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Student News: Japan Track
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- Ezra Toback (Dartmouth ’14; double major in Asian & Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures & Asian and Middle Eastern Studies), June 2014
The Japanese program in DAMELL is very proud to announce that one of its students, Ezra Toback, was a valedictorian for the class of 2014. Ezra began his study of Japanese as a first-year student, and he attended both the summer Language Study Abroad (LSA+) group in Japan in summer 2011 and the exchange program at Keio University, Tokyo, in spring 2013. His thesis, which deals with representations of “sacred space” in Edo/Tokyo, was a magnum opus, and he was awarded the Pray Prize for distinguished achievement in Japanese language studies. Surprisingly, on top of his studies, he found time to serve as a Japanese drill instructor for beginning students as well as sing for the Brovertones, an a capella group at Dartmouth. For the coming year Ezra will continue his language studies at the prestigious Inter-University Center for Japanese in Yokohama, Japan. DAMELL congratulates him on his achievements and wishes him the best in all coming endeavors.
- Eri Fumoto (exchange student from Keio University, Tokyo) Sept 2013~June 2014
I never, even in my wildest dreams, thought that a mere ten months of my life could be as intense and challenging--and yet filled with so much joy--as the past ten months at Dartmouth College. Let me answer a question my trip leader asked last September: “What were your ups and downs?” My “down” would definitely be the day I had a fever and could not join my courageous peers doing the polar bear plunge. Even the days I struggled in first floor Berry, tackling my never-ending pile of readings while constantly worrying about my 20-page paper cannot be called “downs.” They were challenges that pulled me “upwards.” As I look back, I once again realize how lucky I was to be at Dartmouth: doing maple sugaring during a treacherously cold “spring” break, singing “Happy” with the Gospel Choir in Spaulding, the ubiquitous scene of studying till midnight with my trusted comrades, talking with friends over ever so many more foco cookies. Each and every day at Dartmouth was a real gem which will motivate me as I embark on my next adventure. My gratitude to those who helped me through this journey; you are the ones that made this once in a lifetime experience extra special.
- Lauren Gatewood, (Dartmouth ’14, Double Major in Japanese and Studio Art), May 2014
On 14 May 2014 Lauren Gatewood presented her senior honors thesis for her degree in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures (Japanese). Titled “The Dialects of Youth: Slang and Buzz Words in the Construction of Subjectivity and Virtual Personas,” the thesis examines the way generational, institutional, and regional “dialects” of Japanese are used in social media in order to construct, confirm, and explore the boundaries of community. In the presentation Lauren projected and explicated excerpts of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter exchanges she followed through her association with a Japanese college hip-hop dance circle as well as a church group, and she argued that the push-and-pull between standard Japanese and “dialects” is the means by which members bond. The roots of Lauren’s research go back to her days as a participant in, and then director’s assistant for, Dartmouth’s summer program in Japan as well as her exchange term at Kanda University of International Studies.
- Dartmouth Japan Society Dinner Discussion with Prof. Motoyuki Shibata, 7 May 2014
In addition to his public lecture (see below), Prof. Shibata guest lectured in Japanese 10, “Introduction to Japanese Culture” on May 7th. That very evening he and his wife Hitomi-san joined a dinner discussion hosted by the Dartmouth Japan Society. The conversation began with a consideration of Shibata sensei’s imaginative and playful translation of Edward Gorey’s The Doubtful Guest, and then became a free-form conversation on all things related to translation and literature. With food from the local Japanese/Korean restaurant Yama, students and faculty spent a most pleasant evening. We’re all grateful to the Shibata’s for their generous contributions to Japan Studies at Dartmouth College, and hope to have them back soon.
