NC Japan Center Blog, News/Activities

NC Japan Center Blog:

The NC Japan Center regularly sponsors a variety of events that are announced on our blog. In addition, you will find updates on Japan-related activities of other organizations, as well as announcements of conferences, guest lectures, and the arrival of delegations and other visitors from Japan.

NC Japan Center Blog!



Ongoing/Upcoming Activities:

Please check out the following link to see the ongoing cultural activities at the
NC Japan Center, including “ikebana” (flower arranging) and the “Daruma Club”
(cultural exchange), as well as upcoming one-time activities!


NC Japan Summer Festival 2019:

The Nippon Club of the Triangle will once again be hosting it’s enormously popular Summer Festival. Held inside the air-conditioned and easily accessibly NC State Fair Grounds, it’s a wonderful event for anyone interested in Japanese culture and cuisine! Register and buy your ticket today, and also make sure to stop by the NC Japan Center booth, located in the “Community Market” at the event!

Admission for adults (13 years of age and older) are $5.95 via the online portal for advance purchase, and $7.00 at the door on the day of the event (these prices include all fees). Children (12 years of age and younger) are free!

NC Japan Summer Festival

Here’s a message from the Nippon Club of the Triangle, with information about volunteering:

“This year’s Nippon Club of the Triangle’s Summer Festival will be on Aug 3, 2019 (Sat) at the NC State Fairgrounds, and we’re seeking volunteers to help with this event. As a volunteer, you’ll have FREE entry to the event, a volunteer t-shirt, and food around meal times!

If you want to help cook Japanese food at our event, let us know! Don’t worry, if you were looking for opportunities other than cooking, we have other volunteer opportunities such as servers/salesperson, food runners, setup/breakdown of decorations, cashiers. Fill out this volunteer registration form to let us know you want to join the volunteer team!
If you have any questions, reach out to us at”


Daruma Club:

The next meeting of our cultural exchange group, the Daruma Club, shall be on Tuesday, July 16th, 1:00 – 3:00PM, here at the Spring Hill House. Please come by and enjoy the company and Japanese conversation!


NU Tech Looking for Two Staff Members to Join Their Team:

The Technology Partnership of Nagoya University, Inc. (“NU Tech”) is looking to fill two positions, locally: a “Junior Associate” and a “Senior Associate.”
This is a great opportunity for those with the requisite skills and experience to work for a wonderful Japanese organization, in RTP!
For more information, please contact Mr. Tomohisa Koyama at!

Recent Activities:


NC Japan Center Summer Camp:

The inaugural NC Japan Center Summer Camp was a huge success! Last week, we welcomed eight wonderful campers here at the Spring Hill House to learn about and experience the Japanese language and culture, complete with classes, workshops, and field trips! Some highlights included our sojourn to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens to tour the Asiatic Arboretum, including the Durham-Toyama Sister Cities Pavilion and Garden, our wonderful “Bushiken” karate workshop with Sensei Saint-Cyr, our “Shodo” (Japanese calligraphy) workshop, and learning about Japanese “zazen” meditation.
We’re already preparing for a bigger, better summer camp for 2020! If you or anyone you know is interested in being a part of our camper cohort for next year, please send us an email at!
We hope to see you next year!!


Bonsai Workshop with Sensei Taka Chubachi:

The NC Japan Center held its first-ever bonsai workshop this past Saturday, June 22nd, here at the Spring Hill House. We were honored to host Sensei Taka Chubachi, a “Master Gardener” who studied for more than a decade under the late Peter Carter, who was the owner of “The Ploughmans’ Nursery & Garden” and a lavender expert from New Zealand. Everyone had so much fun learning about how to properly prepare, prune, and take care of our very own juniper bonsai trees!
On behalf of the NC Japan Center, we want to sincerely thank Chubachi Sensei for lending us his time, expertise, and contagious enthusiasm about bonsai! Stay tuned to this page to see when we are able to snag him for a future workshop!


Animazement Convention: May 24th-26th, 2019

The NC Japan Center participated in the wonderful “Animazement” convention this past weekend. Animazement is an all-volunteer, fan-run anime convention in Raleigh, North Carolina, celebrating popular Japanese visual culture in all of its forms. The parent organization of Animazement, Educational Growth Across Oceans (EGAO) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

What a great event! Thousands and thousands of people from all over the country (and world) coming together in their love for anime – what’s there not to love? It was such a treat to meet so many individuals interested in learning about Japanese language and culture, and we were honored to be there.

