Bi-Weekly Newsletter
May 10 - 21, 2021
Letters from Tokyo
We're starting a monthly correspondence with author, journalist, and scholar Roland Kelts, who will be sending us letters from Tokyo! Click here to read his first letter, or check the section below to read an excerpt.

This week, we interviewed Hannah Dyer-Holzhauer, an alum also placed in Ibaraki! Did you know that this prefecture is home to the tallest bronze Daibutsu in Japan? Check below to read an excerpt of the interview, or read the complete version on our website!
Featured Events
Daniel James Brown — Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II

Join us to hear from author Daniel James Brown, author of Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II, in conversation with moderator, Roland Nozomu Kelts!

#EDAMAMECHAMP is an annual spring campaign to promote healthy eating through Japanese cuisine focusing on soy and to raise funds for teaching healthy eating to more children.
Keep up with JSB on social media!
Notes from JSB
Letters from Tokyo
A new series with author, journalist, and scholar
Roland Kelts
As we begin this new series, our hope is make this letter interactive. As such, here's a question we'd love for you to answer after you read Roland's letter by leaving a comment on our blog:

Where are you located, and what has your experience with vaccinations been like?

Comment on our blog to let us know so we can share the news and help each other --wherever we are. This is a global effort. Read below to learn about Roland's experience.

Letter from Tokyo, May 2021:
Tokyo’s pandemic time warp

Tokyo’s weather is accelerated and overheated. Everything else feels frozen.
After another week of less-than-golden holidays hunkered at home, we Tokyoites are now watching a ‘fourth wave’ of Covid infections sweep the country. It feels redundant and endless. Vaccination appointments that seem plentiful elsewhere haven’t even started here. And we’re now preparing for two weeks of Olympic Games set to begin in just over a couple months, on July 23rd of 2021—an international extravaganza and potential superspreader event that few in Japan want, and that is still being promoted around town on posters, banners and billboards as: “Tokyo 2020.”
All of us have had our internal clocks scrambled by the pandemic, especially in cities, where time blares down relentlessly from giant video screens and railway platforms. But in this city, where seasonal change is nearly fetishized, trains and buses depart on the minute, and prerecorded five o’clock chimes ring from loudspeakers in every neighborhood to signal each day’s end, pandemic time feels completely out of whack. And with its current triple-whammy of resurgent virus, absent vaccines, and postponed and displaced Olympics, Tokyo’s time-warp disorientation may top them all.

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 10: Ibaraki
Interview with Hannah Dyer-Holzhauer
(Toride, Ibaraki 2016-2017)

Q: What are some of the things your prefecture is known for?
Natto…..rice; pottery; pickled stuff; the Ushiku Daibutsu, the tallest bronze Daibutsu in Japan (because he’s standing)…. but mostly just natto.
Q: If you were to return to live in Japan, would you choose to live in that same prefecture?
Actually, I would not be opposed to it at all. When I went back to visit Japan and show my other brother around, I made sure we spent some time in Ibaraki, because it is home for me. I very much loved the life of being in the middle of nature, but still have reasonable access to the big city. It was only 45 minutes into downtown Tokyo from my train station, and I used that train often. I also loved hiking trails, mountains and waterfalls in my area, though. It was a beautiful balance of being in nature and being connected to the city.

Q: How has your connection in relation to Japan changed since living in Japan?
Pre-JET, Japan was just a name, an idea, something from the history books - an unexplored entity that had never even arisen as a consideration for my own personal exploration. Now, it is a part of me. Japan, with all of its wonders and even all of the things I rather hated, is part of me. Japan will be forever a piece of home for me.

JSB Staff Song of the Week

Yoasobi is a Japanese music duo composed of Vocaloid producer Ayase and singer-songwriter Ikura.

The title, 群青 (ぐんじょう, gunjo), means ultramarine.
Japan Society of Boston Online Events
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
6:00 - 7:00 PM EDT

Join us for this online American Stories, Inspiration Today author series event presented by American Ancestors NEHGS in partnership with Boston Public Library and GBH Forum Network. This program, which is also part of the BPL's Repairing America series, will feature Daniel James Brown, author of Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II and be moderated by Japanese-American writer, editor, and lecturer Roland Nozomu Kelts.

An unforgettable chronicle of war-time America, Facing the Mountain portrays the kaleidoscopic journey of four Japanese-American families and their sons. Based on deep archival research and extensive family interviews, Brown also tells the story of these soldiers’ parents, immigrants who were forced to shutter the businesses, surrender their homes, and submit to imprisonment on U.S. soil. Here, as in The Boys in the Boat, he explores the questions of what “home” means, and who gets to be a “real American.” Don’t miss the author’s presentation and discussion with Roland Kelts about this powerful new work.
Friday, May 21, 2021
7:00 PM EDT

Visiting Japan is a long-held dream for many who have been drawn in by the charm of its rich culture. But what is it like to live in Japan? What motivates one to want to live there? What are some of the hurdles one faces when living in Japan for a long period of time?

