Upon receiving her diploma during commencement ceremonies at the old Boston Garden in 1970, Nobuko Saito Cleary feels she encountered her moment of discovery: becoming who is believed to be the first native of Japan to receive a bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in linguistics from Northeastern University.
Prior to her education in the United States, Nobuko pursued a career in the entertainment industry as a singer and talk show hostess for Japanese television and radio. During that time, she worked for NHK, Japan's national broadcasting organization and for Tokai CBC and Fuji TV, in Tokyo and Nagoya, Japan.
Nobuko studied English at a women's college near her home in Nagoya, Japan before attending the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. In 1968, she transferred to Northeastern University and commuted to campus while living with a host family in Carlisle, MA. While at Northeastern, Nobuko immersed herself in English literature, Shakespeare, and poetry classes under the guidance of professors whom she credits with playing a major role in her efforts to attain a master's degree in linguistics from San Jose State University in 1990. In 2002 she completed a Negotiation Strategies Executive Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Until the age of 20, Nobuko Saito Cleary was a singer and talk show hostess for Japanese television and radio.
Nobuko is currently president and founder of Cross-Cultural Communications, an international firm established in 1985 which specializes in developing business relationships between the United States and Japan. She has taught Japanese language and business culture for more than 10 years at San Jose State University, Berlitz, and many Silicon Valley companies.
Nobuko is the recipient of numerous honors including the Outstanding Achievement and Accomplishment Award in Multicultural Education, Yankley Memorial Scholarship, Highest Student Evaluation and Recognition Award, and Professor of the Year Award. She is also a member of Phi Sigma Iota, a language honor society. In 2004, Nobuko received the John Gardner Community Building Award, presented to individuals who pursue giving to their community as a way of life. She received the Asian-American Hero Award in 2007, honoring those who have made a difference in California's Santa Clara County community, and the Mayor's Award from the Nagoya City Government in 2008 for her efforts in foreign exchange programs in Nagoya.
Nobuko serves on the Corporation of Northeastern University and was the inaugural donor to the university's Asian American Center, founded in 2005. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Japan Society of Northern California and the Board of Directors for the Community of School of Music and Arts.
Nobuko and her husband, Gary Cleary, reside in Northern California.