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Vol. 6 No. 2 - February 2011

The e-Japan Journal is the electronic webletter of the Consulate General of Japan at Chicago (CGOJ) and the Japan Information Center (JIC). We hope it proves useful, interesting, and exciting as a window into Japanese culture in the Midwest. As always, your feedback, comments, and suggestions are encouraged and can be sent to our editor, Daniel Drake, at jic@japancc.org.

In This Issue
This Month in Japan
What's New in the Library?
Special Announcements
  • Reminder: The Deadline for Entries to the 25th Annual Japanese Speech Contest is February 25
  • We Are Now Accepting Applications for the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's Scholarships for Japanese Studies and Teacher Training
  • February 5: 13th Annual Japanese Language Contest in Shawnee Mission, KS
Highlighted Cultural Events
  • February 10: Japan Student Network Reception with the Japan America Society of Chicago
  • February 12: Minneapolis' Annual J-Quiz
  • February 12: Japanese Olympiad of Indiana
  • February 15: Famed Japanese Architect Sou Fujimoto to Give a Lecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Through February 18: DePaul University Hosts Exhibit About the Experience of Japanese-Americans Serving in World War II
  • Through February 28: Chūshingura: Japanese Prints at the Minneapolis Institute of Art
  • March 4: Photographer Takeshi Moro on Exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
  • Through April 3: Egoyomi: Japanese Picture Calendars at the Art Institute of Chicago
Economic News
  • Monthly Economic Report (January, 2011)
Political News
  • Foreign Policy Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Seiji Maehara to the 177th Session of the Diet
  • Signing of the new Special Measures Agreement (SMA)
  • Visit to the United States by Mr. Seiji Maehara, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
  • Press Conference by the Deputy Press Secretary, 20 January 2011 - Including The Expansion of Training Relocation of the U.S. Forces
  • Remarks by Seiji Maehara, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, at the Dinner with the participants of the 2nd Japan-US-Russia Trilateral Conference
  • Joint Announcement on United States-Japan GPS Cooperation
  • Press Conference by Minister for Foreign Affairs Seiji Maehara, 4 January 2011 - Including Deepening of Japan-US Alliance
Japan Brief by Foreign Press Center, Japan
  • Japanese and South Korean Defense and Foreign Ministers Hold Meetings Successively
  • Maehara, Clinton Agree on Compilation of New Strategic Objectives
  • Prime Minister Kan Outlines Basic Policies in New Yearís Press Conference
  • Japanís Major Newspapers Explore Ways to Rejuvenate Japan in New Yearís Day Editorials
  • FY2011 Budget Largest Ever at 92.4 Trillion Yen
Fun Features
  • Last Month in Japan
  • Upcoming School Visits
  • Website Highlight
Editor's Note
 
This Month in Japan

Kisaragi, the old Japanese name for the month of February, is a contracted form of kinu sara gi, which means "wear still more clothes." As most Midwesterners will relate, this is a way of saying winter's not over yet.

Setsubun - celebrated on February 3 or 4 - is a favorite annual celebration among Japanese children. On this night, children fill a wooden cup with roasted soybeans and run around throwing them at an oni, or devil, (usually played by the dad) and shouting "Oni wa soto; fuku wa uchi!" This tranlsates as "Out with the devil; in with good fortune!"

The only national holiday in Kisaragi, though, is National Foundation Day on February 11. This is the date calculated to be the day on which Jimmu - the first emperor of Japan - was enthroned, according to the Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan).

 
What's New in the Library?

Learn About the Way of the Samurai at the JIC Library this February!

You may have heard of Samurai, but how much do you really know about these amazing historical warriors of Japan? The JIC has many different books under the 342 call number to satisfy your curiosity...

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Samurai: An Illustrated History at Call #342003 will tell you all you need to know about the Samurai code, Samurai history, armor and weapons, castles, and their role in society through photos, maps, and illustrations.

Forget about Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai, Samurai William: The Englishman Who Opened Japan at Call #342001 tells the true story of William Adams, a marooned English sailor who was accepted into the Shogun's court in the early 1600s. Adams' story inspired James Clavell's bestselling novel Shogun. The JIC library also has a second book about William Adams, The Needle Watcher at Call #342002.

