North Central College - Naperville, IL

Campus Coffee to feature Japan-North Central connection

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North Central College Professors Fukumi Matsubara and Jack Shindler
North Central College Professors Fukumi Matsubara and Jack Shindler

The College will host a special Campus Coffee on Feb. 21 that will focus on the rich history and longtime connections between Japan and North Central College.

Faculty and staff who attend the Campus Coffee on Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in Smith Hall, will enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine, interaction with students from Japan and those learning Japanese, and learning about the College’s connection with Japan.

The first Japanese students came to North-Western College in 1873 and the College built ties with Japan through missionary work of the Evangelical Church more than 100 years ago. The College’s international study and exchanges and Japanese language major have their origins in this early missionary connection. North Central is one of the few liberal arts colleges of its size that has a Japanese major.

The idea to feature Japan and the Japanese program began with the Sesquicentennial Committee’s efforts to acknowledge aspects of the College’s history, including its international connections. During Homecoming 2011, a reunion was held of alumni from Japan and those who studied in Japan. An outcome of that reunion was the desire of members of the Japanese program, College Archives, and the offices of Development and Ministry and Service to share North Central’s history related to Japan with the campus community during a special Campus Coffee.

Featured during the coffee will be history boards, which were prepared by Archivist Kimberly Butler with students’ assistance, for display at the Homecoming reunion. The history will highlight North Central’s direct exchanges with colleges in Japan, the many students and alumni from Japan who came to study here, the development of the Japanese and East Asian Studies programs, and alumni who were and still are missionaries in Japan.

Visitors will be able to sample Japanese cuisine—including rice crackers, sushi, gyoza, vegetable tempura, agedashidofu and fried rice—and Japanese students will serve and explain the different foods. American food will also be available. Kimonos and ornamental items that are gifts to the College from Mrs. Shige Masaki ’54 Nagamura will be on display, and faculty and staff will be invited to share their experiences about Japan. Using Post-it® notes, visitors can write out and post to a display board their connections with Japan, either through study abroad opportunities, family or professional connections, and more.
Photo, l. to r.: Speaking at the Japanese reunion during Homecoming 2011 are Fukumi Matsubara, professor of Japanese, and Jack Shindler, professor of English and director of international programs