How long have you been a member of the Japan Society of Boston?
A combination of almost three years!
What drew you to JSB?
The variety of events and programs JSB has in addition to wanting to support a non-
profit dedicated to Japan.
How would you describe yourself and what you're passionate about?
Something a former supervisor told me was that she could tell I was a life-long learner
and I resonated with that. Even after graduating, I’ve always continued learning
something whether it was related to Japan or not.
Regarding Japan, I’m very passionate about the country’s history and language. I was
very fortunate in that I started studying Japanese when I was 13 and I’ve continued all
these years later. It has taken many forms (semi-private tutor, college courses, a
Japanese language school, etc.) but it has always been consistent.
Those beginning days though really sparked my interest in learning everything I could about the country itself and, honestly, I would go so far as to say it changed my trajectory in life. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in East Asian Studies, lived in Tokyo on two different occasions to study at a language school and then for an internship, and even now I am always engaging with the Japanese community in Boston.
[Danielle at Kiyomizudera in Kyoto]
Do you have a favorite event or program that you have participated in with JSB?
In 2019, I was a volunteer for JSB as an event photographer! I had the pleasure of
photographing the ceremonial planting of the Japanese Stewartia tree in the Boston
Public Garden which commemorated the 60th anniversary of the friendship between Boston and Kyoto. The Mayor of Kyoto, Daisaku Kadokawa, and President Emeritus of JSB, Peter Grilli, among others, were in attendance and it was significant to be a part of
the ceremony in this way.
I also had the privilege of attending the private tour of the Hokusai: Inspiration and
Influence given by Sarah Thompson, Curator of Japanese Art at the MFA. As someone
who loves history, there is so much of it behind a painting whether it’s regarding the
artist or important events happening around them that influence their works. It’s always
amazing to see how interconnected the world is, especially through art. An ukiyo-e print
done by Hokusai of a fish somehow makes its way across the world and onto a plate in
France. In all honesty, though, I could listen to Sarah Thompson speak all day!
What about JSB makes it special from other groups within the Boston area?
The sense of community that JSB evokes through the love and appreciation of Japan.
There are people of all ages and walks of life who are a part of the JSB community and it
has been great to get to know them.
What would you say to somebody who is considering joining JSB?
Do it! Not only would you be supporting a great non-profit, but there are so many
Danielle is currently volunteering to contribute to our Famous in Japan Series. There are countless ways to can get involved as a member to help further cultural exchange between the US and Japan in Boston.