Bi-Weekly Newsletter
March 10 - March 23, 2021
A message from Executive Director Yuko Handa

March 11th marks the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake which spurred a tsunami and meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and mass destruction along Japan's northern east coast. The magnitude 9.0 earthquake took the lives of nearly 20,000 people, and some 470,000 people* evacuated from their homes. 20% of those who evacuated from the area closed off because of the nuclear meltdown have not been able to return to their homes,10 years after the disaster.

We are dedicating this newsletter to commemorate the stories of loss, of pain, of courage, and of resolve that we saw from the Tohoku region affected by this disaster, and to remember the international effort from the US and around the world that came together to help when Japan needed it the most.

From the Japan Society of Boston, we offer two messages from our staff, a video from Ian Malloy and a letter from Ciara Jacques. The tragedy of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Japanese response had a deep impact on them and like Ian and Ciara, everyone here at the Japan Society of Boston will carry within, something that we have felt from this tragedy, as we believe that is the way we can contribute to the continuous rebuilding efforts. We hope you will also join some of the events our friends in the US-Japan community are putting together to remember and honor 3.11.
*Data from Reconstruction Agency of the Government of Japan
JSB meets JET Alumni
This week we interviewed an alum who was placed near Kesennuma in Miyagi prefecture, one of the cities devastated by the 3/11 Natural Disaster. Keep scrolling to read an excerpt of the interview, or read the complete version on our website.
Photo courtesy of Ed Clemons
Keep up with JSB on social media!
Remembering 3.11
A Video by Ian Malloy
A Letter from Ciara Jacques
Ten years ago today, Japan experienced the strongest earthquake in its recorded history.
At the time, I was a sophomore in high school, vaguely familiar with Japan through watching anime and reading manga. The magnitude of the disaster astonished me, and I felt strongly that this was something more people in my school community should be talking about. I wrote an article for my school newspaper covering the topic as extensively as I could, and while researching, read through a number of interviews with locals of the Tohoku region affected by the disaster. 

While reading these stories, I was struck by the Japanese people’s resilience and their determination to persevere. They did not dwell on the tragedy but looked ahead to the future. I like to think of my experience writing this article as the first time I saw the spirit of Japan, and came a little closer to understanding it. It has sparked a passion in me for this country and its culture, and a fascination that I have been cultivating ever since and will last the rest of my life.

Remembering 3/11
*Event in Japanese

Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 2 AM EST Thursday, March 11, 2021 4 PM JST

緊急事態宣言+延長を受け、3月11日のThursday Gatheringはオンライン開催のみになります。すでに、現地参加チケットをお申込みの方は現地(CIC Tokyo)での参加はできませんので、ご了承ください。是非オンラインにてお楽しみください。
以下のボタン(Thursday Gathering当日に有効)よりオンラインでご参加いただけます。
Wednesday, March 10 at 12 AM EST (Wednesday, March 10 at 9 PM PST)
Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 2 PM JST

東日本大震災から10年を迎え、遠く離れた祖国への想いを、アメリカ東海岸から発信。3.11にボストンで結成されたボランティア団体Tewassaの創立者、八代えつこさんのお話や、参加者の皆さんの其々の想いを語り合い、日本時間午後2:46 (午前12:46 EST)に合わせて「黙祷」、一時間余りのメモリアルです。開始時間は、日本時間で午後2時(12 midnight EST)です。

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
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

Thursday, March 11, 2021
1 - 2 PM EST (12 - 1 PM CST)
Thursday, March 11, 2021
3:00 - 4:00 PM EST (12:00 - 1:00 PM PST)

On March 11, ten years ago, the largest earthquake in modern Japanese history shook the Tohoku region. The tsunami that followed devastated many areas in the region; and was the cause of the Fukushima nuclear accident. Keizai Silicon Valley invites the community and its members to observe a minute of silence for the victims, before we hear from two speakers who witnessed the aftermath of 3.11 and bravely took the initiative to respond to the disaster.
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. 
Artist Yuri Shimojo, gallery founder Yng-Ru Chen, and 

Duke University professor and art historian, Dr. Gennifer Weisenfeld, PhD
About the artist
Thursday, March 11, 2021
8:00 PM EST

Join us for an exclusive virtual preview of Yuri Shimojo’s “Memento Mori,” a monumental painting series premiering in the US on the tenth anniversary of the Japanese Tōhoku earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear crisis. Meet Yng-Ru Chen ’01, owner of the Boston-based Praise Shadows Art Gallery; Yuri Shimojo, the artist; and Gennifer Weisenfeld, professor of art, art history & visual studies at Duke University, as they discuss Shimojo’s exhibition, and Chen’s journey from Duke University to the international art world, including Sotheby’s and MoMA.

