Bi-Weekly Newsletter
June 30 - July 14, 2021

New items have been added to the online auction! Check it out and place a bid before the end of the fundraiser this Friday!

Our interview this week is with JET alum
Ben Green who was placed in Saitama prefecture, where the famous Musashi-Kyuryo National Government Park (shinrin-kouen) is located! Check below to read more about his experience as a JET or read the complete version on our website!
The Japan Society of Boston is a community of bridge builders and curious minds who have found connections with others through their common interest in strengthening the ties between the US and Japan.

Join or Renew your Membership and support us continue this important work of bridge building!
Keep up with JSB on social media!
Featured Events
A Conversation with Asako Serizawa
Saturday, July 10, 2021
4:30 PM EDT

A conversation surrounding Serizawa's award winning novel, Inheritors, a heartbreakingly beautiful and brutal exploration of a Japanese family fragmented by World War II, featuring author Asako Serizawa and moderator, Suzan Napier.

RSVP by calling (617)267-9473 or emailing
with Roland Kelts
June Issue

In his second letter, author, journalist, and scholar Roland Kelts paints a picture of the hot spring hotels (or onsen-yado) of Japan and the escape they can provide from the dense hustle and bustle of city life. Click here to read the full letter, or check the section below to read an excerpt!
with Debra Samuels
Saturday, July 31, 2021
5:00 PM EDT

Hiyashi-chūka, literally meaning "chilled Chinese", is the perfect Japanese dish for a hot summer day. Learn how to make Hiyashi-chūka with Debra Samuels, friend of the Japan Society of Boston and an excellent cookbook author and cooking teacher!
Annual Spring Fundraiser
Monday, June 21 - Friday July 2, 2021
Your attendance at our events and insightful conversations keep inspiring us to bring new programs that are true to our mission of deepening the mutual understanding between the U.S. and Japan.

Our goal of $5000 by July 2nd will help realize some of the very exciting programs we have planned for the fall. You can browse and bid in the online auction or take a moment to donate directly! 

Whether you are our Greater Boston neighbors or have joined us from afar since our move online, we are deeply grateful to have such a vibrant audience. We promise to continue bringing meaningful and exciting programs bridging the US and Japan!
Japan Society of Boston Online Events
Conversation with Asako Serizawa
Saturday, July 10, 2021
4:30 PM EDT

in-person at the Pucker Gallery
240 Newbury Street, Floor 3
Boston, MA
(A recording will also be made available
after the event.)

Join us for this up coming in-person event at the Pucker Gallery or watch the taping of the event at a latter time by RSVPing to this event! A conversation between Asako Serizawa, author of Inheritors, and Susan Napier, Goldthwaite Professor of Rhetoric at Tufts University.

A kaleidoscopic portrait of five generations scattered across Asia and the United States, Inheritors is a heartbreakingly beautiful and brutal exploration of a Japanese family fragmented by the Pacific side of World War II. Grappling with the legacies of loss, imperialism, and war, Inheritors offers an intricate tapestry of stories illuminating the complex ways in which we live, interpret, and pass on our tangled histories. Inheritors is the Winner of the PEN/Open Book Award and of The Story Prize Spotlight Award.

RSVP at (617)267-9473 or 
Saturday, July 31, 2021
5:00PM EDT

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

Come learn how to make "hiyashi-chūka" with Debra Samuels, cookbook author, cooking instructor, and friend of the Japan Society! Hiyashi-chūka, literally meaning "chilled Chinese", is a popular Japanese dish made with cold Chinese-style ramen noodles topped with colorful ingredients like sliced cucumber, ham, egg crepes, and tomato, but you can be as creative as you want with the toppings to make it your own! Sure to be a household hit during the summer months.

Friday, July 9, 2021
6:00 to 8:00 PM EDT
日本時間 7月10日 土曜日

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

The theme for this exchange is "Haiku"

Practice your Japanese or your English at our next online language exchange! Join us for two hours of conversation where you will be grouped based on your proficiency level. We will begin speaking in Japanese, followed by English. We will conclude the meeting with free casual conversation in Japanese and/or English until we hit 8 PM.

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, July 28, 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 The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima.

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
with author, journalist, and scholar Roland Kelts
Letter from Tokyo, June 2021:
My favorite kind of getaway is a stay at an onsen-yado (Japanese hot springs hotel). It used to rotate among my top three, but the pandemic has edged it into the top spot.
Where I live in central Tokyo, I share each square mile with over 16,000 neighbors. If I don’t immediately see someone strolling below when I look out one of my windows, I will very soon. And the moment I step from my building’s courtyard to the sidewalk, I join the coursing crowds weaving past and dodging one another on sidewalks that can barely accommodate three adjacent modestly-sized bodies.
Choosing to wear a mask, sanitize, and speak quietly or not at all is possible, and most of us choose to do all three. Social distancing, however, is not.
Comparatively, there was no one in Izu. And no one on the quaint old Limited-Express Odoriko line to Izu, whose empty lace-doilied seats feel a little like a theme park ride from the 1980s, reassuringly out-of-date. And even in historic Shuzenji, whose fairy-tale Kamakura-age pathways are usually clogged with tourists, local craftspeople and rickshaw-runners, you could pause in the bamboo forest and breathe in the air, letting your mask slip for a moment or two near the naked Katsura river.
Near Shuzenji Temple, founded in the 9th century, I saw three old Tokyo 2020 Olympics banners announcing that the torch relay would soon pass through town. The juxtaposition was rich: something about to happen felt more dated than something truly ancient. 


