Bi-Weekly Newsletter
July 23 - August 6, 2020
JSB Staff Pick of the Week
With more time at home, we've asked our staff to pick some of their favorite Japanese movies and books. Here's the staff pick of the week:

A Japanese animated drama film set in Hiroshima during the 1930s-1940s, depicting the city before and after the atomic bombing. It follows the journey of a young woman who is married off to a man she barely knows and her struggles to survive in Hiroshima.

2016 film co-written and directed by Sunao Katabuchi. Based on the manga of the same name, written and illustrated by Fumiyo Kono.
Keep up with JSB on social media!
Japanese of the week:
" kikōbun "
travel writing

Much like the modern travel blogger, Japanese authors of the Genroku Era found themselves retelling their journeys through their writing. Used as a way of consoling travelers who were nervous about leaving home, this genre often centered on a diary-style approach.

This style can be seen most famously in the account given by Bashō, a haiku poet, of his trip to the north, titled Oku no Hosomichi . Unable to enjoy the convenience of modern travel methods, Bashō's kikōbun is filled with his adventures while traveling on foot.

Interested in traveling and writing your own modern  kikōbun ? Please keep reading to learn more about our upcoming virtual event with Japan Airlines!
Facts about Hokkaido
Honoring the 30th Anniversary of the
Massachusetts - Hokkaido sister state relationship
Did you know...

The shima enaga ( シマエナガ ) is a subspecies of the long-tailed tit that is unique to Hokkaido. All members of this species are very small (13-15 cm long), with their tails making up half their length.

The shima enaga is unique in that its face is completely white, helping them blend in during the island’s long winters.

Their adorable appearance has made them popular on social media and a common plush toy in Japan!
Connecting Students Across the Globe
Last week, a few of our interns met online with interns from the America Japan Society in Tokyo! The group had the chance to discuss student life, share their interests and impressions of Japan and America, and share plans for the future.

We hope this will be the first of many meetings and the start of a lasting connection between our organizations!
Our Fall online language classes will be open for registration beginning August 3rd! We will be offering 12-week courses at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels starting on September 22nd. Be sure to read our next newsletter for more details!

If you would like lessons before September 22nd, please consider signing up for our Shukudai Club!
One of the many challenges of the current pandemic has been to put travel plans on hold this year.

We at JSB are putting together a virtual trip to bring Japan to our readers, especially to those who had hoped to visit around this time but are unable.
Please join us in the production of this virtual trip by sending us your pictures or videos of your travels in Japan. We welcome content from journeys both recent and long past!
We will string together all of our collected memories into one and present them as a video in our August newsletter!
Please make sure you include the name of the place where the picture or video was taken as it will help us in the editing process.

When you submit content to JSB, you simultaneously grant JSB an irrevocable, worldwide, royalty free license to publish, display, modify, distribute and syndicate your content worldwide. You confirm and warrant that you have the required authority to grant the above license to JSB.   
Videos to Bridge Cultures
The Gion Festival, or Gion Matsuri (祇園祭), takes place every year in Kyoto and is one of the most famous festivals in Japan! The tradition began over 1100 years ago as a way to pray for deliverance from the plague, but has evolved into a huge celebration of Kyoto's culture.

On July 17th and July 24th, there are two processions of elaborately-decorated parade floats. For three days preceding each of these processions, the city of Kyoto becomes a massive summer block party in which locals and visitors party in the streets!

The video below is of an Omukae Chōchin ("Welcoming Lanterns" or "Lantern Reception") performance. This is one of the first events of Gion Matsuri, taking place on July 10th. It is meant to greet the purified mikoshi ( 御輿), or portable shrine.
After receiving a heartwarming video from Ota City in Japan (see our last newsletter if you missed it!), community members in Salem, Massachusetts have sent a video to Ota in kind.

The two cities have maintained a partnership for almost 30 years, the strength of which has been demonstrated by their solidarity in this time of crisis. Each of these communities has gone above and beyond to send positive thoughts and words of encouragement to the other in their efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

We share these videos in the hope that everyone can find strength and a sense of community from them. As always, we hope everyone is staying safe and well, and we will continue doing our best to provide positive community resources.
Japan Society of Boston Online Events
Beyond Baseball: The Spirit Behind Japan's Favorite Pastime
Discussion panel between Mikio Yoshimura and Yoshinobu Sawai
Coming up in August

Baseball, or yakyū (野球), has become Japan’s most popular sport, and the summer Kōshien (national high school baseball championship tournament) is an important summer tradition for many Japanese, just like the famous Gion Fesitval in Kyoto.

