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Student News: Japan Track
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- Sean Li ’17 (Japanese/AMES & Economics), Keio University Exchange, Fall 2015
For the 2015-16 Fall and Winter quarters, I participated in the Keio University exchange as one of two students representing Dartmouth College. Needless to say, it was an amazing and unforgettable experience that I wholeheartedly recommend to students of Japanese looking for ways to improve. Ultimately, and perhaps more so than other exchanges, the program at Keio is all about knowing what you want to get out of it, and committing the effort not just in the classroom, but outside as well. While studying may share the first four letters with student, student life is a whole lot more! For example, I participated in a “circle” (club) dedicated to acoustic guitars called the Folk Lover's Association, where everyone warmly welcomed me even though I was an absolute guitar beginner. With their help and encouragement, I was even able to perform at live concerts with them by the end of my stay. These small experiences and short exchanges of words and culture with both Japanese students and other exchange student friends were truly what made my half year there the amazing journey that it was. (Photo: Sean, with the Tokyo Sky Tree and Asahi Beer company’s “Golden Froth” behind him.)
- Edel Auh (Dartmouth '18, Pre-Med), Fall 2015
This fall, I spent my off-term at Ochanomizu University, a women's university in Tokyo, interning with the Yura Lab. The Yura Lab, headed by Professor Kei Yura, is a computational biology lab with both undergraduate and graduate researchers. For the three months I was there, my work involved creating a computer program that identifies and extracts the introns of a sequence of interest and locates the remaining exons onto a given chromosome. Towards the end of my internship, I did some research on Deinococcus radiodurans, a bacteria that is known for its extraordinary resistance to extreme environments and radiation. The project is an effort to identify the cause for this resistance. As I was a beginner in computer programming (I learned Python my first week there!), this opportunity was a great chance to learn something new as well as a chance to experience undergraduate research in Japan! Many thanks to Yura sensei for giving me this opportunity! (Photo: Edel in the lab with the team. She is third from the right, and Dr. Yura is in the center.)
- Annie Huang (Dartmouth ’16; double major in Japanese and Biology), 2014-2015
Last year I participated in the year-long exchange program at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan. My first semester at Keio included classes that focused mostly on the basics of sentence structure, grammar, and kanji. By the second semester, we no longer had official textbooks but read traditional Japanese literature and essays. I was also able to take regular undergraduate courses with Keio students, which was a great cultural experience as well. Since classes consisted of international students, I made most of my Japanese friends through clubs: I joined a tennis circle, an environmental club (=free ticket to the famous Keio vs. Waseda baseball game), and another volunteering club in which we played with children every week. During my stay in Japan, I interned at TOKI, a startup high end travel agency, and at Kawaijuku, the largest cram school in Japan. Besides class and work, I enjoyed visiting good restaurants, shopping after class, going to Disneyland, concerts, and stage plays (fantastic Japanese language listening practice) on weekends. (Photo: Annie on the left, her LSA+ host sister on the right.)
- Dartmouth LSA+ Students Aid in Recovery of 3.11 (2011) Tsunami Area, August 2015
At the end of the summer study abroad program in Japan 8 students stayed on to do some volunteer work in the Tohoku (northeastern) area, where many of the communities are still struggling to recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami of 11 March 2011. For three days in late August and early September the group bunked at the volunteer center at the Nishi Honganji Temple in Sendai. During the days we coordinated to host an exercise session and tea party with elderly survivors of the triple disasters as well as helped a neighborhood nurture their newly replanted cherry blossoms. A memorable moment came when an elderly resident in that neighborhood told us how excited they had been that past spring. Though it certainly did not compare to the splendor of the blossoms there before the tsunami, the single tiny bud that appeared on one of the newly planted trees in April 2015 seemed to promise better things to come. (Photo: the Dartmouth volunteers with the neighborhood association.)
