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Member Highlight: Carl Stern

Updated: Jul 12

How long have you been a member of the Japan Society of Boston?

I joined in 2019… which seems simultaneously both more recent and longer ago than I had recalled, but then events of the last few years have really stretched one’s perceptions of time.

What drew you to JSB?

Having previously lived in Japan and worked with a few different Japan-affiliated companies, I had known a little about the JSB for some time, but had sadly put off joining. At some point, I looked at the upcoming events calendar, realized that I was missing out, got onto actually becoming a member.

How would you describe yourself and what you're passionate about?

I’m a software engineer and project manager, a novice hiker and woodworker, and an enthusiast of Japanese history and culture. I was first exposed to Kurosawa movies as a child — a big fan of Sanjuro (椿三十郎) — studied Japanese language in college, and did my first internship in Saitama. Some years later, I had the opportunity to transfer to Tokyo for work; what was planned as a one-year stint eventually turned into over five years there. I’ve also been on-site in Chiba to assist with opening manufacturing facilities.

I do enjoy travel and especially enjoy swinging through new (to me) regions of Japan whenever I visit. In April of 2023, I was finally able to return after the years of pandemic disruption. Among other destinations, I did some hiking in the Kuju Mountains of central Kyushu, visited the museum for the famous Japanese-American woodworker George Nakashima outside Takamatsu, and visited some of the famous sites of eastern Kyoto for the first time in many years. (Hint: if Fushimi Inari is swamped with tourists, take the less-traveled bamboo path, along the edge, up to the top.) I’m hoping one of these summers to get back to Hokkaido — my favorite place of respite from the Japanese summer heat, and site of my favorite mountain views (Daisetsuzan National Park).

Do you have a favorite event or program that you have participated in with JSB?

Difficult to narrow it down to one, though the Language Room is always a great resource for improving or maintaining one’s skills. We’ve also seen an increase in collaborative and online events between the various US Japan Societies, and with various universities and colleges, which has led to some very interesting co-sponsored talks on politics and business development.

What about JSB makes it special from other groups within the Boston area?

I’d be remiss to not mention its dedicated staff and volunteers, but I’d like to say that it’s because it’s a long-running society in Boston, with the unique history and links that makes possible. While New England might not have the same intensity of connections as places like California, it has the historical and living connections via institutions like the MFA and the Boston Children’s Museum, the many schools, and the Japanese-connected businesses. The work of the JSB then makes these links better-known and better-understood by the public.

What would you say to somebody who is considering joining JSB?

Do it! Look at the value you get, without having to book a flight to Tokyo.

Interested in becoming a JSB Member? Click here or reach out to for more details.

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