2012 Photo Contest Winners

These are the top three finalists from the photo exhibit “NIPPON THROUGH MY EYES”
Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who came out to view this exhibition and casted a vote!

Title: “The Last Tree That Stood in a Forest of Thousands”

Caption: All the trees in the forest that lined the coast in Rikuzentakata were swept away by the tsunami except for this one and now it is a symbol of hope for the people of that region.

By: Sophie Charles (FL)

Personal Essay Coming Soon



Title: “Japanese Rainbow”

Caption: Cranes in Ishinomaki.

By: Jessica Lee (WA)


Personal Essay Coming Soon



Title: “Osaka Castle”

Caption: A blending of old and new with the outer walls and moat of Osaka castle and a skyscraper visible in the distance.

By: Benjamin Johnson (MD)

Personal Essay





Photo Exhibition by American High School Students in Japan during summer of 2012

In July of 2012, we provided 32 American high school students with the opportunity to go to Japan for two weeks. For many of the participants, this was their first time to Japan and experiencing the country whose language they have been studying for several years. This program focused on the Tohoku area, which was deeply affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in March, 2011. They participated in exchanges with local elementary and high school students and saw first-hand the destructive forces of the tsunami. They also spent some time learning about Japanese culture in Osaka while participating in homestays. You will have the opportunity through this exhibition to see Japan through their eyes and get a glimpse of what they saw and felt during their trip. This exhibition will last through October 13 and the top three finalists will be announced in late October.

Certificate of Recognition from the city of Los Angeles for our photo exhibition
Nippon Through My Eyes.

JET Memorial Invitation Program


This program is dedicated to Taylor Anderson (Ishinomaki, Miyagi) and Montgomery Dickson (Rikuzentakata, Iwate) who sadly lost their lives during the March 11 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011. Both Talyor and Monty were working in the Tohoku region as English teachers at the elementary level through the JET program, which is organized by the Foreign Ministry of Japan. Through their efforts to promote mutual understanding between Japan and the United States, the JET Memorial Invitation Program (JET-MIP) was born and will carry on their work for five consecutive years starting in 2011.


JET-MIP is a two week invitation program to Japan for American high school students. There are three goals which includes encouraging participants to continue their study of Japanese, promoting youth exchanges such as the JET program, and creating student networks so they can build lasting friendship with each other and with friends they make in Japan. Bridge building is the theme as each participant seeks to discover their passion as it relates to building lasting friendships between Japan and the United States.

2012 Tour

In July, 32 participants from all over the United States travelled to Japan for a study tour that focused on the Tohoku region. They participated in exchanges with elementary and high school students in the Tohoku area and also toured the three cities of Rikuzentakata, Kesennuma, and Ishinomaki which were the hardest hit areas during the  2011 Great East Japan Tsunami. Throughout the trip, each participant was able to see for themselves the destructive force of the Tsunami and the current conditions of the area, which motivated them to think of ideas of how they can help during the inaugural high school summit. They also visited what remains of the Rikuzentaka City Hall where Monty Dickson worked, Taylor’s Bunko (Taylor’s Reading Corner), and Kiwi club members, many of whom were friends of Taylor Anderson. The last week of the trip was spent at our Japanese Language Institute in Osaka where they took part in cultural activities and participated in homestays. The photos you see in this exhibition represent small windows into the world that the participants saw during their two week trip.