- Japan Language Study Abroad (LSA+) Program 2015
From mid-June to the end of August 2015 the annual 10-week Language Study Abroad (LSA+) program enjoyed life and learning in Japan. Seventeen students participated, making it one of the largest groups in recent years. Thanks to the dedication of our language teachers Saito sensei and Ishikawa sensei students made great progress in their abilities to communicate in Japanese. We also enjoyed some great extracurricular activities (calligraphy workshop, visit to a sumo practice, etc.) and three fabulous excursions (Nikko, Nihonmatsu, and a week-long trip through Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, and Miyajima). The families who hosted the students were all wonderfully supportive and patient, and the success of the program is again largely thanks to them. Thanks also go out to the grand staff and faculty at Kanda University of International Studies, the institution that so graciously hosts us. (Photo: the group posed in front of the “Thunder Gate” at Asakusa Temple.)
- Kimberly Hassel ’16 (Japanese modified with Anthropology), Research in Summer 2015
In summer 2015, I received funding from the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship to conduct fieldwork in Japan for my senior honors thesis in Japanese. My thesis examines the symbolism of the seifuku, or Japanese school uniform. I did everything from observe events such as a “Back to High School Party” at a university in Hitachi to tour the illustrious Tombow Uniform Factory in Okayama. Ikebukuro became my “home base,” with easy access to field sites like Akihabara and Harajuku and a wonderful café where I could type up thick descriptions and scribble field notes. My research suggests that the uniform does different cultural work for different populations: women associate it with nostalgia for the responsibility-free period between high school and college, while the general public opinion sees it, paradoxically, as both a symbol of pure youth and an object of sexual fetish. While pursuing independent research abroad may seem intimidating at first glance, I promise that it offers an excellent opportunity to answer burning questions, gain a deeper understanding of your culture of study, and gain a strong sense of independence. (Photo: Kimberly in front of the Tombow Uniform Factory.)
- Wesley Lau ’15, Senior Honors Thesis Presentation, 15 May 2015
On Friday, 15 May, Wes Lau presented the findings of the research he did for his senior honors thesis in Japanese. Working with faculty member Jim Dorsey, Wes examined popular culture representations of the meltdown of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in the wake of the 11 March 2011 tsunami. For the presentation Wes focused on two manga representations, arguing that the small-scale, concrete, local focus of them represents the eruption of a “subjugated knowledge” (Michel Foucault’s term) challenging the scientific, abstract discourse that has dominated the national conversation. Though it didn’t make its way into the presentation due to time, Wes is also examining the way popular music has dealt with the disaster. Congratulations to Wes on a fabulous presentation of a very interesting project.
- Hannah Perry ’15, Senior Honors Thesis Presentation, 15 May 2015
Hannah Perry, a double major in Japanese and Linguistics, introduced her senior honors thesis in Japanese on Friday, 15 May. Combining her facility in Japanese language with her capabilities for literary/poetic analysis and her love of music, Hannah is writing on Tokyo area place names as they appear in popular song. Drawing on and adjusting concepts introduced by popular culture theorists Theodore Adorno and Walter Benjamin, Hannah argues that the role played by Ginza, Shibuya, and Shinjuku in the popular imagination is sustained by the musical representations of these places, representations that revive and refresh the images established in earlier times. Her advisor is Jim Dorsey. Congratulations to Hannah for her educational presentation and for her original contribution to scholarship exploring the relationship of identity and music.
- Road Trip to the Hokusai Exhibit in Boston, 25 April 2015
On 25 April there were fourteen sleepy Japanese language students and an equally sleepy faculty/spouse team out waiting for the 7 a.m. Dartmouth Coach to Boston. We all went down to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to see the Hokusai exhibition. It was fabulous, especially the famous “wave” print from the Mt. Fuji series. We were joined by Tom Seymour, Dartmouth class of ’64. All enjoyed a lunch of sushi and/or ramen before returning to the museum to see the photograph exhibition focused on the horrible tsunami of 11 March 2011. Many came back north on the 5 p.m. bus, but some stayed for dinner and caught the later bus home. We’re grateful to Kartik and Tangent for much of the planning. And, many thanks to the trip sponsors: Office of Residential Life, COSO, and the Dartmouth Japan Institute!
