Staff Interview#2: Kei

Vol.02 – Bringing together the community to #FindYourJapan and bring a “matsuri” tradition to Boston

Sasaki Kei

Social Media, Media Production, Logistics and Fundraising, Translation

kei_interview-photoKei is in the Logistics and Fundraising team, Social Media team, Production team, and workshop team- she attends MassArt and studies ceramics. You can see her work at her website, and also follow her on Instagram where she posts her in progress works and pictures of food (because who doesn’t love food?)!

Q: What does Boston mean to you?

A: I came to Boston in August of 1998, when I was just two years old. I’ve lived in the Greater Boston area since, and I have attended the Japanese Language School of Greater Boston from the first grade until my last year of high school. I now attend the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, studying Ceramics. Boston is a city where I am constantly inspired artistically, as well as a city where I’ve met so many important people and made great friends. It is also the city where I was exposed to an incredibly diverse third culture, which has influenced my work and life greatly.

Q: What does Japan Festival Boston mean to you?

A: I attended the very first Japan Festival back in 2012- and I finally felt a sense of belonging. Most Japanese people have a “matsuri” that is local to them, and is organized by community members, but Boston did not have one until then- and the sheer fact that there was a festival I could call my hometown festival was incredibly empowering for me. I’ve been connected to the Japanese community for most of my life through my parents and through the Japanese School, but once I started attending college at MassArt, I found a greater desire to further develop my connections and to really get to know the community- and Boston led me to the Japan Festival team. Ever since I attended my first Japan Festival, I’ve always wanted to give back to my community and be a part of the festival. I’ve volunteered for the festival in 2013 and 2015, then I joined the organizing committee in 2015, leading up to the 2016 event. This is my second year on the committee, and I want to help bring a bigger, much more involved festival to our audience.

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Japan Festival Boston, 2012, at City Hall Plaza. Pictured with Japanese Language School of Greater Boston students and Showa Women’s Institute students at the Ebisuya booth

Q: What would you like to convey through Japan Festival Boston?

A: I want to bring an interactive “matsuri” experience to our friends in Boston and surrounding areas, and show what Japanese culture can really be. On the day of the event, I handle the technology related to the workshop booth, and I want to make sure that the presentations run smoothly; and make it accessible for everyone in attendance. For the festival, I tend to do a lot of behind the scenes work like social media and fundraising, I definitely enjoy doing that sort of prep work because it helps us better present our event and our mission statement of wanting to share Japanese culture and bring a Japanese festival to Boston.

I also want to just present a space where we can all have fun and appreciate the beauty of a Japanese Festival; and the concept of a community effort.

Q: Message for everyone

A: I’m super excited for next year’s event, and I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the workshop booth! I loved seeing everyone being super excited and interested with our presentations, and I can’t wait to share more insight and culture with you all!


Editor’s Note

Kei has such a strong desire to connect with her surrounding communities- which made me realize that Japan Festival Boston is such a catalyst for bringing community together. It’s amazing to think that Kei is a potter/art student by day, and also works on social media management and the technology end of the workshop space. Kei is definitely taking every opportunity thrown in her path and puts out results that are outstanding! I am looking forward to how Kei brings together the workshop space and makes the whole experience more interactive! – Yumi [translated by Kei]

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