The JASG Newsletter is a quarterly publication which seeks to promote business, cultural exchange, and mutual understanding between Japan and Georgia. The newsletter is circulated among the more than 800 Society members and community partners. Please send suggestions about articles or articles you might want to contribute to The most current newsletter is below. Other archived newsletters in pdf format are at the bottom of the page. To advertise your goods or services, please contact

Japan-America Society of Georgia


Fall 2019 Newsletter

Japan America Society

of Georgia

Newsletter Writers:

         Liz Bigler 

         Charles Coney

         Yoshi Domoto

         Maria Domoto

         Eboni Goar

         Anne Godsey

         Deborah Grant

         Albert Hodge

         Maki Murahashi

         Debra Owen

         Mariko Shimoda

         William Strang

To advertise in future newsletters, please contact:

The Japan-America
Society of Georgia

1900 Century Place NE
Suite 112

Atlanta, GA 30345

Tel: (404) 842-1400
Fax: (404) 842-1415

Celebrate the Holidays at the Bonenkai Gala December 12

at the Piedmont Driving Club

     The Japan-America Society of Georgia (JASG) will hold its 39thBonenkai Holiday Celebration Gala on  December 12, 2019 at the Piedmont Driving Club.

     The End-of-Year Dinner Gala is one of those rare occasions when a diverse representation of members of the community, including many top Japanese and American business leaders, gather together in one place for a time of celebration and enjoyment. 

     The JASG is honored to welcome Madoka Oshima to the 2019 Bonenkai as its special guest performer. Madoka is a Japanese jazz pianist based in Atlanta. In 2002 she moved to New Orleans, where she studied jazz. She completed a Music Degree in Jazz Studies at Georgia State University and performs in a variety of genres including jazz, classical, R&B, rock, and gospel.   

   The gala also features the JASG popular Silent Auction. This fundraiser includes special Japanese items, airline tickets, restaurant certificates, and other exciting items. All auction proceeds fund the JASG’s many educational, business, and cultural projects that bring together Japanese and American communities. If you are interested in donating to the Silent Auction, please contact the JASG office. Not only are all contributions tax deductible, but your company will receive recognition at the event and in the JASG Newsletter.

     A corporate table of eight seats is available for $1,000 for members and $1,200 for non-members. Individual place settings can be purchased for $125 for members and $150 for non-members. For more information, please contact call 404-842-1400 or visit the JASG website at  


Record Attendance at JapanFest!

       Thanks to everyone’s generous cooperation and enthusiastic support, over 25,000 people shared the joys of Japanese culture on September 21-22. Especially in today's world, cultural exchange and mutual understanding are essential, which is the essence of JapanFest.

     In 2019 a wide variety of performances featured the very traditional to contemporary. Urasenkei generously hosted a full tea ceremony exhibit in a quiet setting to standing room only. Ikebana artists showcased their work under natural lighting in a more contemplative. The Konnichiwa Club skillfully demonstrated the art of kimono and accessories. Avant-garde calligrapher Tomomi Kunishige came from Tokyo to demonstrate her art of combining traditional Japanese brush writing with embedded English graphics. Konmari “Joy of Tidying Up” consultant Nozomi Takeda from Tokyo, senior trainer for Marie Kondo, was a popular draw for those who are fans of the Netflix series about Japanese folding and organizing techniques. Minyo Station, a Japanese folk music group, performed a mixture of traditional Japanese folk songs infused with modern jazz, demonstrating the cross-genre trends in international music using the shamisen.

      In addition, there was a dynamic kimono-inspired fashion show by award-winning Dawn Mastow. The always-popular Motoko the Storyteller delighted audiences with rakugoin English, and Mariko Iwasa made people of all ages laugh with her comic routines. The much beloved Samurai Sword Soul and Matsuriza drummers received the greatest alcolades. Local clubs such as the Atlanta Okinawa Kenjin Kai and Nebula staged beautiful dance performances, and Georgia’s kyudo, aikido, kendo, judo, and jujitsu clubs exhibited at the Aflac stage to large crowds. 

     Fourteen Japanese corporations featured their products. For Japanese companies doing business in the United States, shared cultural experiences create a deeper relationship of empathy and friendship that are the foundation of healthy employee relations and stable business growth. Truly local Japanese owned businesses and Georgians work collaboratively with one another.

