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Department of

Languages and Literatures

Activities and Events - Spring 2014

The calendar is updated at the beginning of each month. We hope that you will use it to find interesting ways to learn more about Japanese language and culture.

koi flagsDuring each semester, we provide students of Japanese with a variety of cultural events and activities. For the most part, participation in them is voluntary; however, our experience is that students who push themselves to learn new things - and practice - outside the classroom, reap great benefits.

signature of Hiroko Takagi, Director of Japanese

on campus

The Cat Returns DVD cover

猫の恩返し | Neko no Ongaeshi

 Feb. 27 | 12:15-1:45 | Camino 115

Aoi Hiiragi's manga about a schoolgirl's adventures with a very unusual feline comes to the screen   in this witty anime feature. Haru is a girl who one day saves the life of a cat while on her way to school. To her surprise, Haru learns she came to the rescue of no ordinary cat -- the kitty introduces her to the Kingdom of the Cats, where the feline potentate attempts to arrange a marriage between her and his son. Brought into a world she never knew existed, Haru learns a few lessons about herself as she discovers more about the strange and magical secret world of the cats. - Mark Deming, Rovi

Click on the image to watch the trailer. Open and free to everyone!  Japanese w/ English subtitles.

grave of the fireflies DVD cover

火垂るの墓 | Hotaru no haka

Apr. 3 | 7:00-8:30 p.m. | Rigsby Language and Culture Commons (F123)

Setsuko and Seita are brother and sister living in wartime Japan. After their mother is killed in an air raid they find   a temporary home with relatives. Having quarreled with their aunt they leave the city and make their home in an abandoned shelter. While their soldier father's destiny is unknown, the two must depend on each other to somehow keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. When everything is in short supply, they gradually succumb to hunger and their only entertainment is the light of the fireflies. - Written by Liron

Click on the image to watch the trailer. Open and free to everyone!  Japanese w/ English subtitles.

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Apr. 8 | 12:30-2:00 | Kroc IPJ, Room H/I

Japan is famous for its teas and the tea ceremony. Prof. Lisa Baird will perform this ancient ritual, and then our guests will make their own tea in the “tea ceremony” way. Please join us to experience the ceremony and to enjoy matcha (tea) and sweetsmatcha

Prof. Baird began her study of the Japanese Way of Tea (Chado) in 2002 after seeing a beautiful tea ceremony demonstration at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. She is a student of Soshin Saito-Sensei of the San Diego Urasenke Association, and has also studied at the Urasenke Headquarters in Kyoto. In 2011 she received her chamei (tea name) which allows her to teach Chado. As part of learning about tea and Japan, she also enjoyed studying Japanese at USD for four semesters.


off campus



Nature Transformed: Interpretations of Japanese Landscapes

who knowsWhere: Balboa Park: Japanese Friendship Garden   Directions
When: Feb. 20-24
Time: 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $5 with student ID
Contact: Marisa: 619-232-2721 |

Three artists from Japan: Kaori Tanaka, Yoichi Nakama, and Shuichi Hashimoto whose modern works of art interpret the traditional concept of Wabi Sabi.


close up of cherry blossoms9th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

Where: Balboa Park: Japanese Friendship Garden   Directions
When: Mar. 1
Time: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Cost: $5 with student ID
Contact: Marisa: 619-232-2721 |

Enjoy 150 cherry trees in bloom, cultural entertainment and demonstrations, and authentic Japanese street foods and drinks. Try your hand at crafts and shop for unique gifts and plants.

Download the flier.