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.


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Published on 21st August 2018

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Published on 8th August 2018

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Published on 1st August 2018

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Published on 28th July 2018

July Community Service Feature: Japan Association for Refugees (JAR)

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Published on 26th July 2018