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  • Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture:“The Legacies of Donald Keene” Symposium at Columbia University

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    Professor Donald Keene (Photo courtesy of the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture)

    New York—March 24, 2011—In 2011, the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture celebrates a quarter-century of free programs dedicated to introducing Japanese culture, in all its depth and diversity, to new audiences. In addition, 2011 marks the last time that Professor Donald Keene, whose work inspired the founding of the Center, will teach a class at Columbia University, which has been his academic home since 1938.

    To commemorate this doubly memorable occasion, the Donald Keene Center, through the generous support of the Japan Foundation, will feature a symposium on “The Legacies of Donald Keene” at Columbia University on Friday, April 15, 2011. The symposium is from 1:00pm to 3:00pm in the Kent Hall Lounge (403 Kent Hall). Speakers include Karen Brazell, Van Gessel, Carol Gluck, Amy Heinrich, Susan Matisoff, and Carolyn Morley, all of whose distinguished careers in the Japanese Studies field began in one of Professor Keene’s classrooms. Drawing on personal experiences, the speakers will address Professor Keene’s unique pedagogy and long-term contributions to the field of Japanese Studies. This symposium is open to the general public. Reservation are not required, please arrive early to secure a seat.

    As part of the Donald Keene Center’s 25th Anniversary celebrations, a special exhibition of selected items generously donated by Professor Keene over the course of several decades will be on view from April 15 in the C.V. Starr East Asian Library. These items include Professor Keene’s personal correspondence with such celebrated Japanese writers as Abe Kobo, Kawabata Yasunari, Mishima Yukio, Oe Kenzaburo, and Tanizaki Jun’ichiro.

    About Professor Donald KeeneDonald Keene received his B.A. (1942), M.A. (1947), and Ph.D. (1949) degrees from Columbia University, and his Litt. D. from Cambridge University in 1978. He is the recipient of the Kikuchi Kan Prize of the...

  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s 30th Annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival: April 30 and May 1, 2011

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    Cherry Blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden © Lia Chang

    The Brooklyn Botanic Garden celebrates their 30th Annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday, April 30th and Sunday, May 1, 2011. The two day festival will feature the best of both traditional and contemporary Japanese arts and culture, including dance, martial arts, manga, costume play (“cosplay”), workshops, demonstrations, and guided tours of the Garden’s Japanese plant collections.

    Among the more than 60 events and performances on the schedule for 2011 are a host of new features, including a performance by Morning Musuko, a 15-member brassy J-pop big band; a specially commissioned contemporary dance work by the respected Saeko Ichinohe Dance Company; and a Puzzle Plaza where visitors can immerse themselves in with Sudoku, kakuro, LaQ and the legendary game of go.

    Returning favorites include performances by Okinawan-pop stars happyfunsmile and martial artists Samurai Sword Soul, plentiful manga and anime activities including signings by famed manga artists and a live collaboration between Veronica Taylor (the voice of Pokemon) and artist Misako Rocks!, and several hands-on activities for kids to enjoy.

    Weeping Cherry Trees in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. © Lia Chang

    During this season celebrating its historic relationship to Japanese culture and horticulture, the Garden reflects on the recent tragic events in Japan, and invites visitors to find opportunities for contemplation amidst its flowering cherries, Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, the bonsai exhibition Graceful Perseverance, and more. At Sakura Matsuri, visitors will be invited to make an origami crane that will eventually join thousands of others sent to Japan as a gesture of support and unity.

    Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 1. All activities take place rain or shine, with indoor locations provided for most...

  • Join Minami Tamaki LLP and Inspirational Opportunities for Youth and Seniors (IOYS) in Helping the Victims of the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

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    As we approach April 11, one month after the Japan earthquake and tsunami, Japan continues to suffer through it’s worst crisis since World War II, as the country’s prime minister said. First the earthquake, then the tsunami, and now the erosion of nuclear power plants in the affected area is creating an emergency equal to Chernobyl.

    The Minami Tamaki LLP law firm and Inspirational Opportunities for Youth and Seniors (IOYS), a nonprofit foundation, have been working together to raise funds for victims of the Northern Japan earthquakes and tsunami. To encourage support through this campaign, Minami Tamaki and IOYS pledged to match 50 percent of your donation up to a combined $10,000. As of April 6th, they have exceeded their second target of $100,000 by raising $192,000 in combined donations and matches. All donations and matches raised to date have been sent to the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC) so that they can put the donations to immediate use towards citizen relief efforts in the most affected areas. Watch a thank you video from JCCCNC Executive Director Paul Osaki.

    Because the need in Japan continues to be so great, they are pressing on and have set a new goal of $250,000 in combined donations and matches. With the help of new campaign partners, they will continue to match 50% of donations up to pledged amounts through April 30, 2011.

