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Student News: Japan Track - Vol. 04
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- Ezra Toback (Dartmouth '14; Majors in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Japanese), December 2012
Greetings! So this past winter break (December 2012) we had an inordinate amount of free time (six weeks) before the start of classes in January. And I said to my self, “Self, what are you going to do?” And my self said “Self, you’re going to go to Japan.” So I applied to the Leslie Bradford and Charles C. Bradford Fund for Undergraduate Research to embark on a journey of epic proportions to Tokyo for three weeks. I conducted field research vital to my current Presidential Scholar research project and to my eventual honor’s thesis. I spent my days hopping about different Buddhist Temples and Shinto Shrines (a total of about 20 while there), gathering thorough photographic documentation, collecting popular-art representations of the spaces in question and trying to talk to residing monks. I set up camp in two affordable inn/hotel type places, complete with coin-laundry, shower, and adorable old grandma keeping shop. Not only an extraordinary experience in terms of living alone and entirely running my own life in a very different country, but supremely valuable for linguistic prowess and depth of research.
- Christian Opperman (Dartmouth '13; Majoring in Japanese and Economics), Fall 2012
This winter break, I was lucky enough to get enough funding from the (very generous) Rockefeller Center and Office of Undergraduate Research, which allowed me to take a month-long research trip to Japan for thesis research. I rented an apartment in Kameari (亀有), about twenty minutes away from downtown Tokyo by train, which was fully equipped with everything I needed for daily life (including a shower, bathroom, kitchen, internet, heating, and, most importantly, a bookshelf!). I used that as my base of operations from which I went out and explored the city and visited many-a-bookshop looking for the materials I needed. Because my thesis relies almost exclusively on Japanese-language primary source material, which is extremely difficult to obtain outside of Japan, the trip itself was invaluable for research material-collection. I also presented to Professor Tanada Teruyoshi's class at Jissen Women's University, and afterwards met up with Professor Tanada to talk about my thesis. In addition, I got the chance to hone my Japanese language ability, meet with some friends in the city, and finalize the arrangements for my job in Tokyo starting next year. It was a fantastic trip, and a really great use of the six-week long winter break.
- Lauren Gatewood (Dartmouth '14; major in Japanese, minor in Studio Art), Fall 2012
Wow. That’s what I have to say first when I think back on my term at Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS). If I didn’t go to Dartmouth, I can absolutely imagine myself as a Kanda student, because this was definitely one of the best terms I’ve ever had. There were two things I especially liked about this term. First, the fact that Kellie MacPhee was with me. It is much easier to meet new people, try new things, and go places when you have a good friend by your side. Second, I joined a school dance group called "Step In."
Spending roughly 17 hours a week as the only international student practicing with 70 Japanese, I think that by going to dance practice I learned more about the Japanese language and culture than I did by going to classes. Everyone in Step was so welcoming and friendly, and I really felt like I was a part of something. I spent so much time dancing that I had little time for travel and other things, but I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything in the world. (Photo: Lauren on the left at a dance performance.)
- Leo Rogers (Dartmouth '14; Engineering major and Japanese minor), Fall 2012
I spent the fall term at Keio University in Tokyo as part of Dartmouth's exchange. My experience was incredible. The JLP (Japanese Language Program) gave me a lot of flexibility in choosing my courses and putting together my schedule, allowing me to study Japanese at a high level while still having more than enough time to explore the greater Tokyo area. I was able to make it to Kanazawa, Kyoto, and Osaka, and even did some volunteer work for a couple days in Toohoku during Christmas break. The quality of the education at Keio is high and the location is unbeatable: the Mita campus is only a 10-minute train ride from Shibuya (by far one of the most popular spots in the city). My room in the Tsunashima Dormitory was more than I could’ve asked for--private bath, completely furnished, and with a washing machine and refrigerator. Also, the meals provided by the dorm were incredible. I feel like I was living the Japanese lifestyle, and I'm much more confident in my Japanese abilities. (Photo: Leo on the far right, with some other international students at Keio's Mita Campus)
- Kellie MacPhee (Dartmouth '14; major in Mathematics with minors in Japanese and Education), Fall 2012
I started taking Japanese classes during my freshman year of high school, and immediately fell in love with the language but never anticipated that it would lead to an experience as wonderful as the past four months I've spent as an exchange student at Kanda University of International Studies. From speeches, presentations, and discussions in class on the cultural differences between America, Japan, and the various countries native to my classmates to simply goofing around with the Japanese girls in my dorm, my experience has covered both the serious and the light-hearted. Outside of class, some highlights included trips to Nikko, Kamakura, Kyoto, and Nara, where I visited an uncountable number of shrines and temples and took an absurd amount of photographs because everything was so beautiful. I definitely have a much better understanding of both the Japanese language and Japanese culture due to my time here, and the people I have met will stay in my heart forever. Back at Dartmouth, I plan to continue studying Japanese (alongside math and education), and hope to return to Japan in the future! (Photo: Kellie is in the foreground.)
