Saturday, January 11, 2014

H Mart Cambridge barely making progress

Update 5/6/14: H Mart Cambridge is finally open! & H Mart Japanese groceries

H Mart's storefront

I was in Central Square the other day so I went by H Mart to see how they were doing. They've taken out the front windows and doors, but it's just boarded up with wood now. At the rear entrance they've put up signs saying they are "coming soon" but I peered inside and it looks like they've made very little progress since I last checked in mid-November. Although the vendors were notified last year that they would be able to move into their stalls in January, I don't see that happening. The walls and floors are not finished at all - it still looks very much like a construction site, not a store. I found it odd that both times I visited (during the daytime on weekdays) no one was working on the space. Sadly, I anticipate it will be months before they open and we can get a taste of Sapporo Central and Go Go Curry.

Coming soon?

See also: Ittoku Update / Sapporo Ramen coming to Central Square @ H Mart

Monday, January 6, 2014

Film & Discussion: Saving 10,000: Winning a War on Suicide in Japan

There's an interesting free film screening and panel discussion on suicide in Japan at MIT later this month. If you can't make the screening, the full film is on available on YouTube (above). The film is narrated in English and contains interviews in English and Japanese with subtitles throughout.

Date & Time: Thursday, January 23, 2014
5:00pm - Doors open
5:30pm - Film starts
6:30pm - Panel discussion 

  • Daisuke Fujisawa, MD, PhD, Psychiatrist and Assistant Professor/Neuropsychiatry, Keio University School of Medicine and Visiting Researcher, Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Psychiatric Oncology and Behavioral Sciences
  • Xiaolu Hsi, PhD, Psychologist, Neuropsychology, MIT Medical Mental Health and Counseling Services
  • Simon Lejeune, MD, Psychiatrist and Associate Chief, MIT Medical Mental Health and Counseling Services
  • Tom Blackwood, PhD, Sociologist and Program Manager, MIT-Japan Program

Saving 10,000: Winning a War on Suicide in Japan 

Directed by Rene Duignan
2012 | 52 mins | Documentary 
In a war on suicide, who is the enemy? ‘Saving 10,000′ is the story of an Irishman’s personal passion to uncover the true causes of the high suicide rate in Japan. The disturbing findings include the Japanese media`s perverse love affair with suicide, a variety of cruel and predatory economic pressures and an outdated and failing mental health care system. With the help of front-line experts and ordinary Japanese, many touched by the horror of suicide, the movie delivers practical proposals on how Japan can win a war on suicide. However with suicide such a taboo, the odds are nobody will listen. Or will they?

When I read the synopsis I thought it sounded like an outsider's criticism of Japan, and I wondered how an Irish filmmaker ended up making a film on this topic. It turns out Dr. Duignan has been living in Japan for 16 years. He currently works as an economist for the Delegation of the European Union to Japan and had no previous filmmaking experience. His quest to discover the causes of suicide and suggest solutions is deeply personal - the result of what he sees as his failure to adequately help a neighbor who subsequently took her own life. It seems his film is making waves. Earlier this year it was screened for members of parliament. He told the Irish Times:
“I was concerned that it would be seen as a criticism of Japan by an Irishman,” he says. “But the overwhelming reaction from Japanese people, especially from those who have been affected, has been ‘thank you’. I think my position as an outsider who has made my life here has given me a licence to do this – the fact that I am an Irishman is mentioned in all the coverage.”

  • Trailer
  • Dr. Duignan's TEDxTokyo talk about why he made the film


If you or someone you know needs help, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline @ 800-273-8255.

If you need help in Japanese, please contact JB Line @ 781-296-1800. 

See also: List of Japanese mental health providers in the Greater Boston area.