Free Cultural Seminars


Come participate in our free seminars, featuring a range of topics from tradition like the secrets of Japaense cooking and Buddhist meditation to modern Japan like anime drawing and Japanese translating! Seminars will be held on the 4th floor of the Meydenbauer Center. Seminars will be on a first-come-first-serve basis. Doors will open 5 minutes prior. N indicates a Necchu School class. Programs with the mark are held as part of the Seattle Necchu School curriculum. Paid students of the school will be allowed to enter the rooms 5 minutes earlier than the general public for these programs. Classes and times are subject to change without notice.



Click to jump to the Schedule or Descriptions.






Seminars will be held on the 4th floor of the Meydenbauer Center.



Saturday, June 29th

Room #407

11:30 a.m. ~ 12:30 p.m. Power Career Path: Cultural Challenges in the Workplace 七色キャリア名(迷?)道中:日米での挑戦
By Japan Business Association of Seattle シアトル日本商工会
12:45 p.m. ~ 1:45 p.m. Translator Battle: Rubin vs Davisson 村上春樹翻訳者ルービン VS ゲゲゲの鬼太郎翻訳者ダビッソン
By Chin Music Press
2:40 p.m. ~ 3:25 p.m. The Crab and the Monkey: Kamishibai Storytelling for Kids 紙芝居「猿蟹合戦」
By Songs of Hope
3:45 p.m. ~ 4:45 p.m. Ah-breathing Meditation from Mt. Koyasan 阿息観
By Seattle Koyasan Buddhist Temple シアトル高野山

Room #408

10:10 a.m. ~ 11:25 a.m. *Beginning of the 100 Year-Life Era: Dreams and Challenges 人生100年時代の到来〜明るく元気に長生き N
By Kyota Omori 大森京太
11:40 p.m. ~ 12:55 p.m. *Rediscover Japanese Delicacies ニッポン美味再発見! N
By Reiko Yamada 山田玲子
1:10 p.m. ~ 2:25 p.m. What Lessons Are Learned From Results of Seattle Nikkei Health Study? シアトル日系健康調査研究の結果から得られた教訓 N
By Dr. Tsukasa Namekata 行方令
2:40 p.m. ~ 3:55 p.m. *How Innovators Think 新しい価値を生み出すために必要な考え方 N
By Brandon K. Hill ブランドン・ヒル
4:10 p.m. ~ 5:10 p.m. REIWA: Origins and Significance of the New Japanese Reign Name 令和:新元号の由来とその意義
Washin Kai Presents, By Prof. Paul S. Atkins


Sunday, June 30th 

Room #407

10:10 a.m. ~ 11:25 a.m. Memories with Bruce Lee ブルース・リーとの思い出 N
By Doug Palmer ダグ・パルマー
11:40 a.m. ~ 12:55 p.m. You Are the Pilot in Command of Your Life 片目の飛行教官が語る自己実現とは〜あなたは人生のパイロット〜 N
By Shinji Maeda 前田伸二
1:40 p.m. ~ 2:30 p.m. Drawing Anime/Manga Faces アニメ・漫画スタイルのイラスト講座
By Ro Higashi 東ロザリー
2:45 p.m. ~ 3:45 p.m. Sake Tasting with Sake Specialist 酒スペシャリストの日本酒ガイド
By Sachiko Miyagi 宮城幸子
4:00 p.m. ~ 4:50 p.m. Koji: The Secret for Japanese Cooking 見直したい麹と発酵食の魅力
By Asako Sullivan サリバン・福田・麻子

Room #408

10:10 a.m. ~ 11:25 a.m. *IoT (Internet of Things): Practical Approach by Using Model Railroading in Takahata IoTを身近に感じる鉄道模型のお話 N
By Yuzuru Utsumi 内海弦
11:40 a.m. ~ 12:55 p.m. *Traditional Japanese Cultures Enriching the Community 和の暮らし文化は、コミュニティを楽しくする N
By Hiromichi Miyahara 宮原博通
1:10 p.m. ~ 2:25 p.m. Mirror of Memory: Music of Remembrance 記憶の鏡:ミュージック・オブ・リメンバランス N
By Mina Miller ミナ・ミラー
2:40 p.m. ~ 3:40 p.m. Award-Winning Chef Talks on Japanese Food Culture セレブリティシェフが体験した日本人の職人魂
By Scott Carsberg スコット・カールズバーグ
4:00 p.m. ~ 5:00 p.m. Race Across America: The Untold Tales 世界一過酷な自転車レースの舞台裏
By Kaitaro Honda & Maya Ide 本多海太郎&井手マヤ


*The workshop or seminar will be in Japanese only.





