Summer 2016 Intern Reflections – Naomi Natori

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Naomi Natori, Program Intern – Summer 2016

This summer, I had a chance to learn more about JASH’s history while working with the Program Coordinator on the Annual Dinner video for JASH’s 40th Anniversary. We sorted through JASH’s extensive archives, updated the new website, and conducted multiple interviews with members of the JASH community. One of the questions we asked during every interview was “What does JASH mean to you in one word?” I have heard multiple answers but my personal favorites were relationships, synergy, and opportunity.

Through its many programs and events, JASH instills the continuation of the bond between Japan and Hawaii. Without JASH’s volunteers, members, and staff, the chances for the people of Hawaii to connect with Japan would be difficult to come by. Having personally benefited from the JASH programs as a student, I would like to once again thank JASH for all of the work and effort put in to create such wonderful opportunities. I still cherish the memories of when I participated in the Japan Wizards Competition Program and am grateful for the staff and donors who helped us with our trip to Japan, a trip that motivated me to continue my Japanese studies.

Thank you to the staff for giving me the opportunity to come back and intern for another summer. The work you all do is truly inspiring. It was a joy to come in and learn something new every day.

Naomi Natori

Five Teams Visit Japan This Summer through the JASH Japan Wizards Competition

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This summer, JASH gave five teams the opportunity to travel to Japan and experience first-hand the country and culture they had studied in preparation for the 2016 Japan Wizards Academic Team Competition (JWC) hosted by the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH). The JWC in February gathered 28 high schools to compete in two categories, levels A and B, depending on Japanese language proficiency. The four winning teams of the JWC—Iolani School Levels A and B, Kauai High School Level B, and Leilehua High School Level A—received free trips to Japan for themselves and their advisors. In addition, this year, a generous donation from JASH Board Member and Educational Committee Chair Jean Rolles gave one additional team the chance to go to Japan: Island Pacific Academy Level A. This prize, named the Dr. Michael Leineweber Trip Award after Ms. Rolles’ fellow JASH Board member and friend who passed away in 2014, was awarded at random to one team from the top 20 scoring teams with over 100 points.  Thanks to Hawaiian Airlines, who sponsored the winning teams’ air fare to Japan, students and their advisors explored a variety of landmarks in Japan while traveling through the regions of Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Kansai, Chubu, Chugoku and Shikoku.

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Dr. Michael Leineweber Trip Award Recipients- Island Pacific Academy

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IPA Level A in shock after receiving the Dr. Michael Leineweber Trip Award!

This summer, JASH gave five teams from Iolani School, Kauai High School, Leilehua High School, and Island Pacific Academy (IPA) the opportunity to travel to Japan and experience first-hand the country and culture they had studied in preparation for the 2016 Japan Wizards Academic Team Competition (JWC) hosted by the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH). The JWC in February gathered 28 high schools to compete in groups of three in two categories, levels A and B, depending on their Japanese language level. The four winning teams of the JWC—Iolani School Levels A and B, Kauai High School Level B, and Leilehua High School Level A—received free trips to Japan for themselves and their advisors.

In addition, this year, a generous donation from JASH Board Member and Educational Committee Chair Jean Rolles gave one additional team the chance to go to Japan: Island Pacific Academy Level A. This prize, named the Dr. Michael Leineweber Trip Award after Ms. Rolles’ fellow JASH Board member and friend who passed away in 2014, was awarded at random to one team from the top 20 scoring teams with over 100 points.

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JASH Continues to Foster Ehime-Hawaii Sister State Relationship

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Students learn how to play POGS at a JASH office visit on July 22, 2016.

On Friday, July 22, 2016, JASH welcomed fifteen students from two schools in the Ehime prefecture of Japan. As a sister state of Honolulu, Ehime maintains a strong connection to the islands; especially following the tragic Ehime Maru accident of 2001, the states are committed to working together to better relations between the people of both countries. During their visit, Uwajima Minami Secondary School and Matsuyama Higashi High School students played icebreaker games with JASH staff, interns, and volunteers, were introduced to JASH’s activities through a presentation by President Lenny Yajima, and were treated to delicious yakisoba made by Mr. Atsushi Takebayashi of Move4Japan.

