residents in December, 2005, JASWY is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt 
organization whose mission is “to promote understanding and friendship between the people of 
Wyoming and Japan through cultural, social, educational and professional interaction.”

Contact Information:                                            Event Information:
Ken Matsuno                                                         Sake Tasting Festival 
President, JASWY                                                 Fri. Nov. 9, 6:30-8:00 pm  
                                                                               Alice Hardie Stevens Center 
jaswy at hotmail.com                                             603 E Ivinson Ave, Laramie, WY
                                              $25/person, $20/JASWY member
 

   Slide Show on Japan

   September 29, 2007

Laramie, Wyoming—The Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY) will hold its first “Slide Show on Japan” from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Thursday October 25, 2007 in the large room at the Albany County Public Library in Laramie.

Mr. Yamamoto and others from JASWY members who traveled to Japan this year as well as last year will show lots of pictures of Japan.

Please come to see the beautiful and interesting slides of Japan. We will answer any questions regarding
slides. You will also get travel tips from experienced visitors to Japan.

 

 August 24, 2007

Boulder TAIKO Hibiki TO PERFORM IN second “FESTIVAL OF JAPAN” 

Laramie, Wyoming—The Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY) will present its second “Festival of Japan” from 12:00 noon to 4:15 PM on Saturday September 15, 2007 at the Laramie High School. Admission is free.

       

The five-member Boulder Taiko Hibiki (meaning "resonance"), created by Julia Misawa in May 2006 in Boulder, Colorado, will highlight the Festival with a one hour visually exciting performance of traditional and modern Japanese style drumming. Misawa was trained for eight years in San Francisco under Taiko Master Seiichi Tanaka who brought Taiko from Japan to the U.S. 40 years ago. Taiko is based on four basic elements, mind, body, skill and manner. Taiko is an ancient percussive musical instrument which has been practiced more than 1200 years in Japan. T
aiko, usually played in a group, was originally used in battle, to intimidate and frighten the enemy but has evolved into more of a jazz team style of entertainment.

JASWY President Ken Matsuno said “we are very excited to have the Boulder Taiko Hibiki for our second Festival of Japan. Boulder Taiko is a new, dynamic ensemble that is gaining a solid reputation. Taiko music can be appreciated by everyone regardless of age, language or musical knowledge.”

Matsuno said other highlights of the festival will include a traditional Japanese Koto (stringed instrument) performance by Waves of Peace (Junko Shigeta on koto and Melissa Lotsteich on the flute), and a martial arts demonstration by the Laramie Kempo Karate club headed by Amber Travsky.

Koto expert Junko Shigeta, originally from Kamakura, Japan, settled in Denver in 1988 and in 1992 became the leader of the ensemble, Koto Colorado. Shigeta has performed at many locales, including the Taste of Colorado, Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Denver Botanic Gardens etc.

Amber Travsky started the Laramie Kempo Karate Club in 1985. Travsky has studied martial arts since 1973 and has earned a 6th Dan Black Belt in Lau Hu Kenpo. Travsky will bring some students to the stage to demonstrate karate moves including kata and free sparring.

At the Festival, from noon to 1:45 PM, the public will be invited to visit booths and exhibits 
that will be set up in the cafeteria. The exhibits will feature interactive demonstrations of 
paper folding (origami), ink brush writing (calligraphy), use of chopsticks (children can learn
 to pick up jelly beans with chopsticks) and a new feature this year, the wearing of kimono. 
JASWY will sell Japanese food and drink, such as sushi, a sweet bean rice cake called “Daifuku”, 
rice crackers and green tea. There will also be some self-explanatory exhibits, such as f
lower arrangement (ikebana), and Japanese Kokeshi dolls.
 
From 2:00 to 4:15 PM, the audience will be invited to the auditorium for a free show of 
Japanese music (koto and taiko), and martial arts.
 
Waves of Peace (koto and flute duo) will also perform on Friday, September 14th, at 7:30 
at the University of Wyoming, Fine Arts Concert Hall, as part of the World Music Series. 
Admission for this separate event is $5.00 per person.
 
