Feruza Azimova at the 65th Japan-America Student Conference
Feruza Azimova, UHM sophomore, participated in the 65th Japan-America Student Conference, July 29 to August 24, 2013. The conference took Feruza to Berkeley, Iwate, Nagasaki, Kyoto, and Tokyo.
Great thanks to the Japan America Society of Hawaii (JASH) for Feruza’s air tickets to this conference. Thanks also to the JASC for awarding Feruza their 2013 Lou Cagnina scholarship.
Feruza was born in Uzbekistan. She is studying Political Science and Japanese Language at UHM.
Final Group Photo —
This was taken on August 22, the day of the Final Forum — which is the main “event” for the delegates and for which all the delegates prepare throughout the conference. The delegates are placed in seven different topic groups called Roundtables that cover various hot-topic issues of the day. My roundtable was Social Minorities and Discrimination. The whole of the conference was dedicated to members of each roundtable researching their given topic, looking at historical and current perspectives from US and Japan to answer questions related to their topic. We put all of our research together into 15 minute presentations which we gave during Final Forum to JASC alumni, fellow delegates, Japanese TV/newspaper/radio journalists, politicians, etc. This was at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo. What is neat about the picture is that it was taken at the exact same location as the very first JASC back in the 1930s and for many years up to now. AG Univ. has hosted JASC for its Final Forum and Conference Closing Ceremony for many decades and taking a group photo at the same spot one year before JASC’s 80th anniversary meant something very special to each one of us.
Making Rice Crackers —
From August 12th-18th, we stayed in Iwate prefecture, one of the locations we visited during the conference after Kyoto and Nagasaki. Our main purposes for visiting Iwate were: a.) to familiarize ourselves with the “inaka” or rural side of Japan; b.) to understand the impact of the March 2011 tsunami on the economy, infrastructure, and community well-being; and c.) to immerse in Iwate culture and tradition by doing a home stay with a Morioka city family. A Japanese delegate and I were paired to live with the Abe family for two days. During our stay, the Abes welcomed us to various Iwate activities, one of which was making rice crackers, called “nambu senbei”, at the cultural activities center, Morioka Handi-Works Square. We first rolled the ready dough into small circles, placed the dough on the iron mold casts, sprinkled peanuts on one face of the dough, and let the dough bake in the heat. We turned the iron mold five times every 30 seconds to allow equal heating. Once finished, we enjoyed a warm traditional Iwate snack to-go! Activities like this created a lively atmosphere in Morioka that enabled locals to share their culture, history, and never ending traditions despite the 2011 disaster.
Making Reimenn —
During our stay in Morioka, the Abes welcomed us to various Iwate activities, one of which was making reimen, a popular and traditional Morioka based summer noodle soup. The Morioka Handi-Works Square allowed visitors to make this delicious food by hand. We were given ingredients to prepare the dough, and sliced the dough into thin strands through a machine. We cooked the noodles in boiling water for a few minutes, then placed the noodles in cold water. The texture of the noodles became harder than typical ramen noodles. Next to our noodles, we placed a wedge of watermelon – the highlight of this summer dish – and various vegetables and meat slices. Cold vegetable broth was poured over these ingredients and the fish was ready in less than 5 minutes!
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