     We sincerely appreciate the many selfless hours provided by over 200 volunteers. We could not have kept JapanFest going for 33 years without you. We hope to continuously improve programming and keep this festival as a shining symbol of the enduring friendship between Japan, Georgia, and the Southeast. We are also happy to announce the opening of our new online store.

Welcome to the New Consul-General of Japan in Atlanta

In September the Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta welcomed Kazuyuki Takeuchi as Consul General. He takes the reins from Takashi Shinozuka. Consul-General Takeuchi has worked on economic and human rights issues across the Asian region and at diplomatic missions in South America, Asia/Pacific, and Europe. He comes to Atlanta from Vienna. This is his first posting to North America. He looks forward to serving the States of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina that boast more than 1,000 Japan-affiliated businesses, over 20,000 Japanese nationals, and 20+ sister-city relationships. He has stated: “I will do my utmost to be a conduit for friendship, a pillar of support for economic relations, and a problem-solver as the new Consul General of Japan in Atlanta. I look forward to working together with you all.

Message from the Incoming Chair

Fellow JASGers:

Thank you for your continuous support of the Japan America Society of Georgia.

It is an honor to serve as your Chair of the Board. We thank the chairs that have lead before and especially our most recent, Bill Strang. This is a period of transition-the new Emperor, Consul General Takeuchi and even a new trade agreement in final negotiations. This year already started in a robust way thanks to the many supporters and attendees of JapanFest! The Southeast US Japan Conference in Savannah in October was also a great success. We look forward to your participation in our many programs over the next year.

Al Hodge

JASG Chair

President & CEO

Hodge Consulting Services

Delta Announces Change in

Direct Flight to Japan

Delta initiated flights to Japan in 1988. Delta has announced that the Atlanta-Tokyo flight will soon land and depart from Haneda International Airport, not Narita International Airport, from the end of March. This will make it much more convenient from travelers whose final destination is Japan.

Message from the Outgoing Chair

     I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the cooler weather and another beautiful fall here in Georgia.


    The JASG has continued to have a busy schedule of exciting programs and activities these past few months but the two featured programs that the Society were JapanFest in September and the SEUS-Japan Conference in October. While we continue to work through the ongoing expansion project at the Infinite Energy Center, JapanFest 2020 was a resounding success as a record 25,000+ people attended this year’s festival. This year marked the 36th year of the festival and was particularly special with it being the first event for new Consul General Kazuyuki Takeuchi. We thank all of the hard work by the organizing committee, volunteers, JASG/JCCG members, and everyone who made all of this year’s festivities possible and look forward to an even better event in 2020.

     A few weeks later, SEUS-Japan was held in the beautiful city of Savannah. The State of Georgia did an outsanding job of hosting this year’s conference upholding the close ties it has with Japan, now home to more than 600 Japanese facilities which employ approximately 35,000 Georgians. Also, more than 31,300 Japanese tourists traveled to Georgia in 2018 spending more than $74.4 million. Some highlights of the conference were tours of the Port of Savannah and Mitsubishi-Hitachi Power Systems, and also presentations by Governor Brian Kemp, John Murphy, Chief Financial Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, amongst others, and keynote remarks from former Georgia Governor and current US Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue. A big thank you goes to the City of Savannah for hosting and for all of the efforts by the planning team of the Georgia Department of Economic Development to make us all proud to call Georgia home.

     In upcoming news, our 39th Bonenkai Holiday Gala is will be held on December 12, 2019 at the Piedmont Driving Club. I encourage you to celebrate the Winter Holidays with us by attending, sponsoring, and/or donating an auction item for the event. 

     Finally, it has been an honor, privilege, and real pleasure to have served as Chairman of the JASG. As my good friend and colleague, Al Hodge, becomes the new Chairman, I am extremely appreciative of the JASG staff, board and committees, and members as I look forward to seeing the Society grow even stronger in the years to come. 

William Strang

JASG Chair

President, Operations & E-Commerce

TOTO Corporation

Upcoming Events and Programs

Nov 19 (Tue) 

International Women’s Series: Volunteer at Atlanta Food Bank

5:30-8:30 pm at 732 Joseph Lowery Blvd NW, Atlanta Ga 30318

We will sort, organize and pack recently donated food and personal care products for distribution to over 600 local partner agencies. The music will be loud, the packing will be fast-paced and the personal reward of making a difference unforgettable!

