Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Japonaise Bakery in Porter still closed

I was in the Porter Exchange last night so stopped by to see what was going on at the Japonaise Bakery. There was a sign in the window saying they are temporarily closed but things don't look promising for reopening any time soon. They've removed all their non-baked goods products, refrigerators, and display cases.

In other news, Japonaise will be one of the food vendors at the Brookline Cherry Blossom Festival!

See also: Japonaise Bakery in Porter Closed

BEND: Kimi Maeda @ Brandeis University

Japanese American theatre artist, Kimi Maeda, will be performing at Brandeis University next week.

If memory forms our personal, cultural, and even racial identity, what does it mean when memories are lost? BEND examines the lives of two men interned in a Japanese American Relocation Camp during WWII: the artist's father, Robert Maeda who taught Asian art history at Brandeis for three decades and is currently suffering from dementia, and the subject of his research, Isamu Noguchi, the half-Japanese-half-American sculptor.

Q&A and reception to follow.

Presented by the Department of Fine Arts and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as part of their Art and Gender: Global Perspectives series. Co-sponsored by the Comparative Literature and Culture Program and funded by the Brandeis Arts Council.

Date & Time
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
7:00 - 8:30pm

Brandeis University
Merrick Theater, Spingold Theater Center, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453

Free (seating is limited to 50 people so you should plan to arrive early)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Japan Festival Boston & Brookline Cherry Blossom Festival Details

I just realized that both spring matsuris have rebranded this year.

The festival formerly known as Haru Matsuri and Japan Festival in Boston is now the Japan Festival Boston (or Nihon Matsuri as they're calling it in the Japanese community). JREX is crowdfunding with GoFundMe. This year's matsuri will be much larger than last year's scaled down collaboration with the Cambridge River Festival. See here for the list of vendors and times of performances. There will be lots of food, though I fear the lines. The Japan Festival Boston will be held on Sunday, April 26, 2015 from 10am - 5pm on the Boston Common at the Beacon & Charles Street corner (near Frog Pond).

The Genki Spark and Brookline High School Japanese Program have translated their matsuri name into English this year. See below for performance details. The 4th annual Brookline Cherry Blossom Festival will be held at Brookline High School on Saturday, May 9, 2015 from 12 - 4pm. This is a small family-friendly matsuri with lots of taiko!

See photos from last year's Japan Festival in Boston. 
See photos from last year's Brookline Sakura Matsuri.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Origami @ MIT

Collier's Cranes

There's a lot of origami on display at MIT right now that you should check out if you have a chance. The most stunning is Collier's Cranes, which started out as a hack last year to honor Officer Sean Collier on the one year anniversary of his death. I asked around and found out that MIT liked it so much they decided to leave it up indefinitely. The cranes are installed in the Stata Center (Building 32) in the lobby at the corner of Vassar and Main Streets near the site of his permanent memorial which will be dedicated later this month. (More photos.)

The 2013 addition to the 1994 police car hack is still on display in the Stata Center's hack gallery. 

OrigaMIT (MIT's origami club) has a temporary installation of a Menger Sponge on the other side of the building. It is one face of a level 3 Menger Sponge and was made using 25,000 business cards! I contributed a very small piece of the model. The MIT Menger Sponge was made as part of the MegaMenger project. This video shows how it's made. It is located in the Dreyfoos Tower elevator lobby next to a bank of pay phones. I'm told it will be there until some time in May.

The 14th Annual Student OrigaMIT Competition is on display on the other side of campus in the Wiesner Student Art Gallery on the second floor of the Stratton Student Center (Building W20). The club is open to the public and meets most Sundays during the school year from 3-5pm. Check the calendar on their website to find out when the next meeting is. The exhibit will be up until some time next month. (More photos.)


Hanging Cranes by Lily Zhou '17 inspired by the Collier's Cranes installation won first place in the Composition category.

