Bi-Weekly Newsletter
February 26 - March 10, 2021
JSB meets JET Alumni
This week we interviewed an alum placed in Akita! Can you guess what "nda" means in Akita-ben? Keep scrolling to read an excerpt of the interview, or read the complete version on our website!
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!
Keep up with JSB on social media!
Featured Events
We're launching a new speaker series: Japan's Pop Culture Takeover!
To kick off the new series, anime expert Susan Napier will be in conversation with Ian Condry to discuss her latest work, Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art!
Resilience & Rugby: An Evening with Japanese Rugby Legend, Kensuke Hatakeyama

JSB and JASH are pleased to present this informal conversation with the Japanese Major League Rugby star about the importance of resilience in the face of challenges and about U.S.-Japan sports exchange.

The Art of Scent: Incense Sachet Workshop with Shoyeido

While we are unable to hold our traditional in-person event this year, we hope you will join us online to hear Mr. Hata from Kyoto share the history and significance of incense in Japan. Stay for a sachet-making workshop at the end!
Japan Society of Boston Online Events
Japan's Pop Culture Takeover! Speaker Series
Susan Napier in conversation with Ian Condry on her latest work, Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art
Thursday, March 4, 2021
6:00 - 7:00 PM EST

We are launching a new speaker series called Japan's Pop Culture Takeover!

Join us next week to hear anime expert Susan Napier discuss her latest work, Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art, with MIT cultural anthropologist and author, Ian Condry!

Eight years in the making, Susan's Miyazakiworld sheds light on the indelible link between artist and environment, creator and creation. Susan describes Miyazaki as an "unprecedented animator," and in her words, Miyazakiworld is "an examination of why and how Hayao Miyazaki came to be that animator: of the world he has created and of the worlds that created him."

Hear Susan Napier divulge the story of filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki's life and work, including his profound impact on Japan and the world, as she dives into conversation with Ian Condry. 
co-hosted with the Japan America Society of Houston
Saturday, March 6, 2021
7:00 - 8:00 PM EST
(6:00 - 7:00 PM CST)

From helping the Japan national team pull off an upset against favored South Africa in the 2015 Rugby World Cup to responding to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami that destroyed his family home, Kensuke Hatakeyama knows a thing or two about what it takes to be resilient both on and off the pitch.

JSB and JASH are pleased to present this informal conversation with the Japanese Major League Rugby star about the importance of resilience in the face of challenges and about U.S.-Japan sports exchange. Moderating the conversation will be Dr. Akira Asada, Assistant Professor of Sport Management at Texas Tech University.
Sunday, March 28, 2021
7:00 PM EDT (5:00 PM MDT)

The Shoyeido Incense Company began in Kyoto in 1705, becoming the world's premiere incense-making company and the preferred supplier of incense to most temples in Japan. Twelve generations later, Masataka Hata continues his family's legacy and travels to the U.S. every year to spread the art of incense appreciation. 

While we are unable to hold our traditional in-person event this year, we invite you to join us to hear Mr. Hata from Kyoto share the history and significance of incense in Japan. This year, we will end the event with a sachet-making workshop,* guided by Mr. Hata, in lieu of the traditional incense appreciation ceremony.

*If interested in the workshop, be sure to register with the sachet kit purchase by March 18 to receive the sachet kit in time for the event.
Saturday, February 27, 2021
5:00 - 6:00 PM EST
$10 JSB Members / $15 Non-members
Hosted online via Zoom

Kamonanban (鴨南蛮) is a Japanese noodle dish made with soba, duck, and Japanese leeks or Welsh onions. Kamo (鴨) meaning duck, and nanban (南蛮) referring to the onions in the dish. The dish is especially popular at soba restaurants during cold winters in Japan. Feel free to substitute the duck for chicken when making your own kamonanban!

JSB volunteer Masayo Kawaguchi is excited to show you how to make your own kamonanban soba!

Friday, March 5, 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. Get ready to play shiritori, a word-chain game!

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!
Wednesday, March 24, 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 Quicksand by Jun'ichiro Tanizaki.

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
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.

