Japanese Speech Contest in 13th year, now at UA



Odaiko Sonora taiko drummers will be performing at 3:15 p.m.. Our Southern AZ Japanese Cultural Coalition (of which I am the website Editor) will have a table. I’ll be teaching how to play a Japanese card game called hanafuda (flower cards). Please drop by to say hello & learn about our Japanese culture and listen to the speech contest.

This event is organized by the SAAJE:  Southern Arizona Assn. for Japanese Education, www.saaje.org. Previous contests have been held at various PCC campuses.

SAAJE, a nonprofit association, was founded to promote Japanese language and culture education in Southern Arizona.  Its membership includes professionals and nonprofessionals involved in the Japanese language, in traditional Japanese arts and crafts, and in historical and contemporary Japanese culture.

Additionally, the SAAJE website provides an integrated guide to language classes, cutural events, clubs and associations, and goods and services related to an interest in Japan.

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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for Tucsoncitizen.com for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, www.southernazjapan.org (since Jan. 2013).


  1. Well attended event for those learning Japanese, from Japan, interested in Japanese culture. Booths included kyudo, origami, calligraphy, ikebana, etc. Welcome by Dean Kim Jones of UA and East Asian Studies Dept. Chair Albert Welter. Dena Jones said that enrollment of students in Japanese language has increased since 2002 when this contest first started, by Dr. Yosei Sugawara of PCC (who has moved to North Carolina). I taught hanafuda to several college students, many of whom had heard of this game from their families. Another successful speech contest, first time at the UA.

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