The Japan Society of Boston is pleased to invite long-term Japan residents Ed Demling, Mandy B. Blue, and Don Johnson to talk about their experiences not only living in Japan, but from the perspective of differing professions, locations, ages, and countries of origin.
Resilience and the importance of social networks in Tohoku
Tuesday, May 25th, 2021
6:00 - 7:00 PM EDT

How does a community rebuild after a devastating disaster like the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011? How important is a strong social network in these recovery efforts? How are social networks supported in Japan? We'll be discussing these questions and more.

Please join us for an event on wellness and social resilience in Japan's Tohoku region. We'll be inviting Professor Daniel Aldrich and Executive Director of World in Tohoku, Mio Yamamoto to discuss their insights on Tohoku's recovery from the 3/11 disaster and what it has taken to rebuild. Moderating the discussion will be Allentza Michel, Founder and Principal & Creative Director of Powerful Pathways.
Daniel Aldrich | Director of the Security and Resilience Studies Program, Northeastern University
Mio Yamamoto | Co-founder and Executive Director, World in Tohoku
Allentza Michel | Founder and Principal & Creative Director, Powerful Pathways
in collaboration with Table for Two and
Japan America Society of Minnesota
Saturday, June 5, 2021
5:00 PM EDT (4:00 PM CDT)

#EDAMAMECHAMP is an annual spring campaign to promote healthy eating through Japanese cuisine focusing on soy and to raise funds for teaching healthy eating to more children.

We are joining our friends at Table for Two and Japan America Society of Minnesota for #EdamameChamp. Come learn about healthy Japanese cuisine and enjoy some fun challenges using edamame!* Participants will also learn how to make miso ramen at home.

Table for Two's partner organizations will donate food education for 1 child per participant and/or photo posted. 1 participant or 1 photo posted = Food education for 1 child.

*This is a virtual event to challenge your chopsticks skills. To join the chopstick challenge, prepare two plates and a couple of edamame pods. If you don't have edamame, you can join with any kind of dried beans. You can also use two pencils if you don't have chopsticks.

Friday, May 14, 2021
6:00 to 8:00 PM EDT

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

The theme for this exchange is "Must-Sees in Japan & North America!"

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 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, 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.
Online activities from other Japan Societies across the US
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
6:00 - 7:15 PM EDT

Join Cincinnati native Denny Kato, born to Japanese-American parents who arrived in Cincinnati after their release from a WWII incarceration camp, as he discusses the lives of early Japanese settlers in Cincinnati and shares his personal story of growing up in Cincinnati during a period when there were very few residents from any Asian country.

Denny will be joined by Japanese-American panelists Gordon Yoshikawa and Betty (Tamura) Breyer.
Monday, May 17, 2021
5:00 - 6:00 PM EDT

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, the Trust for the National Mall’s Monumental Conversation will explore the unique influences of Asian culture, people, and nations on the National Mall, including the gift of the cherry trees and the Japanese Lantern.
Thursday, May 20, 2021
7:30- 8:30 PM EDT (6:30- 7:30 PM CDT)

Ms. Cynthia Usui will draw from her personal journey “from mother to management” in order to inspire others on how they can rebuild their careers. Born and raised in the Philippines to Chinese parents, Ms. Usui moved to Japan to study at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese Language and Studies. After graduation, she worked in advertising but quit her job to focus on being a mother. She spent the next 25 years overseas as the wife of a Japanese diplomat. Upon returning to Tokyo, Ms. Usui landed her first job as a part-timer at a Members Club for expats at the age of 52, and moved up the ranks to executive levels in hospitality.
Thursday, May 27, 2021
8:00 - 9:00 PM EDT (6:00- 7:00 PM MDT)

Join Japan America Society of Colorado and Broomfield-Ueda Sister City Exchange for this interactive (and delicious) FREE workshop led by the inspirational Kaori Becker. This is family-friendly and you’ll be able to eat your creation. Who doesn’t love THAT?? Register for this online event below and cook along with us (or just watch) from your kitchen. We hope to see you on screen!
Non-JSB Online Activities
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
7:30 PM EDT (4:30 PM PDT)

In 2014, Prime Minister Abe convened a committee to lay out future visions of Japan in light of a fast-aging and shrinking society. In 2020, this committee was hastily reconvened to incorporate into its vision the various aspects in which COVID-19 is rapidly reshaping peoples’ attitudes about all aspects of life, including work and family, workstyles, productivity, and industrial sector change. The report, version 2.0, is now out, and the chair of the committee will share with us what it entails, and what the government, business, and society can do to realize it.
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
7:00 PM EDT

Join Gerry Rooney, President & CEO, Whitfield-Manjiro Friendship Society & Jason Sardinha, Tourism Section Chief, City of Tosashimizu, for this virtual tour and webinar about Manjiro's time in Fairhaven, MA and Tosashimizu, Japan.

