Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dec. 8 Seasonal Potpourri

December 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm, Sunday
Place: International House of Japan
Hosts: Miriam Levering, Mary Donovan

Join with members and non-members alike in celebrating the seasons by bringing a reading, sharing a memory, telling a joke, bringing a poem, or songs to sing. There are 5 holidays to remember at this time of year: Winter Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and New Year’s. Serious or humorous, there’s lots to share among these holidays. If you can bring a few copies to share (or copy in the IHJ library before the meeting) that would be great (10 if possible). Some Christmas carols, Hanukkah songs plus Truman Capote’s a Christmas Memory will be on hand. Please come and join us. Bring something or come to listen, we want to see you.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nov. 10 meeting Cybercrime - Pauline C. Reich, lawyer and professor

Pauline C. Reich is an American lawyer and has been a tenured professor at Waseda University School of Law since 1995. She is the Founder and Director of the Asia-Pacific Cyberlaw, Cybercrime and Internet Security Research Institute at Waseda, and is a member of the American Bar Association Section of Science and Technology, the International Association of Privacy Professionals, the Regional Asia Information Security Exchange and the Japan Information Law Association. Her publications include LAW, POLICY AND TECHNOLOGY: CYBERTERRORISM, INFORMATION WARFARE AND INTERNET IMMOBILIZATION (IGI Global, 2012) and the law treatise CYBERCRIME AND SECURITY (Thomson Reuters/West), now over 4000 pages in length and updated quarterly. 


Professor Reich will speak about the Snowden/NSA/PRISM situation with respect to its background, US law, pending and prior litigation by privacy and civil liberties groups, laws in other countries with respect to privacy and data protection, and the ethical dilemmas in balancing national security with constitutional/civil liberties and privacy protections of citizens and non-citizens.


We would love to see you at this event for an informative and lively talk.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Oct. 13 Art and Human Development - John Clammer

Please invite a friend to join us for this interesting talk from a scholar of developing economies(especially in Southeast Asia) whose recent research includes an examination of so called tribal people's cultures--what is art? what is modern? extending perhaps to thinking about what is essential to being human?
John, has been associated with the United Nations University for over a decade, and is now visiting professor.  He has written fifteen books, including “Diaspora and Identity: The Sociology of Culture in Southeast Asia” (2003), “Race and State in Independent Singapore: The Cultural Politics of Pluralism in a Multiethnic Society” (1998); Japan and Its Others: Globalization, Difference and the Critique of Modernity” (2001) and “Diaspora and Belief: Globalization, Religion and Identity in Postcolonial Asia” (2009).

You can read more about him at

John has generously spoken to us several times, and we always find his talks stimulating, informative and enjoyable.

Hope to see you at the International House of Roppongi at 3 pm October 13 on the fourth floor meeting room.   Everyone is welcome to this and all monthly meetings of the Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo where we welcome new people and both new and old thoughts.

Sept. Talk Saigyo the Poet by Bonnie McClure

In September, Bonnie McClure spoke to us about the medieval poet Saigyo and his impact on the subsequent poetry in Japan.   Bonnie, one of our long time members, is getting her masters in Japanese literature at UW in Seattle.

Saigyo (西行)1118-1190, lived just as Japan was changing from the sedate Heian period, where poetry was written without moving off the futon, to a period where poets began to roam the countryside, capturing thier impressions, and opening up new themes.

Many of his poems are famous and Bonnie shared with us some of her translations.


しばしとてこそ立ち止まりつれ (SKKS 262)

 By the roadside
A willow’s shade
With clear water flowing:
Thinking “just for a moment…”
I stopped and stood

I particularly liked another one, where, although a priest, rather than wanting to have his final rest facing the Buddha, he preferred to be buried under a cherry tree.


その二月の望月のころ (SKS 77)

My wish:
to die in spring
under the blossoms—
At that full moon
 of Kisaragi month

Ways his poetry foreshadowed the medeival literary era included
a more serious interest in Buddhism, close observation of nature, an honest (raw) tone, and a high presence of self/narration.   Major themes of his poetry included travel, reclusion, conflict with religious resolve, and cherry blossoms with the moon.  Japan would have been a poorer place without him. 