Nov 23 (Sat)

YP Friends and Family Fall Foliage Hiking

10:00 am at Stone Mountain Park, 1000 Robert E Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain, Ga 30083

Nov 30 (Sat)

Nihongo-Eigo Kai Meeting

2-4 pm at JASG Office, 1900 Century Place NE, Suite 112, Atlanta, GA 30345

Come join language learners as we enjoy conversations on different topics every month, half in Japanese and half in English. 

Dec 12 (Thurs)

Bonenkai Celebration Gala

6:00 pm until at Piedmont Driving Cub at 1215 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

For more information on events scheduled between now and September, please visit the JASG webpage: If you have questions, please call the JASG office at 404-842-1400 or email

The 2020 Asia Pacific Children’s Convention Program will be held from July 12-25, 2020, in Fukuoka, Japan. This opportunity is for three 10/11-year-olds to enjoy an all-expenses paid international camp, host family, and school visit. Applications are due December 20. The finalist interviews will be held January 11. Please call JASG office and check the JASG website ( for more information.

Experience of a Lifetime: Asia Pacific Children’s Convention 2019

     I had the great honor of being selected to chaperone four elementary students from the Atlanta area to Fukuoka, Japan, this July to attend the Asia-Pacific Children's Convention. We traveled from July 13 through July 25.

     Upon arrival, the APCC staff and volunteers kindly greeted us at the airport. We boarded a bus to the Marine House Camp for our first three days of our adventure. We shared the bus with the delegation from Pakistan and the Cook Islands. The chaperones from these two countries soon became close friends. 

     The Marine House is a dorm-style camp facility where the children from more than 40 countries stay. Children share rooms and other facilities where they interact with each other, exchange calling cards, and make good friends. On the first day, the children were given a Marine House stay orientation. We woke up every day at 6:30 am and ate breakfast. Directly after breakfast, we attended the morning ceremonies where daily announcements were made, and we even participated in the Japanese style morning exercises.  We had two chaperone meetings each day to discuss any issues or problems and also to review the next day's schedule. This camp not only provided the children with the first-hand experience of Japanese culture but also with cultures of other Asian-Pacific countries. 

      The Atlanta delegation visited Fukuhama Elementary School in Fukuoka City. The Japanese students warmly welcomed us with a ceremony and a choreographed dance performance. I was very proud of our Atlanta kids in their first-ever introductions speeches in from of this crowd. Following the speeches, the kids performed their dance that they had prepared during our preparation meetings.

     By the end of the school, we all met our host families and went home with them. All of our host families were very gracious and took excellent care of all of us. I was able to visit Ichieda Elementary School in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, where Jada Nganga was attending with her host sister. Other activities that I experienced were visiting Shimonoseki, and the Karato Fish Market, which is dominated by the Fugu (Blowfish). I walked the beautiful Chofu-teien garden and took photos with my sweet hosts. I ate at some fantastic traditional Japanese restaurants. Finally, I took a shuji lesson from an outstanding international shuji artist. I will never forget the time I spent with my host family.

     The performance event took place on Saturday, July 20. The Performance event was an opportunity for the delegations to represent their culture and country by performing some traditional music and dance. It was also an opportunity for the citizens of Fukuoka and surrounding areas to learn about the various cultures and develop their interest as global citizens. Many other delegations wore vividly colored costumes and performed very intricate cultural dances. Our Atlanta team wore Falcons jerseys and cheer outfits and performed American-style line dances. The title of our performance was "Superbowl Halftime Show."

     Following the Homestay portion of the trip, the various delegations gathered at the Global Arena, a large scale multi-functional sports complex with dorm-style accommodations. Here, Japanese children (Fukuoka Kids) also joined us. The children took part in many sports activities and games, including the "International Children's Sports Conference." The central theme of this conference was to promote international exchange through sport in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Children from the participating countries discussed the importance of sports, their favorite sport, and created a Children's Sport Declaration. The children had fun through games and made new Japanese friends. The most important aspect of the summer camp was the activity of "Building a Dream Tree." In this activity, the children discussed what they want to become in the future. It gave 11-year olds, a chance to think and nurture their dreams.

     The 2019 APCC was a huge success! We returned home on July 25 and greeted by our families.