Make sure to book your tickets now for Animazement 2020! There’s a discount, but only if you purchase before June 2nd, 2019!

Please check out the Animazement website: Animazement 2020


“Reiwa Celebration” Event at “Sono Sushi Bar & Restaurant:”

On Tuesday, May 7th, 2019, from 6:30-8:30PM, the NC Japan Center hosted a “Reiwa
Celebration” Event at Sono Sushi Bar & Restaurant in downtown Raleigh.
This incredible, multi-course dinner and saké tasting was to celebrate the advent of the new
imperial “Reiwa Era” in Japan, and to commemorate the abdication of Emperor Akihito as his
son Prince Naruhito ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne.
With 50 guests attending, the event was lively and thoroughly enjoyable experience!  Friends connected and caught up with each other, while many new friendships and connections were made. We were even fortunate enough to receive and hear a note of honor commemorating the occasion sent from James T. Fain III, the former North Carolina Secretary of Commerce.
Sara Guterbock, the Director of Education and Sake Portfolio Manager for Mutual Bros. Distributing Company, was our saké sommelier and event facilitator, and she did a wonderful job, as always! It was very interesting for everyone to hear about the various types of nihonshu served, their history and unique qualities, and how they pair with various foods (many of which we all sampled from Sono’s skilled chefs!).
Thank you to all who attended!  We look forward to hosting you at a similar event in the near future.


“Kodomo no Hi” (Children’s Day) Event with the Nippon Club:

This year’s “Kodomo no Hi” (Children’s Day) Event, co-sponsored with the Nippon Club of the Triangle this past Saturday, May 4th, was a huge success. We welcomed over 350 people to the Spring Hill House to learn about this Japanese holiday, and to celebrate it with us!  Thank you to all the volunteers who worked very hard to make this event truly enjoyable for everyone.

We’re looking forward to seeing next year!


NC Japan Center / Raleigh Sister Cities Japanese Anime Night:

On Saturday, May 4th, 2019, the NC Japan Center and the Raleigh Sister Cities “Japanese Sister City Exploratory Committee” co-hosted a Japanese Anime Film Night at NC State’s Witherspoon Campus Cinema.  This was the first of four such planned events, and this first showing was sponsored by the Honorary General Consul of Japan in North Carolina, Mr. David Robinson!  The movie, “Summer Wars,” was a big hit with the audience.  We’re currently scheduling the next movie for early September, so please check back soon!


Sakura Radio Interview:

On Tuesday, April 30th at 11:30AM and 12:10PM, a short interview (Japanese) was broadcasted with Director Brewster by Ms. Eiko Goti from JTA, Inc., talking about the NC Japan Center and the upcoming “Reiwa Celebration” Event!


March 5th, 2019:

On March 5th, 2019, at Talley Student Union at NC State University, Nagoya University-affiliated
high school students from Japan made wonderful presentations about their experiments regarding “Mathematics and Society.” The English skills these students exhibited when presenting were very impressive, as was their enthusiasm to show their work! Chancellor Woodson was kind enough to stop by and take a photo with these exceptional students!  Otsukaresamedeshita!

February 9th, 2019:

The 2019 Lunar New Year Event, organized and run by the Confucius Institute at NC State,
took place this past Saturday at Crabtree Valley Mall. Celebrating the “Year of the Pig (or Boar)”
in the Chinese Zodiac, there were many wonderful activities for people to participate in, and
wonderful performances to watch! The NC Japan Center had a table at this event, and we also
had the honor of bringing in the very talented Ms. Kanako Ford to grace us all with her
incredible shamisen and koto performances. It was a great event, and we hope to see you next
year (the “Year of the Rat!”).


January 19th, 2019:

The 2019 Triangle Area Shin-Nen-Kai, hosted by the Triangle Japanese Business Association,
took place this last Saturday. The event was a bit hit with the Japanese-American community
in the Triangle area, with many attendees celebrating the new year at the beautiful Sarah P.
Duke Gardens.  The event program included wonderful musical performances, raffles, and
games, as well as delicious o-bento and Japanese sake!  The event was attended by the
Honorable Takashi Shinozuka, the Consul-General at the Consulate-General of Japan in Atlanta,
as well as many other leaders and members of Japan-related companies and organizations in
North Carolina.  Please be sure to reserve your tickets early when they go on sale in December,
2019, for the next Shin-Nen-Kai!

