JASGC Member Denny Kato Interviewed on WVXU

JASGC Member Denny Kato Interviewed on WVXU

JASGC member Denny Kato was interviewed on May 17 by WVXU’s Lucy May. After retiring from a career in restaurant management in 2014, Kato took a deep dive into his family’s history, including time spent during WWII with other Japanese-American families in an internment camp. Listen to the full interview here.

Photo Credit: Toyo Miyatake

JASGC Members Happy Hour at Taste of Belgium Rookwood May 2nd

JASGC Members Happy Hour at Taste of Belgium Rookwood May 2nd

JASGC Members Happy Hours are a great way to get to know other members in an informal setting. As part of our AAPI (Asian-American and Pacific Islander) Heritage Month celebrations in the month of May, we hosted a “JASGC Members Happy Hour” at Taste of Belgium in Rookwood, with 20 of our members in attendance including new members Ruth Shirley and Michael Gallagher. The staff at Taste of Belgium took great care of us, especially Sal, our bartender, and we would certainly like to hold another event there in the future.

A summer happy hour is in the works, and we have scheduled the fall one for September 14 at Big Ash Brewing. Register for the fall happy hour here.

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Sukiyaki Cooking Event

Sukiyaki Cooking Event

We enjoyed delicious Sukiyaki and Asahi Super Dry beer on March 24, a cold spring evening in Cincinnati. Sukiyaki ‘すき焼き’ is one of the most popular hot pot dishes in Japan.

Sukiyaki is usually cooked and served at the table using a portable gas stove and eaten as soon as it is ready. (Check out our photos below!) At the event, we cooked thinly-sliced beef and various vegetables in the traditional Sukiyaki sauce: Soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar. The flavor was sweet and salty; a bit like Teriyaki sauce.

We have to mention that the authentic way the Japanese enjoy Sukiyaki is by dipping the cooked ingredients in raw eggs! We know it sounds odd (or even hazardous) to some, but the egg blends well with the strong taste of the Sukiyaki sauce and makes a perfect balance of flavors.

You may get addicted as we now are — who knows!

I had an amazing time at the Sukiyaki demonstration. The food was incredible and the company was even better! My table started off as total strangers but by the night’s end we were calling each other family – that’s the power of this delicious dish and wonderful community! Thank you to JASGC and our excellent guides Teruko Nesbit and Shoko Konuma for a perfect night.

Amy Miller (Member)

Don’t forget to check out our next cooking event on September 28 — featuring another hot pot dish called Shabu Shabu! View the event page here.

A Deep Dive into the Minds of Japanese Managers Webinar

A Deep Dive into the Minds of Japanese Managers Webinar

On Thursday, February 17th, we held a Zoom webinar and had the opportunity to listen to the thoughts of 3 Japanese executives from JASGC member companies including Mayumi Moriya from Kao, Masato Sawada from YAC Robot Systems, and Kenji Morisawa of Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America, Inc. They discussed a variety of thoughts and ideas about American and Japanese business culture and how they personally dealt with the challenges they have faced on the job.

Below are some quotes from the panelists.

“Changing jobs is common in the United States. In Japan, you stay with a company for 30 to 40 years.” – Masato Sawada

“Presentations are handled differently. For example, a Japanese audience looks at the screen or actual presentation, while Americans are more interested in the speaker.” – Mayumi Moriya

Event moderator, Teruko Nesbitt, asked: “Why is it that with meetings, we are strict about the starting time but lenient about the ending time?” I think this is something that is slowly being learned.

Kenji Morisawa mentioned that since COVID, ‘…many Japanese companies are very strict with the way they use their employees’ time.’ “

Special thanks once again to the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership for sponsoring the event, and to those attendees who made donations. Much appreciated!

Interested in move events? Check out our events page: jasgc.org/events

Live from Japan: A Conversation with Naomi Umeki: Kokeshi Doll Maker

Live from Japan: A Conversation with Naomi Umeki: Kokeshi Doll Maker

Live from Japan: A Conversation with Naomi Umeki: Kokeshi Doll Maker

“Live from Japan: A Conversation with Naomi Umeki: Kokeshi Doll Maker” delighted audience members on August 5 via Zoom. Our guest Naomi Umeki was interviewed live from her studio in Japan, where she showed us a large and varied collection of traditional Kokeshi dolls and demonstrated how she paints each doll by hand.

We learned a great deal about the origin of the dolls and the many differences in styles, including the types of wood used, depending on the region.

Though many of the dolls in her collection follow traditional styles, she has added some of her own designs, including cat dolls.

Someone asked: “What is the significance of the red color on so many of the dolls?” Umeki-san explained that red is used on many temples and shrines in Japan for the same reason it is used on Kokeshi dolls — red is a color that scares off evil spirits and encourages good luck.

Why have Kokeshi dolls remained popular in Japan for so many years? “Partly due the dolls’ simplicity, and their association with good luck,” Umeki-san explained.

Our audience members asked great questions, and our host and interpreter Teruko Nesbitt did a fabulous job making the event accessible to speakers of English and Japanese.

2021 Annual Golf Outing Success!

2021 Annual Golf Outing Success!

2021 Annual Golf Outing Success!

The weather cooperated again this year, and we had a good turnout for our 29th Annual Golf Outing held at The Links @ Rising Star Casino & Resort on Saturday, July 24. Jumpei “JP” Okuda, PGA Golf Professional (and Links Manager) hosted us again this year and played “Beat the Pro” with our players. Thank you, JP! We are looking forward to seeing you again next year.

A special thank you to our event sponsors including Presenting Sponsor Toyota, Eagle Sponsors Kao USA, and Toyota Boshoku America, Beverage Sponsor Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group, Hole-in-One Sponsor Richter & Phillips, Hole Sponsors Bannockburn Global Forex, ThreeBond International, Blue and Company, USI Insurance, Cinter Technology, Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America, and Hasse & Nesbitt, and our Major Donors including Asahi Beer USA, Kao USA, P&G, Blue & Company, Cinter Technology, the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, and Rising Star Casino & Resort.  

And thank you to all of the teams, individual players, and volunteers who supported the event! (Next year’s event is scheduled for July 23, so please save the date).

Photo Credits: David Bailey (JASGC Volunteer) 

Japanese American Community Day at Great American Ball Park

Japanese American Community Day at Great American Ball Park

Members of our community enjoyed a unique opportunity at Great American Ball Park to experience a Reds game with special Japanese flavor and style. Our new Consul General, Mr. Yusuke Shindo, threw the ceremonial First Pitch, with our Board President, Koji Sado, as Catcher. We were thrilled to witness local sculptor Tom Tsuchiya receiving the Community Advocate Award, and to see kids from the local Japanese Language School participating in the opening ceremony. We enjoyed a number of pre-recorded videos on the JumboTron screen including heart-felt messages from Shogo Akiyama, and fun skits by well-known Japanese entertainers.

Though we were disappointed that Shogo Akiyama didn’t play until the 9th inning, we were very impressed by the effort the Reds production team had put into creating this first-time special event for members of our local Japan-America community.  Thank you, Cincinnati Reds!