Southeast US – Japan Trade Conference

Touts Long-Standing Ties and Successes

     The Southeast U.S./Japan Association and the Japan-U.S. Southeast Association held the 42ndAnnual Joint Meeting in Savannah from October 20-23, with the theme of “Bridging Cultures. Celebrating Success.” SEUS Chairman Virgil Miller and Japan Chairman Teruo Asada presided over the meeting with more than 430 delegates. The participating Southeastern states are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The Ambassador of Japan to the United States and three Consuls Generals were in attendance. Governor Brian Kemp led the Georgia delegation.

     State representatives highlighted their state’s relationships with Japan and the factors that keep their state globally competitive, such as logistics innovation and workforce development and collaboration. Many speaers discussed best practices for successful workforce partnerships with state governments, local communities, technical colleges and K-12 education, and their impact on the continued competitiveness of business in the Southeast United States. 

     All in attendance enjoyed getting to know each other better and strengthening relationships during networking opportunities.

     Next year’s conference will be in Tokyo from October 8-10.

Sonny Perdue, US Secretary of Agriculture and

former Georgia Governor, gives closing keynote address

JASG Company Tour

Marukan: Premier Japanese Rice Vinegar Manufacturer


   On October 2, 2019, the JASG hosted a factory tour at the Marukan Vinegar facilities in Griffin, GA. Marukan is a Japanese rice vinegar company that has been producing vinegar since 1649. Marukan USA was established in 1974 to produce rice and sushi vinegars to cater to the growing sushi market. Today, Marukan produces non-GMO and organic rice vinegar products along with ponzu sauces for supermarets, natural food stores, restaurant supply stores, military commissaries, industrial users and other manufacturers. 

     The tour was led by Jon Tanklage, the president of Marukan USA, who came all the way from the company’s headquarters in California. He began by talking about the company itself as well as the Griffin campus. The Griffin campus was completed in 2017. Already plans have been made to extend the campus. He then explained the process of how vinegar is made. Shortly thereafter, tour participants were able to try samples of two kinds of rice vinegar: genuine brewed as well as the seasoned gourmet. Many participants agreed the seasoned gourmet vinegar had a sweeter, more satisfying taste. Following the tasting, participants put on outer garments to enter the production areas including boiler tank rooms. Next, they saw the walk-in freezer where rice is stored. Finally, participants made their way to the warehouse where vinegar packages are prepared for shipment. The tour concluded with final words from the president. Participants received vinegar bottles to take home. 

     Afterwards, participants were invited to a post-tour luncheon at Saki Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar. The restaurant is located in downtown Griffin about 10 minutes away from Marukan Vinegar. This outing was a chance for participants to become acquainted and network. A number of the participants ordered a Japanese-style boxed lunch while others ordered sushi. All left with satisfied stomachs and with overall positive reviews of the restaurant. Many thanks to those at Marukan and Saki for making this event a big success!

Thanksgiving in Japan - High Schoolers Study Tour to Japan

     Through the Grassroots Exchange Network - Japan (GEN-J) High School Program to Japan, the JASG has selected a group of 19 high school students from Americus, Islands, Milton, and Roswell High Schools, and 6 chaperones from Georgia to participate in a 10-day study tour to Japan from November 21-30, 2019.

         Organized and funded by the Japan Foundation, the purpose of the GEN-J High School Program to Japan is to raise awareness about Japan and Japanese-language on the grassroots level in Southern and Midwestern states that have limited opportunities for cultural exchange with Japan. Through this tour, high school students will be able to visit Tokyo, Yokohama, Kamakura, Hiroshima and Miyajima, and participate in exchanges to foster deeper understanding of Japanese language and culture. At the conclusion of this program, we hope that the participants will have built a solid understanding of US-Japan relations at the local level and have the necessary knowledge and connections to appreciate the benefits of the strong relationship between the United States and Japan.

     The highlights of the program will be company visits to Mazda and Sun Foods, visits to the Ramen Museum, YKK’s Monozukurikan, among other cultural attractions, and also a visit to Obirin High School and Temple University Japan Campus. As Georgia’s liaison office, the JASG selected 6 chaperones and a group of 19 students from Americus-Sumter High School in Americus, Islands High School in Savannah, and Milton High School and Roswell High School located just north of Atlanta. Milton High School and Roswell High School will participate as winners of the 2019 Japan Academic Challenge held earlier in the year in March.        