Star Festival, designed by Nobuko Okabe, folded by OrigaMIT co-president, Yongquan Lu. YQ taught this model at OrigaMIT's 2014 Convention in November. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Japan Festival in Boston & Brookline Sakura Matsuri Dates

I was wondering if the Japan Festival Boston (formerly called Haru Matsuri and Japan Festival in Boston) would be happening this year after last year's festival within a festival at the Cambridge River Festival which I didn't think worked very well. I just found out that this year's 4th annual Japan Festival will be held on Sunday, April 26, 2015 from 10am - 5pm on the Boston Common at the Beacon & Charles Street corner (near Frog Pond). JREX is crowdfunding with GoFundMe for the first time this year.

I also got word that the 4th annual Brookline Cherry Blossom Festival (formerly called the Brookline Sakura Matsuri) held at Brookline High School will be on Saturday, May 9, 2015 from 12 - 4pm. This is a small family-friendly matsuri organized by the Brookline High School & Genki Spark communities. Details to follow. Though you can definitely expect a lot of taiko!

See photos from last year's Japan Festival in Boston. 
See photos from last year's Brookline Sakura Matsuri.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Japonaise Bakery in Porter Closed

I tried to stop by Japonaise Bakery in Porter yesterday when they should have been open but was greeted by steel doors. I called the main store in Brookline today and was told that Porter was closed due to equipment issues. I asked if the closure was permanent and was told she hadn't decided yet. I told her that would be too bad. It wouldn't surprise me if they close permanently since they never have very many customers. It would be a real shame. Japonaise has been in the Porter Exchange for as long as I remember but it seems like they've struggled for business since moving to this less visible location (they used to have a kiosk in the main hallway outside Bluefin). I'm sure that Kotobukiya's closure has hurt them as well.

In the mean time if you want azuki creams or shoku pan you will have to head over to their St. Mary's location.

Update 3/19/15: Stopped by the Brookline location today and found out that the equipment that broke is used to make their bread so they had no bread or bread pastries (other than bread pudding), just cakes, flan, a lone tray of almond croissants, and a few onigiri. It seems they are also struggling with being understaffed.  They are hiring for all positions.

Update 3/20/15: Went back to the Brookline location today and they had azuki & ichigo creams (yay!) along with a few other pastries but still no bread and no word on when the equipment would be fixed.

Friday, February 20, 2015

2015 3.11 Events in Boston

If you're aware of a 3.11 event that I haven't listed, please post a comment with a link to the event or details if the info isn't on a public webpage. This page will be updated if I find out about more events.

March 11, 2015 will be the fourth anniversary of the historic triple disaster that Japan experienced in Tōhoku on March 11, 2011. Although the world's attention has moved on to other disasters, some groups in Boston continue to be involved in supporting Japan through this crisis and educating the public. If you're interested in learning more, please consider attending one of these events. Events are listed in chronological order.

Film Screening: Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story

In conversation with Film Director Regge Life

This remarkable documentary offers a glimpse into the life of Taylor Anderson (JET Program, Miyagi prefecture, 2008-11), a young American woman who dedicated herself to teaching Japanese children, through in-depth personal accounts from her loved ones. Laced with emotional recollections, moving photographs and home movies which are as many bits of the wonderful puzzle that was her incredible existence, the film walks the viewer through Taylor's 24 years on earth and untimely end caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011. In light of the tragedy, the film sends a message of hope for all to follow their hearts. [90 minutes. USA, 2012. BD.]

Regge Life has been making groundbreaking films for over two decades including the acclaimed Doubles: Japan and America’s Intercultural Children , and most recently Reason to Hope, which chronicles the events surrounding the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Date & Time
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
6:00pm - 8:00 pm

Harvard University
CGIS South Bldg., 1730 Cambridge St., Tsai Auditorium S010, Cambridge, MA 02138


3.11 Japan Memorial Charity 2015: Remembrance of Earthquake and Tsunami

MIT Japanese Tea Ceremony will hold their annual remembrance and fundraising event at the Sanzashi-An Tea House on Showa Boston's campus. Each session is about 45 minutes, includes Japanese Tea Ceremony performance with Japanese confectionery and green tea. Children are welcome to join and babysitter available upon request.

