Bi-Weekly Newsletter
April 9 - 22, 2021
Standing Together Against Hate
Spring, in Japan, is a time of new life, often represented by the vibrant cherry blossoms, and of new beginnings with the start of the new school year and the beginning of the new fiscal year for many companies. It is a good time to reflect, and in reflection, the Japan Society of Boston is renewing our commitment in standing against hate. 

As we engage in this process of reflection, we are unfortunately reminded all too often that history is replete with examples of how differences, including but not limited to race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, are used to dehumanize people. At the Japan Society of Boston, we join the Asian and AAPI communities in solidarity to condemn all racial and gendered violence, misogyny and xenophobia. 

We believe in our role in uniting people across differences as it is the first step in achieving racial and gender equity and justice. To this end, the Japan Society of Boston acknowledges and celebrates the work of our friends and colleagues who are counteracting exploitative narratives and practices. We will continue to offer programs and events that bridge differences where each of us can learn to accompany each other in our journey of fostering greater understanding across all dimensions of our community. 

We would also like to take this opportunity to remind our community about “The Japanese Bostonians Support Line” at 781-296-1800, or at
Now open for registration!

Registration for our Spring group lessons is now open! Sign up here!

You can also register for our Japanese for Kids Workshop here!

Read more about all our events below!
This week we interviewed an alum placed in Yamagata! Can you guess what "mokkedano" means in Shonai-ben? Keep scrolling to read an excerpt of the interview, or read the complete version on our website!
Keep up with JSB on social media!
New Board Member
The Board of the Japan Society of Boston welcomes Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa to the Board of Directors. Dr. Kurokawa is Professor Emeritus of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies and of the University of Tokyo; Chairman of the Health and Global Policy Institute; and Chair of the Corona Committee under Minister Nishimura of the Government of Japan.
New Podcast
Find the first three episodes of our new podcast, My Japan Journey, on SpotifyGoogle PodcastsApple Podcasts, and Soundcloud

We explore, through interviews, the untold stories behind the cultural encounters that have transformed our guests' lives.

For transcripts and more information on each speaker, go to our podcast website.
Japan Society of Boston Online Events
Friday, April 23, 2021
6:00 PM EDT

Are you simply speaking the language or actually communicating to connect across cultures?

  • Finding the right expression for “yoroshiku onegaishimas”
  • Addressing someone with -san or by their first name.
  • Understanding when to speak up and when to wait your turn.

Each of these layers — the language, the thought process and the behavior — make up the “codes” that people use to interact and build successful relationships. Join us to learn how to switch between Japanese and US English codes to navigate school, life, and work in both cultures. 
JSB Center for Language Studies: Classes open for registration!
We are pleased to offer beginner, intermediate, and advanced Japanese online courses this spring. We have also added an introductory class that will focus only on hiragana and katakana.

Classes are $300 for 10 weeks online, and
JSB members enjoy a 15% discount!

Friday, April 16, 2021
6:00 to 8:00 PM EST

Hosted online via Zoom
(you will be sent the meeting code after registering)

Please join us for two hours of conversation, where you will be grouped based on your proficiency level. We hope you will take part in our community as we strive to bridge Japanese and American cultures. The theme for this exchange is "language study tips and tricks!"

The JSB Language Room is currently free for all. To help us continue offering our language exchange, please consider making a donation or becoming a member today!
Saturday, May 8, 2021
5:00 - 6:00 PM EDT
$10 JSB Members / $15 Non-members
Hosted online via Zoom

Agedashidofu (揚げ出し豆腐) is lightly deep-fried tofu, typically made out of firm tofu that is lightly dusted with cornstarch then deep-fried until golden brown and served in a hot broth. It is a very old and well-known dish in Japan, first seen in a Japanese cookbook in 1782. While this dish is Japanese, tofu itself is of Chinese origin (its creation is accredited to Prince Liu An in 164 BC) and spread to Japan during the Nara period, likely through the Buddhist movement.
JSB volunteer Debra Samuels is excited to show you how to make your own agedashidofu! She will show us the shallow fry method and the air fryer method. Be sure to bring your appetite for this next installment of our Easy Japanese Home Cooking series! We look forward to seeing you there! 
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
6:00 - 8:00 PM EDT

Do you love Japanese literature? Our goal at the JSB Members' Book Club is to strengthen the Boston community of Japan enthusiasts by coming together to discuss Japanese works. Join us for a conversation about the novel Autumn Light by
Pico Iyer.

Our book club is limited to members only, but don't worry, you can sign up here today! If you are already a member and interested in the group, please contact us to have your name added to the club mailing list.
Notes from JSB
Now hiring a digital intern!
Interested in working with JSB? We're looking for a creative intern who can design our graphics or create contents for our social media sites.

