As the first Cultural Program of 2013, JASGA invited a calligrapher, Ms. KaoriKitta and enjoyed Japanese traditional New Year's custom, Kakizome (in Japanese "first writing") is a traditional Japanese calligraphy written at the beginning of the year or more precisely on the 2nd of January.
The JASGA February 2013 Cultural Program will present a Film Screening of "Cast Me If You Can"(WakiyakuMonogatari) and a talk by the film director, Atsushi Ogata.
This program is in cooperation with Japan-America Society of Houston, Japan-America Soceity of San Antonio, and Japan-America Society of Greater Austin, funded by the Japan Foundation designed to provide financial assistance to Japan-America Societies introducing Japanese arts and culture including visual arts to the community.
The Japan-America Society of Greater Austin (JASGA) enjoyed hosting many events for the community last year and has many more to come this new year. We hope that you will take the opportunity to enjoy them!
The Sapporo Snow Festival, one of Japan's largest winter events, attracts a growing number of visitors from Japan and abroad every year. Every winter, about two million people come to Sapporo to see a large number of splendid snow statues and ice sculptures which line Odori Park, the grounds at Community Dome Tsudome, and the main street in Susukino.
For seven days in February, these statues and sculptures (both large and small) turn Sapporo into a winter dreamland of crystal-like ice and white snow.
Travel to Japan as part of the 23rd Japan-America Grassroots Summit in Shimane
July 1-8, 2013
Only $2,740 non-stop from DFW all inclusive
($100 early bird discount till March 31)
Shimane is home to legends, hot springs, and Izumo Shrine - a National Treasure of Japan. Your week will take you off the beaten path, and you'll experience life in a Japanese home. Optional: Extend your stay to visit other parts of Japan. (Right: Matsue Castle)
Danie Hebert Al Smithson Fumiko Futamura Amber Harmon Amanda Landa Steven Beachler Victor Celania Addison Martinez Andrew Cahoon JD Flores & family Marina Braverman Salvador Davila Catherina Conte Andrew Lee Robert Lindquist Jiunn Wen Chang Yoko Lawler Danica Steinhauser
RENEWED Members: ($15/$20/$35/$50)
Sayuri Pearce & famkily
Richard, Madeline, Erika Meier & Family
New Year Memories in Japan
JASGA Communication Co-Chair
February 4, 2013
Part of the Japanese new year tradition in the tea world is Hatsugama, or 'First Kettle". This is the first tea of the new year and traditionally occurs in January. I've had the priviledge of attending Hatsugama in both Japan and Texas. Hatsugama is a time for tea friends to gather, dressed in their finest kimono, and share their love of tea.
The year I spent studying chado (the way of tea) in the foreign student division of the Urasenke GakuenProfessional College of Chado, I was privileged to attend Hatsugama-shiki ("First Kettle celebration") hosted by the Urasenke tea school's Head Family. This is the first formal occasion in the year for the Sen family to put on the kettle to make tea for guests. I attended this event with my classmates and teachers, who hailed from around the globe. On our way to the Urasenke Konnichian house, we passed through the main gate, which was decorated
with a pine twig symbolizing long life. In the waiting room we admired an arrangement of charcoal, lobster, dried fruit, umeboshi (pickled plums) and other items. Each item in the display had special symbolism for the Sen family, such as the charcoal, used to heat the water for tea, symbolizes the Sen family's tea roots.
Perhaps my favorite Hatsugama tradition is the sweet
served with thick tea, hanabira-mochi (flower petal rice cake). A flat circle of Pink mochi is folded over a strip of sweet burdock root and sweet bean paste. The tradition of serving hanabira-mochi at Hatsugama dates from the late 1800's. It signifies the promise of renewal in a New Year, but to me it also hints at the plum and cherry blossoms that will appear in the coming months.
After tea, we were served a kaiseki meal. Kaiseki literally means 'breast-pocket stone'. In ancient times, monks carried a heated stone in the front of their kimono to stave off hunger and stay warm. A kaiseki meals has just enough food to stave off hunger. At this very special event, we were served by the family. We shared warm sake, laughter and, of course, posed for a few photos.
As we departed, my classmates and I were in high spirits. I insisted that my teacher, Gary Cadwallader, take a picture with me. Gary-sensei is a Texan and UT graduate who has lived in Japan for decades, and he cheerfully played along as we displayed some Texas school spirit.
This special event is one of the highlights of my tea experiences and a very special New Year memory that I carry with me always.