- Prof. Motoyuki Shibata lecture: “Model or Mirror: Translating American Literature in Japan,” 6 May 2014
Prof. Shibata, until recently on the faculty at Tokyo University, visited the Dartmouth campus in early May for a number of events. On Tuesday, May 6th, he delivered a lecture titled “Model or Mirror: Translating American Literature in Japan.” In it he explored the evolution of Japan – U.S. relations through the translation and reception history of American fiction. According to Shibata sensei, in the early years Japanese translators so looked up to American writers (finding them a “model”) that even banal pronouncements by children in fiction were translated as if they were profound philosophical statements. Later, of course, American fiction was seen as more of a “mirror,” a means for reflecting concerns shared equally by Japanese and American writers. The audience, which numbered over fifty students, faculty, and staff, enjoyed a lively question-and-answer session as well. (Photo by Eri Fumoto.)
- APPROVED! The Dartmouth Quarterly Review of East Asian Studies, Spring 2014
On April 30th, 2014, the Council on Student Organizations (COSO) at Dartmouth College officially approved a new undergraduate and graduate student journal of East Asian Studies. This journal, slated for Internet launch in Fall 2014, is the brainchild of Kartik Menon, ’16, a double major in Japanese and Mathematics. Kartik pulled together the paperwork for college approval and is now coordinating everything from the design of the logo to the building of the Internet site. The photo on the right shows journal staff and advisors basking in the glory of approval immediately following the meeting with COSO. From left to right: David Cordero (Design Editor), Claire Park (Secretary), Ting Cheung (“Tangent”) Cheng (Editor for Japan), Wesley Lau (Treasurer), Jim Dorsey (Faculty Advisor), Thomas Rover (Editor-in-Chief), Kartik Menon (President), and Levi Gibbs (Faculty Advisor).
- Kartik Menon (Dartmouth ’16, Double Major in Mathematics and Japanese)
This past winter, courtesy of a generous grant from Dartmouth’s Dickey Center for International Understanding, I went to Tokyo and worked for the U.S. Embassy! My work was with the TOMODACHI Initiative, an organization that was founded to lend hope and resources to the people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Since it’s founding in 2011, it has expanded to provide leadership training, educational and in a way, future foreign service/diplomatic programming for students and professionals in Japan and the United States. The work was awesome and it was touching to meet the people involved and participating with TOMODACHI, especially those who were coming from the Tohoku region. While in Japan I got to meet up with old friends from the Japanese LSA+ last summer, as well as a few alumni, like Mark Davidson, who introduced the LSAers to the embassy to begin with, Christian ’13, and Ryan Goldstein, who let us into a sumo morning practice! And let me mention that the Hanover winter apparently followed me to Japan, where two 20-year record-breaking snowfalls happened on consecutive weekends. (Photo: Kartik is on the left.)
- Wesley Lau (Dartmouth ’15; double major in Japanese and Economics), 2013-2014
In the fall of my junior year I worked with Professor Dorsey as a Presidential Scholar Research Assistant indexing Katagiri Yuzuru’s underground folk paper, the “Kawaraban.” Along with publishing folk songs (Japanese originals, translations of American songs and parodies/”kaeuta”), in its short publication run from the late 60s to early 70s, it acted as a point for the political folk movement in the Kansai region of Japan to gather and spread news about demonstrations, festivals and major events. Although the magazine only ran for a short few years, it was filled with commentary and pointed jokes about the major social and political issues of the times, from the US-Japan Joint Security Treaty to the Osaka World Fair, and painted a unique picture of the Japanese youth typically absent from our perception of history. In addition to being able to further improve my Japanese (especially my ability to read handwriting!), it was a great experience to learn about a unique counterculture that made such a significant impact on modern popular music and culture, and for this upcoming spring term I plan on doing related research with Professor Dorsey on the anti-nuclear movement after the Fukushima disaster through modern day protest songs in Japan.