Mr. Gerry Rooney, who is President and CEO of the Whitfield-Manjiro Friendship Society in Fairhaven will lead the discussion about the Trail and will include the connections with Manjiro's birthplace in Japan and current descendants of Manjiro Nakahama and Captain William Whitfield. Mr. Jason Sardinha, Tourism Section Chief, City of Tosashimizu, will present participants with insights into Manjiro's boyhood home in Japan. The one-hour webinar on Zoom will be moderated by Mr. David Janes. Please save the date of May 12, 2021, to view this exciting program and learn more about peace and friendship.
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
10:00 - 11:00 AM EDT

Following the recent summit between President Biden and Prime Minister Suga, it’s clear that the U.S.-Japan alliance is strong, but there are many challenges that the two powers must confront together.

Join Hudson Institute Japan Chair Fellow Masashi Murano, Senior Fellow Nadia Schadlow, and expert panelists Elbridge Colby, Nobushige Takamizawa, and Sugio Takahashi for a discussion on deepening the strategic collaboration of the U.S.- Japan alliance.
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
8:00 - 9:00 PM EDT

Since Godzilla's first appearance nearly 70 years ago in the classic Gojira, the King of the Monsters has become a cinematic icon and a globally recognized symbol of Japan. But what can a giant, fire-breathing movie monster tell us about Japanese culture and Japan's national experience from the mushroom clouds of 1945 through the current global pandemic? This talk will explore how the 33 Godzilla films can help us understand Japan’s resilience in the face of disasters, the global popularity of Japanese creature features, and the ways we all address our fears of invisible threats, radioactive or viral.
Thursday, May 20, 2021
12:00 PM EDT (9:00 AM PDT)

Featuring: Nobuko Saito Cleary, LA’70, Producer
Barry Frechette, Executive Producer/Co-Director
Opening Remarks: Honorable Setsuo Ohmori, Consul General of Japan in Boston
University Welcome: Chong Kim-Wong, Vice Chancellor for Student Success
Moderated By: Elina Mariutsa, CSSH'21 & Women Who Empower Ambassador
The Yoshinori Hagiwara exhibition, “Symphony in Persimmon, Black, and Yellow,” will be on view from April 24 through May 30, 2021, at Pucker Gallery.
Click to view the exhibition catalog
Saturday, May 22, 2021
7:00 - 8:00 PM EDT

Please join Pucker Gallery Artist Yoshinori Hagiwara, Scholar and Professor Andrew Maske, and Gallery Director Bernie Pucker, with the aid of friend and translator Mugi Hanao, for a discussion of what was and what is the Mingei Tradition. The event will feature an up-close video on Hagiwara's artistic process and references to the foundational history of the "Unknown Craftsmen." Panelists will then engage in a conversation on Hagiwara's relationship to and the extension of an important ceramic tradition.

This event will also feature a haiku contest! Write your best haiku based off one of Hagiwara's new pieces featured in the e-catalog Symphony in Persimmon, Black, and Yellow. Submit your haiku and the details of the piece that inspired it to by Thursday, May 20 at 5:00 PM EDT to be entered for a chance to win a beautiful, single-flower vase in a kaki glaze by Yoshinori Hagiwara himself! 
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
4:00 PM EDT

Join us in plunging into an intricate web of tangled lines and inky blotches to emerge in a lotus pond bathed in moonlight, as Yurika Wakamatsu examines Lotus in Autumn (1872), an exceptionally large and immersive ink painting by the Japanese woman artist Okuhara Seiko. Rising from the depths of muddy pools, lotuses have long been cherished for their unsullied pink blossoms crowning slender green stems at the height of summer. But in Seiko’s painting, leaves unfurl into broad, broken parasols, while seed pods hang from dry, bent stalks. This exploration reveals how Lotus in Autumn twists conventional pictorial and literary tropes to invite the viewer to appreciate the unconventional while drifting among autumnal lotuses with the painter.

Professor Wakamatsu’s presentation will be followed by a response from a specialist in neo-traditional Japanese painting, Professor Victoria Weston of UMass Boston, and a moderated conversation with Harvard College Professor Melissa McCormick.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
1:30 PM EDT

In conjunction with the release of the first book-length study of the film in English, Grave of the Fireflies (BFI Film Classics) in May, we invite the author, Alex Dudok de Wit, a journalist with expertise on Japanese anime, to explore his findings and the significance of this title. With critical analysis contextualized by the film’s production background, he will focus on Isao TAKAHATA’s contribution to the animation genre, moving away from the more common spotlight on Hayao MIYAZAKI’s work.

His presentation, which will include a live reading of short passages from the book, will be followed by a conversation with Dr. YOSHIOKA Shiro, lecturer in Japanese Studies at Newcastle University, who specializes in MIYAZAKI and Studio Ghibli’s animation.
(COVID19 ワクチンを学ぶ)
**Event in Japanese only**
Friday, May 28, 2021
7: 00 PM - 9:00 PM EDT

Free on Zoom. Please register by May 26.
Speaker: Satoshi Kashiwagi, Ph.D., M.D., Assistant Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital
Hosted by JB Line, Inc. 
Sponsored by the Consulate General of Japan in Boston
For questions, please email:  
Our students, Global Business majors studying at Showa Women's University in Tokyo, Japan, are embarking on semester-long business projects.

Each group has a cross-cultural learning objective, as well as a business twist.

An essential part of their project is discussions and feedback from people in the US.
Additional Resources
Japanese study resources