Dedicated to the memory of the lives lost in the disaster and considered Shimojo’s most significant work to date, “Memento Mori” has only been shown in the Japanese cities Kyoto (2013) and Tokyo (2014)—until now. This event will also feature a preview of the artist’s new mixed media installation dedicated to the victims of Tōhoku, as well as the millions of lives lost around the world to COVID‑19. The panel’s exploration of the artist’s response to the 21st-century universal human condition will illuminate how empathy and resilience are born out of crisis.
Thursday, March 11, 2021
6:00 - 6:30 PM EST (3:00 - 3:30 PM PST)

On Thursday, March 11, in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco will host an online event to remember the victims of the disaster and to thank the people of the United States for their boundless support and encouragement. The program will include a minute of silence and feature inspiring stories of Japan-U.S. exchange following the disaster.
March 11 - 15, 2021
7:30 PM - 8:00 PM EST/EDT
(日本時間:3月12, 13, 14日朝9:30、

It's been a year since the 2020 Boston Charity Concert was postponed due to the pandemic. We are excited to share that the Boston Charity Concert is dedicated to bringing care and inspiration to our communities. In the midst of this global pandemic, we have been seeking ways to bring music performances back into our lives. Although our in-person concert will have to wait until everyone's safety can be guaranteed, the Boston Charity Concert would like to brighten your lives with music as much as possible.
Starting Friday, March 12

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the 3/11 "Great East Japan Earthquake.” The National Museum of Asian Art, the Japan Information and Culture Center and the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorate the occasion with films by two master filmmakers who look at the disaster’s legacy. 
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
6 PM - 7 PM EST (5 PM - 6 PM CST)

Please join us for this special conversation with representatives from Fukushima, Iwate, and Miyagi Prefectures on the progress made in Tohoku since 2011. We will discuss reconstructing physical infrastructure, attracting economic activity to the region, debunking myths about disaster-afflicted areas, providing social services for those still in need, and ensuring a prosperous future for Tohoku through community building and grassroots organizations.
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
8:00 - 9:15 PM EDT

In Session 1, using the concepts of “Light and Shadow” and “Challenges,” Governor Uchibori from Fukushima Prefecture will talk about the steps for revitalization and Fukushima’s efforts after the compound disaster of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the nuclear accident, and the resulting issue of harmful rumors, as well as the fading of memories related to the disaster over time. 

In Session 2, Mr. Hirose from TEPCO will look back at the Fukushima nuclear accident and review the current status of the nuclear power plant and its decommissioning, including progress with radiation levels and the present state of the evacuation zone.
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
8:00 - 9:30 PM EDT (7:00 - 8:30 PM CST)

Since March 15, 2012, we have continuously organized an annual program on the pace of recovery and the challenges that the Tohoku region faces since The Great East Japan Earthquake. This will be our tenth annual program, TOHOKU UPDATE and it faithfully follows those programs that have set a precedent in presenting first-hand insights to the work that is being done to build a positive future. 
JSB Meets JET Alumni (Miyagi)

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 6: Miyagi
Interview with Ed Clemons
(Karakuwa, Miyagi 2009-2011)

Q: What are some of the things your prefecture is known for?
Until I came to Miyagi Prefecture, I had never experienced the level of nature and quality of food it has to offer. The scenic parks and rock beaches along the sea coast (Matsushima), the super fresh and tasty seafood (probably the best I've had still to this day!), and access to some relaxing onsens and mountains for skiing/snowboarding (Mount Zao).

