Member Highlight - Ingrid Chiemi

Updated: Sep 5


How long have you been a member of JSB? Since February 4, 2022 ​ What drew you to the JSB? One of my friends, Mike Phelan, whom I have known since we were in the Chorale together at Boston College and rely on for musical and other feedback on my songs, told me about JSB and its events, which he really thought I would enjoy.


What about JSB makes it special from other groups within the Boston area? It is very sophisticated, knowledgeable and collegial group united by love of Japanese culture and work as well as an interest in promoting mutual and beneficial understanding between Japan and U.S. cultures. I am impressed by how the participation in events crosses so many state lines with folks from all over too. The programs are very impressive, with all of the experts and institutions that are linked together by JSB to bring various aspects of Japanese culture to the individuals in the membership.

Do you have a favorite event or program that you have participated in with JSB? My favorite event so far is the one with Michelle Kyoko Crowson on Seeing Poetry: Waka and Haiku as Visual Tactile Art. This opened up a whole world for me of looking at Japanese poetry and the poetesses themselves in a new way as well as seeing the communication of the Japanese poetry on objects in daily use such as a woven hat or piece of pottery.


How would you describe yourself and what you’re passionate about? I am a storyteller interested in stories in all forms as well as making sure they are told and have forums for doing so. For that reason, I am passionate about social equity and diversity so that all voices are heard, especially those in the Asian community, which has been shadowed and hampered by the "model minority" stereotype and myth as well as a reticence about complaining or speaking up as a means of retaining dignity, saving face, etc. ​ Following your book release, how would you like to see the Greater Boston area grow in

order to help the Asian Community? I hope the book brings awareness to the greater community about the Asian Community Development Corporation and its work to preserve, foster and build community for the Asian population in Massachusetts. I hope it also aids with a further understanding of the Asian diversity within Massachusetts that some folks might not be aware of.


Something I'd like to highlight about Karma Bank to Following By Listening is that it is the product of collaboration by folks in the midst of a crisis, reaching out to create something to inspire and give hope. I believe that human beings are natural collaborators and that our connecting together in this crisis and reaching beyond ourselves to set up clinics, help elderly folks get registered for the vaccine and have events online to connect such as the ones that the JSB has consistently offered, is evidence of that. I hope when folks read the book, they see that, as well as the beauty and shared human experiences in the pages.


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

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