- Japan Affinity House REAL Ramen Dinner, 10 April 2015
Instant ramen and cup noodle will get you through a tough hungry spell, but there are times when nothing but the real thing will suffice. A Friday night in the Japan Affinity House (McLaughlin Cluster) kitchen had fifteen students and faculty gathered for Wes-kun’s ramen (「ウエス•ラ-」). Homemade aromatic broth, amazingly succulent chashu (slices of pork), noodles, and all the toppings. The event was done in conjunction with the Dartmouth Japan Society. And we thank the chef for service far above and beyond the call of duty. ごちそうさまでした。
- Film & Food with Faculty (サン•エフ): Prof. Nozawa and Time of Eve (「イヴの時間」), 5 March 2015
In conjunction with the Dartmouth Japan Society, the Japan Affinity Living Learning Center in the Global Village invited Prof. Shunsuke Nozawa to present a film for the residents and guests to view. He chose Time of Eve (Japanese title: イヴの時間), a animated film that explores the increasingly blurry boundary between the human and the robot with artificial intelligence. The ten or so students who turned out enjoyed not only great Thai food and an interesting film, but also a lively discussion led by Nozawa Sensei afterwards. It was very nice to also have attending Prof. Tim Murphey from Japan and Mr. Anthony Helm, the director of Jones Media Center at Dartmouth. Many thanks to Amanda Simon for coordinating this event!
- Caleb Cook, Dartmouth class of 2011, guest lecture, 25 February 2015
On 25 February Caleb Cook gave a guest lecture in Jim Dorsey’s translation. Graduating from Dartmouth in 2011 with a major in Economics and a minor in Japanese, Caleb spent two years teaching English on the JET program in Japan. For the past year, he has been making his living as a translator of Japanese manga (graphic novels). Though he works with various publishers, the work getting the most attention is his translation of “My Hero Academia” (see image), currently serialized in the weekly English version of Shonen Jump. In his lecture Caleb outlined the challenges of translating this genre as well as the various strategies he has developed to meet those challenges. He also reviewed manga translations done by the class. The program hopes to have him back soon, and regularly.
- Harald Fuess, Lecture on Japanese Culture in Europe, 25 February 2015
The Dartmouth Japan Society (DJS) hosted a dinner and lecture event featuring the Harris Visiting Professor Harald Fuess. Though his home base is Heidelberg University, Prof. Fuess spent the winter term at Dartmouth teaching a course on food culture in Asia. On this day he also gave a lively lecture to more than 20 students and faculty, exploring the manifestations of Japanese culture across Europe and the reasons for them. The differences with Japanese culture as seen in the U.S. was fascinating. Everyone enjoyed dinner from Thai Orchid while listening to the lecture.
- Japan Affinity House Curry Rice Dinner, 21 February 2015
When it’s cold outside, we (?) think of curry and rice, a favorite in Japan. Inspired, of course, by Indian cuisine, curry has been a Japanese favorite since the Meiji period (1968-1912). Legend has it that British sailors made the sauce thicker so it wouldn’t splash over the rim of the bowl in rough seas, and that this version was what arrived in Japan. On a chilly Sunday evening, the residents of the Japan Affinity House enjoyed a hearty version of this dish. Preparation was by Mikiko and Emily; pork cutlet topping was contributed by Wes. Thanks to all. ごちそうさまでした。
- Brenda Gonzalez (Dartmouth ’15; double major in Japanese and Studio Art), Fall 2014
Last fall I participated in the Bekka exchange program at Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS) in Chiba, Japan. It was a very balanced experience, exposing me to both Japanese language and culture. Not only did classes focus on new grammar and writing, they also introduced casual (slangy) Japanese. As a result, I gained a great deal of confidence in my Japanese. The exchange program included students from Indonesia, China, Vietnam, etc., and with only Japanese as a common language, we improved our skills speaking to each other as well. I made many new Japanese friends, and was able to meet up with my host family from two years earlier. Having studied at KUIS on the LSA+ two years earlier, going alone on the exchange was not too scary and I adjusted easily to the lifestyle. The proximity to Tokyo allowed me to also enjoy the crazy fashion of Harajuku and walking around Ueno Park.
