Bi-Weekly Newsletter
January 12 - January 26, 2021
In December, we made the very sad announcement of the passing of our beloved board member, Dr. Ezra Vogel, the country's leading expert on East Asia. Dr. Vogel was a warm, and deeply generous man who saw the good in every person and in every nation. As we proceed with 2021, we will remember his energy and unwavering commitment to making the world a better place. To follow in Dr. Vogel's path, we commit to bringing people together to strengthen the understanding and respect for each other. 
In collaboration with the U.S. JET Alumni Association, we will be publishing interviews with JET alumni about their experiences in Japan! Each interviewee will be from a different prefecture, and this week's alum was placed in Aomori!
Keep scrolling to read an excerpt of the interview, or read the complete version on our website!
Featured Event
Join us on January 15th for our member-only shinnenkai! Come meet fellow JSB members and vote on the programs you want to see in 2021! Learn more about this event below.
Are you studying or hoping to study Japanese? Check out our monthly language newsletter designed for language learners like you! You can sign up to receive the Nihongo Perapera Newsletter by emailing us your info!
More Ways to Help
You can contribute to the Japan Society of Boston through your Amazon purchases! Every time you shop through Amazon Smile, a small percentage of your purchase is donated to the non-profit of your choice. Please consider choosing the Japan Society of Boston as your non-profit.
Keep up with JSB on social media!
Japan Society of Boston Online Events
Friday, January 15, 2021
7:00 - 8:00 PM EST

We'll be kicking off the New Year with a shinnenkai for our members! Join us for a New Year Celebration party and meet fellow JSB members, as well as our staff and interns. We'll meet over Zoom in small groups and share our love of US/Japan connections! The evening will also include an opportunity for our members to help decide some of the programs we'll be bringing in 2021.

Not a member yet? No worries! Sign up for a JSB membership today and receive a book by Pico Iyer!
Starting Wednesday, January 20, 2021 for 5 days (Virtual Screening)
Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 7:00 PM EST (Discussion)

Back by popular demand! If you missed the Boston premiere screening one year ago, we are partnering with Vilna Shul to host the film again! 

Join film director Cellin Gluck, Sugihara Diplomats for Life Foundation Chairman Linas Venclauskas, and a Facing History & Ourselves expert for a discussion on the unknown story of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat (sometimes called the Schindler of Japan). What influenced his decision to issue over 2,000 visas to Jewish refugees in Kaunas, Lithuania resulting in saving the lives of over 6,000 people?

The film will be available starting Wednesday, January 20 for only 5 days. Watch it at your convenience, and then join us Saturday evening for the panel discussion. Please check out the film on the official film website (Japanese only) and the Nippon TV website for the film (English only).
Virtual New Year Celebration Videos with the Boston Children's Museum!
The first video will be released on our Facebook page on 1/21!

In lieu of an in-person New Year's celebration held at the Boston Children's Museum every year, we are bringing you videos with the Boston Children's Museum to kick off the New Year!

The first video will cover お節 (osechi), or New Year foods, and is now in progress! Check out our Facebook on 1/21 and 1/22!
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
6:00 - 8:00 PM EST

Do you love Japanese literature? Our goal at the JSB Member's Book Club is to strengthen the Boston community of Japan enthusiasts by coming together to discuss Japanese works. Join us for a conversation about Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata.

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.
Saturday, January 30, 2021
5:00 - 6:00 PM EST
$10 JSB Members / $15 Non-members
Hosted online via Zoom

Yosenabe (寄せ鍋) is a Japanese hot pot made with just about any kind of meat, seafood, or vegetables. This tasty dish is very easy to make, and a great way to stay warm this winter! Yose (寄せ) comes from yoseru, meaning "to gather" or "bring together," and nabe (鍋) is the word for pot.

JSB volunteer Masayo Kawaguchi is excited to teach you her favorite yosenabe recipe! Be sure to bring your appetite for this next installment of our Easy Japanese Home Cooking series! We look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, January 22, 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 next exchange will be "places to visit in Japan."

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!
Join the JSB Japanese Language School community!
Is your new year's resolution to improve your Japanese fluency? Do you feel your
Japanese is a little rusty? There's still time to register for our intermediate and advanced group lessons! Register here.
We also offer writing workshops for intermediate level students! Our new language/culture workshop in February is perfect for learners with busy schedules. You'll meet once at the start and once at the end via zoom but the two weeks in between will just involve submitting written works via email which the teacher will correct and return to you! Learn more and register here.
Notes from JSB
JSB Staff Pick of the Week
With more time at home, we've asked our staff to pick some of their favorite movies and books.

1Q84 is the story of a fictionalized year in 1984 in parallel with real one. A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project.

1Q84 is a dystopian novel written by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, first published in three volumes in Japan in 2009–10.

As part of our partnership with the United States-Japan Exchange & Teaching Alumni Association, we will be sharing excerpts of interviews with JET alums in our newsletter!
To read the full interviews, please visit our website.
Episode 2: Aomori
Interview with
Abigail MacBain
(Ajigasawa, Aomori 2004-2006)

Q: What are some of the things your prefecture is known for?
First and foremost, Aomori is famous for its apples. My town's thing was the "squid curtains" lining the seashore. Aomori also boasts excellent Jomon archaeological sites, including Japan's largest at Sannai Maruyama just outside Aomori City. And, of course, the cherry blossoms, autumn leaves, and snow lanterns at Hirosaki Castle are exquisite.