Founded by Laramie residents in December, 2005, JASWY is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt 
organization whose mission is “to promote understanding and friendship between the people of 
Wyoming and Japan through cultural, social, educational and professional interaction.”  
 
JASWY is planning a “Slide Show on Japan” on October 25th at the Albany County Library, 
and “Sake Tasting Festival” on November 9 at the Alice Hardie Stevens Center in Laramie. 
For further information, please visit our web site at www.jaswy.org in September.
 
The Festival of Japan is co-sponsored by the Consulate-General of Japan at Denver and 
the Laramie High School International Club. This event is supported in part by a grant from 
the Wyoming Arts Council, through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and 
the Wyoming State Legislature, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.



Contact Information:                                            Event Information:
Ken Matsuno                                                         Festival of Japan
President, JASWY                                                 Sat. Sept. 15, 12:00-4:15 pm
307-721-5984                                                         Laramie High School, 1275 N. 11th.
jaswy at hotmail.com                                               Free Admission, open seating
                                              Enter-Reynolds Street and park at large
                       parking lot.

       

SUSHI WORKSHOP to be held in mona lisa ballroom

October 11, 2006

Laramie, Wyoming—Have you ever yearned for good sushi but not been able to purchase it in Laramie?  Why not learn to make your own at the Japan-America Society of Wyoming’s (JASWY’s) first “Taste of Sushi” sushi preparation workshop.  This event will be held Sunday October 22, 2006 from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M at the Mona Lisa Ballroom above 2Bazaar Gallery at 404 South Second Street.

Sushi chef Jim Wear
a local artist and ranch owner, will present the two hour workshop.  Wear says “sushi has been a passion and hobby for me and my wife Silvya for the past 20 years, even leading us to Japan in search of the perfect sushi.”  Asked how he learned to prepare sushi, Wear said “I have 30 books on sushi and have watched sushi chefs for hours and hours.”  The Wears plan to host the sushi chef from the Sushi Den restaurant in Denver at their home, and also have an annual sushi dinner at their ranch. 

The JASWY “Taste of Sushi” workshop on October 22 will include a short history of sushi, etiquette, selection and preparation of ingredients, as well as assembly and presentation.  Emphasis will be toward the beginner with the use of mostly cooked toppings and locally available ingredients. 

Participants will receive recipes, instructions and discount coupons for purchase of sushi implements at Grand Bazaar. Wear will demonstrate five different kinds of sushi, and participants will be treated to samples of each as well as appropriate Japanese beverages, such as green tea.  Wear says “This is a great opportunity for an adventurous cook to be exposed to this popular cuisine.

Participants in the sushi workshop will also delight in their surroundings at the Mona Lisa Ballroom above the 2Bazaar Gallery, where the workshop will be held. The Ballroom is owned by Sean and Dolores Hart, who have decorated the restaurant-style space in elegant art deco style, and have decked the walls with unique, eye-catching paintings by Columbian artist Ferdinando Votero.  The Harts bought the downtown building in 2005 and have completely renovated the interior to provide a handsome new dining area for special events, as well as adding an attractive art gallery.

Due to the generous donations of time and materials by Jim and Silvya Wear, and the donation of space by Mona Lisa Ballroom, all proceeds from this event will go toward the inter-cultural education work of the non-profit group, Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY). 

Founded by Laramie residents in December, 2005, JASWY is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt organization whose mission is “to promote understanding and friendship between the people of Wyoming and Japan through cultural, social, educational and professional interaction.” For further information, please visit our web site at www.jaswy.org.

Admission to the workshop is $35/person or $25 for JASWY members.

Pre-registration is required and participants will be capped at 25 persons. 

Either visit the website at www.jaswy.org or call 742-9386.

