Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Films: To Be Takei, Yoshiko and Yuriko @ 2014 Boston LGBT Film Festival

Yay! The Boston LGBT Film Festival is celebrating their 30th anniversary with the East Coast premiere of the George Takei documentary, To Be Takei!

To Be Takei

Thursday, April 3, 2014, 6:30PM - VIP Reception @ Empire, 7:30PM Film Screening @ ICA, followed by Post Party @ Empire
ICA100 Northern Ave., Boston, MA 02210
Empire Asian Restaurant & Lounge @ 55 Northern Ave., Boston, MA 02210
Tickets: $30 for film & post party, $50 for reception, film, and post party
Directed by Jennifer M. Kroot & Bill Weber
2014 | 90 mins | Documentary
George Takei doesn’t shy away from digging into his remarkable career and personal life in Jennifer Kroot’s delightful and incisive film To Be Takei. As a child forced into Japanese-American internment camps, the actor-turned-activist reveals the ways that racism affected him well into his early acting career, where he played stereotypical Asian stock characters in film and television shows. Even after landing the iconic role of Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek, Takei’s sharp eye, coupled with his wicked sense of humor, continued to challenge the status quo well into the twenty-first century.

Now at 76, nine years after formally coming out of the closet, Takei and his husband, Brad, have become the poster couple for marriage equality, highlighting homophobia through television interviews and hilarious skits, many of which have gone viral and garnered widespread attention. Whether dishing on William Shatner or parodying the now-infamous comments made by Tim Hardaway, Takei proves time and again why his presence in popular culture remains as fresh and necessary as ever.—Sundance Film Festival

The only Japanese film at the festival this year is based on the real life love affair between two Japanese women, Yoshiko Yuasa and Yuriko Chujo (Miyamoto is her married name) during the Taishō & Shōwa periods (early 1920s-1930s).

Yoshiko and Yoriko

Original Title: 百合子、ダスヴィダーニヤ (Yuriko, dasuvidânya)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 @ 8:30pm
Tickets: $12
Directed by: Sachi Hamano (Wikipedia)
2011 | 102 mins | Narrative Feature
Japanese with English Subtitles
Read about Yoshiko & Yoriko and the making of the film, detailed synopsis
Based on a true story, Yoshiko and Yuriko relates the journey and great love affair of Yoshiko, who was a renowned translator of Russian literature and drama, and Yuriko, who was a feminist novelist and great activist of the post-war democratic literature movement. The two women shared a strong attraction to each other from their first meeting and enjoyed a powerful love affair. Yoshiko reveals that she’s an out lesbian, whilst Yuriko is married to a well-known scholar – a situation she can’t walk away from with ease.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Japan Festival will be June 7, 2014 in Cambridge

Looks like there's been a bit of a shake up over at the Japan Festival in Boston. I had heard rumors that it might not happen this year but it seems they teamed up with the Cambridge River Festival, so the 3rd annual Japan Festival in Boston will be in Central Square, Cambridge on Saturday, June 7th. I'm unclear if the Japan Festival will be in one place or spread through. The Cambridge River Festival will be on Mass Ave. and Sidney St.

I received the following email from festival organizers yesterday. The vendor application process is a little confusing so read carefully if you apply.

( 日本語が以下続きます )

Dear all,

Thank you very much for your support and patience for Japan Festival Boston 2014. We are pleased to announce that this year the Japan Festival will be held in conjunction with the Cambridge Arts River Festival on Saturday June 7, 2014, from 12:00pm to 6:00pm. We are excited to be participating in the River Festival and hope you will all join us.

There are changes to the process of applying at this year’s festival. Please go to the following vendor applications for Japan Festival Section at Cambridge River Festival to find out more.

           Art booth application

           Food booth application

           Community table (Free, Nonprofit organization only)

If you are interested in becoming a vendor,please download the vendor application from the link above, fill in the form and send it by e-mail AND by post as follows. The postmark date for submission is April 4th, 2014 :
-       By post to JREX (the address below) : 1) Original application form and , 2) Check payable to “JREX(Japanese Resource Exchange)
-       By e-mail to : 1) Scanned application form and, 2)  photo of goods you plan to sell

            JREX (Japanese Resource Exchange)

            411 Waverley Oaks Road, Suite 317,
            Waltham, MA 02452

Please be sure that your activities or products are related to Japanese culture or the art. Please note that there will be NO TENTS, TABLE and ELECTRIC arrangements by the organizer this year. If you require any of them please bring them with you.