Closer to where I lived, Kesennuma City is known as one of the biggest fishing ports in Miyagi and Japan, so I also enjoyed a variety of seafood there - various fish sashimi, oysters, and scallops among them. Even our city mascot "Hoya Boya" is named after a sea pineapple, which I would say is an acquired taste. What I really appreciated the most is being able to taste the freshness of locally sourced food. Unfortunately, Kesennuma was also one of coastal cities in Tohoku hit hard by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, which in turn had a big impact on their fishing industry and local economy. Since then they have made some strides in recovery, and while not at the level they once operated at, their fishing market has been back open for business for some years now. 
Q: Did you pick up any of the regional dialects? What are some of your favorite words or phrase?
While in Tohoku, I did pick up the "-be/-ppe" ending, but honestly it was a challenge to incorporate it into my everyday conversations. On top of that, there was an even more local dialect in Kesennuma where I lived, mostly spoken by older people that sounded like a whole new language compared to the standard Japanese I was learning. 

Q: How has your connection in relation to Japan changed since living in Japan?
I'm grateful to say that since living in Japan, I have maintained a strong connection to the people and culture. Participating in the JET program also gave me some unbelievable experiences to reflect on and give perspective to life. 

I happened to be in Japan during the March 2011 Tohoku Disaster, a witness to the devastating effects on Kesennuma City where I lived and the nearby towns hit hardest. It was a challenging time, to say the least, but throughout it all, I can honestly say I never wanted to leave. Despite what we were going through, I saw many people come together as a community to help support each other in various ways - whether through providing shelter for others without, sharing food sources and supplies, and many volunteers from other parts of Japan coming to help with donations and various needs. I volunteered where I could as well, and felt glad I could develop a deeper connection to the people in my town through what contributions I could give. I will always consider Japan a home of mine. 

Japan Society of Boston Online Events
We're launching our new podcast series: My Japan Journey!
Thursday, March 25, 2021
6:00 PM EDT

We're launching our exciting new podcast series, in which we explore the untold stories behind the cultural encounters that have transformed lives.

In our first episode, Executive Director Yuko Handa interviews Susan Napier, Tufts University Professor of Rhetoric and Japanese Studies and anime expert! We hope you hear Susan's story and feel inspired to embrace the unfamiliar.

AND we'll be kicking off our new Youtube channel with a podcast listening party! Join us on March 25 to hear the exclusive release of our first episode on Youtube Live! Follow us on social media for the link!
with special guest Ed Demling
Friday, March 26, 2021
7:00 - 8:30 PM EDT

This is an opportunity to meet and network with fellow students who are studying Japanese in our virtual classrooms. Find out what motivates and inspires others to がんばる (ganbaru; give it your all) in their Japanese endeavors.  Current, past and future students of our Language Program welcome!

Our guest speaker Edward Demling will share with us how his interest led him from being a student of Japanese to a translator and visa consultant in Japan which spans over 20 years!
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.
in collaboration with Asian Women for Health
Sunday, March 16, 2021
7:00 PM EDT

Join Yuko Handa, the Executive Director of The Japan Society of Boston and a mom of two, in the kitchen to make onigiri rice balls!

Onigiri or rice balls are a staple in Japanese cooking and yet can be the most inventive of all Japanese cuisine. Learn how to make classic onigiris like plain salt onigiri, the classic salmon onigiri, or the sour plum onigiri, while also adventuring into different fillings such as tuna mayo, and cheese bonito!

Friday, March 19, 2021
6:00 to 8:00 PM EDT

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. This time, we'll be discussing spring events!

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.
Saturday, April 3, 2021
5:00 - 6:00 PM EDT
$10 JSB Members / $15 Non-members
Hosted online via Zoom

Makizushi (巻き寿司), also known as rolled sushi, is sushi rolled in nori seaweed. For this cooking lesson, we'll be making our own California rolls! The most commonly accepted creator of the California roll is Ichiro Mashita, a Los Angeles sushi chef in the 1960s. He noticed that when he served Americans the standard makizushi, they would remove the seaweed on the outside thinking it was inedible. As a result, he inverted the sushi roll so that the rice was on the outside instead.

JSB volunteer Masayo Kawaguchi is excited to show you how to make your own California roll!
Other Online Events
Friday, March 19, 7:00 - 10:00 PM EDT
Saturday, March 20, 8:00 - 9:00 AM JST

Please join this one-hour online event with Kumi Yokoyama and Saori Takarada, of the Washington Spirit and the Japanese national soccer team! This event also features Kikuko Okajima, chair of Japan’s WE (Women’s Empowerment) League. This “can’t miss event” is essential for anyone who wants to learn more about exciting developments between Japan and U.S. women’s soccer, including progress in women’s empowerment and new Japanese technologies to improve the fan experience.
Additional Resources
Japanese study resources