Want to learn more about Bushido, the Samurai philosophy that means "Way of the Warrior"? You could start with legendary Samurai Miyamoto Musashi's classic Book of Five Rings at Call #342006, annotated by martial arts master Hidy Ochiai. From there, you should move to Hagakure at Call #342004, a collection of short anecdotes and reflections by Samurai Tsunetomo Yamamoto, and go deeper by reading famous Japanese author Yukio Mishima's analysis of Hagakure called The Samurai Ethic and Modern Japan at Call #342005.

Lastly, there's The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori at Call #342007, the story of a Samurai who led a movement of resistance against Japan's modernization in the late 19th century during the Meiji Restoration. Tom Cruise can eat his heart out!

 
Special Announcements
 
Reminder: The Deadline for Entries to the 25th Annual Japanese Speech Contest is February 25

Let this entry serve as a reminder to all elementary, junior high, high school, and college students interested in winning a trip to Japan through their Japanese speaking abilitites: the deadline for application to the 25th Annual Japanese Speech Contest is February 25th! That means we must have your application IN HAND (not postmarked) no later than February 25. Click here to go to our website's speech contest page for more detailed information, including specific eligibility requirements and the application materials.

 
We Are Now Accepting Applications for the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's Scholarships for Japanese Studies and Teacher Training

The deadline for the 2012 Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) Scholarships in Japanese Studies and Teacher Training is fast approaching.

The Japanese Studies Scholarship is perfect for anyone hoping to continue their study of Japanese language MEXTand culture at a Japanese university, while the Teacher Training scholarship provides an opportunity to study Japanese educational methods in Japan.

The scholarships are open to United States citizens residing in the Consulate's ten-state jurisdiction: Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas. The application deadline is February 25th.

Go here for more information and application materials.

 
February 5: 13th Annual Japanese Language Contest in Shawnee Mission, KS

The Shawnee Mission Center for International Studies will once again be hosting a Japanese language and speech contest for high school, college, and independent study students of Japanese at the beginning and intermediate levels. Featuring Kana and Kanji Bees, a Calligraphy competition, Haiku recitation, and a talent show, the contest is a great chance to experience the wide range of opportunities that learning Japanese provides.

Date Saturday, February 5, 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Place The Indian Creek Technology Center
4401 W 103rd Street
Shawnee Mission, KS 66207
(Map)
Info
The registration deadline for competition has already passed, but friends, family, and Japanophiles are welcome to come enjoy the pageantry!
For more information, please email Kumiko Derigne.
 
Highlighted Cultural Events
Following are some of the upcoming events taking place in our 10-state jurisdiction. For a complete listing of all events known to the JIC, see the Calendar of Events on our website.
 
February 10: Japan Student Network Reception with the Japan America Society of Chicago

Come to the Chicago Cultural Center on Thursday, February 10th for a networking soiree ideal for anyone looking for cross-cultural friendship and work. The Japan America Society of Chicago will be bringing together Japanese students studying abroad, members of the Japanese business community, faculty from universities throughout the Midwest, Japan America Society of Chicago members, and students with an interest in Japan for an open bar, appetizers, and a brief presentation on the importance of networking. So, if you are interested in education, Japan, or just a good time, get your meshi ready, and register for the event today!

Date Thursday, February 10, 5:30 - 8:00 PM
Place Chicago Cultural Center
Preston Bradley Hall, 3rd Floor
78 East Washington Street
Chicago, IL 60602
(Map)
Info
Japan Student Network Reception
 
February 19: Minneapolis' Annual J-Quiz

February appears to be a time for Japanese language-learning, because in addition to Kansas' Japanese Language Contest, this month also brings the Japan America Society of Minnesota's Annual J-Quiz. A qualifying event for the national Japan Bowl, the J-Quiz attracts high school students from across the frozen plains of Wisconsin and Minnesota with its grand prize: a trip to Washington, DC in April to compete in the national bowl and observe the Cherry Blossom Festival.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves--the quiz itself (coming up Saturday, February 19), is a day-long affair, with Japanese essays, cultural presentations, and the afternoon finals: a quiz bowl. It is too late to register a team, but the general public is encouraged to watch the finals and, hopefully, get interested in competing next year!

