Bi-Weekly Newsletter
January 29 - February 12, 2021
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 Iwate!
Keep scrolling to read an excerpt of the interview, or read the complete version on our website!
Featured Event
We are honored to co-sponsor In Memoriam: “Ezra Vogel in U.S.-Japan Relations: Enduring Legacies.” Please join us in paying our respects to JSB's deeply loved and warmly remembered board member,
Ezra Vogel.
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!
We're Hiring!
Want to join our growing Japanese Language School team? The Language Program Manager position at JSB is now open! If interested, please email us at for more details!
Keep up with JSB on social media!
Japan Society of Boston Online Events
Monday, February 1, 2021
12:00 - 1:30 PM EST

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. As we proceed with 2021, we will remember his energy and unwavering commitment to making the world a better place.

We are honored to co-sponsor In Memoriam: “Ezra Vogel in U.S.-Japan Relations: Enduring Legacies.” Please join us in paying our respects to the deeply loved and warmly remembered, Ezra Vogel.
The next videos will be released on our Facebook page on 02/03 and 02/04!

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 series will continue on February 3rd and 4th with videos on Japanese drumming by Odaiko New England! You can watch the full series here!
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, February 05, 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 talk about romantic movies and love stories!

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 EST

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.

IMDb Synopsis: "A truck driver stops at a small family-run noodle shop and decides to help its fledgling business. The story is intertwined with various vignettes about the relationship of love and food."

1985 comedy: Written and Directed by Jūzō Itami, Starring Ken Watanabe, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto, Kōji Yakusho, Rikiya Yasuoka, Kinzō Sakura, and Yoshi Katō.

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 3: Iwate
Interview with Doug Sikora
(Ofunato, Iwate 1992-1994)

Q: What sparked your interest in applying for the JET program?
I initially enrolled in a Japanese class because it fit my crazy schedule, not because I thought I’d ever visit Japan (no less live / work there). When I shared my future plans with my Japanese Sensei, I’ll never forget her response: “Doug-san, if you spend a few years in Japan (on the JET Program) you’ll gain incredible international experience and appear as a much more unique applicant to law schools, the FBI, or DEA.” No argument there; Sensei was a spectacular saleswoman. 

Q: What are some of the things your prefecture is known for?
Iwate-ken is most known for fishing, delicious seafood, onsen [hot springs], skiing, and the beautiful coastline. 

Q: How has your connection in relation to Japan changed since living in Japan?
My connection to Japan is stronger than ever; it feels like my second home. After living in Iwate-ken on the JET Program, I never made it to law school, the FBI, or, DEA. My "life plan” changed during the JET Program to include working full-time with Japan. After JET, I attended grad school (MBA) at the University of Hawaii and upon graduation returned to live and work in Tokyo for close to six years. Since returning to the USA, I’ve been fortunate to work for a Japanese company which enables me to travel to Japan once or twice a year... The JET Program most certainly altered the course of my life.

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
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
7:00 - 8:00 PM EST (6:00 - 7:00 PM CST)

Have you always wondered what goes into a Eho-maki and what the seven fillings represent? Chef Hemmi from Ringo Japanese Restaurant, will give a virtual demonstration on how to make this colorful luck filled roll, followed by a hands on demonstration.

Chef Hemmi will briefly speak about the importance of Eho-maki, which is customarily eaten during Setsubun (February 2), as well as explain the correct way to eat the roll to bring extended good luck. 
Monday, February 8, 2021
7:00 - 8:00 PM EST (4:00 - 5:00 PM PST)

Please join us to hear two experts share their views on Japan’s evolving role in Asia and what that means for the U.S. Hiroyuki Akita, commentator of the Nikkei Shimbun and former Washington correspondent, is one of Japan’s top analysts on foreign policy and the US-Japan relationship. Professor Thomas Berger, professor of international relations at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, is one of America’s top experts on Japanese foreign policy.
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
7:00 - 8:30 PM EST (6:00 - 7:30 PM CST)

As we enter 2021, there are many questions about how the Suga government in Japan and the Biden administration in the U.S. will work together. Join us for a conversation with three experts from Japan and the U.S. on what 2021 will hold for relations between these transpacific partners.
Thursday, February 11, 2021
7:00 PM EST (4:00 PM PST)

Join us in conversation with three global leaders telling personal stories of how gender has influenced their careers. Linda Akutagawa is a national leader in diversity, equity, leadership and inclusion; running a dedicated non-profit and serving on several California state boards. Sakie Fukushima’s entire career has proven ground-breaking, and includes serving as the first female board member at Sony, Ajinomoto, Mitsubishi Corp., Minolta Konica, and Bridgestone. Claire Chino is a rising star at New York-based Itochu International and Itochu Corporation. In 2013 she became the first executive officer of a major trading company in Japan.
Thursday/Friday April 8-9, 2021
12:00 - 9:00 PM EST

The Japan Bowl is a national Japanese language and culture competition developed and sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Washington DC (JASWDC) in 1992. The Japan Bowl tests the achievements of high school students throughout the United States who are studying Japanese. It goes beyond language and culture by testing students' knowledge of Japanese culture, history, geography, and current events.
Non-JSB Online Activities
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
10:00 PM EST (7:00 PM PST)

In Japan, you can find YOKAI (ghosts) everywhere from folktales, traditional rituals, to popular manga and anime. The most present YOKAI in Japanese society and culture is the Oni (demon) and they are seen as guards protecting hell, and causes disasters and pandemics.

On the day of Setsubun, which is the first day of spring in the lunar calendar, people throw soybeans at the Oni to fend off the evil spirits within the home. On the same day, we will be inviting award-winning translator, writer, and folklorist, Zack Davisson as a lecturer to talk about Oni’s presence in Japanese culture. Also, he will explain how Japanese people think about Oni from folktales to Demon Slayer.
Monday, February 8, 2021
12:00 - 1:00 PM EST

Postdoctoral Fellow, Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, Harvard University
Associate Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of the Ryukyus
Senior Fellow, Harvard University Asia Center; Lt. Gen. (retired), Japan Air Self-Defense Force

Discussant: Sherry L. Martin
Acting Asia Division Chief, Office of Opinion Research, U.S. Department of State
Moderator: Christina Davis
Director, Program on U.S.-Japan Relations; Professor of Government; Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
7:00 - 8:00 PM EST

Ryota Kimura, Chief Representative & General Manager, New York Representative Office, Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc.
Moderated by:
Alicia Ogawa, Director, Project on Japanese Corporate Governance and Stewardship, Center on Japanese Economy and Business, Columbia Business School
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
7:00 - 8:00 PM EST

This video series highlights the careers and life journeys of prominent Japanese American leaders who are pioneers in developing the U.S.-Japan relationship. Through their stories, we will learn about the role of Japanese Americans in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations, and the ways Japan has contributed to Japanese American identity and community.
Additional Resources
Japanese study resources