Staff Interview Vol. 8: Ozeki

Kenny Ozeki


Ozeki 2017Kenny Ozeki is a student at Suffolk University who is passionate about sports and has worked on the stage team for the last three events.

His perspective as a student is vital to the team, and he talked to us about his experience with us.

Q: What is Boston to you?

A. “Boston for me is a place where I am challenged and the city also has expanded my perspective. I am currently studying entrepreneurship at Suffolk, graduating this upcoming May. I decided to study entrepreneurship because I was interested in the process of starting a business, rather than wanting to start my own. Before coming to Boston, I studied politics for four years, and from that perspective, I saw Boston to be my next challenge. It’s a city immersed in academia, but not only that, Boston is a city immersed in sports. I love baseball and ice hockey, with both teams very active, and with an environment perfect for academia, as well as being a very livable city. I’m studying during the day, having meetings related to running the Suffolk University Japanese Student Association, relaxing at home during the night, and before my recent sport injury, I would be actively involved in soccer on weekends.”

Q: What led you to join Japan Festival Boston?

A. “The defining characteristic of Japan Festival Boston is that it’s an event that is planned and executed by volunteers. Not only do we get event planning experience, it gives us an opportunity to work with professionals. During meetings, there is constant exchange of ideas between students and professionals, and I feel at every event that this event would not be possible without the time and effort put in to the event by our committee. The reason I joined was a friend introduced me to the committee when the previous Japanese consulate general was inaugurated. It was a small nudge in the direction of the committee, but joining the team has really provided great experience. For example, in order to have a successful event, we need to discuss many policies, support each other during the planning process, maintain public relations all within a set time frame. Once we have a general framework of tasks to be done, it gets assigned to the appropriate team or team member. The gradual escalation of tasks as well as gradually increasing motivation is the key to a successful event, and the key to success in general.”

Q: What are you most excited/looking forward to seeing?

A. “I’m glad every year to be able to see our performers and audience having fun. Working for the stage team is not just booking artists and setting up a stage for them to perform on. We make sure that the stage is sturdy, keep track of time and scheduling, build a set list and make sure we know that the BGM works, and most of all make sure the stage runs smoothly even though we have no chance of doing a rehearsal before the event. Even though there’s a lot of anxiety surrounding the event, once the event happens and we see our attendees having fun, it motivates me to work hard in preparation for the next event. This is a festival run by Japanese people, and it brings the vibes and the culture of a real Japanese festival to Boston without having to travel too far. It’s a great way to experience Japan as well as our culture.”

“I’ve worked on the festival for three years, and I definitely feel that we’ve increased in scale every year I’ve been involved. I want to support our team and the audience to make sure this festival becomes a long running tradition. ”


Editor’s note

Kenny is such a vital part in making sure the stage runs smoothly! Not only does he have three years’ experience in working with the stage, but his knowledge and background in business/entrepreneurship is vital in determining the course of action we take as a whole.

– Kei