Wednesday, April 4, 2018

April 7 Flower Ceremony

Dear friends and members of the Fellowship,
This month instead of a speaker join us to celebrate the FLOWER CEREMONY--a service of celebration at this spring season for Religious Liberals.
Please bring in 🌼one flower (from your garden or local shop).
(Note: we will have some extra flowers at ready for those who cannot).
The Flower Ceremony, sometimes referred to as a Flower Communion or Flower Festival, is an annual ritual that celebrates beauty, human uniqueness, diversity, and community. It is a way to reaffirm the Unitarian promise or covenant to work for a world community with freedom, justice and peace for all.
Originally created in 1923 by the first Czech Unitarian minister, Norbert Capek, of Prague (who was killed by the Nazis at Dachau in 1942). The Flower Ceremony later was introduced to the United States by Rev. Maya Capek, Norbert's widow.
In this ceremony, everyone brings a flower. Each person places the flower in a shared vase. After readings and often songs the fellowship together blesses the flowers, and they're redistributed at the end. Each person brings home a different flower than the one they brought.
By sharing or exchanging flowers we show our willingness to walk together in our search for truth, disregarding all that might divide us. Capek wrote that such sharing is essential to a free people of a free religion.
See attachment by Reginald Zottoli on the early Flower Communion.
I learned of this service/gathering from Transylvanian and American friends at the International Convocation of Unitarian Universalists biannual conference in Kathmandu this February.
We will also have time for announcements and short presentation about Capek and a discussion.
Date:April 8
Time: 3:00-5:00
International House of Japan (国際文化会館)
Between Azabu Juban and Roppongi stations (see International House website for a map).
Followed by light dinner or refreshments at the I House cafe if you can stay.
May 13
Jane Best director of Refugees International Japan, speaking about not only refugees (with some positive stories) but about running a non-profit organization.
June 10 Rescheduled Vivek Pinto: Gandhi and Thoreau
Peggy Kanada, moderator

Saturday, March 3, 2018

March 11 Dominick Scarangello

Unitarian Fellowship March 11
New speaker: Dominick Scarangello
Dear friends and members of the fellowship,
Our speaker Vivek Pinto has unfortunately had to postpone.
We have enlisted instead our always interesting Buddhist shugen do practitioner and scholar, Dominick Scarangello, PhD. 

Dominick is a scholar of early modern/modern Japanese Buddhism and religion International advisor

What is translation?
The what and how of translating religious faith across different cultures.
Please join us (your moderator plans to be back) and bring a friend.
International House of Japan
(Near Roppongi or Azabu Juban stations)
See I House website for directions.
March 11
Sunday 3:00 to 5:00
With dinner afterwards if you care to join the speaker.
Peggy Kanada moderator

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Feb. 11 Rebalancing Power and Sex

Dear friends and members,

February will be a Discussion Meeting facilitated by our members Chuck Olson and Yasuyo Takamatsu.
Bring your thoughts  and questions to share.
The topic to start our discussion: 

Rethinking and Rebalancing Power and Sexual Rules of Behavior in Our Modern  Societies

The past year in particular saw the world of politics, media and entertainment in America  in turmoil as many major figures (predominately men in power) have been publicly shamed and  lost their positions/jobs based on accusations of inappropriate even illegal sexual behavior towards women and youth--including sexual abuse.and rape (over many years).

The spectrum ranges from Roger Ailes and Harvey Weinstein to Garrison Keillor.

One question also remains-- Why have certain men escaped censure?

 Do you know what is happening with #Metoo”,”It is about time” and “”Yes, but ...”on social media?

What are the rights of women? especially as they spend increasing time in the workplace and the values of traditional marriage and pattens of child raising are changing both because of the push for human rights (including equal access to education and careers for all --including women and LGBT people) but also under the pressures of global capitalism and increasing economic inequality and loss of the old protections for working women (unions etc.). 

 Possible points to include: 

1) What about Due Process --the rights of the accused to be innocent until proven guilty  in court 

2) On the other hand why do only some women (and only now) come forward--what is wrong with our legal/police system?

2) Do we need new rules and manners to govern behavior?  Why has "NO" not meant no in intimate encounters?

In our world today --How should men and women (in whatever combinations) meet ? progress towards love and intimacy? possibly commit to long term relationships or marriage?

3) Why is this topic not as sensational in Japan?

We are not looking for final answers but to share our thoughts.

All are welcome.

Venue:International House of Japan
  (Feb. 11, 2018  from 3-5 p.m. at the International House of Japan (Roppongi)  Dinner and further follows.  All are welcome.)  

Peggy Kanada,

Moderator of the Fellowship

Thursday, January 11, 2018

January 14 Michael Polito - Pope Francis Revolution

Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo

On January 14, Sunday, 2018

At International House (国際文化会館)near Roppongi or Azabu-Juban stations.

Our speaker will be Sophia University (Jochi) professor, Michael Polito.

"Consumerism, Ecology, and Love; The Personalist Revolution of Pope Francis."

from your moderator 

Peggy Kanada

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Dec 10 Basques/Xmas, Jan 14 speaker, Congrats Doreen

Dear friends and members,

"Languages on the Periphery: A Linguistic Look at Basque and Japanese"

Ronald Thornton will explore some of the interesting similarities of languages from vastly different locations that share origins outside of the main Indo-European or Sino language families.  How can we explain some of the lexical and grammatical correspondences?

