The Newsletter of the
Mt Fuji viewed from Mt Mizugaki
October / November 2008
Australia-Japan Society (Tasmania) Inc.
Patron: His Excellency , Governor of Tasmania
The Honourable Peter Underwood AO
Vice-Patron: Peter C. Shelley, Hon. Consul of Japan at Hobart
PO Box 136, Sandy Bay, Tasmania 7006
Tel: 0438 304 130
(Please access the AJS (Tas) site via the State Societies link)
AJS (Tas) Committee 2008-09
President Anne Lynch
Vice-President Yukiko Burns
Vice-President Joe Giedl
Treasurer Allan Loveless
Secretary Louise Hutton
Committee Member Michael Bonny
Committee Member Hiroko Otsuka
Committee Member Helen Cameron-Tucker
Committee Member Phil Cooper
Committee Member Heath Watts
AJS News October / November 2008 Page 1
Message from the President- 2
Ikebana in Hobart - 3
Japan - still a rising sun - 6
Traveller’s Corner - 7
Japanese Speech Competition - 10
Introducing Yoji Hashimoto - 12
Upcoming Events - 14
The Editor’s Twenty Cents
If readers would like to contribute to the December/January edition
of the AJS News, please send your article to the AJS by November
21, 2008. If there are any events in December and January please let
the AJS know ASAP so I can put them in the next newsletter.
I have been producing the AJS newsletter for a year now and keen
to hear what members think of the format and subject content of
the articles. Please give me a call on 6245 0773 or send an email to
Page 2 AJS News October / November 2008
Message from the President
Dear Members and Friends
We have just returned home from 2 weeks in Japan visiting Tokyo,
Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Kochi and Iwakuni. Although
we were there for work, we managed to fit in some wonderful
dining experiences – the very stylish new tofu restaurant at the foot
of Tokyo Tower, our favourite Sanzokumura restaurant, a not-so-
short taxi ride from Kintaikyo with its great historic atmosphere and
delightful gardens and an amazing experience at the restaurant of
Rokusaburo Michiba 道場 六三郎 in Ginza. You may remember
that Michibasan was the greatest Japanese chef on the Iron Chef
quirky “reality” TV programme that had such a cult following. He
had an amazing win record of 86.5%. Despite it being the time of
the mid-Autumn festival the weather was extremely hot and humid
but this in no way deterred us from having a great time. Our visit to
the Australian Embassy was also very encouraging. They were
amazed to find out that Dr Mohri who is the President of the newly
organised Australian Alumni in Japan, will be one of our special
guest speakers this year. There is nothing like a good dose of
Japanese culture and food to reinvigorate and delight.
AJS News October / November 2008 Page 3
Ikebana in Hobart
Hobart was privileged to welcome Mrs Masumi Jackson of the Ichiyo
School of Ikebana, Melbourne, for a demonstration of the Japanese
art of flower arranging.
The Ichiyo style of ikebana explores every possible location in our
daily surroundings for placing flowers: from arrangements suitable
for Japanese-style rooms and modern living conditions to large-scale
Mrs Jackson delighted a packed auditorium with creating eleven
outstanding flower arrangements in just over an hour. She went
into details of the structure of the various flower arrangements,
including the height, direction, patterns and size of individual parts
of the arrangements. Almost any kind of flower can be used for
ikebana, including the vast variety of native flowers with which
Australia is blessed. Interestingly, ikebana in bygone days had
exclusively been the province of men.
Mrs. Masumi Jackson with Spring Blossoms and Pine in an
Ichiyo-design framed container
Page 4 AJS News October / November 2008
Participants at the Ikebana workshop
A workshop was held the following day to enable ten participants to
try their hand at ikebana. Leukadendron, chrysanthemum, gerbera,
and crooked willow, were arranged with great enthusiasm under
the watchful eyes of the sensei.
Mrs Jackson was assisted by “Hana-no-Tomo (Friends of Flowers)”:
Yoshiko Chijiwa, Tamayo Leahy, Joan Waldon, Fumiko Plaister,
Yukiko Burns and Miss Chie Tasaka (JAT).
(Armin Howald )
A BIG THANK YOU!
For a Successful Ikebana Demonstration and Workshop
Our special thanks go to the following sponsors:
※ HOBART CITY COUNCIL, Sister City Committee, for the venues;
Carnegie Gallery and Town Hall Lower Conference Room
※ JUST FLOWERS (Just Flowers Wholesalers, 89 Campbell St, City;
Retail Shop “Heaven Scent Flowers”, 103 Main Rd, Moonah), for the
flowers we used for both occasions.