- Dartmouth Japan Society (DJS; student group), Winter Term 2014 Activities
In many ways the Hanover winter is tough. But DJS kept the entertainment going by providing opportunities for students to engage in various aspects of Japanese culture. Apart from our weekly meetings, we enjoyed three special events. First, we had a Takoyaki Party, or Tako-pa, as most students call them in Japan. Some were rather creative and "mochi" takoyaki in particular were amazing. Our termly Onigiri Hour was another fun event, learning professional tips from Ishida sensei. They were perfectly described with these words: 「懐かしい味」(a taste that brings back fond memories)!! Thirdly, Wesley Lau 15', Kanda exchange student Eri Shinose and I (Eri Fumoto, exchange student from Keio) organized a movie night to commemorate the 3rd anniversary of 3.11 triple disasters (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor failure). The documentary "The Tsunami and The Cherry Blossom" offered a chance for students from across the campus to discuss with Professors Nozawa and Dorsey. Personally, I found it interesting to watch such a film in the US and think about how evanescence plays an important role in Japanese discourses. DJS always welcomes new members and is looking forward to holding events again to reach out to the wider community on campus. (Submitted by Eri Fumoto; photo from the Tako-pa.)
- Xu “Gabby” Chen (Dartmouth '14; double major: Japanese and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies), February 2014
On 26 February 2014 Gabby Chen presented her senior honors thesis for her degree in Japanese in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures. Titled “Dimensions of Surface Representation: A Contemporary Case Study of Japanese Young Female Cosmetics, Style, and Identity” and supervised by Professor Shunsuke Nozawa, the thesis examines the intersections of race, subjectivity, and aesthetics as they are revealed in the make-up and fashion industries. A participant in Dartmouth’s 2011 summer program in Japan, Gabby travelled there again in June and December 2013 to gather material for her research. This senior thesis is actually her second; under the direction of Professor Wen Xing, Gabby successfully completed for her major in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES) a project titled “Directions of Luxury: A Case Study of Contemporary Chinese Luxury Consumerism” in the spring of 2013. She is hoping to attend graduate school beginning in the fall of 2014. (Photo: Gabby, with her thesis advisors. Prof. Nozawa on the left and Prof. Xing on the right.)
- Eri Shinose (exchange student from Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba) Sept 2013~March 2014
Since arriving at Dartmouth I’ve introduced myself as one who knows nothing and is here to learn. It’s true. People around me snap their fingers, and I had no idea it signalled approval. I never imagined there were so many resources on campus to further any project I might conceive. And I have been filled with everything from ideas to stimulation to fattening foods. I often think of the Japanese phrase “uteba hibiku,” meaning “strike and it will resound.” That is to say that here at Dartmouth I need only take the first step and somebody, somewhere, is sure to contribute to the effort. My terms at Dartmouth have been two of the best of my life. I will never forget blitzmail from people and organizations making my iPhone buzz constantly, sleepless nights cramming in the library, fingernails falling off from frostbite during winter hiking, and the dip into Occom Pond during Winter Carnival. In terms of academic inspiration, personal growth, friends for a lifetime, professors with open office doors, I have been blessed at Dartmouth. Thanks to Dartmouth, as well as to my home institution of Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS), for making this possible!
- Abigail Bard (Dartmouth'14; Major in Linguistics, minor in Japanese) and Yonsue Kim (Dartmouth ’13; M.A. in Comparative Literature), Winter 2014
The Student Forum on Global Education took place on 20 January 2014, being held in conjunction with the Martin Luther King, Jr., celebrations at Dartmouth College. Abby and Yonsue were selected to present on a panel titled “Whose Japan is it Anyway? Fabricating the Foreign,” where they explored the ways “third cultures” inflect the way we understand the foreign countries we visit. Yonsue, from South Korea, first studied in Japan alongside a group of Americans, and her experience was shaped by that context. Abby, raised in the U.S. came to see Japan very differently after research on Taketomijima (an Okinawan island). The discussion which followed focused on the relationship of language to identity, and the constructed nature of the connection between the two. (photo: Yonsue is on the left and Abby on the right.)
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