Date Saturday, February 19, Finals from 1:00 PM
Place Normandale Community College
9700 France Ave S
Bloomington, MN 55431
(Map)
Info
Japan America Society of Minnesota
 
February 15: Famed Japanese Architect Sou Fujimoto to Give a Lecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology

Esteemed Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto (he of the wooden house) will be giving a public lecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in, appropriately, Mies Van Der Rohe's S.R. Crown Hall. Budding architects, designers, dilettantes, and anyone else who likes beautiful things is strongly encouraged to attend.

Date Tuesday, February 15, 6:00 PM
Place Illinois Institute of Technology
S.R. Crown Hall
3360 South State St.
Chicago, IL 60616
(Map)
Info
Free!
IIT College of Architecture Event Listing
 
Through February 18: DePaul University Hosts Exhibit About the Experience of Japanese-Americans Serving in World War II

Together with the Japanese American Service Committee, DePaul University is hosting an exhibit about the experiences and contributions of Japanese-Americans to the Allied effort in World War II. Titled "Winning the Peace: The Story of Chicagoans in the Military Intelligence Service, 1941-1952," the exhibit brings together the personal histories of 15 Chicagoans who served as code breakers, translators, interrogators, and more both during the conflict and in the postwar Occupation.

Date Through Friday, February 18
Panel Discussion on Thursday, February 10, 5:30 PM
Place John T. Richardson Library
2350 North Kenmore Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
(Map)
Info
DePaul University's Event Listing
 
Through February 28: Chūshingura: Japanese Prints at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

There's only a few more weeks to catch this exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, so hurry over, because it looks to be a unique opportunity to see the famous 47 Ronin (also known as Chūshingura) story illustrated with the indelibly Japanese woodblock print. And while you're already at the museum, be sure to visit the MIA's extensive Asian Art collection, which includes two painstakingly reproduced historical Japanese rooms: a teahouse and an audience hall.

Date Through Sunday, February 20, closed Mondays Chushingura
Place Minneapolis Institute of Arts
2400 Third Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
(Directions & Map)
Info
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
 
March 4: Photographer Takeshi Moro on Exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

The 12 x 12 exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago are excellent showcases of up-and-coming artists. For the month of March, Japanese photographer Takeshi Moro is the featured artist. Mr. Moro's large-scale, vibrant photographs are united by a playful sense of humor and bright colors. His recent theme, sure to be highlighted in the exhibition, has been the function and meaning of apologies: he documents people as they bow and confess to their wrongs.

Date Friday, March 4 to Sunday, March 27
Gallery talk by the artisit on Tuesday, March 8, 6:00 PM
Place Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
(Map & Directions)
Info
Event Info Including Times for Lectures and Family Events
Mr. Moro's Website
 
Through April 3: Egoyomi: Japanese Picture Calendars at the Art Institute of Chicago

Through April, the Art Institute of Chicago is exhibiting a collection of Japanese prints that also served as picture calendars. Featuring some pieces that are more than 250 years old, the exhibit is a colorful glimpse at an era and place based on lunar calendars. Don't miss the free lecture on February 11!

Date Through Saturday, April 3
Museum lecturer-led tour on Thursday, February 11, 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Place Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60603
(Map and Directions)
Info
Art Institute of Chicago Exhibit Listing
 
Economic News

Monthly Economic Report (January, 2011)
http://www5.cao.go.jp/keizai3/getsurei-e/2011jan.html

 
Political News

Foreign Policy Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Seiji Maehara to the 177th Session of the Diet
http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/fm/maehara/speech110124.html

Signing of the new Special Measures Agreement (SMA)
http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/2011/1/0121_02.html

Visit to the United States by Mr. Seiji Maehara, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/n-america/us/juk_1101/index.html

Press Conference by the Deputy Press Secretary, 20 January 2011 - Including The Expansion of Training Relocation of the U.S. Forces
http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/press/2011/1/0120_01.html