A brother and sister attempt to survive during the end of WWII in Tokyo. American firebombs ravage the land and take countless lives. It offers a first-hand look at the horrors of war and how it affects everyday people, regardless of their affiliation.

1988. Written and Directed by Isao Takahata. Starring Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi

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 3: Akita
Interview with Jesse Kerstetter
(Odate, Akita 2006-2010)

Q: What are some of the things your prefecture is known for?
Culturally, it might be best known for a number of winter festivals and traditions including the Kamakura Matsuri in Yokote and the Namahage from Oga.
Also, Akita Inu are probably a quick association many people have with the prefecture. The famous Akita-inu, Hachiko, is actually from Odate where a similar statue to the one in Shibuya also stands.

Q: Did you pick up any of the regional dialects? What are some of your favorite words or phrase?
One of my favorites is still “nda” which is just another way to say “soudesu”. It felt good to understand what someone was saying and be able to reply “nda, nda, nda.” I also like the Akitaben for “tabete,” or eat, which was just Ke. Lots of Akitaben and the general Akita accent was clipped and shortened. People said it was so that people wouldn’t lose too much hot air speaking in the winter.

Q: If you were to return to live in Japan, would you choose to live in that same prefecture?
Absolutely. Akita is incredibly endearing and I think there’s something there for everyone. I think about it almost every day 10 years after I left.

As a university student and JSB intern who is homesick for Japanese food, I will be exploring what Boston can offer for my ramen cravings. Please bear in mind that this is not a ranked list or endorsement, but rather the opinions of an intern with a ramen addiction!
Entry 9: Tsurumen Davis

For this entry, I ordered from Tsurumen, in Davis Square (420 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02144). I have to admit, I deviated from the precedent of ordering the most basic ramen in this instance as the “Formula 2020” caught my intrigue; it was a shio (塩/salt) based ramen with chicken broth, and the main hallmark is the chicken and shiso(紫蘇/perilla) wontons it comes with. The bowl also comes with negi (ネギ/scallions), tamanegi (玉ネギ/onions), and menma (メンマ/fermented bamboo shoots). This was an amazing bowl of ramen, and I cannot overstate just how well-tuned every piece of the puzzle was; the chicken broth was light and paired nicely with the soft noodles, and the shio base went well with the shiso (which happens to be my favorite herb). In all, Tsurumen Davis is an absolute must, and it doesn’t hurt that you can double up and go to Yume ga Arukara across the street right after if you’re ready to keep going!

Read more from Daiki's Ramen Nikki here!
Online activities from other Japan Societies across the US
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
6:00 - 7:00 PM EST
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
6:00 - 9:00 PM EST (5:00 - 8:00 PM CST)

Join us for a virtual presentation of Hinamatsuri, or "Girl's Day" on Wednesday, March 3rd. We'll learn about the history of the holiday, hina dolls and each doll's significance, and special Japanese food associated with Hinamatsuri.

Hinamatsuri is a special Japanese holiday held on the third day of the third month each year dedicated to young girls. Until they are about ten years old, young girls will enjoy a display of ornamental dolls known as hinaningyou, set up on a red tiered display known as a hinadan.
Thursday, March 4, 2021
7:30 PM EST (4:30 PM PST)

While investors, stock exchanges and the Corporate Governance Code decide what standards to hold Japan to, female board directors themselves have a critical role to play in setting and achieving diversity goals. When these women rise to the highest roles of excellence, they have an extraordinary ability to influence.

Please join this event to hear firsthand about experiences in the boardroom and what other players are doing to move Japan towards global standards.
Remembering 3/11
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
7:00 - 9:00 PM EST

At this live online symposium, leading voices and experts from Tohoku and the U.S. gather to exchange ideas and draw lessons from 3.11. Also featured is the premier of a short video of testimonials from leaders in Tohoku who received or participated in programs supported by Japan Society's Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Co-organized with ETIC., a Japanese nonprofit dedicated to nurturing social entrepreneurs and recovery efforts in Tohoku, this event is part of Japan Society's programs marking the 10th year anniversary of 3.11.
Wednesday, March 10 (U.S.)
6:00 - 7:30 PM EST
Thursday, March 11 (Japan)
8:00 - 9:30 AM JST

Please join the U.S.-Japan Council and other U.S.-Japan-related organizations for a special event to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011. This virtual event will symbolize the United States standing together in solidarity with Japan and underscore the importance of our alliance, friendship and shared values.