AJS News October / November 2008 Page 5
※ CRIPPS NU-BAKE, for the delicious Tasmanian Shortbread used
for refreshments on both occasions
Our special thanks also goes to the following people:
※ Mr Peter Shelley, Honourable Consul-General in Hobart, and Vice
Patron of AJS (Tas) for introducing Mrs Jackson at the
demonstration. An apology from Mr Susumu Hasegawa, Consul-
General of Japan in Melbourne was received.
※ Ben Booth & Philip Watkins of Carnegie Gallery, and Jenny New-
ton of the Sister City Committee, all from Hobart City Council.
※ Yoshiko Chijiwa, Tamayo Leahy, Fumiko Plaister & Joan Waldon
of Hana-no-Tomo (Ikebana Group) and Chie Tasaka (JAT) for their
assistance at the demonstration.
※ Joan and Fumiko assisted with preparations and at the Workshop
※ Juliet Kimber, Rosemary Kang and Seung Ah Yi of Hana-no-Tomo
also assisted with materials and allowed participants use their
equipment together with the other members mentioned above.
※ Phil Cooper and Helen Cameron-Tucker, Hiroko Otsuka and
Michael Bonny of AJS Functions Sub-Committee.
Without the help of these people, the demonstration and workshop
would not have been possible.
However, the biggest thanks goes to Mrs Masumi Jackson, who
travelled from Melbourne for the occasion and gave those, who
were lucky enough to be there, the opportunity to experience the
magical world of Ikebana.
Page 6 AJS News October / November 2008
JAPAN – Still a Rising Sun
As the media and key political and business figures keep reminding
us, Australia’s future prosperity hinges on our economic relationship
with China, however, we should not forget that Japan is, and will for
some time remain Australia’s largest export market and that the
prosperity and high living standards that we enjoy today owe much
to this long standing, highly complimentary relationship.
Japan is also Tasmania’s largest export destination purchasing a re-
cord $726 million (or 20 percent) of Tasmanian products in financial
year 2007/2008, mostly commodities such as timber, zinc and
aluminium alloys and copper.
Japan is a sophisticated, rich and mature market that provides great
niche opportunities for many of our food products that we cannot
produce in large volumes. The brand that is Tasmania is remarkably
widely known in Japan, especially in the food sector – largely, I
suspect, because of the strong marketing of Tasmanian beef
through the well-known Jusco supermarket chain, the now almost
twenty-year- old film ‘The Tasmanian Story’ and the great
promotional efforts of individual Tasmanian exporters who deliver
products that appeal to Japanese sense of quality. Products where
Tasmanian producers enjoy real competitive advantages include
cherries (Australian and Japanese varieties), apples, honey, salmon,
oysters, abalone, cheeses, wine and vegetables such as carrots,
onions and kabocha.
More recently (and at the other end of the export spectrum), boat
builder Incat delivered the world’s largest and fastest wave piercing
catamarans to Japan; soon to be followed by a smaller vessel from
Richardson Divine that will ply the waters between Okinawa and
AJS News October / November 2008 Page 7
Ishigaki-jima. These high-value manufactures add another
dimension to our trading relationship taking advantage of the new
opportunities in the tourism, leisure and lifestyle type services
presented by a rapidly ageing, wealthy Japanese population.
General Manager - Export & Market Development
Tasmanian Department of Economic Development & Tourism
Traveller’s Corner – Mt Mizugaki
Mt Mizugaki is located in Yamanashi Prefecture, a comfortable
distance from Tokyo. My partner and I spent a few days one late
March at the nearby Kawaba Village, in the Gunma Prefecture.
Despite the snow that as still on the surrounding peaks, we decided
to try our luck with the 2,230 metre high mountain.
We got side-tracked on our way to the mountain when we visited
the Fukiwari no Taki (waterfalls); ice cold waters cascading at great
speed down a narrow race.
Our ascent began through a steep and forested slope, still devoid of
greenery. We gained height quickly to a shrine, where we stopped
for prayers. A little further on, the track surface changed from being
dry to hard packed snow, and we began to slip and slide. A man who
came from the mountain warned us about more ice on the trail, but
we pushed on regardless. He had crampons clamped on his boots,
but we didn’t.
