NC Japan Center 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!


Hosting the Japanese Ambassador to the U.S., the Honorable Shinsuke Sugiyama:

The NC Japan Center was very honored to be co-host with the Triangle Japanese Business Association for Ambassador Shinsuke Sugiyama’s lunch reception today (Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019) at the NC Biotechnology Center in RTP. The ambassador came to visit North Carolina to speak with stakeholders in the Japanese-American community, including Governor Cooper and Senator Tillis, as well as leadership in NC-based Japanese companies. David Robinson, Honorary Consul of Japan to North Carolina, was instrumental in organizing and facilitating today’s reception, and we’re honored to have him on the NC Japan Center Board of Advisors! We hope that Ambassador Sugiyama can come back and visit us, soon!

Check out the Ambassador’s tweet on the event, below!


Take a 3-D Tour of the Spring Hill House:

We were very fortunate to have the Spring Hill House 3-D scanned, this past week. A special thank you to the Associate Director of the NC State Communications & Marketing, Enrollment Management & Services Team Mr. Brantley Atkinson for making this happen! Please give it look at the following link:


Interview with George Takei:

On Sunday, July 28th, 2019, the NC Japan Center was very honored to have the opportunity to sit down with revered actor, author, and activist George Takei, to speak about his and his family’s experience during the forced relocation and internment of Japanese Americans on U.S. soil during World War II. Please refer to the following link to view the interview video:


New NC Japan Center T-shirts:

The new NC Japan Center t-shirts have just come in! They are available now for a very reasonable $20, in sizes S through XL! Stop by the Spring Hill House and pick up yours, today!


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! As this is not an NC Japan Center position, please do not contact the NC Japan Center with questions and utilize the aforementioned link.

NC State Study Abroad Office Looking for Senior Assistant Director:

The Study Abroad Office at North Carolina State University is seeking to fill our Senior Assistant Director position. This is a full-time position that requires a minimum of three years of professional work experience in the field of higher education, preferably with progressively responsible experience in education abroad.

This position is an integral part of the Study Abroad Office leadership team and is responsible for overseeing student advising, supervising the advising team, directing the management of exchange and direct enroll programs, coordinating health and safety trainings, and managing student safety check-ins.
The position must be posted until 5:00 PM ET on November 15, 2019. It may remain open longer but could close at any time. For priority consideration, apply before November 15.
The NC State Study Abroad Office is an inclusive workplace that promotes and values diversity. NC State University is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as an individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran. If you have general questions about the application process, please contact Human Resources at (919) 515-2135 or As this is not an NC Japan Center position, please do not contact the NC Japan Center with questions and utilize the aforementioned link.

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!

10th Anniversary NU Tech Roundtable:

Nagoya University will be hosting the 10th annual NU Tech Roundtable at North Carolina Biotechnology Center on Tuesday, November 19, 2019. This event will be focused on discussing the “AgBiotech” field, and shall feature two researchers from NC State! Please come and hear about this exciting, expanding field of study and industry! To register, please use the QR code in the flyer below, or contact NU Tech Executive Director Tomohisa Koyama at . We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Ghosts of Fukushima: Presentation and Discussion by Dr. Isomae:

On Tuesday, December 4th, 2019, Dr. Jun’ichi Isomae from the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (“Nichibunken”) shall be visiting Duke University to present on the award-winning film “Ghosts of Fukushima,” and to discuss the struggles of ordinary (and yet, extraordinary) people in the wake of this disaster. This event is hosted by the Duke University Global Asia Initiative and Duke Asian/Pacific Studies Institute. Please go and check out this interesting and informative event!

“Mochitsuki” (Japanese New-Year “Mochi” Pounding) Event 2019!

The NC Japan Center is partnering with the Nippon Club of the Triangle to host the annual New Year “Mochitsuki” (pounding rice into sot, delicious “mochi”) event at the Spring Hill House on Saturdayday, December 14th, 2019. This event is always so much fun and it’s a wonderful chance for the community to learn more about Japanese culture and cuisine! Admission is free, so please come and check it out!

Recent Activities:

Third Japanese Anime Film Night – Raleigh Sister Cities:

The NC Japan Center once again teamed up with Raleigh Sister Cities, the Japan-America Society of North Carolina, and the Nippon Club of the Triangle to host our third Japanese Anime Film Night at NC State’s Witherspoon Cinema. The turnout for this event was the best yet, and the film, “Wolf Children,” was very well received! Our next Japanese Anime Film Night is scheduled for February 2020 – as always, admission is free, but donations for the Raleigh Sister Cities: Japan Sister City Exploratory Committee are very welcome! We hope to see you there!

NC Global Advantage Forum 2019:

The N.C. Coalition for Global Competitiveness held its “NC Global Advantage Forum” at RTI International in Research Triangle Park on Thursday, November 14th, 2019. The event was incredibly informative, inspiring, and had a wonderful turnout! Representatives from government, industry, and academia came together to be informed about the current status of global partnerships with North Carolina, and how best to take full advantage of opportunities to strengthen those international ties. The keynote address by former NC Governor Mr. James B. Hunt, Jr. was a great way to get everyone focused on improving our international connections, and the closing remarks by NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall re-affirmed our commitment to a global perspective.