 

Contact Information:
Event Information:
Dolores Hart  Taste of Sushi
JASWY  Board Member  Sun., Oct. 22d, 2:00-4:00 pm
307-742-9386 Mona Lisa Ballroom, above 2Bazaar
dvas50 at yahoo.com  404 S. 2nd St.
  Admission, $35 or $25 for JASWY members


Denver Taiko to Perform in First "Festival of Japan"

August 30, 2006

Laramie, Wyoming - The Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY) will present its first Festival of Japan to be held Saturday September 9, 2006 at the Laramie High School. Admission is free.

Denver TaikoThe ten-member Denver Taiko, which has been performing in Denver and around the region for 30 years, will highlight the Festival show with a one hour visually exciting performance of traditional and modern Japanese style drumming. Taiko is an ancient percussive musical instrument which has been used more than 1200 years in Japan. Taiko was originally used in battle, to intimidate and frighten the enemy but has evolved into more of a jazz team style of entertainment.

A performance by Denver Taiko is a dynamic and propulsive event, a combination of structured rhythms and improvisational solos that roll together like thunder to stir your soul (and the seat of your pants.) JASWY President Ken Matsuno said "we are very thrilled to have the Denver Taiko for our first Festival of Japan. Their music can be appreciated by everyone regardless of age, language or musical knowledge."

Other performances will include traditional Japanese dance by several University of Wyoming students and a martial arts demonstration by the Kendo Club of Wyoming.

Mie Nishioka, a junior at Kobe College for women in Nishinomiya, Japan who is studying at the University of Wyoming as an exchange student this year, will perform a cherry blossom dance entitled "Sakura." Heather Clayton, a University of Wyoming student who lived in Japan for one year, will perform a traditional Japanese samurai dance called "Kuroda Bushi."

Members of Wyoming Kendo will demonstrate three major types of Japanese sword techniques using armor, and both wooden and actual swords. Wyoming Kendo teacher Scott Tullis said, "Wyoming Kendo students are looking forward to participating in the Festival of Japan. It's an honor and privilege to contribute to Wyoming citizens' awareness of traditional Japanese culture."

From 12:45 -1:45 PM, guests will be invited to visit a "street festival" of various booths and exhibits set up in the cafeteria featuring traditional arts of Japan, such as flower arranging (ikebana), paper folding (origami) and calligraphy.

Light Japanese food including green tea and sushi will be available for sale, and there will also be lessons on the use of chopsticks. Japanese exchange students Sayaka Yamamoto and Shiho Kawamura, and others, will participate in the demonstrations. The main show will start at 2:00 PM in the auditorium. There will be open seating.

Founded by Laramie residents in December, 2005, JASWY is a nonprofit tax-exempt organization whose mission is to promote understanding and friendship between the people of Wyoming and Japan through cultural, social, educational and professional interaction.

JASWY is planning a "Taste of Sushi" on October 22nd. This workshop will provide an opportunity to learn how to make sushi rolls. For further information, please visit our web site at www.jaswy.org.

The Festival of Japan is co-sponsored by the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver, the Albany County School District #1 and the Laramie High School International Club. This event is supported in part by a grant from the Wyoming Arts Council, through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wyoming State Legislature.
 

Contact Information:
Event Information:
Ken Matsuno Festival of Japan
JASWY President Sat. Sept. 9, 12:45-4:00 pm
307-721-5984 Laramie High School, 1275 N. 11th.
jaswy at hotmail.com Free Admission, open seating
  Enter-Reynolds Street and park in large parking lot


Japan-America Society of Wyoming Kicks Off with Flower Arranging and Tea Ceremony Workshop

Picture of some JASWY board members
(First row from left: Janice Harris, Tawnya Plumb, Sheila Speight, 2nd row from left: Ken Matsuno, Wes Luhr, Dee Pridgen, and Will Plumb, Absent board members are Klaus Hanson, Demitris Kouris and Masahiro Yamamoto)

Laramie, Wyoming?-The Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY) will hold its inaugural event, a special Japanese flower arranging (ikebana) and tea ceremony (cha no yu) workshop, at the Albany County Public Library meeting room, from 7:00 to 9:00 P.M. on Thursday, July 6th.