Speakers Mikio Yoshimura, Development Specialist at Fenway Sports Management, and Yoshinobu Sawai, Representative Director of Sportsbucks, a Japanese athlete management agency, will discuss Kōshien's significance to Japan. Learn from Sawai, himself a runner-up in Kōshien in the summer of 1988 and Kansai Student League Best Nine at his university baseball club, why baseball is more than a simple sport for him but a way of life. 

Baseball was introduced to Japan in the Meiji period and promoted by American soldiers occupying Japan after WWII. It took off in popularity and has become deeply entrenched in Japanese culture. The sport relies heavily on teamwork, perseverance, and discipline, qualities highly valued in Japanese work ethic. In Japan, winning is second to one’s character and honor, and the process of training is more valued than the final result. Some even refer to the Japanese approach to baseball as “Samurai baseball,” given its focus on rigorous training, self-sacrifice and submergence of ego, and development of inner strength, principles adopted from the samurai warrior code of bushidō (武士道). 

These philosophies extend not only to professional athletes, but to high school players as well. High school baseball in Japan, or kōkōyakyū (高校野球), is highly revered by the nation as a representation of Japan’s values, not just a popular event. When the summer Kōshien (national high school baseball championship tournament) was cancelled this year due to the pandemic, all of Japan felt the disappointment. 

We hope to pay tribute to the kōkōyakyū players who were unable to compete this year, and honor their dedication to their sport, their teams, and their development of spirit. This will be an enlightening topic for those interested in Japanese culture and sports fans alike.

More details about date and time will follow in our next newsletter!
An event by Japan Airlines and the Japan Society of Boston

Wednesday, July 29
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM EDT
Hosted online via Zoom Meetings
(you will be sent the meeting code after registering)

Have you ever wondered what happens to a plane between flights?

JSB is partnering with Japan Airlines (JAL) to bring you a unique and educational event based out of Boston’s Logan Airport. Learn what happens to a JAL plane after it lands in Logan from a JAL engineer. Find out answers to your aviation questions and satisfy those curious minds! We welcome both children and adults to this interesting event!

Please send your questions to  before July 22nd, and JAL will answer them at the event. We welcome any questions regarding aircraft, flight, and JAL’s history.
JAL is resuming direct flights between Japan and Boston on 8/1!
JL008:水・土運航   成田発18:00 ボストン着18:00  (8/1から再開)
JL008: Wednesdays and Saturdays, Departs Narita at 18:00, Arrives in Boston at 18:00 (from 8/1)

JL007:木・日運航   ボストン発17:55 成田着20:40 (8/2から再開)
JL007: Thursdays and Sundays, Departs Boston at 17:55 and arrives at Narita at 20:40 (from 8/2)

 *Depending on your departure date, the departure/arrival time may differ, so please confirm at the time of reservation.

Friday, July 24th
6:00 to 8:00 PM EDT

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

Our language gatherings have become so expansive that we now have participants all the way from Japan! We hope you will take part in our community, as we strive to bridge Japanese and American cultures.

Please join us for two hours of conversation, where you will be grouped based on your proficiency level. This week's theme will be music!

Saturday, August 1st
5:00 - 6:30 PM EDT
Hosted online via Zoom
(you will be sent the ingredient list a few days before the event)

Okonomiyaki ( お好み焼き) is a savory pancake and an iconic Japanese street food. It is made primarily of shredded cabbage, flour, eggs, and water, and is sometimes referred to as Japanese pizza!

Feel free to get creative with the toppings, as there are many variations of the recipe. " Okonomi " means "choice" or "preference" and " yaki " refers to cooking. The batter and toppings differ between regions, but the three main styles are Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Kansai (or Osaka). We'd love to hear your favorites!

Please join us as one of our newest interns, Emily Knick, teaches her favorite okonomiyaki recipe! Emily is currently a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, majoring in Linguistics and Japanese.

Be sure to bring your appetites for this next installment of our Easy Japanese Home Cooking series! We look forward to seeing you there!
What's up next?
We'd love to hear which recipe you'd like to learn next!
Send us your choice out of the following:
  • Tonkatsu
  • Japanese Curry Rice
  • Oyakodon

Please send your vote to!
Online activities from other Japan Societies across the US
Friday, July 24, 6:00 - 7:00 PM EDT

Experience and learn about Japanese tea ceremony with Jennifer Swanson!

