Bi-Weekly Newsletter
May 4 - May 19, 2020
Tomorrow, 5/5 is Children's Day in Japan. Find some interesting Children's Day Activities in our Newsletter! It is also #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving and unity in response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.
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:

After her werewolf lover unexpectedly dies in an accident while hunting for food for their children, a young woman must find ways to raise the werewolf son and daughter that she had with him while keeping their trait hidden from society.

Directed by Mamoru Hosoda. Japanese title おおかみこどもの雨と雪 ( Ookami kodomo no Ame to Yuki).
Keep up with JSB on social media!
Japanese of the week:
兜 (かぶと): "Kabuto"

On Children’s Day, the Japanese typically display traditional Japanese helmets or dolls wearing helmets. It was believed that the dolls would take on bad fortune instead of the child. Also, the verb to wear a helmet is かぶる( kaburu) , which also means “to take on,” hence the doll wearing a helmet will take on the bad fortune for the child!

The kanji, 兜 consists of the kanji 白( shiro,  white)for skull and the parts on the side depicting the helmet. The bottom part of the word signifies the human legs to show a human wearing a helmet. Many kanji structures often reflect the meaning of the word itself. Find that interesting? Join us in one of our theme-based Language class on the Japanese writing system!
Facts about Hokkaido
Honoring the 30th Anniversary of the
Massachusetts - Hokkaido sister state relationship

Hokkaido has always been known to be one of the regions of Japan that sees the most snowfall, but did you know that the snow that falls there is said to be some of the best in the world? " Japow" is the term coined by the international community as Hokkaido being the "must travel to" destination for prime skiing conditions for the snow it provides. A true winter wonderland.

For more interesting facts that only locals know, join us in our theme based program: "Not just Tokyo and Kyoto. Discover Japan that even the Japanese may not know!"
🎊🎏 Kodomo No Hi (こどもの日) Special Program 🎏🎊
May 5th is a special day in Japan where children are honored and respected for their individual personalities while wishing happiness upon them. Join us in celebrating Children's Day with these cultural activities.

The Origin of Children’s Day
Children’s Day came from China where, a long time ago, an epidemic hit in May and many lives were lost. After the epidemic, people started to hang irises in front of their houses to ward off evil, and drink alcohol with iris leaves to cleanse the body. 
In 13 th  century Japan,  菖蒲( shobu , iris) and  尚武( shobu , martial 
spirit) both had the same sound, so samurai families started to view irises as good luck. Eventually, Children’s Day evolved into a day when people wish for boys to grow strong.

菖蒲湯( shobuyu , bathwater with iris leaves)
Irises are a medicinal herb believed since ancient times to keep evil away. Children’s Day takes place when the seasons change, so it was common practice for people to bathe in bathwater with iris leaves to boost their immune systems.
鯉のぼり( koinobori , carp streamer)
The carp is a tough fish that can survive not only in clear water but also in ponds and swamps. People put up carp streamers in hope that their children will grow as strong as a carp, and to let the spirits know that they have boys who need protection.
柏餅( kashiwamochi , rice cake wrapped in oak leaves)
Oak trees don’t shed their old leaves until sprouts come out. Therefore, people associated oak leaves with perpetuation of descendants and started to eat rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves on Children’s Day.

Follow JSB's language instructor, Naoko Takayanagi
in making carp and kabuto origami.
Origami Carp Tutorial
Kabuto Tutorial
Japan Societies across the country are putting on online activities to celebrate Children's Day. Here are some from Philadelphia, Georgia and Colorado!

Presented by Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center, 2020 Virtual Children's Day will run May 5-7 this year. There will be Koi Nobori flag raising via Facebook Live and downloadable lesson plans that include a video tour of Shofuso and a “Story of Shofuso” Kamishibai reading.
Tuesday May 5th, 2020
4:00 - 4:45 PM

The Drums of Noto Hanto is about an ancient village that is being attacked by samurai warships! The villagers play drums and wear scary masks of seaweed and tree bark to scare the samurai and protect their village! Kids, you can participate in the reading by making masks and pretending to play the drums!

Learn the history of kamishibai, see and hear a reading of a popular kamishibai story, and then learn some cultural facts about the story.

This year, Kodomo No Hi is

Children's Day is extra special this year because of #GivingTuesdayNow. Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people to transform their communities and the world. During this pandemic, generosity is bringing people together, making real, positive changes through connection and kindness. We are eternally grateful for all the generosity and support we receive this #GivingTuesday and everyday. Thank you.
Japan Society of Boston Online Events

Would you like to learn about Japanese food or interesting places in Japan while learning Japanese? We’re offering a series of theme-based Japanese online classes starting in May. This is a great opportunity for people who would like to learn about Japan while studying Japanese – or even people who aren’t sure about taking a structured 12-week Japanese course but would like to practice Japanese conversation.

Each class has two levels: Beginners and Intermediate/Advanced.

Choose from 4 different exciting themes

  • Like Japanese Food? Learn Japanese through Cuisine!
  • Not just Tokyo and Kyoto. Discover Japan that even the Japanese may not know!
  • Japanese in Manga 
  • The Japanese Writing System: Not as Scary as It Seems!

Reach out to us here for further inquiries.

Easy Japanese Home Cooking for the Non-Chefs!


5:00 - 7:00 PM
Hosted online via Zoom
(you will be sent the meeting code after registering)

We asked and you voted! 
In our 4/22/20 Newsletter, we asked your help in deciding the menu for the online cooking class and believe it or not, an equal number of you voted for onigiri/ball sushi (手まり寿司) and omurice (オムライス)!
Join Yuko, our Managing Director and a mom of two, in the kitchen to make onigiri rice balls and ball sushi(手まり寿司) on Friday, May 22nd and/or
omurice (オムライス), Japan's loved dish on Saturday, May 30th!

Friday, May 15th

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

Join us for a Japanese/English language exchange with native Japanese speakers! We will begin with a half an hour of speaking in Japanese, followed by a half an hour of speaking in English, and alternate until we hit 8 PM. Registration is set up so registrants can designate their current proficiency level so we can match participants into groups based on their levels.

Non JSB Online Activities
by Yoko Tawada
A breathtakingly lighthearted meditation on mortality. After suffering a massive, irreparable disaster, Japan cuts itself off from the world. Children are born so weak they can barely walk; the only people with any get-up-and-go are the elderly. Mumei lives with his always worried great-grandfather Yoshiro, and they carry on a day-to-day routine in what could be viewed as a post-Fukushima time. Mumei may be frail and gray-haired, but he is a beacon of hope: full of wit and free of self-pity. Deftly turning inside out the dystopian scenario, Yoko Tawada creates an irrepressibly funny, playfully joyous novel, with a legerdemain uniquely her own.
Talk event which exchanges ideas on writing, translation and inspiration.
Asian Three-Fold Mirror 2016: Reflections , the omnibus film co-produced by The Japan Foundation Asia Center and the Tokyo International Film Festival, is available for  free streaming  until June 30 (JST). This omnibus film brings together three globally acclaimed directors:  Yukisada Isao  (Japan),  Brillante Ma. Mendoza  (Philippines), and  Sotho Kulikar  (Cambodia).
MOOSIC LAB and Japanese Film Festival launched a free streaming service for recent Japanese indie movies in March. Discover a new generation of creators from Japan

Experience a virtual tour across Japan brought to you by NHK World.

Japanese study resources