Tomoaki and Fusako Kishigami of Nishinomiya City, Japan will conduct the workshop.The Kishigami?fs are experienced teachers who run a Japanese culture school in their home city.

"A highlight of my recent study abroad courses in Japan has been the opportunity to introduce UW students to ikebana and cha no yu through lessons with Mr. and Mrs. Kishigami. Mr. Kishigami works magic with flowers, and Mrs. Kishigami exemplifies the spirit of cha no yu," says Janice Harris, UW Professor English and former visiting professor at Kobe College for Women.

The workshop is open to the public, and will be conducted in English. Participants will be asked to pay the cost of the flowers.

Participants will be limited to ten persons for each workshop, but there will be an opportunity for others to watch the demonstration. Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the workshop.

Those who wish to attend should visit the JASWY website at www.jaswy.org to register, or call 307-399-2997 or 307-766-6418.JASWY members will be given preference for participation seats (membership forms available at the website or at the event).

Founded by Laramie residents in December, 2005, JASWY is a nonprofit corporation registered in Wyoming.The group?fs mission is ?gto promote understanding and friendship between the people of Wyoming and Japan through cultural, social, educational and professional interaction.?h

In addition to the workshop in July, JASWY is planning a ?gFestival of Japan?h to be held at the Laramie High School from 2:00 to 4:00 PM on Saturday, September 9, 2006, featuring a free performance by the Denver Taiko Japanese drum group.The festival will also include a martial arts demonstration by the Wyoming Kendo Club and other activities.

The group also sponsors flower arranging workshops during the school year taught by JASWY Board member Tawnya Plumb.A Japanese conversation club and a Japanese chess (shogi) club are also planned for the fall.The JASWY website, which will be launched on June 20th, includes details of all JASWY activities.

JASWY hopes to become part of a national network of similar groups that operate both in the United States and Japan.JASWY President Ken Matsuno said:  ?gI am excited and honored to be a part of this organization of dedicated volunteers, who are working so hard to bring about an international exchange of ideas and culture between Japan and Wyoming.?h

In addition to Matsuno, the JASWY Board of Directors includes Vice President Klaus Hanson, Treasurer Tawnya Plumb, Secretary Dee Pridgen, and Board members Janice Harris, Dmitris Kouris, Wes Luhr, Will Plumb, Sheila Speight, and Masahiro Yamamoto.

JASWY?fs honorary director, Mrs. Mariko Terasaki Miller of Casper, Wyoming, recently received the Order of the Rising Sun Medal from the Emperor of Japan at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on May 12, 2006. Mrs. Miller is also the Honorary Consul-General of Japan for Wyoming.Mr. Yuzo Ota, Consul-General of Japan in Denver, also serves as an ex-officio director of JASWY.

EVENT INFORMATION: JASWY Flower Arranging & Tea Ceremony Workshop

July 6, 2006, 7:00 to 9:00 PM

Albany County Public Library Meeting Room

310 S. 8th Street Laramie, Wyoming

Cost: approximately $15 for flowers, no cost for tea ceremony

To reserve a seat, register at http://www.jaswy.org/ikebana070606.shtml or call 307-399-2997 or 307-766-6418 by July 5th.

Mariko Miller from Casper, Wyoming Decorated by Japanese Emperor

June 8, 2006

Laramie, Wyoming -- Ms. Mariko Terasaki Miller from Casper, Wyoming was decorated with a prestigious medal at the foreign ministry in Tokyo on May 12, 2006 for her life-long efforts to further a good relationship between the US and Japan. The medal she received is called ?gThe Order of the Rising Sun?h or Kyokujitsu shoin Japanese. This medal is the second most prestigious Japanese decoration after the Order of the Chrysanthemum.