Power Career Path: Cultural Challenges in the Workplace by Japan Business Association of Seattle:Join us for our exciting panel discussion by members of the Community Affairs Committee and the Executive Director of the Japan Business Association of Seattle (JBAS), on their career paths and cultural challenges. The topic includes decisions on career crossroads, issues about language, and cultural differences in workplaces. The panelists are Akimori “Aki” Ikeda (Financial Services Professional), Takuya “Tom” Suzuki (Accounting Firm Senior Manager), Asami Tsuruta (JBAS Executive Director) and Eriko “Elly” Baxter (Business Lawyer).
Japan Business Association of Seattle is a nonprofit organization enhancing mutual understanding between the US and Japan through education, culture and economy.  JBAS’s members include Japanese companies and their subsidiaries in the US, Japanese and Nikkei business owners, and entities and individuals whose business involve both the US and Japan.





Translator Battle: Rubin vs Davisson by Chin Music Press: Literary translator and academic Jay Rubin will face off with manga translator and folklorist Zack Davisson in an innovative workshop where the two swap roles and critique each other’s translations.
Jay Rubin is a professor of Japanese literature, University of Washington (1975-1993) and Harvard University (1993-2006), and translator of modern Japanese fiction (Soseki Natsume, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Haruki Murakami). His first novel, Sun God, was published by Chin Music Press.

Zack Davisson is an award-winning translator and writer. He is the author of Yurei: The Japanese Ghost, Yokai Stories, and The Supernatural Cats of Japan from Chin Music Press.




The Crab and The Monkey: Kamishibai Storytelling for Kids by Songs of Hope: The Crab and The Monkey is a traditional Japanese children’s story about being kind and helping one another.
Kamishibai is a form of Japanese street theater and storytelling that was popular during the Depression of the 1930s and the post-war period in Japan, until the advent of television during the late twentieth century. We introduce the classic style of Kamishibai story in English with some sound effects. There will be some craft time afterwards related to the story.
Songs of Hope (SOH) is a Seattle-based musician group established to support the Tohoku (north-eastern Japan) through a benefit concert series after the March 11th triple disaster in 2011. Their musical activities have been spread throughout the community, and now, in addition to doing concerts, they also often appear in a variety of events and visit schools.




Ah-breathing Meditation from Mt. Koyasan by Seattle Koyasan Buddhist Temple: Ah-breathing Meditation is a mindfulness meditation being transmitted on Mt. Koyasan for more than 1200 years. Rev. Taijo, Head Monk of Seattle Koyasan, conveys the authentic experience for you.
Seattle Koyasan Buddhist Temple is a local Buddhist temple located in downtown Seattle for over 70 years, originally from Mt. Koyasan, Wakayama, Japan.





*Beginning of the 100 Year-Life Era: Dreams and Challenges 人生100年時代の到来~明るく元気に長生き N by Kyota Omori 大森京太: Utilizing AI, robots and other new technology (driverless cars, new energy and food resources, health and medical care, etc.), elderly people can live a long and happy life. To make that happen, it is important that everyone stays mentally young and continues to participate in society. As a society, we should accept them as well. The lecture will be presented in Japanese.
Kyota Omori is the Chairman of the Board of Mitsubishi Research Institute. After graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1972, Omori joined Mitsubishi Bank (now MUFG Bank). He became the senior managing director for the Americas, then advanced to the executive vice president of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group in 2008. In 2010 he moved to Mitsubishi Research Institute as CEO and has been holding current position since 2017.
株式会社三菱総合研究所取締役会長。東京大学法学部卒業後、三菱銀行入行。専務執行役員米州本部長を経て、2008 株式会社三菱UFJフィナンシャル・グループ取締役副社長、2010年三菱総研代表取締役社長に就任。2017年より現職。





*Rediscover Japanese Delicacies: Onigiri ニッポン美味 再発見! N by Reiko Yamada 山田玲子: Onigiri; the Japanese rice ball dish is now recognized as a handy lunch. Reiko Yamada will demonstrate how to make this Japanese soul food using delicacies from Japanese regions represented by Necchu Schools. Please come and taste them.
The lecture will be presented in Japanese.
Reiko Yamada is an internationally renowned cook. She uses food as a tool for international understanding. Her book, Onigiri Recipes 101 will be sold at her seminar.
料理研究家。料理教室「Salon de R」を自宅で開催するほか、ニューヨークやシカゴ、韓国など海外でも料理を通じた文化交流を行っている。日本語と英語でおにぎりのレシピを紹介した『おにぎりレシピ101』が好評発売中。




