The semester has begun in earnest. ARTD 209 Chado: The Way of Tea is in its second week, with Jennifer Gunji-Ballsrud, Interim Director of Japan House teaching, and the pace of life here at Japan House has picked up greatly. Beginning this semester I plan to post at least weekly to let you know what is happening here. Despite the idyllic gardens and peaceful atmosphere---Japan House can be a busy place!
Last Wednesday, we welcomed Taiko Sumikawa and his parents, Yukari and Yukiharu Sumikawa to Japan House. Taiko is the newest Yanai Rotary Ambassador and will be here in Champaign until September. This program, co-sponsored by the Yanai Japan Rotary and the Champaign Rotary Club, is a exchange of students from both countries for month-long homestays with families to experience the country's culture and to act as an ambassador of goodwill for their own country. This program has changed many lives: for instace, many past ambassadors from this campus have gone on to teach English in Japan, work for companies in Japan, or at the very least maintain a healthy interest in Japanese culture. Taiko's father, Mr. Sumikawa is a member of Yanai Rotary. We are indebted to the Yanai Rotary for not only this program, but their generous support of Japan House over the years.