Mariko Miller(
In the left photo: Ms. Mariko Miller is showing her medal to Mr. Klaus Hanson, a JASWY board member)

Mariko Miller, the daughter of American Gwen Harold Terasaki and Japanese diplomat Hidenari Terasaki (World War II era), left
Casper on May 9 and arrived in Tokyo in the late evening on May 10. When Miller was informed in Casper before her departure that she had been selected to speak to the emperor as part of the award ceremony, she was alarmed because she had to speak very formal court Japanese which is quite difficult even for native Japanese. Mariko did not feel good and had some medical appointments before her departure. But her son, Tim Miller, an attorney in Casper, told her that if she did not go she would regret it for the rest of her life. So she took his advice and went to Japan to receive the medal.

The staff of the Consulate General of Japan in Denver helped her prepare for her speech, by sending her a tape and Romanji (written Roman form of Japanese) for what to say to the emperor. The speech texts were originally prepared and sent by Kunaicho (the imperial household agency) in Tokyo, Japan, Mariko suspected. Unfortunately Miller found that the spoken words on the tape and the ancient form of Romanji did not match well in pronunciation.

Once in Tokyo, however, her and her mother?fs close Japanese friend, Ms. Asako Hirazawa helped Miller practice her speech at the International House, in Roppongi, Tokyo, just one day before the ceremony.

On May 12, she went to the foreign ministry at 10 am, where she received a proclamation and a prestigious medal of The Order of the Rising Sun and, and enjoyed a friendly luncheon. Then after lunch she went to the Imperial Palace with other well dressed distinguished diplomats and several other ladies who also received a medal. They arrived at the palace just before 2 pm.

At the palace Miller alone was led by a gentleman from Kunaicho (the imperial household agency) to the front of a magnificent huge hall with a beautiful ?gEdo-Murasaki?h purple carpet. Everybody from the foreign ministry and others stood behind her where she could not see them. Miller had assumed that she could test her voice level with a microphone and read her speech from the paper she had brought. But she was dismayed to find out that there was no microphone and no podium for the manuscript to rest on. But she managed to read a short speech in front of Emperor Akihito of Japan.

Miller said of the moment ?gmy first thoughts went to my father and mother, and uncle Taro, and their contributions of 69 years to help create good Japanese-American relations.?h  Miller said she found her most recent experience in Japan to be ?genergizing?h and only regretted that the medal could not have gone to her parents. 

Miller spent the World War II years as a child in Japan.  Previously, she had been in Washington, D.C. and China, among other places, due to her father?fs diplomatic postings. Mariko Miller, an honorary Director of the Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY), told her story to JASWY board members in Laramie on June 4, 2006.


JASWY visited Consulate-General of Japan on May 25, 2006


JASWY visited Consulate-General of Japan
(From left: Klaus Hanson, Yuzo Ota, Consul General of Japan at Denver, Ken Matsuno, Will Plumb, Kenichi Kimiya, Deputy Consul General)

In Wyoming, late spring is filled with cool mornings and hot sunny days. As Ken, Klaus, and I drove down to Denver I felt that it was going to be a beautiful day to meet with the Consul General Mr. Ota.

Our trip had three goals, to introduce the Japan-America Society of Wyoming (JASWY) to the Consul General, to find out how we could get involved with upcoming events, and to see what kind of support we could get. I was excited to meet with Mr. Ota again and to be involved in something that was helping keep me connected to Japan.

Our meeting was scheduled for 1:30pm, and we arrived early to make sure that we could find the Consulate and have everything in order. We were met by the assistant to the Consul and Deputy Consul and were soon guided through security to his office.

As we entered the office of the Consul General, we were greeted by Mr. Ota and Mr. Kimiya, the Deputy Consul General. We all exchanged greetings and got right down to business. We talked at length about the purpose of JASWY and about our future plans. We also talked in some detail about how Wyoming fits into the grand scheme of the Consulate and how the Consul could help JASWY in the future.

Between all the business talk, we drank tea and talked about our interests and hobbies. I was interested to find out that Mr. Ota plays Igo every week. Maybe I will have to go to Denver on Tuesdays to increase Wyoming-Japan relations.