About Us

What is Nippon Club of the Triangle?

The Nippon Club of the Triangle was founded in 1990 as a nonprofit organization committed to providing intercultural programs and activities in the Triangle region (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) of North Carolina.

The Club’s major goal is to foster deeper cultural understandings between Japanese and Americans. To achieve this goal, the Club promotes US-Japan cultural exchange and conducts local service activities. The Club also aims to provide practical information for Japanese who live in this area. The Nippon Club warmly welcomes everyone, Japanese and non-Japanese, who support its goal.

To further promote this goal, the Club supports “Triangle Taiko” (Japanese Drumming Group), “Triangle Chanoyu Club” (traditional Japanese Tea club), and “Mochi-tsuki Club” under its umbrella.


Participate in International Festivals and other international events to introduce Japanese Culture, such as Taiko, Chanoyu, Origami, and Japanese cuisine

  • Support schools and communities in the learning of Japan culture
  • Conduct social events such as Bon-Odori, picnics, Mochi-tsuki, for Club members and local communities
  • Distribute announcements of local events and practical information about life in Triangle through E-mails and bilingual online media
  • Collaborate in cultural events with Japan-related organizations such as NC Japan Center, Japanese Language School, and Triangle Japan Business Association
  • Participate in other activities that foster understandings between Japanese and Americans


The Club’s organization consists of a Board of Directors and Administrative Committee, that are formed by all volunteers. Club activities are planned by the Board, the Committee, and other members who are interested. The Club welcomes the direct participation of as many members as possible in the administration of its activities.

The Directors meets regularly on the first Wednesday of each month. We welcome member participation at any time in these meetings. Please email us at Triangle_Nippon_Club@yahoo.com ahead of time if you are interested in attending.

Current Board of Directors

Rocky Iwashima

Rocky (Tsuguyoshi) is
retired from IBM Japan and his own consulting company. He and his wife
founded Triangle Taiko in 2002 and they continue to introduce Japanese
culture to the Triangle area.


Yoshiko Iwashima

Yoko moved to Raleigh from Fujisawa (Kanagawa prefecture) with her husband and four sons in 1987. Now two of her sons live in Japan and two live in the US. Yoko loves seeing her four (soon to be five) grandchildren on-line. Yoko also enjoys seeing the sparkling eyes of children at school and community events she is involved in.

Foster Thorbjornsen

Foster lived in Kobe for 9 years and worked for a Japanese international law firm in Osaka. He is a former attorney who now advises Japanese and other foreign clients on doing business and technology transfer in the USA.

Bob Henard

Bob, his wife, and his daughter moved to Raleigh in 1991 to work for Kobe Steel in RTP. The family joined the Nippon Club to enjoy taking part in various events organized by both Kobe Steel and the club. Years later, Bob’s daughter moved to Japan to teach English and Bob was able to visit Japan on two occasions. Falling in love with both the physical beauty of Japan, and some of its people, he wanted to try to maintain some connection to the Japanese community in Raleigh, and share his love for Nippon.

David “Chet” Chetwynd

Chet moved to Cary in 2003 with his wife, son, and two daughters. He has held various executive-level positions at Hitachi, Ltd companies, giving him the opportunity to travel extensively to Japan and appreciate Japan’s history and culture. Chet is currently founder and director of JMNC Solutions, focused on strategy and governance for Japanese-owned multinational companies operating in global markets

Sheena Evans

Sheena is a Japanese-American who was born and raised in Japan. Moving to California when she was 7 years old, she continued her Japanese education by attending the local Japanese school. Now living in North Carolina, she works as a recruiter for a SaaS company in Durham.

Marco Machi
Marco is originally from Rome Italy. He moved to Raleigh in 1996 and has since held several executive positions at ABB Inc., working closely with Japanese corporations and customers in the energy and automation industry. Marco lived and worked in Tokyo from 2014 to 2018. During this time he traveled extensively across Japan, developing a deep passion for the country’s unique history and culture. Marco is now back in Raleigh working closely with global customers and partners in Japan and across Asia Pacific. 

Kenichi Kojima

Kenichi moved to Raleigh in 2013 from Yokohama, Japan with his wife as a delegate to BAS Corporation. He works as a researcher for a global insecticide research group of BASF in RTP. He was localized in 2017, though still maintains a liaison roll with his previous company BASF Japan.

Keith Carter

Keith has been interested in Japanese culture since a Japanese exchange student lived with his family when he was 8-years-old. He has spent about 7 months in Japan over the years. He has been a Taiko player for 4 years and has started down the path of making Taiko drums. He is the Presentation Coordinator for the Brooks Pierce law firm and uses that experience to support the Nippon Club at the International and NC Summer Festivals.

Megan Magwood

Megan Magwood received her MA degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Global Studies and received a certificate in Peace and Conflict Resolution. Her research focused on cultural processes constructed and maintained among Okinawan second and third-generation immigrations living in diasporic communities. She is also a JET Program alumna who lived for two years in Tokushima prefecture in Naruto city, from 2013 to 2015.

Current webmaster: Fahad AlSuwaidi