International Business Takes Center Stage During Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Fieldtrip

On August 20th, 2013, the JASC 65 delegation was hosted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Consulting for a discussion on international business. Principle Robert J. Hill, Partner Masanobu Iwabuchi, Director of Human Resources Takayuki Umehara, and several consultants participated in the program.

Robert J. Hill, Principal at Deloitte Tohmatsu, addresses the delegation

JASCers were briefed on the consulting business and Deloitte’s operations. They then were given an overview of international business trends in Japan. Finally, the human resources department shared insights on pursuing a career in consulting and working for an international firm. After the programming, JASCers were hosted for a lunch reception in the Deloitte Tokyo office.

Spencer Oscarson (right), former JASC Program Manager and current consultant at Deloitte, speaks with Daniel Bateyko of Middlebury College.


Mikoda Market Fieldtrip Offers Study and Taste of Iwate’s Agriculture

Miho Sakuma (standing, left) of Williams College and Kelly Cargos (standing, right) of Macalester College purchase fruit at the Mikoda Farmer’s Market.

The JASC 65 delegation made an early morning out of August 15th, 2013 and headed to the Mikoda Farmer’s Market to interact with food producers and sample the local cuisine. Held daily in the early morning, this large scale morning market offers fresh goods as well as everything from snacks to clothing. Aside from purchasing their breakfast, many JASCers were able to ask questions of the farmers, getting a sense of how food is produced and the importance of agriculture to the regional economy. Although they had to sacrifice a few hours of sleep, the JASCers that visited the market learned a lot and enjoyed a tasty breakfast at the same time.

JASCers enjoy a snack purchased at the market.


JASCers Focus on Recovery During Day in Miyako

Takeshi Suzuki (left with shovel) of Ritsumeikan University and Haley Sweeton (right with shovel) of University of Maryland Baltimore County plant a tree commemorating JASC 65’s visit to Miyako City.

The JASC 65 delegation spent August 14th, 2013 in Miyako City, learning more about the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami’s impact and participating in discussions on how to revitalize the city. The day started out with a visit to the Miyako Sea Wall and the Old Miyako Hotel.

Katherine Jordan of Wellesley College is interviewed by local press after viewing footage from the March 11th tsunami.

During the 2011 Tohoku Disaster, Miyako was devastated by a tsunami wave at least 37.9 metres (124 ft) above sea level that overcame the city’s sea walls. Some of the most iconic footage of the 2011 Japanese tsunami, repeatedly broadcast worldwide, was shot in Miyako.

JASCers viewed some of this footage on the 5th floor of the Old Miyako Hotel, where it was filmed by the hotel owner. The Old Miyako Hotel is one of the only structures in the lowest lying residential district of the city to remain standing after the tsunami, despite its first two floors being completely destroyed. The hotel now serves as an educational center for remembrance of the events of March 11th, 2011.

Yamato Komura of Akita International University looks out over what used to be a residential area in Miyako.

After the tour, JASCers ate lunch with guests from Miyako, including several high school students from the area.  Following lunch, JASC hosted a forum on reconstruction with representatives from the fishing industry, local officials, and NGO leaders. After the forum, JASCers planted a ceremonial tree (top of the page) to commemorate their visit to Miyako.

Following the forum, JASCers, accompanied by local high school students, rode the Sanriku Railway’s Minami-Raisu Line from Taro to Miyako. The line was one of the first restored in the region following the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, providing much needed supplies and even housing rescue workers. Sanriku Railway expects full service to be restored on all its lines in the region some time during 2014. The short ride on the train was a chance for JASCers to explore the technical challenges of bringing the line back into operation as well as the psychological impact of its resumption.

The last event of the day was a trip to Joudogahama Rest House where JASCers were briefed by representatives from the Sanriku Railway as well as leaders in NGOs focused on organizing volunteers. JASCers also were given time to enjoy the beautiful coastline and interact with their hosts. The long day of programming in Miyako provided JASCers with background knowledge on the issues the region faces and hopefully spurred their interest in returning to the region to volunteer or contribute to the local economy as a visitor. The people of Iwate gained experience sharing their story and hopefully were left with thought-provoking ideas from the JASC delegates.