If interested, please send us an email with your letter of intent, resume, and the contact information of two references.

Find more details on our website.

As part of our partnership with the United States-Japan Exchange & Teaching Alumni Association (USJETAA), we will be sharing excerpts of interviews with JET alums in our newsletter!
To read the full interviews, please visit our website.

Episode 8: Yamagata
Interview with Emily Rich
(Sakata, Yamagata 2017-2020)

Q: What are some of the things your prefecture is known for?
Yamagata is known for cherries! 80% of Japanese domestic cherries come from Yamagata. One summer, a neighbor left a giant bag full of three varieties of cherries outside my door. The biggest tourist draws in Yamagata are Yamadera Temple and Mount Zao for skiing and hot springs. Yamagata's flag features three mountains, which represent the Dewa Sanzan: the three holy mountains of Mount Haguro, Mount Gassan, and Mount Yudono. When I think of Yamagata, one of the first things I think of is driving my little blue car through the mountains.
Q: Did you pick up any of the regional dialects? What are some of your favorite words or phrase?
My region of Yamagata was the Shonai region, and Shonai-ben was something I learned bits and pieces of, but it never fully caught on for me. What I remember best is "nda" (んだ) which is something I heard teachers and staff say in the school offices all the time. It just means "yes". I also picked up "mokkedano" (もっけだの) which is "thank you".
Q: If you were to return to live in Japan, would you choose to live in that same prefecture?
 If I returned to Japan, I would not only live in the same prefecture, I would live in the same city. Sakata has become such a special place to me. Last week, in a fit of "homesickness" I made a zine titled "Furusato" which is about Sakata and what makes it so important to me. I wouldn't choose to live anywhere else if I were given the option.

Q: How has your connection in relation to Japan changed since living in Japan?
Before (and after) study abroad, I had a very romanticized view of Japan. I had never truly lived there, never experienced day-to-day life. The experience of living there, developing routines and friendships, and being a part of a Japanese community was very impactful. I view Sakata as a hometown, and I still feel very connected to it. I've recently returned to the US, so I'm in a period of adjustment and I find myself working to continue my connections to Japan and to Sakata.
JSB Staff Pick of the Week
In Japan and elsewhere, Spring is considered a time for new beginnings and fresh starts. In this sprit, we will no longer be including books, films, and shows as our staff picks, but instead will include our favorite songs by Japanese artists!
Online activities from other Japan Societies across the US
Thursday, April 15, 2021
7:00 - 8:00 PM EDT (6:00 - 7:00 PM CDT)

In this interactive webinar, Suzanne Finucane, MS, CCRC, PTA of the Regenstein Foundation Center for Bionic Medicine (CBM) at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab will provide an inside look into the evolving world of robotics research at a leading rehabilitation hospital.

She will discuss how her group has adapted their research methods in the wake of COVID-19 and also touch on some international research collaborations with Japan led by some of her colleagues.
Sunday, April 18, 2021
4:00 - 5:00 PM EDT (3:00 - 4:00 PM CDT)

We are honored to present Mr. Tozaburo Yanagiya, Rakugo storyteller! One of the stories will be told in Japanese, the rest will be in English.

What is Rakugo?
Rakugo is a traditional verbal art originating from Japan. The Rakugo-ka, or Rakugo storyteller sits down and depicts a comical story only using their voice, minimal gesture, and two props: “Sensu” (a fan) and “Tenugui” (a hand towel). Because of the very limited visual elements, Rakugo is enjoyed using Rakugo-ka's verbal technique and the listeners’ imagination. 
Thursday, April 22, 2021
8:30- 9:30 PM EDT (6:30- 7:30PM MDT)

Join JASC to discuss the movie Shoplifters. Produced by Fuji TV and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, Shoplifters, was nominated for and won several international awards. This is a deeply intelligent film, prodding the question of what makes up family.

Watch this film when it works for your schedule, then we’ll gather and discuss the film via Zoom from the comfort of our own homes. We encourage you to make it a Japan night by ordering from your favorite local Japanese restaurant (here are some suggestions)! 
Saturday, April 24, 2021
12:00 - 12:30 PM EDT
Non-JSB Online Activities
Saturday, April 10, 2021
11:00 AM EDT

At 1pm, Friend of Japan House, and friend of Professor Emeritus Shozo Sato, Kerry Marshall of KM Woodworking in Mendocino, CA, will be featured in a free online presentation highlighting his “Journey of Woodworking.”

Kerry will describe the process of milling the huge logs, and then refining these rustic treasures into something truly awe-inspiring and worthy of Sato Sensei’s collection. And, finally, we will meet the two artists as they reminisce on their friendship and adventures over the years.
Saturday, April 10, 2021
7:00 - 10:00 PM EDT

Explore Japanese culture at the 9th RI Sakura Festival! It will be especially amazing because no matter where you are in the world, you can enjoy inspiring student speeches, view Japanese cooking videos, and learn so much about Japan.