What Lessons Are Learned From Results of the Seattle Nikkei Health Study? N by Dr. Tsukasa Namekata: To examine the effects of changes of environment (including lifestyle and diet) on cardiovascular health and stomach cancer among Japanese, we needed to compare two populations with the same genetic background but living in different countries. Thus, we conducted health screenings and the questionnaire survey on lifestyle among Japanese Americans in Seattle and native Japanese in Japan. Seminar participants can learn how differently these two groups are affected by major factors of cardiovascular disease and stomach cancer. Then, they can learn how to change their lifestyle and eliminate specific risk factors associated with these diseases.
Dr. Tsukasa Namekata is the former Director of Pacific Rim (Nikkei) Disease Prevention Center, Clinical Associate Professor of School of Public Health, University of Washington (retired in 2016), and Research Fellow at Japan Health Promotion Foundation.





*How Innovators Think 新しい価値を生み出すために必要な考え方 N by Brandon K. Hill ブランドン・ヒル: As the world is filled with items to cover your basic needs, it is essential for businesses to generate new types of values. The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: innovators.
The lecture will be presented in Japanese.
Brandon K. Hill is the CEO of btrax, an innovation design company based in San Francisco that partners with businesses to craft cutting-edge user experiences.





REIWA: Origins and Significance of the New Japanese Reign Name presented by Washin Kai, Prof. Paul S. Atkins: Crown Prince Naruhito’s accession to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1 literally marked the beginning of a new era in Japan. Reiwa 令和 started and will end with the reign of the current emperor. The official translation of Reiwa is “beautiful harmony.” Is that all it means? Is that all it can mean? Much has been made of the fact that the name was selected from a passage in a work of classical Japanese literature, the eighth-century Man’yōshū, rather than a Chinese one. Why? Where precisely did it come from? These and other questions will be posed and answered in this talk.
Paul S. Atkins is a professor of Japanese and the Chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Washington, Seattle. His field of expertise is classical Japanese language, literature, and culture.



Bruce Lee: Sifu, Friend and Big Brother by Doug Palmer: Doug Palmer will share his memories of martial artist and movie star, Bruce Lee. Doug met him when he was 16 years old, and joined Bruce’s Chinese martial arts class. Bruce was 20. The two young men developed their friendship. Doug spent a summer with him in his family house in Hong Kong, and Bruce also lived in Doug’s parents’ house for a while. They remained good friends until his early tragic death. For Doug, Bruce is still his sifu (teacher), friend and big brother.
Doug Palmer is a retired lawyer, currently working on his memoir with Bruce Lee.



You Are the Pilot in Command of Your Life by Shinji Maeda: “What if today is your last day, what would you do?” Shinji faced “death” in Japan when he was 18 years old. The consequence was significant and painful. He fought the discrimination, self-depression and anxiety. This presentation is all about how he survived and what he is going to accomplish in 2020. It is authentic, touching, and, more importantly, a true story. His sense of humor makes time fly by so fast that you will forget he flies with one eye.  Bring your loved ones so that you will love them more.
Shinji Maeda, Founder and president of Aero Zypangu Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. He is an one-eyed flight instructor and motivational speaker. He is planning to fly the world in 2020. Aero Zypangu Project is a non-profit organization which provides opportunities and experiences through aviation activities that inspire hope, strength, and joy in people with disabilities, young people, and families.




Drawing Anime/Manga Faces by Ro Higashi: Having trouble drawing a manga/anime face? The pros all use different kinds of methods, let's try some and see what works for you!
Ro Higashi is a Seattle-based manga artist and illustrator, the artist/writer for the original WEBTOON, Half of the Crown and the Main Artist for Chibi Heroes board game.




Sake Tasting with Sake Specialist by Sachiko Miyagi: Let's make buying Sake easy for you. Sake School of America instructor, Sachiko Miyagi, will cover different styles, price tag, finding your preference and how to find what you are looking for, while you taste some easy and delicious buys. Sake School of America committed to educating trade professionals and enthusiasts alike, to promote sake in faraway countries at the same level of understanding and enjoyment as is in its homeland of Japan.
Former Director of Marketing at Cedar River Brewing Company in Seattle, Sachiko joined Sake School of America as an instructor in June 2018. Her experience working in Japanese restaurants and tour guide served her well and she started pursuing certifications in sake in 2014.