Reception Welcomes JASC 65 to Iwate Prefecture

On August 12th, 2013, the 65th JASC delegation arrived in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture and were welcomed with open arms. The 65th JASC Iwate site opened with a welcome reception attended by dignitaries, alumni, supporters, local students, and friends of the program. Special guests at the reception were the Iwate homestay families who hosted JASCers later in the site. Remarks were given by Governor Takuya Tasso of Iwate Prefecture, Deputy Mayor Yoshiko Numata on behalf of Mayor Hiroaki Tanifuji, President of Iwate Bank Masahiro Takahashi, Dr. Takashi Oi of International Education Center, Paul Yarabe (chair of the AEC) of Harvard University, Masato Takeuchi (chair of the JEC) of the Tokyo University of the Arts, and the head chef for the event Hideaki Matsuura. Mr. Matsuura and his team prepared several regional dishes made from ingredients sourced locally including Wanko soba, buckwheat noodles served in a small bowl famous in the region partly because of the annual Morioka Wanko Soba Noodle Eating Competition.

Iwate Prefectorial Governor Takuya Tasso makes remarks at the reception.

Dr. Takashi Oi, President of International Education Center addresses the reception guests.

Yoshiko Numata Deputy Mayor of Morioka City reads remarks prepared by Mayor Hiroaki Tanifuji welcoming the delegation to Iwate.

The AEC and JEC chairs thank Governor Tasso for making remarks.

Morioka high school student Maria Kitamura played the Japanese and American national anthems and other pieces on the violin at the event.

Feruza Azimova of the University of Hawaii is introduced to her host family at the reception.


JASCers Visit Koiwai Farm

Nobuko Masuno of UC Berkeley speaks with an employee of Koiwai Dairy.

On August 13th, 2013, the 65th JASC delegation experienced Japan’s agricultural industry first-hand by visiting Koiwai Farm in Iwate Prefecture. Most famous for its dairy products, the scenic, 3000-hectare  ( 7400-acre )  private farm draws about 750,000 visitors annually. A number of Koiwai’s farm buildings such as the silos, the six cowsheds, and the head office, have been named National Tangible Cultural Properties.

JASCers were able to learn about farm operations and its historical and modern place in Iwate’s vibrant agricultural economy by touring the grounds and hearing lectures from farm management. A major topic of the Iwate site was agriculture and the struggle to reestablish the industry in the region after the Great Tohoku Earthquake.

A farm manager shares one of Miyazawa Kenji’s works which makes mention of Iwate’s beautiful natural setting.

Koiwai makes another claim to fame by being the birthplace and early home of Japanese poet Miyazawa Kenji. Miyazawa Kenji is one of the most famous Japanese poets and writers of children’s literature. Places in Iwate are often referenced in his works. For example in his work Esperanto, he used the word “Ihatov” to describe Iwate as a “dreamland.” He also was a teacher at an agricultural school, who strove to improve the lives of farmers.

JASCers learned about the poet from farm management while walking through a recently created trail lined with flowers. The trail was made as an example of the beautiful natural environment Miyazawa Kenji often referenced in his work.


Nagasaki Site Closes with a Reception

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue addresses the JASC delegation.

On August 11th, 2013 the JASC 65 delegation closed the Nagasaki site by attending a farewell reception hosted by the generous Nagasaki Support Committee. Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue addressed the delegates and guests at the reception, speaking on the importance of U.S.-Japan friendship to his city. JASC AEC chair Paul Yarabe of Harvard University, JASC JEC chair Masato Takeuchi of the Tokyo University of the Arts, Mr. Masanobu Ibe of International Education Center, and representatives from the Nagasaki Support Committee also gave speeches. In total some one hundred people were in attendance including the JASC delegates, JASC alumni, supporters, and students from the area.

Mr. Masanobu Ibe (left), Executive Director of International Education Center, speaks with guests at the reception.

The Nagasaki Support Committee exits the reception through a tunnel of cheering JASCers.


