Raccoonkai 2014 in Boston

At the end of a prolonged winter in Boston, Imanishi-san had come for a visit en route to her next journey. Prior to her visit, a month-long contact amongst Raccoons who now reside in Boston, resulted in finalizing a very small group of people for a Raccoonkai in Boston.

A day after Imanishi-san's arrival in Boston, we took a stroll around my home institution, Boston University. Having visited the Harvard campus several times, Imanishi-san requested that we visit BU instead. Walking along the long-shaped Charles Campus on Commonwealth Avenue, we stopped over at major school buildings - the School of Management, the College of Arts and Sciences (where I belong), the School of Law, the Mugar Memorial Library, and the College of Fine Arts. With Imanishi-san walking with me on the BU campus, many things that happened during my doctoral program crossed my mind, for which I am glad the end is near. After taking a brief look around the sports facilities (they are top quality nationwide quality!) at the BU FitRec Center, the Agganis Arena, and the Nickerson Field, we hopped on the Boston University Shuttle past the Fenway Stadium to Downtown Boston.

Around 4, we got off the shuttle at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and walked along Huntington Avenue past the Prudential Center to visit the Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library, two beautifully preserved buildings located very close to the Boston Marathon Bombing site on Boylston Street.

Slightly past 5, we hurried back to the Prudential Center Cheesecake Factory, where Kevin-san, a Raccoon currently working at the Charles-MGH (Massachusetts General Hospital) was waiting for us. Also to dine with us at my suggestion was a prospective student eager to apply for the Atsumi Fellowship from Todai named Kyung-nam Moon, currently a visiting researcher at the Harvard Yenching Institute. Many interesting topics in addition to individual research contents and Imanishi-san's activities for the Atsumi Foundation were raised at the dinner table - souring bilateral relations between China and Japan, and Japan and South Korea; protests in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and the status of academic job markets around the world.

After wrapping up our delicious dinner and bidding farewell to Kevin-san and Moon-san, Imanishi-san and I headed to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts for the final leg of our journey. On exhibit currently is 'Boston Loves Impressionism', with 30 some paintings by Monet, Renoir, and other renowned artists of the Impressionist era. We walked around other exhibits on Asian Art, and had a sneak-peek at an upcoming exhibit, 'Dragon and Clouds' (Un ry? zu: 雲龍図).

We were all truly grateful to Imanishi-san for taking the time to come down to meet with us in Boston in between her busy schedules in New York and her subsequent schedules in Asia. She showed genuine concerns with regard to the job market prospects of the Raccoons here in Boston, and gave us more fire in the belly to work hard by treating us to a tasty dinner and yummy jelly from Japan. I have to say that it was a very memorable evening of conversations that made us reminisce our days in Tokyo as Raccoons years ago. We look forward to our reunion in Bali, Indonesia this summer for the Asia Future Conference.

(by June Park)