The outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19) has upended travel across the globe. However, at this time it is very difficult to anticipate what the situation will be in 4 months. We are closely following the decisions of Japan’s Health Department and the CDC and State Department here in the US. At this time no decision has been made regarding the Home Stay program and our preparations continue as planned. We will keep this post updated as plans develop.
Are you a senior going to college who has participated in The Salem-Ota Cultural Exchange? We have an opportunity for you!
What has this program meant to you? Tell us about your involvement in the program hosting a middle-schooler, or traveling to Japan with us or both. How have you been impacted? The form is available below. A panel will select the winning applicant who will receive a $500 scholarship.
Applications must be submitted by Friday, May 8th, 2020
As part of the PEM gala in 2019, a short video was created celebrating and explaining the connection between Ota, Japan and Salem, Mass. The Peabody Essex Museum made this wonderful video (Chip van Dyke, videographer) and graciously permitted us to share it with all of you.
Salem will once again be hosting students from Japan this summer. If you have a middle school or early high school student in or near Salem, Mass. and would like the opportunity to host a student, the dates are now set from July 26 through August 3 this year. Please contact Connie or Midori for an application to host!
The students said a teary goodbye this morning as we saw them off for their final day of sightseeing before flying back to Boston tomorrow morning. On behalf of the Salem Ota Cultural Exchange, I want to thank all of the host families for opening their hearts and homes to our students; the chaperones and members of the exchange for their dedication to making the student’s visit so memorable and wonderful; and to the teachers and principal from Ota who traveled with this delightful group and made this all possible. Thank you all and please come and visit us again!
The Students arrived safely on Saturday evening and are due to meet their host families today at the House of the 7 Gables. Families should arrive at the House of the 7 Gables by 4:30 pm for instructions, and the students will join us at 5 pm!
Since 1875 when Emperor Meiji established the Order of the Rising Sun, or 旭日賞 (kyokujitsu), Japan has honored global citizens for their distinguished achievements and their contributions to Japan. This year, five individuals from the Boston area have been awarded. In this new Reiwa era, this is a special honor indeed. At JSB, we are thrilled that two awardees are members of our board of directors.William W. Hunt will receive The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette (旭日小綬章). Our current Chair of the Board, Mr. Hunt has been dedicated to the US/Japan friendship for many years. In the official award announcement, Mr. Hunt is cited “for an enormous contribution to enriching understanding and communication between Japan and the United States.” Hunt has lived and worked in Japan, especially in investment management, and has been a leader in many projects to bring Japan to Boston.Keiko Thayer will receive The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays (旭日双光章). Ms. Thayer is a long-time board member of the Japan Society of Boston (since 1987) and a professional Ikebana Master. Ms. Thayer is cited for “promoting Japanese culture and cultural exchange between Japan and the United States.” The Society gives an annual award for cultural exchange named for Ms. Thayer’s late husband, John E. Thayer III.It is also notable that Ashton B. Carter, former Secretary of Defense (2015-2017) under President Barack Obama, will receive the highest degree: Order of the Rising Sun, Grand Cordon (旭日大綬章), for his work building the US-Japan security alliance. Carter is currently Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School.Keiko Matsudo Orrall, a former Republican Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, will receive The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays (旭日双光章). As the daughter of Japanese, German, and Irish immigrants, she worked to help Japanese and other groups to have a voice in the State, and to strengthen ties between the US and Japan. Ms. Orrall is now the executive director of the State Office of Travel and Tourism.John Paul Holdren, former director of the US Office of Science and Technology Policy and senior advisor to President Barack Obama (2009-2017), will receive The Order of the Rising Sun,Gold and Silver Star (旭日重光章). Holdren was cited for “advancing the cooperation in science and technology fields between Japan and the United States.” He continues to dedicate himself to studying environmental changes, energy technology and policies, and nuclear energy and weapons.The Japan Society of Boston congratulates these remarkable individuals as they are decorated by the Emperor and government of Japan. We are all inspired by their efforts to make the world stronger by strengthening the US/Japan friendship and alliance.