Forum and Sightseeing Help Immerse JASCers in Nagasaki’s Unique Culture

Dr. Tsutomu Mizota addresses the delegation at the Nagasaki Forum.

Brooke Nowakowski of Harvard University poses a question to Dr. Mizota.

On August 10th, 2013 JASCers explored Nagasaki in the classroom and on the street. In the afternoon, JASCers attended the Nagasaki Forum, a discussion with Dr. Tsutomu Mizota, a distiguished professor at Nagasaki University of Foreign Studies. Dr. Mizota spoke on the history and influence of Nagasaki on foreign relations, drawing from his experience in the Ministry of Education, UNESCO, UNICEF, and the United Nations. He tied his talk in with the theme of JASC 65 and addressed each roundtable topic.

AEC Chair Paul Yarabe of Harvard University delivers a certificate of appreciation to Dr. Mizota.

After the forum, JASCers journeyed into the city of Nagasaki, touring the city with local students, many from  Nagasaki University of Foreign Studies. The delegates were split into groups, some visiting historic sites while others visited famous shopping streets or a popular game center. One of the sites visited was the beautiful Glover Garden which overlooks the skyline of Nagasaki and Nagasaki Bay.

JASCers and students from Nagasaki University of Foreign Studies pose for a picture at Glover Garden which overlooks the port.


Visit to Peace Museum Gives JASCers New Perspective on U.S.-Japan Relations

JASCers are guided through a memorial for the victims of the bombing by the exhibit director.

On August 9th, 2013, the anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki, the JASC 65 delegation took time to reflect on a darker period in U.S.-Japan relations. In the morning, JASCers observed the Nagasaki Atomic Bombing Peace Memorial Ceremony and in the afternoon they visited the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. Here, JASCers browsed exhibits about the bombing and discussed interpretations and impacts of the event with their counterparts.

Karim Boyd of Villanova University is interviewed by a a local television station, Nobuko Masuno (left) of UC Berkeley provided translation.

The highlight of the day of programming was a lecture and Q and A session with Mr. Yoshihiro Yamawaki, a survivor of the bombing. Mr. Yamawaki shared his experience that day and the following months, detailing his own injuries and his horrific loss of family and friends. He concluded the lecture by emphasizing the importance of peace and nuclear non-proliferation and encouraged JASCers to lead their generation towards a nuclear-free world.

Atomic bomb survivor Yoshiro Yamawaki addresses the JASC delegation while AEC Chair Paul Yarabe of Harvard University looks on.

The JASC Delegation with Mr. Yamawaki


Tour of Mitsubishi Shipyard Offers Look at Nagasaki’s Economic Engine

On August 10th, 2013 the 65th JASC delegation toured the Nagasaki Mitsubishi Shipyard. Through the tour, JASCers learned the ins and outs of the ship building process. The tour explained the process from the first metal cutting and welding steps up to the final assembly of giant liquid natural gas tankers in the facility’s dry dock.

Mitsubishi has been present in Nagasaki for over 100 years and has been a major source of jobs for the port city. JASCers visited the Koyagi Plant which builds  LNG carriers, LPG carriers and large tankers. The Koyagi plant is the largest of several in the region and was completed in 1972. More about Mitsubishi in Nagasaki is available on the company’s website.

A Mitsubishi representative addresses the JASC Delegates.

The view from the shipyard’s lookout point, Ken Panis of Villanova University pictured.


JASCers enjoy Slice of the Netherlands in Nagasaki

On August 8th, 2013 the JASC 65 delegation visited Huis Ten Bosch, a Dutch-themed amusement park near Nagasaki, Japan. Huis Ten Bosch means “House in the forest.” True to its name this residential-style resort has canals running throughout, is surrounded by greenery, forests, amusements, shops, restaurants, five distinct hotels, a marina and residential area.

The main purpose of the trip was to learn about the park’s eco-friendly design. JASCers were given a tour of the facilities that power the park as well as provide clean, desalinated water. After the tour, JASCers were allotted some free time to wander the park grounds.

JASCers learn about the park’s eco-friendly desalination system.

Michael Fitzgerald of Florida State University tries out a penny-farthing at Huis Ten Bosch.