Friday’s visit followed that of two groups of students from Uwajima and Okinawa in 2015 as part of the Society’s Sister School Relationship Program.

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2016 JASH Junior Ambassadors Depart for APCC

The APCC delegates arrive in Fukuoka

The APCC delegates arrive in Fukuoka

JAs land safely in Japan

Junior Ambassadors land safely in Japan

On July 9, 2016, the JASH Junior Ambassadors (JAs), Peace Ambassador (PA) Jocelyn Bonilla, and chaperone Dori Kim departed for their two-week adventure in Japan to participate in the Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC). When they arrived in Fukuoka, they received a warm welcome from APCC volunteers who helped them to their bus headed towards the Marine House Camp where they will stay for the next few days. At camp, the JAs will have the opportunity to meet the 226 other 11-year old students from 44 different countries and cities in the Asia-Pacific region. For more updates about the JAs’ trip to Japan, please visit our JASH Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/JapanAmericaSocietyofHawaii/

JASH 2016 Junior Ambassadors visit Governor David Ige

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On July 8, 2016, JASH Junior Ambassadors (JAs) met with Governor David Ige at the state capitol and discuss with him their upcoming trip to Fukuoka, Japan to participate in the Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention. Governor Ige presented the JAs with state pins to take with them to Japan and tell people about the beauty of Hawaii. The JAs were then able to ask him questions about what it is like to be governor of Hawaii. The JAs leave for Japan on July 9, 2016. They are very excited to have met with the governor right before they depart and now leave with a better understanding of their roles as Junior Ambassadors of Hawaii.

2016 TOMODACHI – Aloha Leadership Program delegates visit Tohoku, Japan

TALP delegates meet students at Onagawa Junior High School

TALP delegates meet students at Onagawa Junior High School

Six delegates between the ages 12-20, along with chaperone Daniel Hwang and videographer Colby Takeda, returned to Honolulu on June 28, 2016 after spending one week in the Tohoku region of Japan as part of the 2016 TOMODACHI – Aloha Leadership Program (TALP).  JASH has been sending delegates to Tohoku since 2013, and as the fourth TALP delegation, these students were appreciative of the opportunity to reunite with friends they had made through Rainbow For Japan Kids (RFJK). Read More

2016 Junior Ambassadors on Hawaii News Now and KHON2

Junior Ambassadors at Hawaii News Now

Junior Ambassadors at Hawaii News Now

On Wednesday, June 29 and Friday, July 1, the JASH Junior Ambassadors (JAs) made two separate appearances on local news stations. On June 29, the 2016 JAs made their debut on Hawaii News Now Sunrise. The segment kicked off with an interview between JASH President Lenny Yajima and Hawaii News Now Billy V. The two discussed the main aspects of the program and JASH’s role in the JA training process. Following the interview, the JAs shared their hula, E Ku’u Tutu, and later toured the studio with Billy V.Read More

JWC Team From Iolani School Visits Matsuyama City

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JASH Japan Wizards Competition winners from Iolani School visited the city of Matsuyama on June 10, 2016. The students met with Ehime Prefectural International Center (EPIC) staff Noriko Omori and EPIC interns Yu and Jake. Together they enjoyed authentic Japanese food and tea at Funaya restaurant. After lunch, they strolled through Dogo Hot Spring Shopping Mall and climbed Matsuyama Castle. Although the students’ stay was brief, they were able to enjoy every bit of what Ehime had to offer them.Read More

JASH Board Member Joichi Saito Receives Kunsho

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(L-R) Consul General Yasushi Misawa and Mr. Joichi Saito

Congratulations to JASH board member and Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation trustee, Mr. Joichi Saito, who received an imperial decoration from the Emperor of Japan at a ceremony at the Japanese Consulate on Monday, June 13, 2016, for his extensive work in fostering goodwill between the U.S. and Japan.