Upcoming events

    • 10 Dec 2019
    • 07 Feb 2020
    • JASO, 221 NW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97209
    We are pleased to announce our Winter Term courses in Japanese Language for Business Purposes from mid-January.

    All courses:

           Are 8 weeks long
    Are 90-minutes long
    Use the immersion method – Japanese language only through the entire class period
    Require your preparation for the planned class prior to the actual lesson – up to 2 hours
    Are an intense learning experience
    Focus on business language, business situations, and building business relationships through small talk and conversation
    Are speaking and listening-focused (reading and writing can be done at home)
    Require your significant commitment in order to succeed

    Business Japanese for Beginners 101

     6:15-7:45pm, Fridays January 24 – March 13 (March 20 in case of emergency need)

    This course provides participants with an opportunity to start to create Japanese-language oral communication skills.

    With commitment, participants will be able to understand and exhibit culturally-appropriate basic Japanese business behaviors and gain confidence interacting with Japanese business people.

    Participants will practice greetings and ritual expressions; introducing themselves; and talking about daily activities and schedules.


    Commit 8 weeks of study.
    No prior Japanese language skills required; this course is for beginners.
    Be ready to study and participate at the class.

    Class preparation each week will take approximately 2 hours, and include listening to audio files, reading and learning grammar structures and vocabulary.

     Textbook provided and supplemented with teacher’s own materials, no additional fees.

    Business Japanese for Beginners 105

    7pm – 8:30pm, Mondays January 27 – March 23 (February 17 class not held) (March 30 in case of emergency need)

    This course focuses on oral communication in a culturally-appropriate manner, with an emphasis on pronunciation.

    With commitment, participants will become more confident speaking Japanese, and will practice common office expressions.


    Commit 8 weeks of study.
    As a prerequisite you should be able to
    use greetings and ritual expressions, introduce yourself, and talk about daily activities and schedules.
    Class preparation each week will take approximately 2 hours, and include listening to audio files, reading and learning grammar structures and vocabulary.

    Textbook provided and supplemented with teacher’s own materials, no additional fees.

    Business Japanese for Beginners 202 - THIS CLASS IS NOW FULL, AND NOT ACCEPTING FURTHER SIGN-UPS

    6:15pm – 7:45pm, Mondays January 27 – March 23 (February 17 class not held) (March 30 in case of emergency need)

    The course focuses on oral communication in a culturally-appropriate manner, with an emphasis on pronunciation.

    After taking this 8-week course and with sufficient effort, participants will become more confident speaking Japanese.

    Participants will review comparisons of two or more items, the use of ‘te-form’ and “plain form” in noun modification sentences, and will practice ritual office expressions, expanding the use of ‘te-form’, conversation with potential form and the expressions for requests, permission and necessities.


    Commit 8 weeks of study.
    Class preparation each week will take approximately 2 hours, and include listening to audio files, reading and learning grammar structures and vocabulary.

    Textbook provided and supplemented with teacher’s own materials, no additional fees.

    Intermediate Business Japanese 402

    7:15pm – 8:45pm, Tuesdays January 21 – March 10 (March 17 in case of emergency need)

    The course focuses on oral communication with an emphasis on topic discussion and giving presentations in a culturally-appropriate manner.

    With commitment, participants will become more confident speaking Japanese and proficiently expressing your thoughts and ideas.


    You must be able to hold a reasonable conversation.
    Students should recognize and pronounce hiragana, katakana, and a minimum 500 kanji, and know how to look up unknown Kanji.
    Students must have significant history and study of the language.

    Class preparation each week will take approximately 2 hours (sometimes longer), and include reading a contemporary current affairs or business passage; talking for one minute on something topical and answering and asking questions; preparing and giving a term-end presentation in class.

    No textbook used. Teacher supplies materials.

    Returning students have read:




    Note: students are given kanji/hiragana sheets to help


    Narumi Iwasaki has taught Japanese language at PSU since 2016, and holds an MA in Literature and a BA in Law. Narumi has more than 5 years business experience in public sector sales, and became involved in union activities. Narumi teaches 101 and 105.