Remarks by Seiji Maehara, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, at the Dinner with the participants of the 2nd Japan-US-Russia Trilateral Conference
http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/fm/j-us-r_remark110117.html

Joint Announcement on United States-Japan GPS Cooperation
http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/n-america/us/gps1101.html

Press Conference by Minister for Foreign Affairs Seiji Maehara, 4 January 2011 - Including Deepening of Japan-US Alliance
http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/fm_press/2011/1/0104_01.html

 
Japan Brief by Foreign Press Center, Japan
A handy report which gives up-to-the-minute background information with comments of major Japanese newspapers, in plain and concise form, on news items on the Japanese economy, politics, diplomatic activities, society, business, culture, and other matters of interest. Japan Brief is expanding its target readership and is now available in nine languages: Japanese, English, Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, and Arabic.

Japanese and South Korean Defense and Foreign Ministers Hold Meetings Successively (2011-01-19)

Maehara, Clinton Agree on Compilation of New Strategic Objectives (2011-01-12)

Prime Minister Kan Outlines Basic Policies in New Yearís Press Conference (2011-01-07)

Japanís Major Newspapers Explore Ways to Rejuvenate Japan in New Yearís Day Editorials (2011-01-04)

FY2011 Budget Largest Ever at 92.4 Trillion Yen (2010-12-28)

For more backnumbers, please visit the following FPCJ website:
http://fpcj.jp/modules/news8/index.php?storytopic=1
 
Fun Features
Last Month in Japan

Here are three new questions about current events in Japan. The first person to answer the most questions correctly will receive a bit of Consular merchandise.

  1. What's happening to Kyushu's Mt. Kirishima?

  2. What does a white stork have to do with the International Space Station?

  3. Why might X-Japan consider adding the letters E, M, and I to its name?

    To submit your answers by email, click here: jic@japancc.org and write "Japan News Quiz" in the subject line.

Answers from the January Quiz:
For the second time since I've been editing this publication, two people have won our quiz! Congratulations Mssrs. Larry Smith and Dick Stump! We'll be sending you Japanese prizes.

  1. Why might 61 year old comedian Kanpei Hazama be a little more worldly these days? He just completed the "Earth Marathon," running and sailing around the globe.


  2. How have researchers from the University of Osaka brought us this much closer to a real-life Steamboat Willie? Japanese scientists said they had produced a mouse that tweets like a bird, as part of their "Evolved Mouse Project."


  3. What's different about the new stationmaster at Japan Rail's Unomachi Station in Seiyo, Ehime Prefecture? A railway station here has appointed a rabbit -- this year's Chinese zodiac sign -- as its stationmaster in an attempt to boost local tourism.
 
Upcoming School Visits

The following is a list of all educational visits the Japan Information Center will make in the next month. For more information, or if you would like to register for a cultural presentation, please visit our website.

  • February 15: North Shore Country Day School at the JIC

 

 
Website Highlight

Jetwit

Here's a fun page! The internet's hub for JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Alumni, Jetwit posts so many articles, interviews, job listings, bits of travel advice, and general Japan information, that it has become something of a hub for anyone interested in Japan, JET Alum or not. Updated frequently, it also hosts an active community for networking, reminiscing, and general information-sharing. It's also a pleasing blue color, easy on the eyes.

 
Editor's Note

Happy Groundhog Day!

To my knowledge, other than perhaps a few die-hard Bill Murray fans, Japanese people do not celebrate Groundhog Day. Instead, February brings Setsubun, a thematically similar holiday that, as mentioned at the top of this issue, involves throwing beans and yelling at demons. You may be laughing at the sound of that, but is it really any more absurd than a rodent vigil? And the two holidays do share a basic premise: like the groundhog deciding whether or not to wake up, the idea of setsubun is to chase out the lingering demons and cold weather of the year prior with the beans, symbols and harbingers of spring. So in celebration of this year's setsubun, I ask all e-Japan Journal readers to fill a cup with beans and throw them around the house, yelling "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!"

Daniel Drake, Editor

 
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