Koji: The Secret for Japanese Cooking by Asako Sullivan: This seminar will discuss the health, cooking, and flavor benefits of koji and koji derived products. We will show how to utilize this Japanese cooking secret to an everyday American diet.
Asako Sullivan is the founder of The Sustainable Collective, a food consulting company, which offers sustainable and better food choices. Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, her favorite childhood memories include visiting farms, foraging and fishing with her father. She learned to cook with her mother, who was trained in traditional Japanese and French cuisine. She is a trained baker, fermentation master, world flavor cooking enthusiast and master composter!





*IoT (Internet of Things): Practical Approach by Using Model Railroading in Takahata IoTを身近に感じる鉄道模型のお話 N by Yuzuru Utsumi 内海弦: What is IoT, Internet of Things? It’s been a hot topic, yet people have not exactly experienced it. We’re building a model railroad utilizing IoT in the Takahata Necchu School. The lecture will be presented in Japanese.
各種メディアで言い尽くされた感のあるIoTInternet of Thingsですが実際皆さんの身のまわりでどう活用されているのか、何が凄いのか、実感をともなって理解されていない方が多いと思います。本講義では、熱中小学校高畠に建設中の鉄道模型ジオラマを例に、IoTが将来、皆さんの生活にどう役立つのか、活用例を見て頂きながら分かりやすく説明します。
Yuzuru Utsumi, Arm K.K. President





*Traditional Japanese Cultures Enriching the Community 和の暮らし文化は、コミュニティを楽しくする N by Hiromichi Miyahara 宮原博通: How to incorporate traditional Japanese culture into your daily life, and build a fun and attractive local community. We will introduce our initiatives in Yamagata and discuss the foundation for the future. The lecture will be presented in Japanese.
Hiromichi Miyahara is founder and CEO of The Institute of Japanese Culture & Communication.





Mirror of Memory: Music of Remembrance N by Mina Miller: Since 1998, Music of Remembrance (MOR) has remembered the Holocaust through music. Founder and artistic director Mina Miller will share how this unique organization has honored the legacy of those targeted by the Nazis for their beliefs, identities and ideas – not only Jews, but also Roma, political dissidents, free-thinking artists and intellectuals, homosexuals and others.
In addition to championing and performing music from the time of the Holocaust, MOR has commissioned over 30 new works by some of today’s leading composers, exploring the lives of those who have experienced exclusion and persecution in different ways and in different places. As part of its Voices of Witness project, MOR premiered Christophe Chagnard’s Gaman, recalling the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans through the words and images of people who lived through that time. Keiko Fujiie’s Wilderness Mute was a haunting reminder of the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Snow Falls was an eloquent plea about the urgency of preventing nuclear war. Later this year, Mr. Sakamoto’s new work Passage will depict the struggle of a refugee to escape violence in his own land, and Shinji Eshima’s Veritas will be a soulful statement against religious intolerance. By introducing new works like these, MOR helps keep the Holocaust’s moral lessons vividly alive for people of all backgrounds and generations.





Award-Winning Chef Talks on Japanese Food Culture by Scott Carsberg: I started to cook in the kitchens of Novell cuisine movement that sought out, deconstructed and emphasized lightness, clean flavor and freshness of French cuisine. Then I cooked in the kitchen of the northern part of Italy.
In Italian cuisine, I was impressed by how perfection is in nature itself and to cook with respect for the ingredients that are gathered at the peak of its season. With this realization, my presentation and technique of cooking became simpler and more flavorful even with less ingredients and flavors. In my cooking, it is taking away the distractions and focusing on the essence which I find in similar in Japanese sensibility and nobility in lifestyle and cooking. Seeking perfection through nature’s mirror.
A James Beard Award winning Chef Scott Carsberg is an owner chef of Bisato, Italian Restaurant in Pioneer Square. Raised in West Seattle. Worked in restaurants internationally in New York, Atlanta, Munich, Merano, Italy, Michelin star restaurant, Villa Mozart. 2006 Best Chef, Northwest James Beard Award, 50 best emerging Italian restaurants in the world award by Restaurant Magazine.




The Race Across America: The Untold Story by Kaitaro Honda & Maya Ide: The Race Across America, or RAAM, is an ultra-distance road cycling race held across the United States. Chieko Ozawa challenged one of the toughest road races as the first Japanese solo woman. Her supporting team member Kaitaro Honda and Maya Ide will share their experience fresh from this year’s race which ends June 23rd.
Maya Ide has been riding road-bikes for 34 years. She is one of the founding members of Audax Japan, an organization that promotes long distance cycling events. Kaitaro Honda has been riding Brevets since 2001 and is the former vice chairperson of Audax Japan.








*The workshop will be in Japanese only.