U.S.-Japan Innovation Lab

The U.S.-Japan Innovation Lab aims to advance commercial ties between Japan and the U.S. by connecting freelancers, entrepreneurs, and creators in both countries. We educate, innovate, and collaborate for a greater collective impact. 

The lab was founded in early 2022 when Rei and Katie decided to start a Japanese reading club to not only help professionals improve their Japanese language skills, but to help them advance their careers in Japan-related work. They quickly discovered that there were so many talented people looking for opportunities to utilize their Japanese, and that there were many entrepreneurs and creators in Japan as well looking for international opportunities. Inspired by the concept of cognitive surplus (Shirky, Clay. (2010). Cognitive surplus: How technology makes consumers into collaborators. Penguin Publishing Group), they had the idea to leverage all of this talent to build a community across borders that creates and shares.

In addition to the reading club, we host events, organize work groups to stimulate dialogue, invest in projects, and partner with stakeholders to develop international business opportunities.


Fireside Chat with
Toshiya Yamada
May 26, 2022
8-9pm EDT

Fireside Chat with
Alisa Freedman
June 23, 2022
8-9pm EDT

Japanese Reading Club

Overview & Registration

The Japanese Reading Club is open to professionals with Japanese language skills ranging from advanced beginner to native speaker. Most reading material is free and online. We currently have two groups, each led by a native speaker and each meeting on different days and reading different books to accommodate participants’ varying schedules and interests. Each group meets twice a month on Google Meet. You are not required to attend every session, but we do request somewhat regular attendance. Otherwise, if a participant has not attended for several months in a row, we may confirm that they no longer wish to participate to make room for someone else who has registered. We try to keep groups under 15 participants to give everyone plenty of opportunity to speak during meetings. If both groups are full you may be added to a waitlist and notified when space becomes available. We are always looking for native speakers who would like to lead a group. If you would like to get involved as a participant or group leader, please fill out the registration form and someone from our team will reach out to you shortly.

Group Leaders

戸村  麗
とむら れい
Rei Tomura

Residence: Japan
Work Experience: HS Japanese teacher, economic newspaper reporter
Qualification: Japanese Language Exam Grade 1 (for native Japanese speakers)
Motto: Service to others

Hello! I’m Rei. I’m a high school Japanese teacher. I majored in Japanese linguistics in college. While learning Japanese deeply, I have also been studying English. My hobbies are reading (especially business books), walking, and studying English (though my English isn’t getting better!). I started this book club with the desire to help people who want to learn Japanese. In this club, I will introduce Japanese literature and work related to Japanese culture. I hope it will be a comfortable place for you to learn a foreign language. Would you like to enjoy the world of Japanese together?

村田 夏実 
むらた なつみ
Natsumi Murata

Residence: Rockville, MD, United States
Work Experience: Customer Success, Admission and Student Recruitment Manager
Motto: Support the enrichment of people’s lives through learning

I’m from Nagano Prefecture in Japan and graduated from Nagoya University for Foreign Studies in Nagoya. I myself had a hard time learning English, so I would like to help Japanese learners who come to the reading club. I enjoy going to farmers markets and looking for good bakeries.