How I Got Here: Mari Kiyota

Mari KiyotaI came to Tokyo in 2016, after university graduation and working as an immigration assistant in the Washington, D.C. area of the U.S. I initially planned to stay for a year, study some Japanese and travel – I never imagined I’d fall in love with my life here so much. I knew early on that I’d be staying for the long haul, so I dedicated myself to finding and participating in communities and learning Japanese.

I’m now at nearly two years in Tokyo, and I’m a full-time Japanese language student in the mornings and working in digital marketing and social outreach at a startup called Baamboo in the afternoons/evenings/weekends. My work with Baamboo doesn’t even feel like a job – I’m incredibly passionate about our mission. We connect NPOs/NGOs with skilled volunteers to help them scale their growth – I’m an avid lifelong volunteer myself, so this work fulfills my need to help drive impact on a social level.

Currently I volunteer with Kizuna Baby, where I go to a local hospital and massage infants on a weekly basis. I also volunteer with Hands on Tokyo on various local projects, and an international organization called Love Without Boundaries, where I write child welfare reports and create online content.

Once I joined FEW, my mindset skyrocketed. I suddenly found myself in a room with these brilliant successful women who were still challenging themselves and striving for greater success – they may have “made it” in a conventional sense but they weren’t resting on their laurels. That inspired me to continue to act, to drive myself on an intrinsic level to stretch my mindset and challenge my internal beliefs about what success meant.

Being around and interacting with these passionate women has given me boundless energy to continue running full-speed down my own path. I have so much gratitude for FEW Japan and all I’ve gained from it!

Hear more about Mari’s unique experiences in community service, along with tips on how you too can get involved in volunteering at our members-exclusive April 22 Mentoring Moments Senpai Brunch: Giving Back and Getting Involved in Your Community. Event details here.


Remembering Doreen Simmons, May 29, 1932 – April 23, 2018

Obituary for Doreen Simmons May 29, 1932 – April 23, 2018 It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of one of FEW’s longest patrons and members, the inimitable Doreen Simmons. Ms Simmons died in her sleep in the early hours of April 23, 2018 at age 85. Details of her memorial service […]

Published on 26th April 2018

Q&A with Catherine O’Connell and Naoko Matsuzaki

Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting on ‘Lessons from the Lawyers,’ we’re featuring a Q&A with Catherine O’Connell, a bilingual New Zealand lawyer and founder of Catherine O’Connell Law, and Naoko Matsuzaki, Director, International Anti-Corruption and Global Intelligence for PwC Japan’s Forensic Services Group. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into […]

Published on 10th April 2018

Special Event Recap: The Essence of Belly Dance Workshop with Sara Amira

FEW’s March Special Event, “The Essence of Belly Dance Workshop,” was hosted by belly dancer Sara Amira at the Belly Dance Arts studio close to Omotesando, whose team generously allowed us to use their beautiful space for this workshop Sara started by telling the participants about her personal journey and how she first got into […]

Published on 5th April 2018

April 2018 Strategic Partner Member Offers and Other News

Check out the latest member offers and opportunities from our Strategic Partners here! Our Strategic Partners are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. And go to our Strategic Partners page to learn more about all of FEW’s Strategic Partners, who not only support FEW’s activities but also provide professional and personal services […]

Published on 5th April 2018

March 2018 Monthly Meeting Recap: Celebrating Women as Change Agents in Post-Disaster Tohoku

In honor of International Women’s month and the 7th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, we welcomed Megumi Ishimoto, Executive Director of NPO Women’s Eye, and Dr. Jackie F. Steele, a political scientist at the University of Tokyo, to share the stories and challenges of the amazing women change agents in post-disaster Tohoku. Neither […]

Published on 5th April 2018

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