Our ascent began in earnest after we crossed a little creek at the
foot of the mountain. From here the track went steeply uphill. It
Page 8 AJS News October / November 2008
Fukiwari no Taki (waterfalls) near Mt Mizugaki
was tough going on the ice. Supported by ropes we clambered next
to what would have been a creek, but this time it was a sheet of
blue ice. The higher we went, the more I questioned the wisdom of
pursuing our goal. We really weren’t properly equipped for the
conditions. Sure we had warm clothing with us, but not the safety
gear that would have enabled an emergency bivouac over night. The
sun too was getting low above the craggy peaks, and we were be-
ginning to feel cold and tired. We decided to quit, maybe 45
minutes from the top. To have continued would have been
We returned a few months later, as we felt we couldn’t be defeated
by this beautiful mountain. This time we stayed in Kobuchizawa,
within easy reach of the mountain. We were also better prepared,
and the weather was more benign; a beautiful warm autumn day,
with not a breath of wind or hint of rain.
It didn’t take us long to get to the creek that had been an ice sheet,
and surprisingly little time to the point where we had turned back
before. Above us towered a vertical, seemingly unclimbable pillar,
AJS News October / November 2008 Page 9
not far from the summit. It was hot, and we were sweating in the
bright sun of autumn. There were quite a few other parties on the
trail. Most of the participants looked like retirees, and I marvelled at
We pressed on. The last few hundred metres to the top were sur-
prisingly flat but wet, and it crossed my mind how difficult it would
have been had we attempted the
summit the last time.
The view from the top was simply
breathtaking. In the distance the
perfect cone of Fuji-san, and
lesser mountains and ridges
surrounded us as far as we could
see. The nearby forest was
sprinkled with the red and gold
colours of autumn among the
dark pines. I even marvelled at a
hydro mast in the distance, set
on an inaccessible ridge - it must
have been brought in by helicop-
As we were resting, the summit
Autumn colours at Mt Mizugaki
became quite crowded and we de-
cided to give our vantage point to others. We headed for the
valley, and a well deserved cup of coffee at a local inn, near where
we had parked our car. A towel advertising ‘Toohey’s Old Beer’
graced the bar. That brought a wry smile to my face. Australian beer
seemed to have made it even into this part of the world.
Page 10 AJS News October / November 2008
Japanese Speech Competition
The annual Australia Japan Society (Tas) Inc. Japanese Speech
Competition was held at the Polish Club on August 18 and at Ogilvie
High School on August 19. This year a total of 244 students from
Years 3-12 from all over Tasmania participated in this exciting event;
and the judges were thrilled with the quality of the entrants’
performances and their efforts overall.
The schools that participate in this competition often begin their
preparation as early as February. This is because all of the entrants
have to deliver their speeches off-by-heart and be interviewed all in
Japanese. It is a competition after all and it deserves such
commitment, you may think? And yes, it is quite a commitment,
especially if you consider that most primary school students in Tas-
mania have Japanese lessons just once a week for as short as 40
minutes. It means that most of the preparation has to take place
outside class time and with extra help from the teachers and often
from their parents, and yes, it does have to start as early as
And of course, the commitment, the efforts and the support of
everyone involved “all pay off at the end of the competition when
the student comes out of the competition room with a big smile on
her face and says that she is proud of herself because she has done
something that not everyone can do,” a teacher says.
The competition is open to primary school through to University
students and there is also a senior open division for entrants who do
not belong to an educational institution. (You might like to try next
year?) Topics of the speeches and interview questions include the
entrants’ personal background such as family, school life, hobbies
and pastimes as well as their future aspirations, experiences in
Japan and many others that demonstrate their personal and socio-
AJS News October / November 2008 Page 11
cultural insight into the context of Japan and Australia.
A huge thank you goes to the extraordinary dedication and hard
work of the chief organiser, Camellia Cseko and the tireless support
of organisers and judges, Robyn Skinner, Fumiko Plaister, Bronwyn
Fuller, the Japanese Assistant Teachers (Aya Noda, Chie Tasaka),
Akiko Harada and the Japanese Teachers Network of Tasmania
Introducing Yoji Hashimoto - Associate Lecturer in
Japanese, University of Tasmania
As you might have guessed from the above title, yes, I work in the
Japanese Section at the University of Tasmania, which makes me a
junior colleague of the famous Ueki-sensei.
I came down to Hobart in 2001 from Melbourne, where I spent
eight years, also teaching Japanese. Before then, I lived in the
Tokyo area for some six years, after having lived in Kyoto, Osaka and
New York, where I was born (I do not remember what I was in my
previous life). The house I spent most of my childhood in Osaka was
pulled down about ten years ago, and my parents now live in
Takarazuka, famous for the Takarazuka Kageki-dan all female revue
company, near Kobe, so I do not visit my ‘hometown’ regularly any
more when I return to Japan.
