MEETING ‘MOMO’ – “Japan Revisited” Exhibit and Reception at Grover Museum

On Sunday, July 13th, the Japan Revisited Reception was held at the Grover Museum. Coincidentally this year also marks the 25th anniversary of the mutual association and community exchange between Shelbyville, IN and Shizuoka city (Kambara), Japan.  The Grover Museum decided to have the Japan Revisited Exhibit and Reception at the same time to celebrate this important anniversary.  An exhibit of everything Japanese is scheduled at the Grover Museum from July 15- September 25, 2013.

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The entire Japanese exhibit is a collection of Todd Jay Leonard’s that he brought back from his time living in Japan. Professor Todd Jay Leonard was born and raised in Shelbyville, IN. He has had an ongoing relationship with Japan for nearly 35 years.


Professor Leonard first lived in Japan as a Youth for Understanding (YFU) exchange student as a Shelbyville Senior High School junior during the summer of 1979. When he was a high school student, he was always fascinated with foreign cultures. At that time, the relationship between Shelbyville and Japan didn’t exist yet like it does today. Shelbyville high school had only 2 Japanese students, he said. So his group was the pioneer group to go overseas. Actually he was supposed to go to Spain because he had studied Spanish. But many people wanted to go Spain so that program was closed quickly. Then it was suggested that he go to Japan. He had never really thought much about Japan but became inspired by the many books he was given to study about Japan from the Carnegie Library. “This is culture”

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During his stay in Japan, Professor Leonard’s family became a host family to Jun Ishii a student from Japan. Professor Leonard fell in love with the culture, the language, and the Japanese people. He visited Japan for his 2nd time in his college days in 1983. After graduating from Purdue University, he had the opportunity to teach Junior High School English in Japan for a year which turned into two, then three; he then accepted a position at a university as a professor in 1992. For the past 25 years, he has lived and worked full-time in Japan as an educator and author.

His family, teacher, friends, many people came to the reception. At his speech during the reception, he talked about what he likes about Japan, too. At first he talked about Japanese taxis. Japanese taxi’s drivers wear hats. In the taxi, it’s very clean. And the taxi doors open and close automatically. So when he used a taxi in New York, as he got out and was starting to walk away, the driver said “Hey! Shut the door!” Many people who visit Japan, almost everyone, like Japanese Toilets. He also does. It has a bidet function and a heated seat. The latest function is when you enter the room, the lid opens by itself much like the taxi! Public transportation is also one of his favorite things. People use public transportation very often. We have many kinds of trains, buses, and taxis. He lives in Japan without a car but he still has one in US. He also talked about no-tipping, the post and parcel service, public baths, hot spring spots, hair salons, the custom of give and take, and so on. I was glad to hear that what he likes the most are the people in Japan.


After Professor Leonard’s speech, it was great to hear speeches from  Linda Sanders (who is the president of Shelby County International Relation Council (SCIRC)), Rob Nolley (who took students to Japan and is also on SCIRC) and the students who visited Shizuoka last month. They talked about their experiences which they had in Japan.

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This year marks the 25th anniversary of our sister city relationship. That is a very good time to have this “Japan Revisited” exhibit.

Please visit Grover Museum and enjoy your journey to Japan!

“Japan Revisited” At Grover Museum, from July 15- September 25, 2013

Grover Museum:



6月13日 (日)、グローバー・ミュージアムで “Japan Revisited” のレセプションが行われました。今年はシェルビービルと静岡の姉妹都市交流25周年を迎えます。グローバー・ミュージアムはこの大切な年を記念して、この展覧会とレセプションを開催する事を決めました。展覧会はグローバル・ミュージアムで7月15日から9月25日までを予定しています。

この展覧会のものは全てTodd Jay Leonard教授が日本から持ってきたものです。Todd Jay Leonard教授はシェルビービルで生まれ、ここで育ちました。彼は日本との交流を35年間近く続けています。


彼が日本へ滞在している間、そのホストファミリーの息子さん (イシイ ジュンさん) はレオナルド教授のアメリカにいる家族のところに滞在しました。レオナルド教授は日本の文化、言語、人々が大好きになりました。1983年、彼は日本を再び訪れます。Purdue大学を卒業した後、日本の中学校で1年間英語を教える機会を得ます。1年が2年になり、2年が3年になり…、そして1992年に大学で教授として赴任しました。以来25年間、教育者また作家としてずっと日本に住んでいます。






レオナルド教授のスピーチの後には、シェルビービル国際交流協会会長のLinda Sanders、先月学生たちを日本へ引率し、同じく国際交流会に所属しているRob Nolley、そして日本へ訪問した学生2人もスピーチを行いました。彼女たちは日本での体験を話してくれました。

今年で姉妹都市交流は25周年を迎えます。とっても良いタイミングでこの”Japan Revisited”展覧会が開かれることがとても嬉しいです。


“Japan Revisited” At Grover Museum, from July 15- September 25, 2013

Grover Museum:

What are your thoughts?