    Donate today in support of their new goal 100% of the proceeds raised will go to JCCCNC’s Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. (Online donations have a nominal fee for online donations due to credit card processing.)

    Minami Tamaki LLP and Inspirational Opportunities for Youth and Seniors (IOYS) are joined by the following campaign partners:* Murayama Family (Cara, Jaimie, Donna and Jared)* Korshak, Kracoff, Kong & Sugano LLP* Kazan, McClain, Abrams, Fernandez, Lyons, Greenwood, Harley & ObermanFoundation, the David McClain and Merilyn Wong Fund and the Denise Abrams andDavid...

  • Restaurants Respond for Relief, Chef Arnold Wong Hosts Benefit for Japan Night at E&O Trading Co. in SF on 4/10

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    On Sunday April 10th, Chef Arnold Wong is hosting a Special Benefit for Japan Night at E&O Trading Co. 314 Sutter Street in San Francisco to aid Japan following the country’s devastating natural disaster. This amazing evening brings together San Francisco’s finest restaurants, wineries and mixologists to raise funds for the victims of the Earthquake and Tsunami that hit Japan on March 11th.

    Liam Mayclem of Eye on the Bay will preside as emcee from 5-9pm, live entertainment will feature local favorite Chef Joey Altman & The Backburner Blues and burlesque dancers, and the Bon Vivants will be mixing up amazing cocktails during this evening of great food, wines, spirits, live music, entertainment and a silent auction.

    Tickets for the event are priced at $75 and 100% of proceeds from the evening will be donated directly to Give2Asia. …Representatives from Give2Asia will be in attendance to speak about their involvement with the Japanese community and outreach underway. Click here to purchase tickets. Tickets will also be available at the door based on capacity!

    http://www.give2asia.org/documents/Give2Asia-JapanTsunami-HowToHelp.pdf

    Participating Restaurants:BetelnutButterflyContigoRangeSlanted DoorGrand CafeStarBellyBeast & HareOne MarketTresCitizen’s BandLive SushiLe SoleilBasil Canteen& More

    Desserts:CocotuttiKara’s CupcakesNash Baker’sRaison d’etre BakeryPinky’s BakeryNamu Restaurant

    Beverages:Southern Wine & SpiritsHonig WineryHaamonii Smooth ShochuSouthern Wine & SpiritsCannonball WinesIlly CafeCocktails & Bartending Skills by Bon Vivant’s

    Silent & Live Auction Items:Ritz Carlton, Half Moon BayColumbus SalamiFairmontCosmopolitanPalio d’AstiHarrisOne MarketMcKormick & Kuleto’sIl FornaioLark Creek SteakhouseMarlowe/Park Tavern RestaurantThirsty BearJDVCampton PlaceStraits RestaurantLive Sushi BarLe SoleilIlly CafeQupe WinerySephoraAttic RestaurantTommy Toy’sYan Can CookSugar Bowl BakeryFerry Building Wine Merchantand much more…

    April 10,...

  • iPhones, Flipcams & Satellite modems are tools for news gathering as violence escalates against journalists in the Middle East

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    As violence is escalating against journalists working in war-torn countries, low profile or nearly invisible still and video cameras, and content capture and distribution technologies are becoming necessary survival gear.

      The Committee to Protect Journalists has reported an unprecedented number of casualties: eleven journalists have been killed this year worldwide, eight of the eleven in the Middle East, one in Vietnam, one in the Philippines, and one in Mexico. CPF reports that there have been more than 300 attacks on journalists covering the recent political unrest in the Middle East.

    CNN's Anderson Cooper and his camera crew were attacked by pro-government supporters on February 2, 2011 in Cairo while covering the Egyptian conflict. A video shot by Cooper for CNN's AC360 can be seen on this link. Cooper was able to keep his small Flip video camera recording, as he was escaping from his attackers. While Cooper was able to broadcast his reports and fly back to New York, many other journalists have not been as lucky. Some have been jailed, brutally beaten, stabbed or shot, their equipment destroyed, or worse - killed. The large, conspicuous shoulder mounted video cameras have quickly been replaced by low profile gear such as the miniature Flip video cameras. Laptops are being replaced in the field by iPhones and other cell phones which can transmit still images, audio and video, and update blogs, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

    Al Jazeera online producer Bilal Randeree tells Robert Hernandez of OJR: The Online Journalism Review, in addition to Flip video cameras, a live blog, and cell phones for tweeting such as iPhones and Blackberries, the equipment is set up with various apps to capture and distribute images and video including Audiioboos and Twitpics to transmit audio and images, and for areas with blocked, or no Internet, Thuraya IP satellite modems.

    With the escalating violence against journalists in areas of conflict around...

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