A retired professor from Otsuma Women's University and long time Japan resident (who started out a scholar of Russian language), Ron has actually been a member of our fellowship for many years but only recently started to attend again.

He plans a shorter than usual talk and discussion.

It will be followed by songs and carols of the holiday season in a sing-a-long led by Bonnie McClure. 

At  the very end we are expecting  a "pop in"  performance by our delightful opera singer friend, Emiliano Blasi,  who reports he will leave for Italy right after our sunday to perform on stage.  

Time:  3:00-5:00

Followed by drinks or dinner in the International House Cafe if you can join us.

Place: International House of Japan (国際文化会館)

106-0032 Minato-ku Roppongi 5-11-16

Between Azabu-Juban and Roppongi subway stations on Torii-zaka. 

Or please see their website for a map.

All are welcome (we ask only for a donation towards our room rental).


Our January 14th meeting will feature Prof. Michael Polito (Sophia/Jochi University) who will talk on "Consumerism, Ecology and Love: the Personalist Revolution of Pope Francis."


I am pleased and honored to announce that  our long term member Doreen Simmons has recently been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, for her services to Japanese culture.

We hope we will have a chance to congratulate her in person. 


We might at this holiday season think about the traditional meaning of Christmas in words that come from the Christian heritage of Unitarians, although many Unitarians may not believe  the Christ-centered message (or even in God) today---

Christmas is the celebration of the historical event when Jesus was born into our world so that he might display the perfection and holiness of God.  Through his work of teaching and living perfectly Jesus provided a model for our lives, and then by  dying on the cross for our sins, promised that all who trust in him would be saved from the righteous judgment of God.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him," (John 3:16-17).


Finally to all our members and friends  we wish you the joys of the holiday season, safe travels, and a good year in 2018.

Peggy Kanada, 

moderator of the fellowship

Monday, October 23, 2017

Nov. 12 - Violin Maker Andreas Preuss

Dear members and friends of the Fellowship,

Our regular second Sunday meeting features "Luthier (violin maker) Andreas Preuss".

 Sunday November 12

International House of Japan (国際文化会館)
Between Roppongi and Azabu-juban stations on Toriii zaka.

See their website or call them for directions.


With simple dinner or drinks in the International House cafe for those who want to continue the discussion.

Andreus Preuss,  originally from Juelich Germany, is a meister (official master craftsman) who  established his atelier for the making and repair of violins/stringed instruments in Toshima-ku more than a decade ago.
His life story is a fascinating account of international apprenticeship, study and effort to make once again the great violins of the 18th century produced by Stradivari and Guarnieri. 

 While we will let him tell his story and discuss a few  of the interesting technical aspects of violin making, let me begin by saying we Unitarians are seekers--how do you set nearly impossible goals and persevere to create  a life with meaning and impact for good on others?

 To spark your interest however  let me say that around 40 years ago Andreus (born in a violin producing tiny German community), as a violin loving but naive 19 year old, plunged into learning Japanese and living in Japan in order to apprentice with the most dedicated meister he could find>> MURATA Zoroku (the first Japanese to be trained in Germany  to receive the certification of meister). 

Andreus' research and work then took him again to Europe and to NYCity, before he came back to open his own business.
I look forward to seeing you on November 12.
Please being a friend (we have a larger room).

Your moderator (who has been distracted traveling in Vietnam),
Peggy Kanada 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Sept Meeting - NOH and Unitarian priniciples

Dear friends and members of the Fellowship,

I have more details about our upcoming meeting.

Sunday September 10   3:00-5:00 pm.
Venue: International House of Japan (国際文化会館)

Everyone welcome for refreshments or dinner in the I House Cafe for those who can stay and join our speakers.   
See the International House website for map or call for directions. 

Between Roppongi and Azabu Juban subway stations.

The presentation is entitled "Like Leaves of Autumn." 

It is  a joint project (lecture, visual presentation and discussion) of  Kenneth Lawrence and his wife, sumi-e painter Kumiko. 

It will explore how themes (especially grounded in Buddhism)  in the traditional performance of NOH link up to core values expressed in Five Principles of  the Unitarian/ Universalists---

>inherent worth of every person


>our search for meaning/truth

>importance of personal conscience

>respect for the interdependent web of existence.

The Lawrences are  based in the Seattle area, but in recent years have traveled to make presentations in many places. This includes  recently at Sakuracon (Pacific Northwest anime convention) and Hawaii (2015). 

Kumiko, whose paintings we will see, comes from a family of Noh performers. 

They met in 1990. 

Kenneth is an educator(ESL) , author and journalist.  He studied music and Asian theater, receiving an MA from the University of Hawaii in 2003 after many years in Tokyo, including at the International Theater Institute of the National Noh Gakudo (1988-96) and later as  journal editor and  writer all while studying Noh performance.  I understand his later studies of Asian theater traditions have also made him an expert in Himalayan singing bowl healing. 

 He writes that he hopes the presentation will help us to transform "life's uncertainties into a sense of tranquility, appreciation and wonder."

your moderator,

Peggy Kanada


October 8 Fellowship meeting will feature Paul McCarthy talking about  "The recent movie "Silence" (based on Endo's famous novel)."

November 12 Andreas Preuss
 "Making Violins in Japan--the search to replicate a Stradivarius instrument"

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