WSU President Floyd and others from WSU with Consul General Ota and his delegation.
 
 
PULLMAN – Since universities such as WSU provide people with food for thought, the Japanese consul general in Seattle decided to provoke thought by providing food when he visited WSU Pullman last week.
 

Ota
Consul General Kiyokazu Ota and his wife, Junko Ota, were on a week-long sweep through eastern Washington, visiting the University of Idaho on Monday and WSU on Tuesday before heading to Spokane to open Japan Week.
 
Ota, who was appointed consulate general of Japan in Seattle in 2010, was on his first visit to the Palouse. His itinerary included meeting with Pullman Mayor (and WSU communication professor) Glenn Johnson, lunching with WSU leaders including President Elson S. Floyd, Provost Warwick Bayly and Vice Provost Prema Arasu, meeting with staff of WSU International Programs and touring the campus.
 


Photos by Judy Edmister, International Programs.

Following a taiko drum demonstration at 5 p.m. by the WSU Japan Club on Terrell mall, about 60 WSU faculty, staff, students and community members were invited into the College of Business’ Hospitality Suite dining room at Todd Hall. Using new video equipment recently installed in the kitchens, guests were able to watch a detailed cooking demonstration by the resident chef of the Japanese consulate.
 
Junko Ota provided commentary for preparing Japanese-style soup stock (dashi) and smoked salmon sushi (oshizushi). With assistance from students of the Hospitality Business Management program, guests were offered samples of both items, as well as a beef rice bowl (gyu-don), fried tofu bowl (atsuage-don) and miso soup made with pork and vegetables (ton-jiru).
 
(Two dashi recipes are available here.)
 
In remarks before the cooking demonstration, Akira Takeda, senior aide for information and cultural affairs at the consulate, led a moment of silence in remembrance of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan. He thanked the United States for its immediate and ongoing assistance in dealing with the crisis.
Ota made special mention of WSU’s Asian studies major and Japanese language minor, saying that students pursuing those courses of study would find great opportunities in his country as well as other Asian countries.
 
Noriko Kawamura, WSU associate professor of history, said the Japanese consulate in Seattle has been very supportive of efforts to increase understanding between the U.S. and Japan, including recruiting for the JET program (Japan Exchange and Teaching), providing scholarships for travel to Japan and helping to fund various cultural events on campus, such as Japanese film nights.
 
A guest tries on samurai armor. Photo
by Judy Edmister, International
Programs.
Kawamura, who was on the committee that helped organize the visit, said it was a wonderful opportunity to talk with the consul general about research initiatives and education programs of common interest to WSU and Japan.
 
“I think the quality of education and facilities at WSU and our enthusiasm for Japan had a very positive impression on them,” she said. In the past 10 years, she said, WSU has added three Japanese-focused faculty members, in foreign language and cultures and in history.
 
David Pietz, director of WSU’s Asia Studies Program, said Ota’s appearance on campus and his focus on the future was affirmation that, despite the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami, Japan will rebuild and continue to have a vibrant economy and important role in world events.

The final event of the day was a screening of the popular Japanese samurai film “Hidden Blade,” which was sponsored by the Japanese consulate. Two suits of samurai armor were available for people to try on or just look at.