As Executive Director of the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania, Amy is passionate about deepening ties between our region and Japan. A self-described Pittsburgher through and through, Amy Boots grew up in Beaver County and is a graduate of Duquesne University. Amy taught for several years in Nago, Okinawa, Japan and is also a graduate of the Leadership Development Initiative Class XXIII.

Monday, May 8

It’s an early start this morning, picking up volunteers and heading to Valley Brook Country Club in McMurray for the Paul J. Wilhelm Memorial Golf Outing.

On the way there, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the trees we planted for the Pittsburgh Redbud Project in Frank Curto Park.

The Golf Outing is one of The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania’s (JASP) primary annual fundraisers and business networking events, and a fun day on the green. We’re lucky to have great support from our corporate members and local businesses.

Tuesday, May 9

Since January, I’ve been able to retire my alarm clock in favor of a personal wake-up call from Spike the cat (who somehow couldn’t shed the doggish name he came with from the Animal Rescue League). He’s a fun little guy whose personality has blossomed since we brought him home.

I’ll pick up our summer interns on the way to the JASP office in Monroeville. I live in Friendship and was an avid bus rider until we moved to our new location this year. It’s still accessible by bus, but riding with me is definitely shorter for students. I’ll be watching the plans coming out of the Regional Transportation Alliance with interest.

I just joined the Association for Fundraising Professionals and was matched with Rhonda Madden from Riverlife as my mentor. I hope to catch her today for some feedback on my updated fundraising plan.

Tuesday evenings I meet my Japanese language partner for our regular conversation practice. Later, I’ll meet some friends for dinner and drinks along Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside.

Amy Boots

After the TOMODACHI Ties Through Taiko Concert at Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12. Photo by Benjamin Pachter.

Wednesday, May 10

In the morning I’ll work with intern Hiroaki Hamajima and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance to plan the September visit of businesspeople from southwestern Japan looking to learn about Pittsburgh’s revitalization. Hiro is a master’s student at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and originally from the Saitama Prefectural government. He’s working with the Pittsburgh-Saitama Sister City Committee on Pittsburgh’s relationship with Saitama.

I’ll head to the airport to pick up Janice Katz, the Roger Weston Curator at the Art Institute of Chicago, who is doing two lectures tomorrow on the Institute’s Japanese art collection. We’ll just miss the closing time at the Andy Warhol Museum, so we’ll go to Casellula in City of Asylum’s new Alphabet City building. It’s supposed to be beautiful and unique, so I’m really excited to check it out!

Thursday, May 11

Janice and I will drive to Slippery Rock University for her first presentation and to look at their collection of Japanese prints. Hopefully I’ll have time to talk to Yukako Ishimaru, the Japanese instructor there. We’re working together to develop a summer training program for her students to present Japanese culture in schools near the university.

We’ll stop by the Maridon Museum to see their collection of Asian art and ivory. It’s a hidden gem in Butler.

Janice will have some time to look over the Carnegie Museum of Art’s collection of Japanese art before her talk at 6 p.m. After, we’ll head over to The Porch at Schenley or Legume for a late bite.

Friday, May 12

It’s bon voyage to Janice this morning, then I’ll finish a grant report for Pittsburgh Taiko.

In the afternoon, I’ll join my boyfriend Andrew’s family for the drive up to Canandaigua, NY for his grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration. Although I enjoy a good weekend away from home, I’ll be sad to miss out on our usual Friday take-out from Edgar’s Tacos or Spak Brothers Pizza.

Amy Boots

Amy Boots with members of Pittsburgh Taiko at JASP’s annual dinner. Photo by Glenn Brookes.

Saturday, May 13

Today we’ll celebrate with my boyfriend’s grandmother and extended family. It will be nice to spend time together, but I’m also looking forward to a quiet Saturday evening with a book courtesy of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Sunday, May 14

Heading back to Pittsburgh, the car time will give me a chance to work on some materials for the Pittsburgh JET Alumni Association. The JET program is run by the Japanese government and recruits assistant teachers from English-speaking countries all over the world. We’re a subchapter of the New York group, but have recently been increasing our activity to be sure we’re reaching out to all of the alumni in this area. It’s a great group of people in many different professions around the city.

Sunday night will leave a bit of time to get the garden cleaned up so that we can plant later this week. This year we’re definitely skipping the tomatoes.

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