TOMODACHI Summer 2012 SoftBank Leadership Program

SOFTBANK CORP. will provide Japanese high school students from the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami with an intensive three week program focusing on global leadership development and community service. This program will take place at the University of California, Berkeley.

This program will be administered by Ayusa International, a non-profit educational exchange organization established in San Francisco in 1980 that provides life-changing cultural exchange experiences for high school students around the world. Prior to departure, students and parents will participate in in-depth orientations, and students will engage in two days of intensive English language lessons delivered by native English speakers. Students will travel to the United States with Japanese chaperones, who will accompany and provide support throughout the program.

In collaboration with UC Berkeley, this program will provide a campus-based leadership program concentrated on developing powerful social advocates. Students will learn leadership skills, and develop volunteer community service projects to implement in their home communities when they return home. Along with acquiring the skills to lead, students will be exposed to inspiring role models and situations focused on motivating and equipping them to assume leadership roles upon returning home. The program will feature extensive contact with Americans through their academic program, a weekend homestay, social and sightseeing activities, along with exposure to American culture and values.

For additional information on this program, including application procedures, please click here (in Japanese).

Host a Japanese Student from Tohoku for a weekend this summer!

Hosting Dates: Friday, August 3-Sunday, August 5 (3 days)

Tomodachi Program

We are looking for families in the Bay Area to host Japanese high school students from Tohoku, the area afffected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.  The Tomodachi (Friendship in Japanese) Initiative is a public-private partnership supported by the US and Japanese governments that supports Japan’s recovery from the earthquake. Tomodachi Softbank Leadership Program seeks to foster the next generation of Japanese and Americans, a “Tomodachi generation” of driven doers, thinkers and creators who are invested in the future of U.S.-Japan relations, appreciate each other’s cultures and countries, and possess the globally oriented skills and mindsets needed to thrive and make a difference. This summer, the Tomodachi Softbank Leadership Program comes to the Bay Area!

Why Host?

  • Change the course of a young person’s life
  • Meet exceptional students from Japan
  • Build lifelong international friendships
  • Introduce your family to a new culture & language

Contact: Ayako Miyaguchi


Center for Cities & Schools
University of California, Berkeley

Nikkei Matsuri Presents An Evening of ‘Music From The Heart’

April 27, 2012, Friday
Nikkei Matsuri Presents An Evening of ‘Music From The Heart’
Featuring Ayako Hosokawa
7:00-9:00pm (Doors open at 6:30pm)
San Jose Buddhist Betsuin Gymnasium

As a well known vocalist in the Bay Area Japanese American community, Ayako shares her love of music and song with a variety of popular and contemporary American music that she has grown to love during her international music career. This evening, she will be accompanied by: Shota Okabe, Bob Kenmotsu, Ken Okada and Rich Alegria.

A portion of the concert proceeds will be donated to JCCCNC’s Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Tickets are $15 ($20 at the door) and are available from Nikkei Traditions-San Jose Japantown, Wesley Methodist Church, Yu Ai Kai and Nikkei Matsuri Board Members.

Matsukawa Kyougaku Taiko Drummers

This taiko group from Matsukawa, Japan is touring the US on a “thank you” tour for support Americans shared in the months after last year’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The Japanese Consulate in Denver invited the group to play a few songs at a memorial reception to mark the first anniversary of the disaster. We couldn’t make the concerts in Colorado Springs and Denver, so we were glad to get to see Kyougaku live at the Botanic Gardens during the memorial reception. They were amazing!

via Gil Asakawa

Pray for Japan. Must see film.

The film, Pray for Japan, is an excellent insight into how a community was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, and yet pulled together to rebuild their lives and give hope to the younger generations. Victims of the tragedy along with volunteers from all over the world came together to support each other in this effort. Some of the first volunteers were a group of Pakistani nationals living in Nagoya, who immediately unrooted and went to Ishinomaki to help out and serve food. Even though one the volunteers’ wife just had a baby 4 days before, he was compelled to help these people in need. Another story was about a high school student who lost his mother and 5 year old younger brother, yet he felt he had to help others… to give hope. On this one year anniversary, it is clear that the work has only begun. This is a must see movie that gives pause to our daily lives, gives us hope, and reinforces what it means to thrive as a community.

Somei Yoshino Taiko, at the One Year After benefit concert, March 10, 2012

somei taiko, music at the mission

Photo by Bob Hsiang

Naoko Amemiya of Somei Yoshino Taiko performs at the One Year After benefit concert for the children of Tohoku, Japan, March 10, 2012 at the Mission San Jose in Fremont, CA

The concert, raising monies for the Smiles & Dreams: Tohoku Kids’ Support Project, featured Somei Yoshino Taiko in collaboration with the Music at the Mission Chamber Players.

A powerful, moving performance set in the beautiful, historic Mission San Jose, the community rallied together to make this a moving, momentous occasion.