Excuse me for the boring list of the places I have lived previously,
but like many of you, I have lived in several different places before
arriving in Tasmania, and I wonder what images and memories of
each of the places you have and they special connections they might
evoke. Some of you may feel very much at home in Tasmania after
only a very short time living here, others might have been born and
Page 12 AJS News October / November 2008
raised in Tasmania, and yet feel that Japan is your home. Yet others
may be adamant that they have too many places that they can call
home, be they in Australia, Japan or in other regions of the world;
while some may say, “I used to think that Japan was my only home,
but now I am not sure where my REAL home is!”.
This ‘sense of belonging’ or identities is what I am currently
researching. Specifically, I am writing a thesis on the various
identities of people of Japanese origin, who grew up in Australia -
Australian-born Japanese or ABJ. I talk to ABJs and ask questions
like: “Do you feel more like an Australian or Japanese?”; “Has travel-
ling to and living in Japan changed your perceptions about who you
are?”; “Do you always feel the same way about yourself?” etc…
It is really fascinating how people respond differently to my
questions. Their answers are seldom straightforward ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
For some people, accepting and celebrating their Japaneseness is
itself a struggle (“At school, I wanted to look ‘white’ like other girls,
but… later on, I realised it was perfectly OK to be Japanese”). Some
people endure love-hate relationship with both Japan and Australia:
some people cannot stand the ‘sexist’ elements as they see them in
Japanese culture, but then at the same time, they lament the ‘racist’
attitudes they occasionally have to put up with living here. My work
is not about agreeing or disagreeing with these individual views, but
rather about trying to understand why and how they have come to
see and feel about things the ways they do (Oops! I must also admit
that I enjoy enormously hearing about all those hilarious and often
moving anecdotes about growing up in Australia as an Asian
Yes, the key word here is understanding. In the multi-cultural
society of today’s Australia, everyone lives side by side with people
from different cultural backgrounds, and if you are not imaginative
or considerate enough, it is easy to have terrible misunderstandings
AJS News October / November 2008 Page 13
as all of us would have experienced in our everyday lives. On the
other hand, the more you learn about other cultures (or even about
what you thought was your own that you knew so well already!),
the more intrigued you become and likely to learn to respect them.
In other words, thinking about your own identity has two sides to it:
understanding yourself, and understanding others. While it would
no doubt be a fun and exhilarating exercise to be able to discover
and proclaim how unique and different you are from others, if you
just end up getting carried away by all that excitement and pride
and forget about other people (“Hey! Listen, everyone! It’s ME
here! ME, ME, the special ME!”), that may not necessarily help you
build good relations with the rest of the world.
It is for these and many other reasons that I am interested in the
make-up of ABJ identities, and for that matter, anyone’s identity.
One day, beware, I may be knocking on your door to ask you about
YOUR outlook! When that happens, YOROSHIKU ONEGAI SHIMASU!
Obituary - Jack & Jenny Tindall
Some members might have known Jack and Jenny well as they were
active members of the Society for some time. Both of them came
from Sydney and involved in AJS Sydney. (Jenny used to say Jack was
the founder of AJS there). Jack and Jenny passed away in June and
July this year. May they rest In peace (‘Gomeifuku wo inorimasu’).
Sushi for Seniors - Sunday 5th October from 10am to 1pm at
St Michael’s Collegiate School, Davey St, Hobart. Bookings required
by 30 September. Cost is $5. Bookings contact number for the
Seniors Week Program is 0418 546 515 (John Kertesz). Alternative
contact is Miriam Doi on 6224 7648.
Seminar by Dr M. Mohri, Japan’s first astronaut - at 10am on Tue.
14th October at the Sir Stanley Burbury Theatre, UTAS. Dr Mohri’s
address is titled “Gift from Space: Why we challenge the unknown”.
Followed by morning tea at 11am in the foyer of the Theatre for
students and audience members. The Consul-General of Japan,
Mr S. Hasegawa, will give the introduction. All Welcome.
AJS Bonenkai – Date changed to Thursday 4th December at the
Kawasemi Restaurant in Moonah from 7pm. Bookings/queries to be
taken by Michael Bonny 6229 5909 after invitations are sent to
members in early November. Due to a limit of 32 places, members
will have precedence. BYO venue. Price to be advised.
Some Future Events in 2009
February – AJS Shinnenkai for Members and guests
February – Japanese Ladies Craft Exhibition