Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Word of the Month: March

March: 花道

Hanamichi. The “Flower path” is a raised passageway that joins the stage on the audience’s left and passes straight through the auditorium. This is Kabuki’s most characteristic stage element. It is used not only for entrances and exits, but actually forms an integral part of the stage; many important moments are acted here.

The word hanamichi is used in a different, but related, way in colloquial speech. As a colloquial expression, the word implies that a person has arranged all his affairs and retired from public life, much as a Kabuki actor playing the lead takes his exit on the hanamichi amidst the applause of his devoted fans.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cooking Class: Gyudon


JASWDC held a cooking class on Friday, February 10th where attendees learned to make Japan’s favorite comfort food – gyudon (beef served over rice). It was one of our largest cooking classes ever!

First JASWDC staff went over a presentation about the history of gyudon. Gyudon, which was popularized by the restaurant Yoshino-ya in 1959, is now one of the most affordable, accessible, and delicious foods in Japan.
After learning about the history of gyudon and how to prepare the meal, everyone set out to make their own bowl of gyudon. Everyone worked together to prepare a delicious meal. They were even kind enough to share some of their wonderful cooking with busy JASWDC staff.

It was a fun and delicious night! JAS hosts cooking classes throughout the year. Our next class is ehou-maki, the Japanese good fortune sushi roll. Registration will be up soon on the JASWDC website, and updates will be posted on our Facebook page.

Japan 360°: Matsukawaya Sweets

Japan 360°: Matsukawaya Sweets

On Monday, February 13th, a wagashi master from Matsukawaya Sweets held a tea ceremony-style event at JASWDC. Guests learned about the history of Matsukawaya Sweets, which was founded in Nagoya over 75 years ago. To this day, Matsukawaya uses the original family recipes alongside new creations that change with the seasons. Their creations are traditional wagashi made from azuki beans and chestnut that awaken all five senses.

Guests were able to watch the sweets being made and then were able to taste them! This was a historic event for JASWDC and for the US. Wagashi, traditionally made in Japan for the elite, has never been available in the US before. The only way a person can get this type of wagashi is to have a master come and make it for them.
Everyone was treated to a delicate sweet with cherry blossom tea. Following, they were served green tea and a second sweet. While the first wagashi, known as “raw” wagashi can only be enjoyed when made by a master, the second type of sweets are packaged and sold. They will be available during the Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival.

It was an honor to host a master sweets-maker during his first trip to the US! It was a one-in-a-lifetime experience that few people in the US have the pleasure of experiencing. We will be lining up to try his creations again during Sakura Matsuri, and we hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Setsubun Happy Hour

On Friday, February 3, JASW held a Setsubun Happy Hour in conjunction with the Washington Nomikai Group! The office was transformed into a bar with kirin beer, sake, and delicious Japanese snacks. Guests gathered together to practice Japanese and celebrate the holiday. About halfway through the night, an Oni ran through the office. Guests grabbed their fuku mame (fortune beans) and scared the Oni away.

After the Oni left, we celebrated with a raffle. Four lucky guests went home with Japanese snacks, Hakutsuru sake, or ANA materials. The night only got better from there, and people continued to enjoy the festivities! Everyone had a great time meeting new people and seeing old friends. This was The Society’s largest Happy Hour ever, with over 50 people in attendance. Thank you too everyone who came, and we look forward to seeing you at our other events throughout the year!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Word of the Month: February

February: Yago 


Yago.”Shop name.” Kabuki actors of the early Edo period were considered too lowly to be allowed surnames. Many, therefore, used a name derived from a sideline business in which they were involved. This became known as their yago. The yago could be the name of a place with which the family had a deep connection, the name of a place from which the actor hailed, the name of an ancestor’s occupation, and so on. Among the earliest yago were Yoshizawa Ayame s Tachibanaya and Ichikawa Danjuro s Naritaya, revealing that the custom began during the Genroku era. The yago is a kind of nickname and is used by the audience as a word of encouragement that is shouted out to the actor during a performance. Yago are also shouted out during firework festivals: tamaya or kagiya.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Azusa's Dance Exercise Class

On Friday, January 27th, Azusa Hashizume, rookie cheerleader for the Redskins, taught her first class here at JASW. Azusa led the class in a series of exercises to the beat of music. Azusa's class was based on the HIIT model - high-intensity interval training. This is not just a great way to burn fat and lose weight, but it is also the way Azusa trains on her own in the gym.

Although it was a tough workout, it required no equipment or experience. Even those of us who hadn’t exercised in a long time were able to enjoy the workout and learn a lot about proper form. Azusa was incredibly encouraging and friendly throughout the entire class and we are happy she will be working with us again!

If you want to learn exercise routines from a First Lady of Football, join us for Azusa’s dance class! The next class will be held February 24th at 11:00 am. Tickets are $18 per class. To register, go to

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Year's Greeting from JASWDC

On behalf of the Japan-America Society of Washington DC (JASWDC) and its Board of Trustees, I would like congratulate the Sakura Shimbun on their 10 years in the Washington DC community, and offer a heartfelt New Year’s greetings to the readers.

2017 marks the 60th Anniversary of the Japan-America Society of Washington DC. The Society’s mission has always been to promote greater understanding between Americans and Japanese. We do that through the many cultural and educational programs that we hold throughout the year.

In the spirit of our kanreki year – the year of rebirth – we are moving forward to rebrand the Society’s image into one that sparks thoughts of innovation and long-lasting friendship between the peoples of Japan and America. 

Perhaps we are most famous for Sakura Matsuri, the largest one day Japanese festival in the country. Last April we welcomed over 25,000 guests to our festival. But we do many, many other things throughout the year.  Indeed, we are unique in Washington DC, because we present programs about so many aspects of Japan - from foreign affairs - to food!

In this past year, we produced or collaborated with other organizations on over 100 programs, which drew over 3000 attendees.  We have been able to produce these programs, such as Japan-in-a-Suitcase (JiS), National Japan Bowl, Ohanashikai, and the many language and culture classes we offer with a staff of only 4 people and great interns that we have throughout the year.

Our current programming will expand to give the Washington, DC area a series of lectures and talks called Japan 360°, which will cover a wide range of topics, including economics and business, science and technology, society and social issues, as well as traditional and popular culture.  We will also introduce a new program to help Japanese residents in our community to learn about America, called Living in the USA.

This coming year, Japan-America Society of Washington DC will continue to work to strengthen the bond between Japan and the United States through these important programs, and nurture the next generation of Japanese and Americans, who are the future of our relationship.  Happy New Year and Thank you for your support.

Executive Director  

Marc Hitzig






私どもが提供するプログラムの中にワシントンDCエリアに住む方々を対象に開催する「ジャパン360°(Japan 360°)」というものがございますが、今年は経済、経営、科学、テクノロジー、社会、社会問題、伝統文化から大衆文化にいたるまでさらに幅広いテーマを取り上げた一連の講義を提供いたします。さらに、今年はワシントンDCエリアのコミュニティーに属する日本人の方々がアメリカでより快適に生活できるよう医療制度や教育に関するトピックを扱う、「リビング・イン・ジ・ユーエスエー(Living in the USA)」という名のプログラムも新しく始めます。



Executive Director  

Marc Hitzig