Staff Interview Vol. 12: Uchida

Yumi Uchida

Social Media, website, writer

Yumi has been a vital force in keeping our website and facebook page updated! She is a student at Waseda University in Tokyo, and is studying abroad at Boston University.


Q. Why did you decide to study abroad?

A. I’ve had a dream to see the world from a much wider angle since I was a kid. My mom was a rotary club student, and did an exchange program when she was a student. Whenever I heard stories of her time in America, my desire to become an informed person, and be able to see Japan the way the rest of the world sees it.

At my middle school graduation, I had a speech representing 255 students. In that speech, I made it clear that I wanted to be a part of bringing peace and happiness to people not on a micro level, but to the nation, and to the world. In order to fulfill that, I have been studying International Politics and Economics. I’ve been heavily involved in activities with Copenica and NGOs helping young adults in Laos, and international volunteering opportunities through Waseda. I’ve been involved with the English debate society and have competed in  international debate competitions. I learned about varied perspectives and social issues through these wonderful experiences, and those led me to want to study abroad. I’m currently studying abroad with the Tobitate Study Abroad Japan program, and I’m about to finish up my time here in Boston.


Q. Why Boston?

A. Boston is called the Athens of America – with the highest concentration of colleges and universities in the world, so the learning environment is fantastic here. Boston University is also one of the top schools here in the U.S., and there’s 5000+ students from 130 different nationalities. It’s a great place to be for international understanding and my focus of study.


Q. Why did you decide to get involved with Japan Festival Boston?

A. In order to fulfill my dream of becoming the bridge that connects Japan to the world. I wanted to be a part of the understanding and cultural exchange that happens at Japan Festival, and I wanted to help push the learning experience. I got in contact with the festival about 3 months before I left Japan, and proposed many ideas. I am now one of the admins for our website and social media, and work on PR as well.


Q. What do you do for Japan Festival?

A. We first started by renewing the website. We also made an effort to keep our facebook page and instagram pages updated. I also wanted to have a larger sense of community and connection to the world, so we started a blog and various articles on the Japanese page. All of these were experimental and we’ve had hard times, but we’re beginning to figure everything out. We found events, made appointments to meet with people, and conducted the interviews, and then I go back and write articles. I also write posts about our sponsors and booth participants, as well as stage performances.

I would not have been able to work on our website and social media if it weren’t for your support. Thank you!


Q. You’re #1 in Japan for abacus event, and you’re leading a workshop. What is the significance?

A. I’ve been taking abacus lessons since I was in first grade, through until I finished high school. My sister and I have been practicing daily for years, and when I was in my senior year of high school and my sister in her senior year of Junior high, we both won nationals in the English read event. The Abacus is an ancient tradition, and I want to tell people that it’s a relevant tool in the modern day. I want to perform for people so people can see how amazing such a simple tool is.


Q. What significance does Boston have for you?

A. Boston was a great environment to be in as a student studying abroad. Not just as a city for learning, but also for making connections and meeting new people through the Boston Japanese Researchers Forum and various other groups, and I also had an internship while I was here. It was great to have had the opportunity to meet with Harvard professors, and participate in discussions with a diverse group of people. I was the only student at many of these opportunities, but everyone was warm and welcoming, and helped to shape my experience here as a whole. I also was able to volunteer for Japanese language classes and translate at the Boston Marathon, and work with Japan Festival. Boston has so many museums and institutions of higher learning, and I was able to develop my worldview from not just academia, but from art, culture and literature as well. This experience is one to be cherished, and I have no regrets in making the decision to study here in Boston.


Q. Any last messages?

A. This year’s theme is “Find Your Japan”. I hope this event will help you find yours through the workshops, performances, and booths we have lined up for you all. Please come by the abacus workshop! We as an entire team welcome you and hope you stay curious throughout and after the event. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and share your experience with us. I hope to see you all there!