For further reading in English she suggested Burton Watson's translation "Saigyo, Poems of a Mountain Home."

 Thanks Bonnie.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

June 9 - Death Penalty in Japan, July 14 Potluck Summer Party, Sept - Saigyo

Dear Friends and Members of the Fellowship,
(1) Prof Akemi Fujimoto who spoke to us last year about his project thru Tokyo Nodai to revitalize an area in Niigata sends word of a big food fair where their organic rice, soba and veggie products will be included. Let's support them.

  Shinjuku Takashimaya (11fl)  "Daigaku Tasty Products"

May 29 thru June 4

(2) Next regular meeting --June 9th - Chris Pitts - Amnesty International - Death Penalty in Japan

3:00 International House

Chris Pitts  long term Tokyoite and activist with Amnesty International will talk about some misconceptions and realities of the death penalty in the USA and Japan. He plans to include something about himself and his social justice work, as well as about Amnesty International.

Please join us and bring a friend before the summer break (no regular meetings in July and August).

 (3) July 14 Summer Party and Pot Luck

3:00 until 8pm (open house style--come and go when convenient)

Place:  Miriam Arai's home --near Inogashira station (on local JR Chuo Line--the station before Kichijo-ji).

Please RSVP to the moderator at 
 Let us know how many people and what you can bring. And as always for those too far /busy to bring food a small donation to the drinks is  welcome.

I will send detailed directions to those who can come. 

(4) September 8th Regular Meeting  - Bonnie's back - Poetry of Saigyo

International House 3:00

The Buddhist poetry of Saigyo. Bonnie McClure (temporarily back in Tokyo).   Bonnie, one of our dynmic young members, is now studying for her master's Japanese literature at the University of Washington.

from Peggy Kanada, moderator

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May 12th meeting - Members will talk of Unitarian experiences

Dear members and friends of the fellowship,


   Reminder --Fellowship Meeting: May 12th 3:00 International House Several members will share their experiences (ten minute presentations).

The topics are completely open, but we hope that there will be a a focus on  what  the fellowship and the teachings and traditions of Unitarians have given us  in our lives.

Please come and join in the discussion and sharing!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

April 14 - Socially Responsible Investment - Mizue Tsukushi

SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) will be discussed by Mizue Tsukushi, CEO of The Good Bankers at our Sunday, April 14th meeting at the International House of Roppongi at 3 p.m.  Everyone is welcome.

Part of the thrust in recent years has been the development of information infrastructure to provide investors with the information to compare the social responsiblity of corporations, in terms of their responsiblity to the environment, for corporate governance and development of human capital.

 Established in 1998, the Good Bankers is an independent investment-advisory company devoted to social investment research in Japan. The company is a pioneer in implementing the first SRI product "Eco-fund" into the Japanese market.   The objective of the Good Bankers is to contribute to making our society a better and more sustainable one by using financial tools such as socially responsible investment (SRI).

Tsukushi-san is founder of the company. She is a former Deputy General Manager of the Institutional Marketing Department, UBS Trust & Banking Co., Ltd. in Tokyo. She has been awarded first prize of “Women of the year 2000: Women Entrepreneur Section” for her successful launch of Eco-fund.


March 10 - From Martin Luther King to the Buddha

Not many people can say they were invited by Martin Luther King to run a church in Atlanta in the middle of the Civil Rights movement, but tall New Englander Gene Reeves told us about those times and other fascinating aspects of his amazing life at our March meeting. 

Gene is well know not our members for his activities as the former head of the International Buddhist Council in Tokyo and his many presentations to us over the years, but we always find him a delight to listen to.  He spoke with us of his life as a Unitarian and a Buddhist.  A tall white New Englander with a vigorous beard, he told us of the fun of integrating restaurants, filling up the back of buses with whites, complaining to management that the "colored water fountain" did not have colored water, and helping to bring about integration in Atlanta in the space of two years by pressure on businessmen.