Participants fee: Regular booth $175 , Food booth $275~ ( please see the application form ) 

There will be no early bird discounts applied if you wish to join as a part of Japan Festival Section.

There are strict regulations on what vendors can and can not do at the festival.  Final acceptance of all applications is made by the Cambridge Arts Council and they may reject your application if you don’t meet their criteria. If the Cambridge Arts Council declines your application, Japan Festival Boston is unable to take any responsibility.

All vendors applying to be part of the Japan Festival Section should submit their paperwork and payment to JREX(Japanese Resource Exchange) as above, and NOT DIRECTLY TO the Cambridge Arts Council as their application instruction say.

If you application is not accepted, we will notify you immediately. You will be refunded the full amount of your application.

Questions please contact:

Thank you once again.

Japan Festival Boston 2014

--- in Japanese below ---


JAPAN FESTIVAL BOSTONをご支援頂き、心よりお礼申し上げます。大変お待たせ致しました。今年の日本祭りは、6月7日(土)午後12時から午後6時に開催されるCambridge River Festivalの一部に日本祭りとして団体参加することが決定いたしました。会場は一般ブースがMassachusetts Avenue(Prospect Street からSidney Street)そしてフードブースが Sidney Street (Massachusetts AvenueからPilgrim Street) を使用いたします。

今年はRiver Festivalの規定に従って行いますので、参加条件と実施内容をご確認ください。詳しくは下記の申込書リンクからFestivalの規定をお確かめください。

・申込書(電子版)と販売予定の商品の写真をEメール添付で までお送りください。締め切りは4月4日当日消印有効です。

一般ブース(Art Bazaar)
フードブース(World Food)

JREX (Japanese Resource Exchange)
411 Waverley Oaks Road, Suite 317,
Waltham, MA 02452



参加費 一般ブース$175 フードブース$275〜(申し込み書参照)



1. 実行委員会がケンブリッジ市よりの返答を待ち、各申請者へ結果を通達
2. 却下された申請者には支払われた金額全てを返却





Sunday, March 16, 2014

Photos: H Mart's Progress

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

Mass Ave. entrance

I went to H Mart last week to check on their progress but discovered after I got there that I'd forgotten my camera! I managed to make it back there today. All three signs (they have three entrances) were up last week, although I don't know when they went up.

Don't let the shiny exteriors fool you though. You won't be eating curry and ramen there any time soon. At the end of January they told the Cambridge Chronicle that they planned to open in April, but with April just two weeks away, I don't see that happening. There are construction materials everywhere, wires dangling from the ceiling, and the floors and walls aren't finished. They have a lot more work to do before they can even begin the lengthy inspection process.

When I texted a picture of the interior to a friend last week he commented that maybe they wouldn't open until next year. The store has been plagued with delays so anything is possible. The Globe first reported that H Mart had signed the lease on the old Harvest Co-op space in June 2012. At one point H Mart was optimistically projecting a February 2013 opening, but it was apparently delayed due to power issues with the building. Then they were saying late fall 2013. Then they told the vendors they could move into their spaces in January 2014. Now here we are in March with their last projected opening date next month. Perhaps I should start a pool? When do you think H Mart will open? Leave a comment with month, date, and year!

Food court
Grocery store
Grocery store
Essex St. entrance
Lot 5 entrance

Monday, March 10, 2014

Coming soon: New ramen pop-up coming to Yume Wo Katare

Update 3/18/14: Apparently I missed this when I checked Pop Ramen's Facebook page the other day. Their Culinary Team is listed as Jorgen "Walker" Peterson, who has been apprenticing with Tsuyoshi Nishioka, chef/ower of Yume Wo Katare, and Matt Chaves.

