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activities page

Our coming events, background, some past trips, related organizations





commendation presentation

Steve Comstock, previous chairman of the committee, accepts an award on behalf of the committee from Midori Takeuchi, the Consul General of Japan in Denver. The award is a special commendation to our committee, jointly with the Takayama Denver Friendship Association, "for outstanding contributions to strengthen US-Japan relations through their joint activities over the last 60 years", awarded on July 29, 2020.


If you are planning on traveling to Japan, with our group or on your own, it would help to have some background information. Here is some useful information about traveling to, and within, Japan


Events and Upcoming Activities

Virtual book club meeting
Tuesday February 1: 7:00-8:15-ish; location: online via Zoom.
Informal get together to discuss books by Japanese authors (in translation) or about Japan.

For February we're be reading and discussing "Where the Wild Ladies Are" by Aoko Matsuda

From Amazon:

A busybody aunt who disapproves of hair removal; a pair of door-to-door saleswomen hawking portable lanterns; a cheerful lover who visits every night to take a luxurious bath; a silent house-caller who babysits and cleans while a single mother is out working. Where the Wild Ladies Are is populated by these and many other spirited women—who also happen to be ghosts. This is a realm in which jealousy, stubbornness, and other excessive “feminine” passions are not to be feared or suppressed, but rather cultivated; and, chances are, a man named Mr. Tei will notice your talents and recruit you, dead or alive (preferably dead), to join his mysterious company.

In this witty and exuberant collection of linked stories, Aoko Matsuda takes the rich, millenia-old tradition of Japanese folktales—shapeshifting wives and foxes, magical trees and wells—and wholly reinvents them, presenting a world in which humans are consoled, guided, challenged, and transformed by the only sometimes visible forces that surround them.

The page above lists the book as available as Kindle e-book ($11.99), audio book (free), audio CD (new and used: $13.06 - $15.35) and paperback (new and used: $8.88 - $16.95)

Books Vooks has an unusual interface and you can read this book for free online with no account or password; you can download the book as a pdf if you go through Google Docs (you need to sign in and request access; I didn't get all the way through so I can't report on the efficacy of this approach).

Book Depository has this available for $17.46 with free delivery.

Barnes and Noble lists the book available for $16.95 in paperback and $11.99 as a Nook Book (probably their version of Kindle)

The Denver Public Library search did not turn up any copies.

Two of the stories are available to read for free in their entirety: The Jealous Type and Smartening Up

Various interesting reviews and coverage:

An overview of the book, plus an email exchange with the author

Full Stop features some commentary on the feminist slant to the book

Library Thing features members short reviews (you need to scroll down a bit)

Some commentary on the book and on three of the stories

I rather liked the review in The Nerd Daily (well I would, wouldn't I? (The reviewer points out the "Inspiration for the Stories" section at the end of the book and suggests that if you're not familiar with the referenced Japanese myths you might read this before digging in to the stories.)

The Asian Review of Books has an interesting review

I thought Hyperallergic had a perceptive review

Picture of the author and commentary on her feminist viewpoint, written by the translator

Discussion of several Japanese books, starting with the book we're reading

Story in the Kyodo News about Aoko Matsuda being the winner for "best collection" of the 2021 World Fantasy Awards held in Montreal, Canada, for "Where the Wild Ladies Are"

Email Steve Comstock to request the Zoom meeting info (If you have trouble, simply send an email to steve@trainersfriend.com.) All are welcome, but please let Steve know you wish to attend so he can send you the link for the Zoom session

Click here to see who has already signed up to come



Regular monthly meeting
(Our monthly meetings are held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month)
Tuesday February 15: 7:00-8:00-ish; location: online via Zoom.

Click here to request the Zoom meeting info (If you have trouble, simply send an email to gilasakawa@gmail.com.)


Find out about the Committee calendar, budgets, and so on ...

A look back at activities and involvement of members and friends during 2019 - a retrospective (.pdf document) (Last updated 11 January, 2020)

And a look at the impact of our committee in the community in 2019 - (.pdf document) volunteer hours and dollars spent doing our work. (Last updated 11 January, 2020

Why Denver Takayama is relevant to the larger community - Japanese, Japanese-American, all interested in Japan - in Denver and Colorado (.pdf document) (Last revised 1 February, 2017)

Denver / Takayama: the first 50 Years an historical record in English and Japanese. (.pdf document) (Last revised 23 August, 2010)

Technical paper on emails
(.pdf document - Some thoughts on how to make email safer from hackers and more effective) (Written 26 March, 2015)

Getting a gun in Japan
(.pdf document) - No matter where you fall on the gun control issue, this article I found on Facebook has some intriguing ideas. (Uploaded 11 March, 2018)


 Web pages from past trips 

Journey Into Japan adult trip (October 5-19, 2019)

Visit by high school students from Takayama August 1-6, 2019

High school students exchange trip to Japan June, 2018

Essential Japan (adult trip) June, 2018


Other Organization's Activities

[Currently the calendar is empty]



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