The last newsletter from Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House contained some pretty exciting news, beginning with the special invitation to members for the annual Open House, and the public book signing hosted by Eve Laplante for her critically acclaimed Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother. (see previous post).
Something else pretty exciting happened involving the executive director of Orchard House, Jan Turnquist.
Here’s the write-up from the Orchard House newsletter plus pictures from the extraordinary trip:
Executive Director Jan Turnquist Returns from Japan after Groundbreaking Cultural Exchange!
Jan spent an extraordinary three-and-one-half weeks visiting Concord’s “Sister City” in Japan — Nanae-cho, in the Prefecture of Hokkaido — as well as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Gamagori, all the while interacting with school children, college students, scholars, and Little Women fans and providing information about the Alcott legacy and the significance of Orchard House.
Little Women is extremely popular in Japan and a great personal favorite of Empress Michiko who, with her husband, visited Orchard House in 1987. When Her Imperial Majesty learned of Jan’s upcoming trip, she personally arranged for Jan to attend her intimate birthday tea in the Imperial Palace, creating a high point of the visit. The Empress also made a special point to express to Jan what happy memories she still has from her 1987 visit to Orchard House.
Sharing Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, and Orchard House with the people of Japan has been a long-range goal of our historic site for nearly 25 years. Jan and Orchard House are deeply indebted to the Concord-Nanae Network, the people of Nanae, and the Japanese Consulate in Boston for all their efforts to make this trip possible.
There will be more to come about Jan’s varied adventures with her intrepid translator and cultural liaison, Orchard House Staff Member Kiko Mills, but here are just a few images from their incredible journey:
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