Attendees will also get the chance to interact with special guest Matthew Perry, a descendant of Commodore Matthew Perry, who opened Japan from isolation and changed the course of history. Additionally, you will meet our friends in Japan, who will show us around Tokyo. This year's festival will welcome spring with happiness, friendship, and peace from all over the world.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
2:00 - 3:30 PM EDT

March 11th marked the 10-year anniversary of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan which was caused by an initial earthquake and subsequent tsunami. 

This webinar will cover 1) how EPA responded to this accident to protect our nation and what actions EPA has undertaken to improve and strengthen its response capability since then, and 2) how Japan conducted remediation of the off-site contaminated environment focusing on their preparation, implementation, and verification of the work. 
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
8:00 - 8:30 PM EDT (5:00 - 5:30 PM PDT)

In spite of its 400-year history, it has been only a short time since kabuki has come to be considered a traditional performing art.

During the early years of the Meiji period, a number of kabuki plays portrayed the blooming of modern civilization, and kabuki became a target of reformation in the heat of modernization. In particular, the reform of kabuki play scripts was progressed by intellectuals after the Theater Reform Movement in 1886. However, at the same time, there were initial attempts to canonize kabuki plays by central figures in the kabuki industry such as kabuki actors Ichikawa Danjūrō IX and Onoe Kikugorō V, from the 1890s to the early 1900s. By tracing the discourse for the reformation of play scripts and the moves for canonization conducted by actors, we can see how kabuki began to be situated as a classic.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
8:00 - 9:00 PM EDT

As the Minister for Economic Revitalization uniquely in charge of both economic revitalization and COVID-19 control in Japan, Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura will discuss how Japan is creating informed policy to tackle the impacts of COVID-19.

Following Minister Nishimura’s presentation, Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security will provide commentary on the global impacts of COVID-19. Dr. Kent Calder, Director of the Johns Hopkins SAIS Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, will serve as moderator of the event.
Friday, April 16, 2021, 7:00 PM EDT-
Monday, April 19, 2021, 7:00 PM EDT

Actor Odagiri Joe makes his feature film directorial debut from an original script he wrote which asks what is a compassionate way of life. Joining the staff are legendary cinematographer Christopher Doyle and Academy Award-winning costume designer Wada Emi.

In a village nestled in a valley where bridge construction has been moving forward due to modernization, Toichi (Emoto Akira) is a boatman who lives in a modest cabin along the riverside. He goes about his days silently paddling a ferryboat across the river. One day an orphan girl (Kawashima Ririka) shows up and transforms his once peaceful yet mundane way of life.
Friday, April 16, 2021
8:00 PM EDT

Cultural Exchange LLC will offer an observational class on Kintsugi to the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation community. Kintsugi artist Tomomi Kamoshita will share with Zoom viewers the art of traditional pottery repair while Maki Aizawa discusses issues of perception and creativity, exploring ideas such as the choices an artist experiences in recreating a whole piece from brokenness.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
8:00 PM - 9:00 PM EDT

In this WIT session, we will be speaking to Takaho Iwasaki, Founder and CEO of Hawaii-based MajiConnection. A native of Japan, Takaho identified gaps that hindered cross-border business and technology exchange opportunities between Japan and the U.S., specifically Hawaii. 
Thursday, April 22, 2021
1:30 - 3:00 PM EDT

The kimono is an iconic garment. A symbol of Japanese national culture and sensibility, it is generally perceived as a traditional, unchanging costume. The recent V&A exhibition Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk, countered that conception, revealing that the kimono has always been a highly dynamic, fashionable garment.

In this talk, Anna Jackson, the curator of the exhibition, will take us on a fascinating journey from the sophisticated culture of 17th century Kyoto to the contemporary catwalk and reveal some of the stories behind the exhibition.
Ongoing through Sunday, April 11, 2021

Inspired by the ruined landscape of Fukushima, Japanese auteur Sion Sono (Love Exposure, Tokyo Tribe) created this eccentric science fiction parable about humanity’s destructive effect on the environment.

Megumi Kagurazaka plays Yoko, a humanoid interstellar delivery robot who runs on AA batteries and travels from planet to planet in a spaceship that looks like a Japanese bungalow. During her journey, she becomes curious about the packages she carries-especially those bound for Earth, where humans have become an endangered species.

The fact that the planet’s landscapes “were shot in evacuated zones of Fukushima, primarily with non-professional actors living in the area affected by the nuclear disaster, makes the film's themes of memory and decay that much more haunting.
Additional Resources
Japanese study resources