One of my friends just told me that Yume Wo Katare will be joining the pop-up game. Beginning Sunday, March 30th, they'll be hosting a micro pop-up called Pop Ramen, which will serve a vegetarian miso ramen (although pork will be available as an add-on!). This is a ticketed event. Tickets go on sale at Yume Wo Katare this Saturday, March 15th, at 5pm. You'll want to hurry over and get your tickets as they're only selling 54 bowls on opening day! (Update 3/15/14 7:20pm: I was at Yume Wo Katare a little while ago and tickets were still available.) They think the second Pop Ramen event will be on Sunday, April 13th.

Per Yume Wo Katare's Facebook:
"The base bowl will be $10 and includes: soup, noodles, moyashi (bean sprouts), yakinori (seaweed), negi (green onions), ninniku (garlic), spicy chili sauce, and an ajitama (seasoned soft boiled egg). A ~3oz portion of seasoned pork will be available for $1 extra."
Sadly, due to allergies I won't be able to try it, but I'm curious to hear what people think, so let me know if you go!

Date & Time
Random Sunday afternoons
11am - 2pm

Yume Wo Katare
Cambridge, MA 02140

$10 for the base vegetarian bowl + $1 for pork
Tickets are necessary and may be purchased at Yume Wo Katare. You do not need to wait in Yume Wo Katare's epic line to purchase. Check Pop Ramen's Facebook page for details on when tickets are available. Check Yume Wo Katare's Facebook page for their hours.

Cash only

More 3.11 Events

I updated my post of 2014 3.11 events to include a screening of Children of the Tsunami at Tufts on Wednesday and an event called Arts, Friendship, and Tohoku at the Children's Museum on Friday and Saturday. See original post for details. 

If you have information about an event that I've missed, please leave a comment with details.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Talk: Born Nisei: A Japanese American Story with Margie Yamamoto

If you don't know about the Japanese American incarceration during WWII, you may find my introductory post helpful.

Margie Yamamoto, co-president of the New England chapter of the JACL, will be speaking about her family's experience immigrating from Japan in the 1890s and their incarceration along with thousands of other Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans by the US government during WWII.  

Date & Time
Friday, March 14, 2014
6:30pm - 7:30pm - Lecture
7:30 - Reception

Consulate General of Japan
Federal Reserve Plaza, 22nd Floor
600 Atlantic Ave., Boston, MA 02210
Note: Use the Summer St. entrance after 6pm

RSVP Required
Please RSVP to Richard Winslow at by Friday, March 7, 2014
A government-issued picture ID will be necessary for entry to the building.

(The event page on the consulate's site is in Japanese, but the talk will be in English)

This talk follows the story of a Japanese American family from immigration in the1890s to imprisonment during World War II, and documents how they rebuilt their lives during the post-War years. The 45-minute presentation is richly illustrated with family and historic WWII photographs, many of the latter from government archives.

Beyond describing the internment experiences of a single family, the talk focuses on the plight of the 120,000 Japanese -- two thirds of them American citizens -- who were imprisoned, sometimes for years, by a Presidential order deemed by many then and now to be in violation of the United States Constitution. 

About the Speaker

The speaker, Margaret Yamamoto, is a member of the family featured in the presentation and was incarcerated at the age of 2 months. Today she is co-president of the New England Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, a national human rights and educational organization. She also was chair of the national organization’s Editorial Board and was an ex officio member of its National Board of Directors.

Margie has addressed many audiences on the subject of the Japanese internment during WWII, providing an historical summary of its events and relating their consequences to the personal experiences of her family as it coped with incarceration and subsequent return to a normal life.

Margie retired recently after more than 40 years in the communications and public relations fields. She has worked for WGBH (the Boston PBS television station), Walt Disney Productions, General Electric, and a number of education and healthcare organizations in New York, California and Massachusetts.

She has served on the boards of the Japan Society of Boston, the Asian Pacific American Agenda Coalition, and the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, as well as advisory committees for the PBS Adult Learning Service, the Greater Boston Food Bank, and the University of Massachusetts Institute for Asian American Studies and Graduate School of Education.

Monday, March 3, 2014

2014 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.

March 11, 2014 will be the third anniversary of the devastating triple disaster that Japan experienced in Tōhoku on March 11, 2011. Three years on, media interest in Japan and around the world has waned and the world's attention has moved on to more recent disasters.