Honorary Consul David Robinson!
NC Japan Center Jonathan Brewster
Kenya Inoue playing classical guitar!
TJBA President and Shin-Nen-Kai Organizing Committee Head Mr. Noriyoshi Inoue
Shamisen and koto musician Kanako Ford!


January 11th, 2019:

Happy New Year 2019, everyone! 今年もよろしくお願いします。
We kicked off the new year with a wonderful “ikebana” (Japanese flower arranging)
workshop with the very talented Mrs. Emiko Suzuki, master of the “Ikenobo” style
of ikebana.  Everyone had a wonderful time and as “Suzuki-Sensei” has this work-
shop on a regular basis here at the Japan Center, please contact us if you are
interested in attending!


December 15th, 2018:

The Nippon Club of the Triangle’s annual “Year-End Mochitsuki Event” was a hit!
It was wonderful to see so many people from the community make it to Carolina
Pines Park to come together and participate in this Japanese cultural activity.
There were a number of delicious, seasonal dishes to try, like “o-den,” “anko,” and
of course, freshly pounded “mochi,” or gluttonous rice!  There were also some
great “taiko” drum performances, and an instructional class for the little ones!
If you were unable to attend this year, please do mark your calendars for next year,
as this is an event you’ll want to bring your family to participate in! 良いお年を!

Honorary Consul David Robinson pounding mochi!
A taiko drum class for the kids!


December 7th, 2018:

Director Brewster, along with the Office of Global Engagement’s Associate Vice
Provost of External Relations and Development Ingrid Schmidt, attended the Japan
America Society of North Carolina’s Annual Dinner Meeting, held at the Carolina Country
Club, last Friday evening. The event was a wonderful experience, with a beautiful koto and
shamisen performance and silent auction, as well as a number of awards and a speech by
the Consulate-General of Japan in Atlanta’s Consul General Shinozuka-san. We’re looking
forward to next year’s event!

With Nomura-sensei's (RJLS) family
Koto and shamisen musician Kanako Ford
With Consul-General Shinozuka-san


November 7th, 2018:

Director Brewster visited our academic partner Kwansei Gakuin University in Kobe.
This, like his on-site visits to Waseda University and Sophia University last month,
was to strengthen and grow NC State’s exchange programs with our partner institutions.
Please check back soon to see our Japan-based academic partner descriptions!


October 18th – 19th, 2018:

Director Brewster participated in the annual joint meeting of the Southeast-U.S. /
Japan and Japan-U.S. Southeast Association (“SEUS”), held at the New Otani Hotel
in Tokyo.  This conference, held alternately in Japan and in the southeast U.S. since
1976, is paramount for successful economic and business development between
Japan and the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi,
Alabama, and Tennessee.  Director Brewster was attached to and helped facilitate the
delegation from North Carolina, headed by Chief Deputy Secretary of Commerce Elizabeth
Crabill.  The U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Mr. William F. Hagerty, was also in attendance.
The conference was a resounding success, with a great deal of new information
shared and connections made.  SEUS 2019 shall be held in Savannah, Georgia.


October 15th – 17th, 2018:

Director Brewster visited two of NC State’s academic partner institutions in Tokyo:
Sophia University and Waseda University, to further strengthen and expand our
exchange program relationships. Be on the lookout for NC State Japan-based academic
partner institution descriptions here on the NC Japan Center website!


September 28th, 2018:

Director Brewster was able to come and participate in final presentations
and the graduation ceremony for the Nagoya University student group at GTI.
Great job and congratulations to all the students! お疲れ様でした!


September 23rd, 2018:

The NC State Japan Club welcomed the Nagoya University student group studying at
GTI here at the Spring Hill House! Lots of fun was had and friendships made!


August 28th, 2018:

Director Brewster was on-hand to help facilitate the Dowa Thermotech
delegation from Japan for the official announcement of the construction
of a new facility in Central Carolina Enterprise Park, bringing in a $22.5 million
investment and 109 jobs into North Carolina.
Read more about it here:

(With Dowa Thermotech President Tsuji)