Q: Did you pick up any of the regional dialects?
I will still sometimes use me-kya for "tasty," or heba na for "goodbye." I was so focused on learning standard Japanese that I didn't take much effort to learn Tsugaru-ben, though, and now I wish I had. 

Q: How has your connection in relation to Japan changed since living in Japan?
While my goal of becoming a professor has never wavered, my experiences as a JET made me want to be part of the process from the other side. For that reason, I put my educational aspirations on hold for four years and took a job at the Consulate General of Japan in Miami, where I served as the JET Coordinator for the State of Florida. When the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred in 2011, I was the only member of the consulate with a direct connection to Tōhoku, where the earthquakes and tsunami caused the greatest damage. I could picture some of the towns that were demolished, especially as I was working to verify the safety of the JETs and Monbukagakushō scholars who had departed through my office. While that was among the most intense and challenging experiences of my life, it also reaffirmed the emotional tie I have to that part of Japan.

This interview is part of a partnership between the Japan Society of Boston (JSB) and the United States-Japan Exchange & Teaching Programme Alumni Association (USJETAA).
Online activities from other Japan Societies across the US
January 13, 6:30 PM EST - January 14, 10:00 AM EST
Each January, Japan-America Society of Washington DC partners with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, to hold their Japan in the Year program. Japan in 2021 will convene experts across the United States, Japan, and the Indo-Pacific, for a virtual version of the program. 

The event will feature a fireside chat between Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae and Ambassador John Roos, moderated by Dr. Sheila Smith.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
7:00 PM EST (4:00 PM PST)

Please join us at this cutting-edge program where experts will discuss:

– The state of the drone market in Japan;
– How infrastructure specialist JIW is utilizing drones for infrastructure maintenance; and
– Why enterprise drone provider Skydio has prioritized Japan in its international strategy.
Friday, January 22, 2021
8:00 - 8:30 PM EST (7:00 - 7:30 PM CST)

Celebrate winter with an exclusive koto performance by Chicago’s very own Tokiko Kimura. Hear the sounds reminiscent of Japanese childhood including: Spring Sea (春の海), Bonfire (焚き火), Thousand Wind (千の風になって) and Sukiyaki (上を向いて歩こう). Enjoy an evening with your family embracing the beautiful sounds of Japan.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
7:00 - 8:30 PM EST (6:00 - 7:30 PM CST)

Join us for a special conversation with Will Shaffer, Vice President of Boeing International and President of Boeing Japan, as he discusses the current environment of the aviation and aerospace industries and how leaders are working to regain customers and stakeholders in a COVID world.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
7:00 PM EST

As Japan’s new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga faces a list of tough challenges, including tackling COVID-19 and reviving the Japanese economy, which shrank at a record-breaking rate in 2020. In this webinar, experts discuss Suga’s economic policies, the impact of COVID-19 on Japan, and the outlook for the Japanese economy.
Non-JSB Online Activities
January 13, 2021
8:00 PM EST

A virtual discussion of Akira Kurosawa's epic reimagining of King Lear, featuring award-winning actor Will Lyman, and Peter Grilli, President Emeritus of The Japan Society of Boston.

Ran is a 1985 reimagining of the story of King Lear, directed by renowned Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, in which he reimagines Shakespeare's King Lear as a singular historical epic set in sixteenth-century Japan. Majestic in scope, the film is Kurosawa's late-life masterpiece, a profound examination of the folly of war and the crumbling of one family under the weight of betrayal, greed, and the insatiable thirst for power. 
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
7:30 - 8:45 PM EST

Online expert panel (co-organized by 21JPSI & the Brookings Institution) discussing foreign policy challenges for the U.S. and Japan under the new US administration.

Part 2: This panel will convene four leading experts from the United States and Japan for a frank discussion about the pressing economic, trade, climate, and COVID-19 related transnational challenges facing the U.S. and Japan today. 
Thursday, January 28, 2021
1:30 PM EST

Kicking off 2021 in the first of our online events in the new year, the Japan Foundation presents a special webinar during which NAKAMURA will talk about what sparked her interest in taking up puppetry and her creative influences, in addition to her philosophy and work as a puppeteer, puppet-maker, and workshop leader in more detail.
Now until January 25, 2021

The Japan Information & Culture Center (JICC), Embassy of Japan, and the Japan Commerce Association of Washington, D.C., Inc. are thrilled to jumpstart 2021 with our very first online New Year J-Film Fest! For three 72-hour weekend screenings in January, we have selected some amazing films from some of the latest and greatest talents in Japanese cinema.

Jan 8 - 11: Masquerade Hotel
Jan 15 - 18: Wood Job!
(ウッジョブ ~神去なあなあ日常~)
Jan 22- 25: True Mothers (朝が来る)
Additional Resources
Japanese study resources