He had met King at Boston University where he was studying at the semenary learning how religion was being taught in America, part of his plan to spend a life teaching religion.  After Atlanta, he taught at Tufts and then at Wilberforce in Ohio, the first predominantly African-American private university in the nation, and was active in anti-war and other social issues as head of a church in Dayton.  Then he lead the Meadville Lombard Seminary while drawing on the rich religious library and resources at the University of Chicago.  There he became involved in the International Association of Religious Freedom, which led to him meeting  Nikkyo Niwano, co-founder of the Rissho Koseikai, and a lifelong interest in Japan, China and the Lotus Sutra.  He has published several books on the Lotus Sutra including a translation.  

For those who missed his talk to our little group, you can find videos of his presentations on Youtube, such as at

We very much appreciate his ongoing support of our group.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Feb. 10 - John Amari on Intellectual Property and Community Idenity Rights

February 10 (2013) --John Amari, who works within an intellectual property organization. He will talk about’ “Intellectual Property and the Right to Community Identity.  Should the terms "Parmigiano" and "Champagne" be used exclusively by people who live in those regions or also by similar producers who use the same processes and ingredients?  Originally a fight between old Europe and North America, as intellectual property laws and values spread, the issue will become more important in Asia, Africa, and South America.   As usual it is at the International House in Roppoingi at 3 p.m. on Sunday.   Everyone is welcome to

March 10 (although many will be away--please invite a friend!)  The Rev.Gene Reeves, tentative topic-- "A Unitarian in East Asia: Autobiographical Reflections on Liberal Religion."

April 14 Mizue Tsukushi, president of Good Bankers Co.Ltd., "Ethical Investment--potential for growth in Japan"  participate in the meeting.

Jan 13 meeting summary -

A Requiem is a musical piece composed for the consolation of the dead and those left behind.  Steven G. Morgan, well known conductor of the British Embassy Choir, took us through the process of his writing of “In pace: A Requiem of Peace” for the Rikkyo (St. Paul) University’s All Souls Day traditional concert.  With agreement by the school and alumni, he reached beyond the traditional Christian themes.  In addition to music adopted to parts of The Book of Common Prayer and the Compline Responsory, he included fascinating texts from Rabindranath Tagore’s Gintanjali, Thich Nhat Hanh’s Call Me by My True Names, and Black Elk’s The Sacred Pipe, and John Henry Newman.

In our room on the fourth floor above the wonderfully sunlit gardens of the International House, he played for us some of the pieces as song and played at Rikkyo by a mixed chorus, baritone and orchestra.  The Requiem has also been performed in Denver by a larger group with a CD coming out soon. 

From the second part, Because I Love this Life (words by Tagore)

“I was not aware of the moment when I first crossed the threshold of this life.  What was the power that made me open out into this vast mystery like a bud in the forest at midnight! 

When in the morning I looked upon the light I felt in a moment that I was no stranger in this world, that the inscrutable without name and form had taken me in its arms in the form of my own mother.

Even so, in death the same unknown will appear as ever known to me.  And because I love this life, I know I shall love death as well.

The child cries out when from the right breast the mother takes it away, in the very next moment to find in the left one its consolation.”

Ten of us heard the presentation; five joined the speaker for dinner for further exploration.  Anyone interested is always welcome at our little discussion group at the International House in Roppongi, usually at 3 p.m. second Sunday of the month.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Jan 13 Meeting - Steven Morgan on his Requiem of Peace

Dear Friends and members of the Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo,

     A  Happy New Year to you and all you love! May the year bring health and peace.


 January 13

3:00 International House

      A presentation with musical excerpts by Steven Morgan, who has spoken to the fellowship before. He has become well-known in Tokyo for his teaching and work  with chorus groups and church choirs (as well as musical composing). He will talk about his recently completed Requiem. 

This is a work for baritone soloist, chorus and orchestra that he  composed for Rikkyo University last year entitled "In pace: A Requiem of Peace." 

  February 10 (2013) --John Amari, who works within an intellectual property organization. He will talk about’ “Intellectual Property and the Right to Community Identity. Should the terms "Parmigiano" and "Champagne" be used exclusively by people who live in those regions or also by similar producers who use the same processes and ingredients??Originally a fight between old Europe and North America, as intellectual property laws and values spread, the issue will become more important in Asia, Africa, and South America.


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