Our hope is to 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:

Have you been keeping up with the Tokyo Olympics, or has it receded to the back of your mind?

Comment on our blog to let us know so we can share the news and help each other --wherever we are.

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!
Episode 14: Saitama
Interview with Ben Green
(Wakō-shi, Saitama-ken 1997-1999)

Q: What sparked your interest in applying for the JET program? 

I had job interviews for Wall Street banks and large corporations, but decided halfway through my senior year at Morehouse College that (A) I wanted to try something totally different and (B) I wanted to experience life overseas and outside of the Southeast US.

Q: What are some of the things your prefecture is known for? Ex. food, hotspots, etc. 
Saitama is known for manufacturing, along with a lot of large companies being based there, including Honda, and it's known for hosting several great communities like Omiya and Asaka that are close to downtown Tokyo. It also has a great park called Shinrin Koen that is famous ( It also hosted some World Cup games as well. Saitama is great. 

Q: How has your connection in relation to Japan changed since living in Japan? 

It has stayed strong. After my 2 years on JET, I returned to live and work in Japan two more times, and represented the state of South Carolina in Japan as their official representative while hosting the state of SC Governor there. 

JSB Staff Song of the Week

Music by Shoji Meguro
Lyrics by Benjamin Franklin
Vocals by Shihoko Hirata

This upbeat title track to the 2008 playstation sensation "Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4" is sure to brighten your day!
Online Activities from Other Japan Societies
by the Japan Society of Northern California
US-Asia Technology Management Center of Stanford University
Part A: Thursday, July 8, 2021
Part B: Thursday, July 15, 2021
7:30 - 10:30 PM EDT (4:30 - 7:30 PM PDT)

The Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Symposium is the signature event of the Innovation Awards Program, organized by the Japan Society of Northern California in cooperation with the US – Asia Technology Management Center of Stanford University. Each year, two companies (one each from Japan and the U.S.) receive the SunBridge Emerging Leader award for technological innovations deemed to be disrupting their markets.
Non-JSB Activities
Hiroshima Day
by First Parish Dorchester
Friday, August 6, 2021
Origami 6:00 PM EDT
Movie Screening 8:00 PM EDT
10 Parish St, Dorchester
MA 02122

Starting at 6 pm with picnicking and activities for kids, the event will include the folding of origami cranes led by Akemi Chayama from the Children’s Museum and a demonstration of folding a giant paper crane from a sheet of 12’ x 12’ paper by Tim Nagaoka, a Boston Public School teacher. The cranes will be strung and hung in the entrance to the meetinghouse as a symbol of the wish for peace.

At 8 p.m., there will be a screening of the documentary film "Paper Lanterns" about the atomic bomb survivor Shigeaki Mori and his lifelong effort to tell their story of Normand Brissette, who grew up in Massachusetts and ten American POWs killed by the bombing of Hiroshima will be screened. The film's producer and co-director Barry Frechette will introduce the film and answer questions afterwards.

This event is free for all attendees!
Sunday, July 11, 2021
1 Bow Market Way, Somerville
MA 02143

What is Yukata? Yukata refers to cotton kimono worn during the summer. A staple of festivals across Japan, it keeps the wearer cool in hot weather. Try one on at Crane & Turtle's 1 year anniversary event on July 11th. Reserve a kimono in advance and try it on with the help of Seiko Kitagawa, prolific dancer and founder of Boston Kimono Dressing: Ayame. There will be a photo session space with a backdrop, right next to the dressing room, and Adam Erdossy, a professional photographer, will be there help you capture the moment. You can also take as many photos as you like in the market during the yukata rental.
June 5 - July 11, 2021
240 Newbury St., 3rd floor,
Boston, MA 02116

Pucker Gallery's latest exhibition exploring the legacy of the Hamada Family across three generations of artistry and craftsmanship. Now available in both virtual and in-person! Take the virtual tour here!

The exhibit features works across the careers of three generations of Hamadas–– Shoji (b. 1894), Shinsaku (b. 1929), and Tomoo (1967).
by The Japan Foundation
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
8:00 PM EDT

In the very long history of Japanese literature, poetry is arguably one of the first recognized literary forms. Contrary to the common perception that the world of literature is dominated by male voices, Japanese society did not always exclude women’s perspectives when it came to the arts. However, has the trend evolved with the times?

The Japan Foundation invites poets and translators, Yotsumoto Yasuhiro and 
Moriyama Megumi to trace the role of female poets from ancient to contemporary Japan, discussing their creativity, the gaze of women, and the impact their verses made upon Japan and its literary society.
Additional Resources
Japanese study resources