    Natsuko Llewellyn has taught the Japanese language for 10 years in both Japan and the US including business Japanese at the Yamasa Institute; and has worked in business in both Kobe and Nagoya. Natsuko is currently completing her MA in Japanese at PSU. She holds certificates in teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language, English as a Foreign Language, and a BA in European and American Studies from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Natsuko teaches 202.

    Ryoko Yamazaki holds a Master of Japanese Applied Linguistics from Waseda University, an MEd from PSU, and a BA in Literature also from Waseda. She has taught Japanese language at Waseda and Sumida International Learning Center in Tokyo, and Portland Japanese School and Lakeridge High School in Oregon. Ryoko teaches 402.


    New Students: Members - pay by January 8, $330; pay January 9 - 17, $380
    Non-Members - pay $500.

    Returning Students pay $300 if by January 8. $380 after.

    Classes will be held at 221 NW 2nd Ave, conference rooms, Portland, OR 97209

    Sign Up: Now open.  

    Course Placement

    Students are sometimes unsure which class is the right fit. After you sign up, we send an Evaluation Survey to new students to help us place. We also give you the option of attending 2 classes during Week 1 (be careful, this means you have to do 2 sets of preparation – around 4 hours total)

    Refund Policy

    Course will run with minimum 4 students signing up. If course does not run, 100% of fees refunded. Cancellation after January 17, no refund if your cancellation causes numbers to drop below 4 in total. 50% refund otherwise. Refund processed after classes start. We will communicate with you as sign-up windows close regarding number of sign-ups.

    We understand business people sometimes have work commitments that cause them to miss class. Many students end up missing 1 or 2 classes because of work commitments. We price these classes affordably in order to take this into consideration. We do not give refunds because “work became busy”.

    • 19 Feb 2020
    • 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM
    • Hilton downtown Portland, 921 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97204

    Join us and support the discussion and education on women's leadership and empowerment in the workplace.

    Three prominent women leaders:

    from Japan an international correspondent and executive producer at the country's leading media outlet,

    nationally a Japanese-American leader across business sectors at the US subsidiary of Japan's iconic auto maker Toyota, and

    locally, a Japanese-American who led several brand sectors at Nike

    Learn their personal stories, and how as women they managed to break barriers, gain leadership skills, and develop their own potentials in some of the most male-dominated businesses globally.

    Miki Ebara was one of the first female foreign correspondents at NHK, and has built her career living in London, Bangkok and New York. Miki has traveled the globe to report from war zones, and on elections, natural disasters and nuclear weapons. Now based in Tokyo as Executive Producer and Chief International Correspondent at NHK World, Miki brings a Japanese perspective on women at work around the world, and at a major Japanese media corporation.

    As Group Vice President for Corporate Strategy & Innovation at Toyota Financial Services (TFS), Julia Wada directs strategy research and innovation, and sits on the Executive Management Committee. Julia has developed her career at Toyota over 29 years, managing and leading in product planning, eBusiness, Human Resources, Real Estate, Diversity & Inclusion, and Information Technology. As a female of Japanese-American heritage, working at an iconic Japanese company US subsidiary over a period of significant transformation, Julia has a unique perspective on female leadership and the cross-cultural dynamics of the workplace.

    Melanie Strong has a Japanese mother and lived in Kobe as a child. After landing at Nike, she progressed through 17 years in positions including VP NikeWomen and General Manager Nike Skateboarding. Now a business entrepreneur in Hood River, and as part of a venture capital group in the sports and health tech sector, Melanie has played a significant role as a voice and as a leader for women in sport, both in the marketplace and in the workplace.


    Mari Watanabe, Executive Director, Partners in Diversity, Portland Business Alliance

    An expert in diversity issues in the world of business and the non-profit sector, Mari will moderate the discussion among our panelists.