The workshop will include a brief history of tea ceremony, a demonstration, as well as lessons on the culture and traditions associated with tea. You will also learn how to whisk your own bowl and how to “be a guest” at a tea ceremony.
Virtual Talk-Story with Bella Hughes & Amanda Corby-Noguchi
Tuesday, July 28, 8:00 - 9:00 PM EDT
( 2:00 - 3:00 PM HST )

Join us as we share the stories of two extraordinary women who are successfully leading their companies through the COVID-19 crisis. Learn how they are managing to persevere and rise above challenges that many of us are all facing today. Don’t miss out on this inspiring webinar!
Festival from Friday, July 17 until July 30
Tickets on sale: Friday, July 10

JAPAN CUTS, North America’s largest festival of contemporary Japanese cinema, returns for its unprecedented 14th edition as an entirely online experience. Featuring a diverse slate of 30 feature films and 12 shorts—including studio blockbusters, independent productions, documentaries, restored classics, animation and avant-garde works—

JAPAN CUTS 2020 offers unique access to the best new films from Japan with filmmaker video introductions, live virtual Q&As and panel discussions.
Friday, July 31, 12:00 - 1:00 PM EDT
( 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM CDT )

Hanaiku (花育) is Japanese education for kids to foster a sense of beauty and appreciation of life through experiences with plants and flowers. All you need is your favorite flowers, empty plastic bottles, and scissors!

Motoko Ishihara, Japanese Culture Consultant at Motoko Japan LLC, will teach us the beauty of flowers and show us how to enjoy simple flower arrangements at home. This is a perfect event for K-12 students to attend with their parents.
Non-JSB Online Activities
by Actors Refuge Repertory Theatre
Thursday, August 6 - Sunday, August 9
7:30 - 9:00 PM EDT

The 4th annual Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Memorial in Boston 2020 will be held virtually on the event's YouTube Channel. This year makes the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and is the year that, more than ever, we believe in building a peaceful world together. The program features the visual art, theater, dance, and music as well as the Hibakusha Testimony -- peace messages from the mayors of Hiroshima & Nagasaki. We hope you can join us!
Nagasaki Peace Monument
Saturday, July 25, 1:00 - 3:00 PM EDT
( 10:00 AM -12:00 PM PDT )

Tsuru for Solidarity will be offering a series of Community Conversations beginning July 25.

The first session will be on Japanese American Identity and will feature Dr. Donna Nagata, psychologist and Professor at the University of Michigan; Dr. Satuski Ina, co-organizer Tsuru for Solidarity; and moderated by Brian Niiya, Content Director, Densho.

Registration opens on Wednesday, July 15 at 9 am (EDT). Registration will be limited.
Alumni Panel Webinar by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs
Thursday, July 30, 8:00 - 9:15 AM EDT

Alumni panel including Hiroyuki Akita (2006-07), Foreign Affairs and National Security Commentator, Nihon Keizai Shimbun; Mireya Solis (2000-01), Director, Center for East Asia Policy Studies and Phillip Knight Chair in Japan Studies, Brookings Institution; Yoshihisa Masaki (2005-06), Director, Social Communications Bureau, Keidanren (Japan Business Federation); Noriyuki Shikata (2019-20) Assistant Minister/ Director-General, Economic Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Moderated by Christina Davis (2001-02), Director, Program on U.S.-Japan Relations; Professor of Government; and Susan S. and Knneth L. Wallach Professor, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.
Hosted by Venture Cafe Tokyo, featuring the Japanese Women's Leadership Initiative (JWLI)

Thursday, July 30, 7:00 - 8:00 AM EDT
( 8:00 - 9:00 PM JST )
第5回リーダーズ from JWLIは、7月30日(木)20時に開催いたします。テーマは「ビジネスにおける 個を尊重するコミュニケーションリテラシー 『先方のパートナーをなんて呼ぶ?』」です。
The 5th Leaders from JWLI session will be held at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, featuring the following female leaders. The theme of this session is "Gender-sensitive Communication at Work".
The speakers are:

※This is an online event. You can drop in the session, but we recommend that you pre-register to the events to make sure you have access to the event URLs.
Photo from
Thursday, August 6, 5:00 - 6:00 PM EDT
( 2:00 - 3:00 PM PDT )

Mix together the magic and superstitions of the Hawaiian Islands with the history of Japan and Korea and you get finely-spun stories from a man rooted in a very unique culture and a one-of-a-kind perspective. All of this is combined and delivered with a deep sense of reverence and authenticity. 

Not only does Alton Chung breathe life into traditional Asian folktales with sensitivity and deep connection, but he can also touch into the fire of ancient Hawaiian legends and tell them with passion and respect.
Tokyo Tower is a communications and observation tower in the Shiba-koen district of Minato, Tokyo, Japan. At 332.9 meters, it is the second-tallest structure in Japan. The structure is an Eiffel Tower-inspired lattice tower that is painted white and international orange to comply with air safety regulations.
Japanese study resources