April 4, 2016 Vol. 12, No. 5

· Prime Minister Abe visits the U.S. for the Nuclear Security Summit 2016

· Japanese Gardens and Festival Across the U.S.

· Fruits Jelly Wrapped by Cherry Blossom Leaf

· Cherry Blossom Festival Opening Ceremony 2016

· CineMatsuri Screening of Persona Non Grata

(Photo: Cabinet Public
Relations Office)

Prime Minister Abe visits the U.S. for the Nuclear Security Summit 2016

Prime Minister Abe left Washington DC on Saturday following a productive 4 day trip to attend the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). The Summit brought together over 50 national delegations to discuss a variety of nuclear security issues, including what Prime Minister Abe emphasized in Opening Plenary remarks: International and Institutional Actions to Strengthen Nuclear Security.

The occasion also gave Prime Minister Abe a chance to engage in a series of meetings with counterparts, including a Trilateral Discussion with President Obama and Republic of Korea President Park. Prime Minister Abe also joined the White House-hosted National Security Summit 2016‬ dinner to discuss the topic of Nuclear Security Threat Perceptions

During the Summit, the US and Japan released a Joint Statement emphasizing their shared commitment to address nuclear security goals.

Japanese Gardens and Festival Across the U.S.

"We'll never forget the roots of where this all started... where these trees came from and the symbol of peace and friendship they represent." These words from Diana Mayhew, President of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, highlight the treasured friendship between Japan and the United States. Learn more about these special trees, the festivals taking place nation-wide to celebrate them, and the over 250 Japanese Gardens in the U.S.!

Fruits Jelly Wrapped by Cherry Blossom Leaf

"The cherry blossom petals are meant to remind guests that cherry blossom season is coming soon. In Japanese cuisine, we often include an element that guests look forward to in the coming season," the ‪Embassy Chef‬ explained in early March. This fruits jelly is made with Bordeaux wine and includes strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pineapples, and apples. Instead of meshing together, the fruit flavors in this dessert seem to line up to be enjoyed individually, one right after the other. It is wrapped in a slightly-salty cherry tree leaf and garnished with beet sauce and mint sauce (to add a little more green color to the dish).

Cherry Blossom Festival Opening Ceremony 2016

Shamisen, pantomime, big band jazz - and that was only half of the show! The historic Warner Theatre hosted the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival on March 26, which featured a wide variety of Japanese and Japan-related artists.

The curtain opened to the national anthems of Japan and the United States, sung by students of Fox Mill Elementary School's Japanese Language Immersion Program. Performers Dois HAZUKI, Gamarjobat, the 6821 Quintet, and composer Miho Hazama's 13 member jazz Big Band wowed and delighted the audience. The night ended with a pair of spectacular vocal performances by award-winning soprano opera singer Asako Tamura and the soulful Brenna Whitaker.

Ambassador Sasae gave the last address of the evening to a sold out audience, welcoming people from around the country, and around the world, to the upcoming weeks of sightseeing and cultural performances.

If you missed this event, you can still see the 6821 Quintet perform around town on March 28, and Dois HAZUKI at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage on March 30.

CineMatsuri Screening of Persona Non Grata

With his children and grandchildren close by, survivor Nathan Lewin surprised a CineMatsuri audience in Washington, DC and shared the deeply moving story of how his mother and father received a “visa of life” from Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, enabling him (3 years old at the time) and his family to escape the concentration camps. As he told his powerful story, Mr. Lewin held the actual document signed by Sugihara.

In 1940, Sugihara courageously defied his government and issued over 6,000 visas to Jewish people in Lithuania, saving their lives and risking his career. Lewin told his story at a Sunday, March 20 screening of “Persona Non Grata”, a new film dramatizing Sugihara's efforts.