Ota students return to Salem this November!

Hi everyone and Happy Mother’s Day to all,

We enjoyed a nice visit from several members of Ota’s Department of Education team as well as new Ota City Officers for a quick visit this Spring.  They appreciated seeing Salem, the PEM, and meeting Peter, Midori, Marlene and I to discuss what the student trip usually entails.

We’re happy to have just learned they are planning to send students to us this Fall!  We recognize this is a busier time of year for families, but hope you will help spread the word to recruit host families for 5 nights!

The basic itinerary is:

  • the group leaves Tokyo Friday11/3 and arrives in Salem Sat. Nov. 4.  We anticipate a 5pm quick “Hello and Welcome” gathering at the Gables like we always do, after which students leave with host families.
  • 11/5 (Sunday) we will gather for a group party similar to what we used to call the “Good-bye Party”. 
  • Monday, Tues. and Wed. 11/8 will entail the usual visit sites, including with the new Mayor, school visits, PEM, etc. 
  • Thursday 11/9 students leave.

We will share more information as it unfolds, and will plan a few informational meetings for interested families in June to start securing commitments for host family homes.  

Thank you for supporting this wonderful relationship with Ota City!

Salem Film Fest 2023

We are once again supporting Salem Film Fest 2023 as a Community Partner.  This amazing event will take place in-person Thursday, March 23 through Sunday, March 26.  They will be screening films and hosting events with visiting filmmakers at Cinema Salem, the Cabot Theatre, the Peabody Essex Museum, and more, with virtual screenings online Monday, March 27 through Sunday, April 2.

Salem Film Fest 2023 will feature full-length documentaries from around the world and a selection of shorts.  Please check out the link of films and descriptions with trailers here:  https://www.salemfilmfest.com/.  As a Community Partner we have 10 free tickets available -up for grabs; please LMK if you’re interested in going and would like one of the complementary tickets.

Salem Film FestSalem Film Fest is one of New England’s largest continuously running all documentary film festivals. Come to Salem, see the world. Salem, Massachusetts.www.salemfilmfest.com

Of particular interest may be “Finding Her Beat” next Friday March 24 at the PEM.  I’m hoping at least a few people can attend this interesting film on that morning!  I’m unable to be there on Friday.

Taiko drums have existed in Japan for over 2,000 years. The drumming art has been off limits to women for centuries. Until now.

In the midst of a frozen Minnosota winter with Covid rumbling in the background, a master of Japanese drumming and a Korean adoptee from Minnesota join forces to convene an all-female troupe of the world’s best Taiko drummers and claim a cultural spotlight previously reserved only for men. Through grueling rehearsals, the talented women share their vulnerability, pain, and joys and navigate their way through differences in culture, age, language, and performing styles.

As the clock ticks toward their first performance, it’s clear their story has become much larger than Taiko. Buoyed by dynamic drum performances and do-or-die spirit, FINDING HER BEAT is an energizing and uplifting story of music, cultural expression and, above all, sisterhood.

Taiko drumming performance precedes the film screening. A Q&A with Film Subject Jennifer Weir follows the screening at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Showings – 

Fri, Mar 24th, 11:00 AM @ Peabody Essex Museum

[Available March 27, 2023, 12:00 AM – 11:59 PM] Stream online…

Please help spread the word, and enjoy some great shows in Salem!

2023 Adult Trip to Ota!

It gives us great pleasure to offer you an invitation to go to Ota-ku, Tokyo, Japan.  As you know of the wonderful relationship between our two cities, you also know of the opportunity to travel there. This July 2023, we will again be offering the opportunity for adults to travel to Ota.  As a homestay family you have first priority!  Friends are also encouraged to apply as well! Just a reminder, young adults that have graduated from high school as also eligible. We would like to especially prioritise those former high school students that have not been able to go for the last few years due to the travel restrictions.

We will be in Ota for 15 incredible days. If you are interested, you are encouraged to contact me as soon as possible. The sooner you do this the better the chance you have of attending.  If you have any questions please email or call me at any time.  The tentative dates are July 3 – 17, 2023. Please see the attached brochure that explains more of the trip and the activities we will participate in.

The cost of the trip will be approximately $5,100 per person.  This will include airfare, hotels, transportation, and most meals. You will be traveling to other cities in Japan during your stay as well. If you have friends that live in Salem who would like to go please forward this information to them.  The trip is first open to Salem Homestay Families, then Residents, and then Peabody Essex Museums Members and anyone that works in Salem.  Then we can open it up to others not connected to Salem.

I know this looks expensive and the rate is based upon 15 participants.  However, the air fare is incredibly high right now.  Our hope is that the air fare will come down over the next few months.  It has been many years since we have been able to travel to Ota and I am so excited to be able to bring groups back.

I hope that you and your family are well. I hope that you can join us for a trip of a lifetime!! Do not miss the chance to join us!  Please respond by December 31st.



Peter Dolan

Salem Ota Cultural Exchange