Although they have made progress in the disaster area, some people are still living in temporary housing and it will take communities decades to rebuild and recover. Some people who lived in the nuclear exclusion zone will never be able to return home. It is still unclear what will happen to all the nuclear waste at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and all the contaminated soil that has been "cleaned up" from surrounding areas.

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.

Talks @ Harvard

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.

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ): Leadership, Structures, and Information Challenges During the Crisis
Kenji Kushida, Takahashi Research Associate in Japanese Studies, Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University
Reischauer Institute Japan Forum co-sponsored with the Weatherhead Center Program on U.S.-Japan Relations

Date & Time
Friday, March 7, 2014
4pm - 5:30pm

Harvard University
CGIS South Bldg., 1730 Cambridge St., Porte Room S250, Cambridge, MA 02138
Weatherhead Center Program on U.S.-Japan Relations co-sponsored with the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Date & Time
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
12:30pm - 2pm

Harvard University
CGIS Knafel Building, 1737 Cambridge St., Bowie-Vernon Room (K262), Cambridge, MA 02138
Location changed to: CGIS South Bldg., 1730 Cambridge St., Tsai Auditorium S010, Cambridge, MA 02138

Tewassa 3.11 Memorial Candle Event @ GrayMist

Tewassa, a Cambridge-based volunteer group that produces "message quilts" for schools and organizations in the Tōhoku region, will be holding a memorial event. Candles may be purchased for $5. Attendees will hear about the current situation in Minamisōma.

Date & Time
Saturday, March 8, 2014
2pm - 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.

Cranes on the Square @ Copley Square

This year is the second 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. Student 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 9, 2014
11am - 4pm

Copley Square, Boston, MA

Children of the Tsunami Screening 

Sponsored by the Tufts University Japanese Culture Club 

I'm told that Tufts will be holding a 3.11 event but details have not been finalized. I will update this post when I have more information. The Tufts JCC has been very active in raising funds and awareness of the aftermath of 3.11.

The Tufts JCC will be screening Children of the Tsunami, a 2012 BBC documentary. Tewassa will also be on hand to talk about our work and attendees will have a chance to decorate a square for our next quilt.

Directed by Dan Reed
2012 | 60 mins | Documentary 
On March 11th 2011 Japan was hit by the greatest tsunami in a thousand years. Through compelling testimony from 7-10 year-old survivors, this film reveals how the deadly wave and the Fukushima nuclear accident have changed children's lives forever. The story unfolds at two key locations: a primary school where 74 children were killed by the tsunami; and a school close to the Fukushima nuclear plant, attended by children evacuated from the nuclear exclusion zone.
Date & Time
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tufts University

Visitors may park in faculty lots for free after 5pm. The closest parking lot is the Upper Campus Lot.

Arts, Friendship, and Tohoku @ Boston Children's Museum

Boston-based artist and art therapist, Minatsu, and students from Tohoku University of Art and Design will show art made by elementary and middle school students in Tohoku. There will also be hands-on activities.

Date & Time

Boston Children's Museum, The Common and 2nd floor bridge

I believe that you must pay admission to the museum to attend this event. Admission is sponsored by Target on Fridays from 5pm to 9pm and is $1 for ages 1 and up. On Saturday admission is $14 per person for ages 1 and up.


The MIT 3.11 Initiative is still active, unfortunately, I've been told that MIT is not holding any 3.11 events this year. (If this is incorrect, please let me know.) I was really hoping they would have a 3.11 event this year because last year's event was excellent. It included short talks from Professor Shun Kanda, Professor Richard Samuels, and Mio Yamamoto (a PhD candidate at the Sloan School who runs NPO World in Asia). I meant to write about it, but never got around to it.


Wellesley College is hosting a kabuki workshop and performance on March 11th and 12th, although it doesn't appear to be related to 3.11.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

H Mart construction chugging along but no opening in sight

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

Today I was shown some interior photos of H Mart (which unfortunately I don't have permission to post). Although they've put up signs for Sapporo Ramen and Go Go Curry, equipment has yet to be unwrapped and installed and the food vendor stalls still look more or less like a construction zone. Counters and flooring have yet to be installed. I suppose they could complete construction this month and get inspected in April but at this rate I'll be surprised if they're open before summer.