Thursday, March 11, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM EST
Panelist: DANIEL ALDRICH, Professor of Political Science, Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Director, Security and Resilience Studies Program, Northeastern University
Panelist: HIROKO KUMAKI, Postdoctoral Fellow, Society of Fellows, Dartmouth College
Panelist: RYO MORIMOTO, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Princeton University

Moderator: ANDREW GORDON, Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History and Project Director, Japan Disasters Digital Archive, Harvard University
Thursday, March 11, 2021
4:30 - 6:00 PM EST

Experts gather a decade after Japan's earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown to reflect on what has changed and the lessons learned.

Daniel Aldrich is a professor of political science, public policy and urban affairs and director of the Security and Resilience Studies program at Northeastern University.

Miho Mazereeuw is associate professor of architecture and urbanism at MIT. She also is the director of MIT's Urban Risk Lab. Working on a large, territorial scale with an interest in public spaces and the urban experience, Mazereeuw is known for her expertise in disaster resilience.

Tatsujiro Suzuki, a nuclear engineer, is vice director of and professor at the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition at Nagasaki University (RECNA), Japan.

Richard Samuels is Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of the Center for International Studies at MIT. 

Thursday, March 11, 2021
1 - 2 PM EST (12 - 1 PM CST)
This is an online event to look back at the events of March 11, 2011, and efforts to recover and rebuild in the 10 years since. Featuring a number of documentaries focusing on those affected by the disasters arising out of the events of that day, both Japanese and non-Japanese, especially JET Program participants and alumni, we will look back from this ten-year mark to remember what happened, and look at today and tomorrow to get a sense of what has been accomplished and what the future holds.

We are also collecting messages and memories on our Facebook page. We will keep you updated with the latest information about the film screening event.

Hosted by the Japan Local Government Center, NY
Non-JSB Online Activities
Monday, March 1, 2021
12:00 - 1:00 PM EST

“Restructuring Japan: Administrative Reform and the Quest for Free Trade”
Diana Stanescu, Postdoctoral Fellow, Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, Harvard University. Ph.D., Political Science, Princeton University.

“Duties and Taxes for Cross-Border E-commerce: A Comparative Analysis of the de minimis Threshold”
Takashi Nakao, Associate, Program on U.S.-Japan Relations. Senior Deputy Director, Ministry of Finance, Japan.

“Competition Policy and Regulation of U.S. Tech Giants”
Ryoma Nikaido, Deputy Editor, Weekly Toyo Keizai Magazine.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021
4:30 - 5:45 PM EST (3:30 - 4:45 PM CST)

A yamauba is an enigmatic woman living in the mountains, and one of the most popular yōkai (weird or mysterious creatures). The presentation considers some major characteristics of yamauba, her image, and what a yamauba is.

Bio: Noriko T. Reider is a Professor of Japanese at Miami University of Ohio. Her Ph.D. is in Japanese literature from The Ohio State University. Her research and publications are primarily in Japanese literature and folklore.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
6:00 - 8:00 PM EST

Featuring Daniel Okimoto, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, Co-Chairman of the Silicon Valley Japan Platform, and member of the USJC Board of Councilors; and James Higa, Managing Partner at Offline Ventures, Executive Director of Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, and USJC Board Member.

In these back-to-back interviews, we will hear their unique family stories and perspectives on the evolution of the enduring U.S.-Japan bilateral relationship in business and technology through their unique experiences in Japan and Silicon Valley.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
10:00 - 11:15 AM EST

This presentation introduces ‘The Politics of Warring-States Japan, 1467-1600,’ a new collection of data covering political and military relations between warlords in Japan during its warring-states period, from 1467-1600. 

Nicholas Anderson is a Visiting Scholar with the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, and a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Yale University. Mike Mochizuki, Japan-US Relations Chair in Memory of Gaston Sigur at the George Washington University, will serve as moderator for the audience Q&A.
Additional Resources
Japanese study resources