Culture through coffee: Japan with a cup of joe

By Maggie Oliver
Guest Writer

March 8, 2013

Avenue 209 might be considered a typical local coffee house, but anyone that has stopped in, or follows them on Facebook knows differently.

The events that fill this café week to week vary greatly and while every business has their batch of regulars, Avenue consistently brings in an eclectic bunch. Last Wednesday night brought in a crowd of students and community members with an interest in Japanese culture.

The program, Culture Through Coffee, is an annual series presented by the Institute for International Studies in coordination with Avenue 209 Coffee House in Lock Haven.

Customarily, an international student or study abroad returnee shares culture aspects of a faraway place with the community. This event featured two international students; Fusayo Nakamoto and Mana Kawahara from Nara University in Japan, and an American student Timothy Keen, who studied abroad at Nara last year.

Everyone was very happy to participate in the event. Mana said, “ this is very good experience for me, to talk about my city, and very good English training, I’m happy to be a part of Culture Through Coffee.”

Tim got the event started with some basic Japanese geography and etiquette as well as a short language lesson. The group learned basic phrases like ‘hello,’ ‘goodbye,’ and thank you.

Following Tim, was Mana, who spoke about Nara City and Nara University which is smaller in size than Lock Haven; although Nara City is a popular tourist destination. Fusayo ended the night talking about Japanese food that is eaten on specific occasions in Japan.

She also talked about the meaning and traditions that go along with the dishes. For everyone in attendance, there were traditional Japanese snacks and candies as well as rice with seasoning.

Rosana Campbell, Director of the Institute for International Studies, was very pleased

Photos courtesy of Maggie Oliver.Timothy Keen and Fusayo Nakamoto enjoying their evening.

Photos courtesy of Maggie Oliver.
Timothy Keen and Fusayo Nakamoto enjoying their evening.

with the event. “Our students Fusayo, Mana and Tim did a wonderful job. It was interesting to see them present Japan from the student perspective, we love to have our students involved in activities with the local community, we always look forward to Culture Through Coffee,” Campbell said.

The next Culture Through Coffee event will be Friday, April 12, at 6 p.m. at Avenue 209. Two students will present on Brazil.

Maggie Oliver is a graduate student majoring in alternative education and can be contacted at


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