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  • Center for Japanese StudiesFall 2012 Newsletter

    WWW.PDX.EDU/CJS 503-725-8577

    Events Calendar

    4 October, 6:00 p.m., SMSU 328/9Dr. Haruo Shirane, Columbia UniversityJapan and the Culture of the Four Seasons:Nature, Literature, and the Arts

    18 October, 7:00 p.m., SMSU 228 Mr. Brant Reiter, Fujisankei Communications Int The Global Outreach of Japanese Popular Culture: The Influence of Iron Chef on American TV ProgrammingCo-Sponsored by the Mark Spencer Hotel

    15 November, 6:00 p.m., PSU NASCC (Native American Student Community Center)Dr. Jane Golley, Australian National UniversityGold for the Old? Demographic Change and Economic Growth in Japan and ChinaCo-Sponsored by the Confucius Institute

    17 January, 2013, 7:00 p.m., SMSU 228 Success in Business with Japan Series Mr. Sho Dozono, Azumano TravelThe From Oregon with Love Story

    28 February, 2013, 6:00 p.m., SMSU 238 Dr. Naoko Shibusawa, Brown UniversityAmericas Geisha Ally

    11 April, 2013Gabe Rosen, Proprietor, Biwa RestaurantThe Biwa Story: Establishing and Managing a Japanese-style Pub in Portland

    29 April, 2013, 6:00 p.m., SMSU 238 Leith Morton, Tokyo Institute of TechnologyFascism and Modernism in Maekawa Samios Tanka

    May 2013Matt Shores, PSU Center for Japanese StudiesKimono Comedy Spectacular

    CJS supporters may also be interested in a lecture to be presented by the PSU Institute for Asian Studies and the Confucius Institute. 26 October, 2012, Peter Bol, Harvard UniversityPower, Wealth, and a Confucius for Today

    Alumni at Work at Home and Overseas

    CJS Advisory Board: June Shiigi June and Stanley Shiigi, both born and raised in Hawaii, met just before Stanley entered graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley. They married and while Stanley was finish-ing his program, June worked in basic scientific research. They moved to Oregon over thirty years ago. Stanley now runs a medical research core facility at OHSU West Campus. June is currently co-chair of Tomodachi-kai, a committee of the Japan-America Society of Oregon, and has joined the CJS Advisory Board. As supporters of the Center for Japanese Studies, they remarked recently on the activities of the Center and its programs which present students and the general com-munity the opportunity to hear and meet scholars and business leaders from the U.S. and worldwide. They feel that the diversity of talented PSU Japanese studies students and the combination of cul-tures and ideas, which have produced recent original student works, have been very exciting to see.

    My name is Melissa Weed and I attended PSU, dou-ble majoring and receiving my Bachelors in Japanese and Biomedical Informatics. I graduated a little over a year ago and am currently working for Delta Air-lines as an Japanese LOD (language of destination) flight attendant. Ive been able to fly all over the world! I am going back to school this fall to obtain my Mas-ters in Biomedical Engineering at OHSU. I enjoyed the Japanese language program that PSU had to offer and feel that it has helped me greatly.

    Community Supporters Center for Japanese Studies Receives Six-Figure Estate Gift

    Portland State University is asking supporters of the Center for Japanese Studies to assist in en-dowing fully the Centers basic operations, and this campaign recently benefited from a major estate gift from longtime supporters Tim and Martha McGinnis. We are grateful for this vote of confidence in the Center for Japanese Studies, which was timed to encourage other supporters to join in making endowment gifts.

    Tim and Martha McGinnis explained their investment in the Center for Japanese Studies: Having lived and worked in Japan for over ten years, we developed a love and appreciation for all things Japanese. So when we retired from Asia to Bend in 1998 and were asked by Bruce Brenn, Mar-vin Kaiser and Ken Ruoff to become founding members of the Center for Japanese Studies, it was an easy decision. We are committed to higher education and believe the Center not only provides an invaluable resource for students from the United States and Japan, but also for the Portland community at large to become more knowledgeable about Japan and the Japanese people.