(Photo: Brenda is on the left.)
- Film & Food with Faculty (サン•エフ): Prof. Washburn and Welcome Back Mr. MacDonald (「ラジオの時間」),19 February 2015
The Japan Affinity Living Learning Center in the Global Village in McLaughlin Cluster at Dartmouth invited Prof. Dennis Washburn from Comparative Literature to present a film for the residents to view. He chose Welcome Back Mr. MacDonald (Japanese title: ラジオの時間), a hilarious comedy scripted by Mitani Koki. So, while enjoying “Gas Station Chinese” food, students and faculty relaxed for a few hours for a film in the living room. Many thanks to Sean Li for coordinating this event.
- Tangent (Ting Cheung) Cheng (Dartmouth ’16; double major in Japanese and Economics), Fall 2014 & Winter 2015
This past fall and winter, I went on an exchange term to Keio University in Tokyo. My main goal was to improve my Japanese and learn more about Japanese culture, so I took 13 classes, including 11 language classes and 2 culture classes (not as scary as it sounds because Keio classes only meet once a week). Along the way, I explored Tokyo with my friends from Dartmouth (fellow exchange students to Keio and Kanda, as well as alums), visited friends and the host family from my LSA experience (summer 2013), joined the table tennis club at Keio, and participated in Japan's largest school festival, Mita-sai, by helping run my anime club's cosplay cafe. I even got a genuine Japanese New Year experience. Since Keio's term ended in late January, I decided to extend my stay in Japan and spent 2 more months at an internship with a small sightseeing company doing marketing and translation work. This also allowed me to go on gasshuku (group trips that last several days) with both my table tennis club and my anime club.
(Photo: Tangent, in the middle, is joined by Dartmouth exchange students Annie Huang on Tangent's right and Brenda Gonsalez on his left. All at the top of Mt. Takao.)
- Hannah Perry (Dartmouth ’15; majors in Linguistics and Japanese), Kimberly Hassel (Dartmouth ’16; majors in Japanese and Government), Ryo Maie (Kanda University of International Studies ’16), January 2015/01/31
The annual Student Forum on Global Learning took place on 19 January 2015 in conjunction with the college’s celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Students involved with the Japanese program presented a panel titled “Teach Your Children Well: Education and Identity in an Internationalizing Japan.” Using their lived experience studying in both Japanese and American universities, each of the presenters considered the two countries’ approaches to the globalization of their students. Hannah spoke of her LSA+ and exchange term at Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS), Kimberly reflected on her LSA+ and teaching internship at Ibaraki Christian University in Japan, and Ryo outlined the differences in attitudes he found in his native Japan and his adopted Dartmouth cultures. Jim Dorsey moderated the panel, which was both well attended and thoroughly enjoyed.
(Photo: [from left to right] Kimberly Hassel, Hannah Perry, Ryo Maie.)
- Thomas Militello (Dartmouth ’16; double major in Japanese and Economics), Fall 2014
This past fall, I spent my term on exchange at Keio University (Tokyo), where I took classes on everything from Advanced Japanese Grammar to Japanese Politics and Media. This exchange was very flexible and it was whatever you wanted it to be. One weekend I would be playing football with my Japanese Keio friends (followed by some karaoke) while the next weekend I would be in Nozawa Onsen skiing with Dutch exchange students. Especially for those of you looking to work/live in Japan after graduating from Dartmouth, the Keio Exchange provides an excellent way to prepare yourself, including developing your Japanese. The well-taught Japanese classes coupled with the extra-curricular activities that Keio has to offer allows you to learn Japanese in a way that you could only be done in Japan and only at one of the nation's most prestigious universities.
(Photo: Thomas sandwiched between fellow exchange students while on an excursion.)
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