GEN-J Invitation Program - Japan Visit for Community and Business Leaders

Through the Grassroots Exchange Network-Japan (GEN-J) program, the JASG helped nominate and prepare a group of select leaders from Georgia to travel to Japan this Fall. to develop a network with Japanese business leaders and gain a deeper appreciation and understanding about Japan and Japanese companies. Among the participants of this second batch of participants included: September Program: Georgia State Senators, Michael Rhett and Elena Parent; Georgia State House of Representatives, Houston Gaines Schott Holcomb, Dave Dreyer, Al Williams, Timothy Barr, and Becky Evans.October Program: Senators Frank Ginn, Sheikh Rahman, and Kay Kirkpatrick; Representatives, Rhonda Burnough, Martin Momtahan, Angelika Kausche, Kim Schofield, Brian Prince, Pam Dickerson, Shelly Hutchinson; and Ms. Tonya Powers and Mr. Tom Taylor. November Program: Senators Timothy Echols, Jennifer Jordan, Sally Harrell, Donzella James; Representatives, Mike Glanton, Calvin Smyre, Bonnie Rich, Teri Anulewicz, Matthew Gambill, Erick Allen, Dave Belton, Bill Werkheiser, Jasmine Clark, Albert Reeves, Carl Gilliard, Karen Bennett; and Ms. Elizabeth Erikson. 

All participants started their visit in Tokyo for meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Keidanren Japan Business Federation, and the Japan Foundation, before travelling to Hiroshima, Kyoto, Aichi, Chiba, Nara, Shige, and Mie for company tours and visits to local chambers of commerce.  

Tomodachi Club Enjoys a Victorian Era Fall

The Tomodachi Club, (the Women’s Friendship & Culture Group of JASG), launched its 2019-2020 season on Wednesday, September 11th with a program and luncheon at Petite Violette Restaurant in Brookhaven.  Titled, “Dance Back in Time,” the program featured four dancers from the Atlanta Historic Dance group performing mid-Victorian dances and teaching these dances to volunteers at the luncheon.  Kat Nagar, founder of the dance troupe, explained the authentic period costumes worn by the dancers as well as the historical background of each dance. (See photos) Following the program, everyone enjoyed a three-course plated lunch.

On November 6, everyone enjoyed “Fashioning Art from Paper” as part of our tour of the Isabelle de Borchgrave exhibition of clothing fashioned from paper at the SCAD-FASH Museum in Midtown. The trip to the exhibit was followed by lunch at the Tavern Pointe Restaurant in Midtown.

The five General Meetings that Tomodachi Club members enjoy each year are organized and implemented by four co-chairs:  Karoi Dixon, Silvana Eakin, Anne Godsey, and Keiko Lillis.  In addition to the five General meetings, two Small Group meetings are organized separately by the two Small Group Leaders, Stacy Willett and Maki Manning.  We invite all women members of JASG to join us. 

The dates and venues of the remaining programs for the 2019-2020 Tomodachi Club year are:

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

“Serenade: A Violin Recital” 

Program: Violin performance by Ms. Reina Inui from Los Angeles

Venue/Lunch: TBA

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Small Group Meeting

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

“Organ Spectacular”

Program: Dr. Jens Korndorfer will explain how an organ works and give a private concert

Venue: First Presbyterian Church in Midtown

Lunch:  Catered by Carlyle’s Catering

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

“Orchids: Divas of the Design World”

Program: Ms. Terry Furuta, orchid specialist, will discuss orchid varieties, care instructions, and unique ways to decorate with orchids.

Venue/Lunch:  Maggiano’s Little Italy Restaurant

The Tomodachi Club was established in October 1981 under the sponsorship of the JASG to promote friendship, cultural exchange, and understanding among Japanese and American women.  Membership ranges between 55-60 women.  

Summer/Fall JASG Highlights

Annual Dinner June 19

Block Chain Seminar July 24 Obirin Sports Business Program Aug 20-31

Intercultural Communication Seminar Sept 24 Intercultural Business Etiquette Seminar Oct. 25

JASG Public Affairs Committee Update

     The Public Affairs Committee has been quite active during the past months. With a mission of “promoting mutual understanding between the people of Japan and the State of Georgia through establishing and promoting ties and programs in the areas of business, culture, customs, education, commerce, politics, and social networking,” the work has been quite overlapping.  For example, the 33rdAnnual Japanfest provided the perfect venue to encapsulate the Committee’s charge in one venue.  Collaborations with the Georgia-Japan Legislative Caucus (GJLC) yielded a representative legislative delegation welcoming our newly appointed Consul General  Kazuyuki Takeuchi and his wife.  