    Celebrating 30 Years of Excellence:PSUs Japanese Language Program, a Regional, National, and International Resource

    Melissa Weeds Japanese Language Education Takes Her All Over the World

    Language Program Alum Melissa Weed on the job

  • At PSU I was a graduate student in the Masters of Japa-nese program and taught first through fourth year Japa-nese as a graduate assistant.I, like most graduate assis-tants at PSU, began my education during the summer term and took part in an intensive course on the theory and practice of Japanese instruction. I later found this dual emphasis on linguistic theory and practical skill-building would continue throughout my education at PSU. I arrived with essentially no knowledge of linguis-

    tic theory, but the Japanese program offered a wide variety of linguistics courses, and I was always impressed by how much time professors like Patricia Wetzel, Suwako Watanabe, and Lawrence Kominz were willing to spend with me.The program also offered courses focusing on teaching skills, but I think most importantly I received consistent individual feedback and instruction from professors like Emiko Konomi about what I was doing in the classroom.

    In my job, as a Japanese language instructor for the Japan Foundation in Los An-geles, knowledge of linguistic theory and mastery of classroom skills are essential. I teach several classes, and the experience I obtained at PSU has helped me adapt to new students, new subject matter, and new class materials. I am surprised by how much of my week is spent planning the class curriculum. I have discussions each week with my supervisor about curriculum, and the theory I learned at PSU is al-ways the starting point in how we decide to develop the course.

    When I look back, what I appreciate most is how much personal attention I re-ceived from PSU professors. They took time to help me develop my skills and knowledge, they took interest in getting to know me as a person, and they genu-inely cared about helping me achieve my goals. I received instruction from ex-perienced professors from different fields, but maybe more importantly, they helped me and pushed me to try different approaches and methods by my-self. I was able to do that because they were always open to new things and be-lieved that I could, and should, try to expand my knowledge and abilities. It was really difficult, but trying new theories and methodology gave me some very important experience. It was not only the knowledge, but more, the actual experi-ence of trying new things that is helping me to try new things in my job too.

    It has often been said that if you want something im-portant done, assign it to a busy person. Verne Naito is one of those persons. He is fully engaged in the world of business, education and community affairs and is also an active member of the CJS Advisory Board.

    His academic odyssey took him from Lincoln High in Portland to Pomona College, Portland State and Harvard. He served as a management consultant for U.S. high tech firms until he joined his family firm, Naito Properties, in 1997 to turn his talents to newly diversified company ventures while overseeing such older ventures as the 12-store Made in Oregon di-vision. He has also found the time to be a founder of the Asian-American Business Association, a board member of the Portland Japanese Garden, an advisory board member of the American Pacific Chamber of Commerce and the University of Portlands Center for Entrepreneurship. He serves on the board of the Har-vard Business School Association of Oregon, and also co-chairs his Pomona College reunion committee.

    He says he considers the CJS A remarkable entity; it has a truly outstanding faculty and provides world class speakers in its programs all of which are open to the public. In that regard, says Naito, It is a rare univer-sity within a city limits that is so deeply engaged with the community.

    Community Supportors CJS Advisory Board: Verne Naito

    Dr. Holt received his Ph.D. in Japanese Literature from the University of Washington, his Masters in Japanese Literature at the University of Hawaii, and was a researcher at Iwate University for two years, where he focused on the regional elements in Miyazawa Kenjis literature. His research interests include modern Japanese poetry and childrens literature.

    At PSU, Dr. Holt teaches Japanese literature and film as well as upper-division Japanese language courses. One of his favorite courses to teach is his fourth-year poetry class, which in 2013 will be spread across Winter and

    Spring quarters to cover Meiji-Taisho poetry in the first half and Showa poetry and pop songs in the second. His secondary research interests include Japanese Buddhism, manga, and alternative media, including videogames. In 2011, Dr. Holt participated in the first Japanese videogame panel at the Association of Asian Studies, where he presented on the narrative properties of the highly popular franchise Metal Gear Solid. He recently translated two works from Okinawan poets, Mabuni Chshin and Yamanokuchi Baku, included in a forthcoming anthology of mod-ern Okinawan literature from the University of Hawaii Press.

    Originally hailing from Arkansas, Dr. Holt has lived in the Pacific Northwest for over a decade. He and his wife, Nana, who writes a column in the Seattle-based Japanese newspaper Soy Source, now consider themselves Northwesterners. He started to teach as an assistant professor of Japa-nese at PSU in Fall 2010. Among his favorite things about Portland are the streetcars, food carts, and the strong Japanese communi