Date & Time
Sunday, March 8, 2015
RSVP by Thursday, March 5, 2015

Showa Boston, Sanzashi-An Tea House
420 Pond St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Free admission, with suggested donation from $20
*Donations without participation in Ceremony or at the door is also appreciated

All Proceeds from this event with be donated to Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, Japan Society of New York to support reconstruction of the disaster.

Cranes on the Square

This year is the third annual Cranes on the Square event organized by local teacher Tim Nagaoka with support from the Boston Parks & Recreation Department, the Japanese Consulate, and the Japan Society of Boston. Volunteers will teach people how to fold origami cranes which will form a temporary public art piece in Copley Square then be collected and delivered to people in the disaster area.

Date & Time
Sunday, March 8, 2015
11:30am - 4:30pm

Copley Square, Boston, MA

Survival and Recovery after the Great East Japan Earthquake

Survival rates and recovery rates from the Great East Japan Earthquake and resulting tsunami have varied tremendously across the coastal towns in Japan's Tohoku area. A few villages and towns have rebuilt all of their schools, repopulated homes, and reestablished businesses and infrastructure, while others struggle to do so.

Using quantitative data, Professor Daniel Aldrich of Purdue University will illuminate the factors responsible for these outcomes in a lecture, followed by a reception with light snacks.

Date & Time
Monday, March 9, 2015

Tufts University, Olin Center, 180 Packard Ave., Room 012, Medford, MA 02155

Survival and Recovery from the Tohoku Disaster

Daniel Aldrich, Purdue University
Chiaki Moriguchi, Stanford University

Weatherhead Center Program on U.S.-Japan Relations Spring Seminar co-sponsored with the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and the Harvard Kennedy School Program on Crisis Leadership

Date & Time
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
12:30pm - 2:00pm

Harvard University
CGIS Knafel Building, 1737 Cambridge St., Bowie-Vernon Room (K262), Cambridge, MA 02138

Harvard has been doing a great job of hosting talks year-round about the problems Japan is still facing after 3.11. Talks are open to the public, though inconveniently scheduled for people with 9-5 jobs. Some of the talks are posted on the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations Vimeo page.

Meditation for Fukushima 

Tewassa, a Cambridge-based volunteer group that produces "message quilts" for schools and organizations in the Tōhoku region, will be holding a memorial event

Date & Time
Saturday, March 14, 2015
4pm - 6pm

GrayMist Studio & Shop
364 Huron Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Public Transit & Parking
GrayMist is accessible by the 72 and 75 buses from Harvard Square. There is free on-street parking along Huron Ave.

Updates from Tohoku & A Night of Remembrance

The MIT 3.11 Initiative's Shun Kanda will be speaking at this event.

"Updates from Tohoku, a journey to new life," is a commemoration of the fourth anniversary of 3.11, the disaster that occurred on March 11, 2011 in the northeastern region of Japan and affected nearly 500,000 people, including 20,000 deaths and missing.

Hosted by the Consulate-General of Japan in Boston, Berklee College of Music, Fish Family Foundation, Japan Society of Boston, and the U.S.-Japan Council/TOMODACHI Initiative, the event will be held from 6pm to 8pm on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at Berklee College of Music.

With the purpose to not let Tohoku be forgotten, the event will celebrate the friendship between Boston and Tohoku, and showcase individuals and projects working on the disaster ground, including Shun Kanda of the MIT Japan 3/11 Initiative, Anne Nishimura Morse of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Megumi Ishimoto of Women's Eyes. Two Berklee students, recipients of the TOMODACHI - Suntory scholarship program, will also perform short pieces as tributes to Tohoku.

Date & Time
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
6pm - 8 pm

Berklee College of Music, The Red Room @ Cafe 939 
939 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02115

Free. Please register here.