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Member Highlight: Wendy Dodek

[Wendy and her husband in front of Matsumoto Castle]

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

I have been a member of the Japan Society of Boston since 1989, joining after I

returned to the US from Tokyo where I worked for three years as a language

consultant and editor.

What drew you to JSB?

I quickly realized after returning to the US that my American friends had only polite

interest in hearing about my Japan stories and expected me to tuck all those

memories away and return to being the former Wendy. Yet, I had changed and

therefore, valued opportunities to meet with others who could relate to my

experiences and moreover, who shared my enthusiasm for the wonderful array of

cultural programs offered by JSB.

[Wendy enjoying a Japanese breakfast while staying at a ryokan]

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

I have always been fascinated by different cultures, ever since I was 6-years-old and

received a picture book showing children from around the globe in traditional

costumes. Attending an international folk festival where I tasted foods from around

the world also created a strong impression in my childhood. As an adult, I’ve been

an avid student of cross-cultural differences and communication patterns.

Photography is my hobby and has its origins in Japan when I bought my first serious

camera at the famed Yodobashi camera store in Tokyo. I delighted in capturing the

colors and flavor of the numerous festivals throughout the country! Some of those

photographs are still being used in presentations I give to various groups on the

Seasons of Japan.

Looking back, I never would have imagined in 1989, when I returned from Tokyo,

how intertwined my life would continue to be with Japan, both on a personal and

professional level. I have stayed in touch with many Japanese friends-- which wasn’t

so easy prior to email and social media, necessitating long snail mail letters. I am

thrilled to also have a Japanese godchild and namesake, “little” Wendy. In my work

life, I’ve been involved in novel research projects including a comparison between

Japanese and American women’s stress factors. And more recently, I’ve arranged

many museum programs with Japanese artists and musicians.

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

In 2019, I attended (and photographed for JSB) the lavish Tamagawa University

Taiko and Dance performance at Pine Manor College. I love the energy and

professionalism of this student group but it wasn’t the first time I’d seen them. I have

been a fan since 2008, when the group came to perform at the Peabody Essex

Museum and I was delighted to coordinate their well-received performance there.

[Wendy's home displays a colorful Japanese wedding kimono]

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

I do not know of any other organization offering the range of programs and

opportunities to learn and connect with a culture on so many levels.

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

Try a couple of programs and I do believe you will be hooked and wonder why you

hadn’t joined sooner!

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

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