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JASP Newsletters

Read our latest newsletter below, or view our archived issues. To make sure you don't miss the next JASP newsletter, sign up today.

July 2008 Newsletter
Hot of the Press
Japan in the News

Use the links below for articles you may have missed.

G8 Conference

Today is the start of The Group of Eight (G8) Summit, an annual international forum attended by the leaders of the eight countries, namely, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and the President of the European Commission. This year's conference is in Sapporo.

Send your virtual Tanzaku Message to G8 Leaders Today, Tanabata Day

One million wishes - that is the goal of the Tanzaku Action! Making a wish is a part of the tradition of making a wish to the stars on Tanabata Day. You can send a message to the G8 leaders by writing your hopes on a Virtual Tanzaku.

Click here for more information.

Jero is coming!

Pittsburgh's own enka phenom Jerome White will perform August 27, Wednesday, 8:30 p.m., Assembly Room at the William Pitt Union, University of Pittsburgh campus. We are assembling a picture album to present to him--if you have any photos we can copy please let us know wbennett@us-japan.org.

Stay tuned for details but in the meantime, read about Jerome White:

Local WWOOFer Goes Green:
Schenley grad Jules Coulson recently
spent seven months working
on organic farms in Japan.

After a summer spent working in a suit and tie, sitting in boardrooms watching Powerpoint presentations at the Heinz Endowment, I'm now planting garlic, picking strawberries and building greenhouses in rural Japan. How did this come to be? It began when my parents moved from Pittsburgh in June, leaving me there with family friends so I could work my summer Heinz internship. Although I had planned to attend college in the fall, things were unsettled, and by the time my summer job ended, I decided to take a gap year instead. I thought it would be a good opportunity to use my high school Japanese language studies and experience Nippon first hand for an extended period. Through a simple google search, I found an organization in Japan that offers room and board to volunteers in exchange for work. WWOOF Japan (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) is part of an international organization that matches volunteer workers from around the world with organic farms. After a bit of research on the WWOOF website, I paid my $45 to join the group, contacted some host farmers and came to Japan in September.

I now live in Miura, a small farming village south of Tokyo beside the ocean. My hosts, the Ijimas, are wonderful people. There are five people in the family--Satoshi, the husband and owner of the farm, Mayumi, his wife, Yohei, their 23 year old son, Miwa, their seven year old daughter, and the grandmother. The family lives together in a huge, traditional Japanese home with sliding doors, tatami mats, and Japanese style toilets, and I live with four other workers on the farm in guest house. Although I am the only foreigner at the farm presently, I am of one of many who have came to work on the farm, including workers from Israel, Sweden, Italy, and France. The farm's official name is "Flower Garden." Along with flowers of all types, we harvest fruits and vegetables, including strawberries, tangerines, tomatoes, cabbage, garlic, broccoli, daikon (white radish), carrots, and lima beans. The Ijimas sell their flowers, vegetables, and fruits from a storefront that serves as the headquarters of the entire farm.

I wake up at 6:00 every morning, slip on my rubber boots, and head to the main part of the farm, about one mile from the guest house. I walk with my fellow workers, passing along the way hundreds of vegetable fields of farmers in the village. They smile at us, and we say our aisatsu, our morning greetings. We are tired; our muscles and backs are sore from yesterday's work, but we know that today's work will be rewarding in the end. Yesterday, I helped pick and wash daikon. Today, we all worked on constructing a green house. My WWOOF commitment is to work only a half day, but lately, when I stop at 1:00 I feel like working the rest of the day.

With the daikon getting ripe, I have found these veggies to be really good. We harvest three different types of daikon, including the regular ones, the short and chubby ones, and the thick and long ones (our specialty) called Miura daikon. The regular daikon go for about 120 yen whereas the Miura daikon go for 300 yen! We had a lot of customers today and I even got the chance to work the cash register for a few minutes while Mayumi-san was out. When I first came here, my plan was to leave after one month and then go work at different farms throughout Japan, but I'm beginning to have second thoughts about that. Strawberry season starts next month, and I wish I could be here for it. I'm becoming really attached to the family and the workers here; It's going to be hard to leave this place.

Since I came to the farm, I have discovered so much about farming and farm life that I hadn't had the chance to learn while living in the United States. I have developed an appreciation for farmers and farm work in general, for I am experiencing first hand the amount of hard physical labor it takes to produce the food we sometimes take for granted. The Japanese honorific, " itadakimasu," a phrase we say before eating, is to me a homage to the the diligent work completed to have to the fresh vegetables and fruits on our plates. Moreover, I'm glad that I came here, not only because it is a welcoming place, but because it is so different from what I have known my entire life as a student in school. In the United States, I studied, wrote papers, read, and took tests, my daily routine shaped by my school schedule or what homework I had to complete. Now, I am learning new and important life skills, ones that few young people in America experience. Carrying this five months with me back to the United States, I hope to be able to share my experiences with the people I meet in college and later in life.

To find out more about where worked,
click here to see the farm.

Golf Outing Photos

Please use the link below to view the photos from our recent golf outing.

Golf Photos

Upcoming Events

Aug. 1, 2008
5:30 - 8 pm

Opening Reception for Japanese artist in Pittsburgh Ms. Fumino Hora at Pittsburgh Filmmakers
(Fumino Hora)



Click here for details.

Sept. 20, 2008
4-7 p.m

Partnership with Venture Outdoors
Frick Park Hike followed by sushi and sake party --
stay tuned for more details!

Keizai Koho Fellowship
Since 2004, the JASP has administered the prestigious Keizai Koho scholarship, which annually sends ten North American educators on an educational and cultural tour of Japan.

Click here to read
about it.

Resource List
Do you know of a source for taiko drum instruction, shoji screen preparation, an on-site traveling sushi maker? The JASP often receives requests like these and we are compiling a resource list, which we will make available to you. Please email your valuable information to the JASP administrative assistant, Kelly Chaney.

Archived JASP Newsletters
2009 2008
December 2009 December 2008
October 2009 October 2008
September 2009 September 2008
August 2009 August 2008
June 2009 July 2008
May 2009 June 2008
April 2009  
March 2009  
February 2009  
January 2009