Wake County Economic Development Partners Meeting:

NCJC director Jonathan Brewster was invited by Wake County Economic Development to attend their Partners Meeting on Thursday, November 7th, 2019, to give a short introduction on the NCJC and a truncated version of the “Japanese Business Protocol” workshop currently offered by the Japan Center. The workshop was very well received by the meeting participants and showing some of the most important economic development and training personnel in the state what the Japan Center can do was much appreciated. Many thanks to Kathleen Henry at Wake County Economic Development for making this happen!


Nagai Tabi: Tales and Travels of Japanese Works of Art to America”

The NC Japan Center, in partnership with the Japan-America Society of North Carolina,
co-hosted Dr. Janice Katz, the Roger L. Weston Associate Curator of Japanese Art at the
Art Institute of Chicago, at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at NC State University on
Wednesday, October 30th, 2019.
Dr. Katz’s gave a wonderful, informative and incredibly interesting talk on the ukiyo-e prints at the Art Institute of Chicago, and how they came to be part of one of the largest collections of its kind in the world. A light reception followed, with traditional koto music by Ms. Kanako Ford, which was also a thoroughly enjoyable experience as attendees networked and sampled delicious food and drink! A special thanks to the National Association of Japan-America Societies for providing the Richard J. Wood Grant to sponsor this event! We hope to see you at the next one!


SEUS-Japan/Japan-U.S. Southeast Association 2019 Conference:

This year’s “SEUS Conference” was held in beautiful Savannah, Georgia. Each of the southern states sent delegations to attend the conference, as did representatives from the Japanese government and various companies and organizations from both countries. In attendance was the Ambassador of Japan to the U.S., the Honorable Shinsuke Sugiyama, as well as our new Consul-General Kazuyuki Takeuchi, the North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Anthony Copeland, and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. The purpose of this annual conference (held alternately in Tokyo and a city in one of the US southern states, every year) is to bring together all stakeholders in commercial and governmental relationships between Japan and each of these states. Knowledgeable and experienced individuals from these sectors are invited to speak on current trends and topics, as well as to update everyone about the status of trade and commerce between the U.S. and Japan.


“The Spirit of Haiga: A Workshop and Gallery with Ion Codrescu”

The NC Japan Center, in collaboration with the North Carolina Haiku Society, was very honored to host Dr. Ion Codrescu, a renowned and celebrated haiku poet and “haiga” master, at the Spring Hill House last Sunday, September 22nd. Haiga is a unique and beautiful Japanese art form, and “…are typically painted by haiku poets (‘haijin’)…often accompanied by a haiku poem.” Learn more about haiga HERE.

Dr. Codrescu displayed a gallery of his works, and also gave an inspired and educational lecture, “Japanese Haiga and Western Artists.” Attendees to this event were able to learn about the history, contemporary styles, and influence of haiga on western art, as well as how Dr. Codrescu became involved and rose to prominence in this field.

A special thanks to the North Carolina Haiku Society, Dave Russo, our attendees, and of course Dr. Codrescu!


NU Student Cohort: Hosted by NC State Japan Club and NCJC:

This past Saturday, September 14th, the NC Japan Center and the Japan Club at NC State hosted the visiting cohort from Nagoya University at the Spring Hill House. The Nagoya University students and our NC State students from the Japan Club played games, had a picnic, shared some laughs, and made new friendships! Everyone had a great time!


Japanese Anime Film Night:

The NC Japan Center again co-hosted the second “Japanese Anime Film Night” with the Raleigh Sister Cities: Japanese Sister City Exploratory Committee, the Japan-America Society of North Carolina, and the Nippon Club of the Triangle, at Witherspoon Cinema on NC State main campus, on Saturday, September 7th, 2019. The film shown this time was the very popular “Your Name,” and the event was free to the public. Our sponsor was the Nippon Club of the Triangle, and we collected some very kind donations for Raleigh Sister Cities. Thank you, and we look forward to our third planned “Japanese Anime Film Night” in November! Stay tuned!


NC Japan Summer Festival 2019:

The Nippon Club of the Triangle hosted the enormously popular NC Japan Summer Festival on Saturday, August 3rd, 2019. Held inside the NC State Fair Grounds, it was a wonderful event; booths selling Japan-related items and wares, fun activities to educate the public about Japanese culture and festivals, and top-notch festival food and drink! The NC Japan Center had a booth at the event this year, and we were overjoyed to connect with so many people interested in Japanese culture and language, and what the Japan Center offers in these areas!

If you weren’t able to make it out this year, please plan on coming in 2020; it’s an event you shouldn’t pass up! We look forward to seeing you there!


Sunflower Fields Trip:

The NC Japan Center headed over to the nearby beautiful sunflower fields on Dorothea Dix campus, last Thursday. Although it was very hot outside, it was absolutely gorgeous! Thanks to all who came out!


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)