Meet the Team

At Boston Japanese Trainers

we have a diverse team of bilingual and bicultural tutors and instructors. 

Tutors for Individual Lessons

Check out each tutor’s profile and learn more about them by clicking on their photo!  You can request a specific tutor when completing the contact form.  Based on location and availability, we’ll do our best to match you with your requested tutor.  If you would like help from us to match you with the right tutor, please send an email to!

Corporate Training Team

Our trainers will draw from their extensive work experience with Japanese professionals to highlight key differences in communication and business practices between Japanese and Western firms. This understanding will improve students’ day-to-day communications and working relationships.  Our trainers will leverage their diverse professional backgrounds including specific experience in the biotech field both in the US and Japan in order to tailor lessons to your company’s individual needs.

BJT Bilingual Trainer and Coach, International Communications Advisor

Kerianne Panos

Kerianne Panos has spent her career navigating between multiple cultures and languages. As a speaker of three Asian languages (including Japanese) and three European languages, she has used her linguistic and cross-cultural skills to help professionals from different backgrounds understand how to communicate more effectively and interact better with each other. She developed these skills working around the world, first managing an international educational program, then as a technical expert and negotiator for the Japanese Government, working on issues related to global scientific collaboration. For the past decade, she has focused her efforts on providing international professionals with the communication skills they need to build effective teams. Kerianne has extensive experience advising in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as with Japanese corporations. In addition, she works with Japanese and Taiwanese players on the Boston Red Sox and with professors and research groups at the MIT Media Lab on team dynamics and communication.  She is a graduate of Smith College and the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

BJT Bilingual Trainer and Coach

Aaron Preiss

Aaron, originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, is a driven young professional in the Japan-centric tech and consulting space. Graduating in 2017 from UC Berkeley with Political Science honors, he went on to teach English in the Japanese countryside in the JET Program. Upon return to the US, he then combined his tech background with a desire to help Japanese companies to remain competitive. This entailed joining Plug & Play, at their Silicon Valley headquarters, where he was personally responsible for helping over 20 major, multi-national Japanese corporations refine their global innovation strategy. Aaron holds a JLPT N1 Certificate and is currently pursuing an MBA at an MIT affiliate program.

BJT Bilingual Trainer and Coach

Michele Plattenberger

Michele Plattenberger was born and raised near the heart of the automotive capital of the world; Detroit, Michigan. Anticipating a career in the automotive industry, she received her BS in Electrical and Systems Engineering and a BA in Japanese Studies from Oakland Univerity in Rochester, Michigan. After receiving her Master’s in Engineering Management from the University of Detroit Mercy, Michele spent most of her technical career with Ford Motor Company working and living in Japan. Returning to Detroit in 2009, she began teaching Japanese for undergraduate language programs at her alma mater while continuing her technical career in the automotive industry. She continues teaching undergraduate and professional education programs and is currently a doctoral candidate of Adult Education focusing on foreign language studies with a concentration in Japanese. Michele brings practical experience to the classroom and knows the value of cultural awareness, especially in the business setting. She is passionate about helping you to achieve your goals. Her students affirm she is a teacher, mentor, inspiration, friend, and a standout instructor.

BJT Bilingual Trainer and Coach

Sasha Graffagna

Sasha Graffagna grew up in New York, NY and Tokyo, Japan. Since graduating from New York University with a B.A. in Journalism and Comparative Literature, she has spent nearly a decade refining people’s English communication skills as a writer, editor, and translator. While in Japan, she worked as a Japanese-English translator for a major cosmetics company and as a UX writer specializing in bilingual digital products. A half-Japanese, half-American woman, Sasha has spent about half her life in each country. As a result, Sasha is an expert at navigating the cultural differences between Japan and the United States.


BJT Bilingual Trainer and Coach, Professional Interpreter

Christopher Field

Chris Field grew up in Berkeley California and Newton Massachusetts. He started teaching himself Japanese during high school and loved it so much he decided to major in Japanese Studies at Harvard University. After a few years working in the electronics industry, Chris decided to become a full-time interpreter, specializing in technology. This became a career of 30+ years. He supports diverse clients from a variety of industries and governments, including the pharmaceutical industry. Recent projects include supporting patent litigation, delivering lectures on business communication, assisting with business negotiations, and guiding joint development projects. The core of his work revolves around language, and the interface between Japan and the United States. Chris’ past professional engagements include work with Japan’s national television broadcaster NHK (science documentaries) and private television network Fuji Television (on air).

BJT Professional Interpreter

Ellen Shang Travis

Ellen Shang Travis was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan.  She graduated from ASIJ (The American School in Japan) and moved to the US for college. Upon graduating from the University of Oregon, she spent a year traveling throughout South America, lived in Hawaii, traveled through South East Asia, and eventually returned to Tokyo a few years later.

Ellen taught English to Japanese businessmen while studying to become a simultaneous interpreter.  She worked for TBS News as a Japanese-English translator for the bilingual evening newscast, eventually adding on-air simultaneous interpreter, to her duties.  She also worked as an in-house interpreter/translator for an American company before becoming a freelance interpreter. She relocated to Silicon Valley/California in the 90’s and continues as a freelance interpreter. In addition to conference interpreting, she has served as an interpreter for the Main Press Center at 6 Olympic Games. Other specialties include legal, investor relations, and IT. Since 2020, due to Covid-19, Ellen has been providing services via remote simultaneous interpreting on various platforms.