Symposium 2016

Matsuri '15 Poster

Opening Speech

"Good morning! Welcome to our symposium, Discover Japan! I am Toshi Saitoh, president of the Japan America Society of Vermont.

We at the JASV have been working very hard on a community outreach project for the last two years. But we also wanted to have a symposium about Japan and Japanese culture, so that all of you could deepen your knowledge about Japan and enrich your lives.

Luckily, we had a great opportunity. The Consulate General of Japan in Boston supported us in our efforts. Thank you very much!

Today, we have 4 panelists who are Matsuri participants. Paton-sensei from Burlington Taiko will be here. Many people know that he and his team perform beautiful Taiko. But not many people noticed that he also sings a poem during his performance, “Sanzen sekai Ichdoh ni hiraku! Erai towa omowanai! Eraku nai tomo omowanai! SAR SAR --” Today, it is a good opportunity to ask him what this poem means.

Pincus-sensei from Aikido of Champlain Valley will be here. He teaches Aikido, so his students can learn how to protect themselves. And many people know that he bows when he enters the Dojo, where you practice, and when he leaves the Dojo. He also bows at his opponent before he practices Aikido and again after. This is a sign of respect for his opponent. Respecting each other is the most important thing in our lives. Pincus-sensei will teach us more.

Bonsai is very popular in Japan. I still remember that my grandfather had many beautiful Bonsai trees. Today, Ms. Leavit from Green Mountain Bonsai Society will explain the beauty of Bonsai.

Anime is also very popular in Japan and is increasingly popular in the U.S.. Many of you may heard of Miku Hatsune, who is a vocaloid singer. Today, Mr. Whitney from Anime Society of Vermont will talk about Anime and Japan.

Japan is a small country, compared to the United States. Also she doesn't have many natural resources. Energy saving is high priority in Japan. Cars are smaller and Japanese hybrid cars are now all over the world, as you know. Transportation systems in Japan are outstanding. Houses are smaller, and limited room heating and air conditioning in the house save energy.

We are very lucky to have Dr. Trencher from Clark University in Massachusetts. He will teach us about Japanese energy sustainability plans and concepts.

Robotics is widely adapted in the Japanese industries. It is a Japanese specialty. Mr. Garland from General Dynamics will explain in detail.

Ms. Reid from the University of Vermont has had wonderful experiences teaching English in Japan as part of JET program. She will talk about her experiences.

Susan Saitoh, my wife, spent over twenty years in Japan. She worked hard for Shiga prefecture to establish a vision for its 21st century. She also designed a discovery room in the Lake Biwa Museum in Shiga prefecture. She will talk about her experiences.

Thank you very much, all the panelists, for your help! Without your support, this symposium couldn't happen!

Japan is a land of tradition and innovation in Arts and Technology! Today, I am sure that you will learn many things about Japan. Thank you very much for joining us."