    Event Program (all times approx.)
    11:15am Check-In opens
    11:15-11:50am Event Check-In, Networking
    11:50am Welcome, Lunch served
    12-1pm Program
    1-1:30pm Audience Q&A
    1:30pm Close

    Japan Currents is made possible by:

    Japan Currents is sponsored by:




    • 05 Mar 2020
    • 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    • JASO office, 221 NW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97209




    ー 上司と部下との間のコミュニケーション

    ー 挨拶とスモールトークで始まるビジネスミーティング

    ー ビジネスでもレディスファーストの文化

    ー どこまで相手のプライベートに関与してよいのか

    ー マイクロマネジメントに陥らないための注意点

    ー 相手を褒めたり、励ましたりする英語表現

    ー ケーススタディ

    Helping Japanese businesspeople be more successful in the US

    If your company is a Gold Member of JASO (or above), we have a great membership benefit for you.

    From 6-8pm on Thursday March 7, up to 4 employees total may attend this workshop absolutely free of charge. The event is held in the Japanese language.

    For the Japanese business person, whether an expat from a Japanese company or an individual, success in the US is about more than straight business talk. Standard Japanese business practices don’t translate directly; misunderstandings in communication or manner can lead to confusion and mistakes. Ken Sakai is a Japanese business professional from Japan with over 30 years’ experience living in the USA. During this 2-hour workshop, Ken offers valuable insights to guide the Japanese business professional to greater success.

    Communication between the boss and workers that report directly to him/her
    How to start business conversations – what about greetings and small talk?
    Considering gender-based etiquette
    Private life versus work matters
    What does work-life balance really mean?
    Taking risks in business
    Do’s and don’ts of micromanagement
    English phrases for appreciation and encouragement
    Making meetings more effective
    Case studies

    If you want to attend this free workshop, go online here and sign up you and/or your company employees.

    If you want to upgrade your membership so that you can attend, call Graham at 503-552-8813 or Kaoru at 503-552-8811.
    • 17 Mar 2020
    • 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
    • JASO, 221 NW 2nd Ave, 3rd fl, Portland, OR 97209

    Are you a new JASO member? Do you want to find out more about our programs and activities? Do you want to get involved more in our work?

    Join us for a free, delicious breakfast; meet some of our Board, Committee, and staff members, and network with each other too - all while finding out more!

    You're probably still new to JASO, but you don't have to be - maybe you just want to find out more. Join us for breakfast!

    • 02 Apr 2020
    • 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    • JASO office, 221 NW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97209

    Do you work at a Japanese company here locally? Perhaps your have Japanese corporate clients? Or maybe you've been doing business in or with Japan for years, but still have some burning cultural questions? Or rather you're interested in doing business in Japan, but don’t know much about the business practices or the culture?

    This workshop will give you a variety of key fundamentals. especially good for those in sales, business development and human resources. Daily applications for those on the shop floor and those in upper management.

    Join us from 6-8pm on April 2, 2020 for this workshop led by Sue Shinomiya of Global Business Passport. Sue has over 25 years of experience, 10 of them in Japan, working with companies to develop their intercultural competencies and inclusive leadership practices. Sue will guide us through key Japanese concepts, case studies and hands-on skill-building exercises.

    This event is for Gold members and above only.

    Free for Gold members and above, register up to 4 employees total. To upgrade your membership to the Gold level, contact Graham at 503-552-8813 or Kaoru at 503-0552-8811.