     JapanFest also gave us a chance to highlight the International Sister Cities. The City of Americus, Sister City to Miyoshi City, sent twenty of its high school students to the event as volunteers offering their assistance as volunteers in varied capacities such as registration, orientation, greeting, vendor support, children’s playland, and VIP hosting.  Traditionally, the City of Atlanta has offered selfie station featuring its Sister City, Fukuoka.

     Several teleconferences were held with Attorney Daraka Satcher representing the Georgia-Japan Legislative Caucus as we prepared for the 42nd Annual Southeast U.S.-Japan (SEUS-Japan) Conference in Savannah.  SEUS-Japan is a gathering of state government officials and key figures from the Japan-US business sector.  Arrangements were made to maximize the conference and promote further growth in Japan-US business partnerships.

2019 “Walk in U.S., Talk on Japan” Delegation Visits Atlanta

     As part of the 2019 “Walk in U.S., Talk on Japan” program sponsored by the Japanese government, several volunteer delegates with ties to Japan-U.S. relations visited Atlanta from October 14 to 16 to speak on Japanese foreign policy, economy and current events.

     Started in 2014, the "Walk in U.S., Talk on Japan" program sees groups of volunteer participants led by a former ambassador or other high-ranking public figure travel to various regions of the U.S. and Canada, highlighting Japan's attractiveness and appeal and strengthening the bond of friendship between Japan and the U.S. Each group takes part in exchanges at a local grassroots level, discussing important factors of the future U.S.-Japan relationship and talking about recent positive developments in Japan.

    To date, Walk in U.S., Talk on Japan has dispatched 81 Japanese citizens in 24 groups. Participants have ranged in age from 18 to 82 years old and hailed from backgrounds ranging from students and business professionals to traditional theater performers. The program has reached 38 states and 90 cities in the U.S., as well as 2 provinces and 2 cities in Canada under the name of "Walk in Canada, Talk on Japan."

    This year, the delegation was headed by Tomohiko Taniguchi, PhD, Special Advisor to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet and a professor at Keio University Graduate School of Design and Management in Tokyo. He was joined by Yasunori Nakayama, Acting Director General of the Japan Institute of International Affairs; Makoto Kuroda, Senior Analyst at Credit Suisse Securities; and Akira Sakano, Chair of the Board of Directors at Zero Waste Academy.

     The group held presentations at Emory University and Oglethorpe University and also met with public figures at the Georgia Lottery Center, the Gwinnett Chamber and Partnership, and the Rotary Club of Brookhaven. The JASG was a promotional partner for these programs.

Mariko's Adventures

Explore Japan, Kayobi Kai, Nihongo-Eigo Kai

Dear Friends,

When I was in junior high school, I learned about Martin Luther King. He was a legend who had changed the world, but he just seemed like a historical figure. Now in Atlanta, MLK has become real. I have seen his birthplace and visited the MLK Memorial three times. Thus, I was honored to represent my country, Japan, at the King Center International Expo in August. I and the other country representatives could share our dream for world peace and dedicate ourselves to follow in his footsteps. By inspiring others, we can affect others’ lives.

In the last few months I have taught Japanese to Americans working in a Japanese affiliate. Irealized that few Americans who want to study Japanese can practice with Japanese nationals so that they have more than book knowledge. I hope over the next year that I have more opportunities within companies as many cannot come to the JASG office, so I can go to them. As a result we can share language as well as learn about each other’s business styles. 

Of course, I am also looking forward to events and programs in schools.

Here are some of my many summer and fall Georgia memories.              

Mariko Shimoda

Language Corner

The Rest Area and the Stranded Passengers

written by Liz Bigler

Once, there was a Japanese couple who was new to the US.   Their English was pretty good but not perfect. They decided to take a bus to a different city to do some sightseeing.  After a few hours of travel, the bus stopped at a rest area with some restaurants and restrooms.  The bus driver told everyone, “Be back at the bus in 50 minutes.”  The couple went and had some lunch, used the restroom, and after about 40 minutes, went back to the meeting place.  But….they didn’t see their bus.   They looked all around, and with growing panic, realized that the bus was gone. When they finally were able to reach the bus company, the representative said, “The driver told everyone to come back in 15 minutes, but you weren’t anywhere to be found, so finally, he left without you.”   

