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Be the Bridge: The Untold Stories of San Jose Japantown “Why is Japantown Important?”

February 2 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

“Why is Japantown Important?”

Join us for a special talk featuring the Japanese American Museum of San Jose and learn about the history of Japanese immigrants in Northern California. Michael Sera, Board President at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj.org), will tell the overall history of Japanese immigrants to the Bay Area and Northern California in addition to the Japanese American community in the Bay Area today. He will also share why it is important to maintain and preserve this local community. This is a great opportunity to gain knowledge about the history of Japanese Americans and the lesser-known stories of San Jose Japantown.

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Date and Time:
Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022 at 4:30-5:30 P.M. (PDT)
Thursday, February 3rd, 2022 at 9:30-10:30 A.M. (Japan Time)

Price:
FREE!
*via Zoom 

Agenda:
US: Wednesday, February 2nd @ 4:30-5:30 PM (Pacific Time)
4:30 – 4:35
Welcome and Opening
4:35- 4:55 
Michael Sera | Board President, Japanese American Museum of San Jose
4:55- 5:15
Q&A Moderator Suzanne Basalla | President and CEO, U.S.-Japan Council & Board Member of Japan Society of Northern California 
5:15-5:20 
Closing, Takahide Akiyama | President, Japan Society of Northern California 
5:20-5:30
Online Networking


OUR AMAZING SPEAKER
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Michael Sera | Board President, Japanese American Museum of San Jose

During the day and most evenings, Michael is building bridges to help bring Japan and Silicon Valley closer together.  Michael started consulting back in 2004 after having spent close to two decades in executive management roles at various tech companies.  He also has a strong understanding of the Japanese and American culture and language, having been raised bowing to his parents and educated in America.  He was the only kid in class with a lunch box that had Onigiri and Hot Dogs soaked in Teriyaki sauce.  His business normally has him flying back and forth but now he is just “Zooming” around.

The rest of the time Michael is involved with the Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj.org). Michael joined the board in 2011, then managed public programs before becoming Board President in 2017.  His attraction to JAMsj was the opportunity to give back to the local community after having spent his college days trying to dance at the Obon festivals.  Like most students, he never learned much about the Japanese American experience.  “I’ve learned more from the internees who visit the museum than I will ever read about” says Michael.  Michael also serves on the boards of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern CA, the Japanese Community Congress of San Jose and not on the San Jose Obon Dance committee.  Michael is also an avid swimmer and an unintentional user of chlorine cologne, just ask his wife.

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Moderator, Suzanne Basalla | President and CEO of the U.S.-Japan Council & member of the Board of the Japan Society of Northern California

Suzanne Basalla is the President and CEO of the U.S.-Japan Council, and is the member of the Board of the Japan Society of Northern California. Ms. Basalla was recently awarded the 2021 Nakasone Yasuhiro Award of Excellence. She joins USJC from her role as Chief of Staff at the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), a Silicon Valley-headquartered subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation and has been there since 2017.

Prior to TRI, Ms. Basalla had served from 2012 – 2017 as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at USJC. She helped lead USJC through people-to-people connections, with a focus on investing in next-generation leaders through the private-public TOMODACHI Initiative, which was established in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Ms. Basalla’s 20-year government career included service in the U.S. Navy, the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

 

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Details

Date:
February 2
Time:
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
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