Past events

15 Jan 2020 2020 Shinnenkai presented by SakéOne
12 Dec 2019 2019 Holiday After Hours
19 Nov 2019 Creativity Matters with John Jay
15 Nov 2019 Japanese Movie Night
17 Oct 2019 110th out of 149: Japan's Continuing Struggle with Gender Equality
23 Aug 2019 2019 Golf Tournament
24 Jul 2019 JASO Next Networking Meet-Up
18 Jul 2019 2019 Beer Garden @ Wacom
23 May 2019 2019 Annual Dinner & AGM
25 Apr 2019 Marubeni & The Columbia Region: Past, Present and Future Opportunities
16 Apr 2019 Spring 2019 Japanese Classes for Business
04 Apr 2019 Helping US Business People Be More Successful with Japan
24 Mar 2019 Sakura Sunday
07 Mar 2019 Helping Japanese Business People Be Successful in the US
06 Mar 2019 Nike-Japan Connections: Past, Present & Future
07 Feb 2019 Women in Leadership: Inspiring Stories of Success Across Sectors
21 Jan 2019 Japanese Language for Business Class Schedule, 2019 Winter Term
17 Jan 2019 2019 Shinnenkai
04 Dec 2018 2018 Holiday After Hours
15 Nov 2018 JASO Women's Leadership Council Event
02 Oct 2018 20 Years in Japan: How Columbia Sportswear Keeps Growing in a very Competitive Market
26 Sep 2018 After Hours @ KEEN Footwear
18 Sep 2018 Japanese Language Classes: Fall 2018 Term
24 Aug 2018 Annual Golf Tournament
12 Jul 2018 2018 Beer Garden @Ecotrust 3F Terrace
20 Jun 2018 Oregon & Japan: The Business of Sport
23 May 2018 JASO Annual Dinner & AGM
03 May 2018 Women's Leadership Council Networking
26 Apr 2018 Past, Present & Future of Saké in Japan, the US, & the World
19 Apr 2018 New Member Orientation Meeting
05 Apr 2018 Managing Japanese Business Relationships: A Workshop for US Business People
29 Mar 2018 Umami on a Global Scale: The Expansion of Ajinomoto
25 Mar 2018 Sakura Sunday
01 Mar 2018 Managing in the US: A Workshop for Japanese Business People
24 Jan 2018 Celebrating Success and Achievement of Women in Leadership: Inspiring stories from Phyllis Campbell and Denise Moriguchi
18 Jan 2018 Shinnenkai
14 Dec 2017 NEW 2018 Japanese Language for Business Classes
16 Nov 2017 Tokyo: City of World-Leading Design
02 Oct 2017 JETRO Platform Program プラットフォーム事業ご紹介セミナー
21 Sep 2017 Corporate Connections: Culmination Brewery Tasting and Tour
14 Jul 2017 2017 Beer Garden @Ecotrust 3F Terrace
11 Jul 2017 Japanese Language for Business Classes
20 Jun 2017 JASO Annual Dinner & AGM
25 May 2017 Visit Ajinomoto: The Essence of Taste
24 May 2017 Meet and Greet for New and Renewal Member
11 May 2017 Growing Together From Shared Roots: Inside the Merger of The Standard and Meiji Yasuda
02 May 2017 JASO New and Renewing Members Meet & Greet
27 Apr 2017 Spring After Hours
07 Mar 2017 A Discussion with Christina Ahmadjian
23 Feb 2017 Getting it Right with Your Japanese Business Partners - Top 10 Cultural Survival Tips
02 Feb 2017 JASO New and Renewing Members Meet & Greet
26 Jan 2017 Dollars & Yen - Making Foreign Exchange Work for your Business
19 Jan 2017 JASO's 2017 New Year Celebration "Shinnenkai"
06 Dec 2016 Holiday After Hours at Mackenzie
02 Dec 2016 Mitsubishi Corporation in the US - Past, Present & Future
09 Nov 2016 JASO New Member Meet & Greet
24 Oct 2016 Walk in US, Talk on Japan
09 Sep 2016 Planes, Trains & Autos: Transportation in the 21st Century
14 Jul 2016 2016 Beer Garden @Ecotrust 3F Terrace
23 Jun 2016 日本酒 in the US - Discover the saké brewing industry
19 May 2016 Sustainable Sushi: A Recipe for Success
10 May 2016 60th Annual Dinner
01 Apr 2016 Corporate Connections: The Coffee Industry from Seed to Cup!
23 Mar 2016 Opportunities in the Contemporary Bioscience Industry in the USA & Japan
17 Mar 2016 Unprepared

Japan-America Society of Oregon is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. 221 NW 2nd Ave #202, Portland, OR 97209

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