Fifteen (15) minutes.  Not fifty (50).   Oops!

These two words are so similar, but their meaning is so different. (Thirty five minutes different, to be exact.)  How do Americans understand the difference so easily?  Once again, STRESS is the answer. What is stress?  At its simplest, it’s the length of time that you spend on the vowel in that syllable.  The “teen” numbers (13, 14, 15, 16, etc.) are all stressed on the SECOND syllable.   On the other hand, 30, 40, 50, 60, etc. are all stressed on the FIRST syllable. So, fifTEEN and FIFty sound very different when you think of it from the standpoint of stress.   

Don’t be the couple who got stranded at the rest area!   For more information about stress, vowel sounds, and how to make your English communications easier and more efficient, contact Bigler ESL at   







Liz Bigler is the owner of Bigler ESL, which provides personalized English coaching for individuals and families to help make life in America productive and painless.

New Corporate Members

2 Brothers and a Band Edtreks I Go Tokyo Karaoke Melody Inc Marukan Vinegar OQTA Inc

Polsinelli PC Shirauma Sumter County Board of Education    Sumter County Developmentt Authority      Walton County

New Individual Members

Christopher Aburime Shoko Aida Clarisa Ample Candice Archer Henry Beal Taylor Bennett Edward Campos 

Yesu Carter                   Reiko Cato Cheryl Dacey Shawn Day     Emly Dingess Harper Evans-Murray     Mika Fengler               

Melissa Frey Greg Gamewell Michael Geldeman John Heilman Ken Higa                 Caitlin Hollander   Coban Irby

Eri Iwasaki Chris Jia Selby Johnson Rosa Jupiter   Sam Kadel   Nicholas Kano Cindy Kim

Jessica Kim Chan Won Kim Graham Kist Raquel Lavender Yasmin Leal Jiyoung Lee Roger Lee

Kyunkhee Lee Yuchen Liang Yuki Matsuyama Lauren McSwain Alexander Motz Yumiko Munekyo Aisha Nga

Trangkimberly Nguyen Kotomi Noguchi Mikro Otsuki Xavier Otten Debra Owen Nhan Phan Alexandra Pierson

Chirley Quillian Tara Ranzy Mike Raymer Marika Rolf Srikwan Sae-Tae Casey Scarbogouth Janey Schwerzel

Austin Seabolt Saney Sen Aisha Smith Shirley Susillo Masako Takayama Esteban Tan Elena Taylor

Marcia Thrasher Joshua Vongmany Bryan Wallace Joe Warner Eric Williams Coy Wire Qi Yang

Danielle Yarbrough Stephen Young

Silent Auction Donors at Annual Dinner in June: Thank You for Your Generosity

AFLAC                      Aiko Importers Atlanta Botanical Garden Atlanta Braves       Atlanta Falcons  Atlanta Gladiators

Atlanta Hawks Atlanta History Center Atlanta Movies Tour Atlanta Preservation Center Atlanta Shakespeare  Atlanta Symphony

Barbara White Bear's Best Atlanta Bigler ESL Carter Center Ctr for Puppetry Arts Children's Museum

Christian Dior CNN Studio Tours Coca Cola Co. Delta Air Lines Football Hall of Fame Good Movies Entertainment

High Museum of Art JC Plastic Surgery Kajima Bldg & Design Karen Johnson Le Meridien Atl Perimeter Marriott Atl Peachtree

Medieval Times Metrotainment Cafes MGK Hospitality Mr. Hula Nakato Jpn Restaurant New York Steak

Park Tavern Peavey HVAC Pet Sitting Public Draft House Regency fine Arts Rome Floyd Chamber

Senri Oe Shakespeare Tavern Skyview Atlanta Suno Dessert Taka Sushi The Fox Theatre

Woodruff Arts Center Thomas Fallon Photo Tomo Japn Restaurant TOTO USA Valor Hospitality World of Coca-Cola

Yajima Chiropractic

The Japan-America Society of Georgia, Inc.

is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located

 in Atlanta, Georgia with the mission

 to promote the mutual understanding 

between the people of Japan and

the State of Georgia


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