- Students Representing Dartmouth at College Fairs in Tokyo, Fall 2012
On the 14th and 15th of September 2012 Dartmouth students represented the college at two "college fairs" in the Tokyo area. These events introduce Japanese students and their parents to various institutes of higher learning in the U.S., and many colleges and universities send recruiters and alumni to them. This year three of Dartmouth's exchange students in Japan helped out: Lauren Gatewood '14 and Kellie MacPhee '14, both studying for the fall at Kanda University of International Studies, attended the college fair in Akihabara. Leo Rogers '14 took time off from his studies at Keio University to attend the fair at the American School in Japan. Combined, the events attracted approximately 1500 interested high school students and their families. We hope to see some of them in Hanover in the years ahead.
(Top photo, left to right: Lauren Gatewood '14, Kellie MacPhee '14, and Max Friedman '10; bottom photo, behind the table: Leo Rogers '14)
- Evan Ross (Dartmouth 13; major in AMELL/Japanese), Summer 2012
I started studying Japanese at Dartmouth in the fall of my freshman year, and went to Japan on the LSA+ that summer. I feel extraordinarily blessed to have been able to return this summer as the Assistant to the Director on the same program. My official duties included helping students to get acclimated to daily life in Japan, leading some outings into the Tokyo area like to Tokyo Disneyland and to the Houzuki Flower Market at Asakusa, working on logistics and logging program expenses, making sure the students were well-hydrated in the notoriously hot Japanese summer weather, along with anything else that Prof. Dorsey saw fit for me to do. In my spare time, I secured some Japanese-language sources for my honors thesis, and spent a lot of quality time with my homestay family and with the students on the program, all of whom became very close friends. I also got the opportunity to reconnect with my homestay families from two years ago. All in all it was a wonderful experience, being a part of shaping what always is an incredible program.
- Volunteer Work in the Tsunami Devastated Areas of Northeastern Japan, Summer 2012
For five days after the summer LSA+ program, four representatives from Dartmouth joined a Peace Boat volunteer mission to the city of Ishinomaki（石巻市）, Miyagi Prefecture（宮城県）, Japan. Ishinomaki was one of the areas hit hardest by the tsunami of 11 March 2011. Days were spent stringing shucked clam shells together for use in the raising of sea squirts (sea pineapples), a staple of the local aquaculture that was decimated by the tsunami. The days were hot and the work was tedious, but we were inspired by the grand spirit of the local fishing families who courageously carry on after having lost so much. Most days ended with a glorious soak in a local public bath and then conversation with the other volunteers gathered from across Japan, all amazing people. The photo shows the Dartmouth crew: Etai Klein, Evan Ross, Wesley Lau, and Jim Dorsey.
- Japan Language Study Abroad (LSA+) Program 2012
The summer 2012 offering of the 10-week Language Study Abroad (LSA+) program in Japan came to a successful conclusion on August 26th. The director this year was, once again, Jim Dorsey, and he was assisted by Evan Ross, a student veteran of the 2010 offering. We were once again at our usual base at Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba, on the outskirts of Tokyo. In addition to the intensive Japanese language classes, the group took trips to the historic city of Nikkō, Hanover's sister city of Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, and through various points in western Japan (Nara, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Miyajima). The Japanese families hosting the students were, once again, absolutely fabulous; you can see some of them in the photo, taken after our raucous table tennis tournament. For more information and some nice pictures, see Evan's program blog at: http://dartmouthjapan12x.tumblr.com/
- Takehiko Konuma (exchange student from Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba) Sept 2011~June 2012
My experiences at Dartmouth have been interesting, excellent, and wonderful. I remember my first frat party, where I experienced American culture, which was strange to me (too much body contact!!), but still very enjoyable. Studying was quite hard, but it was worth the time I spent on it. I met a wonderful professor here and he helped me broaden my horizons and changed my life, which I truly appreciate. Of course, my other professors are also awesome. In addition to these wonderful experiences, I also led a fundraising project to help the recovery of northeastern Japan after the 11 March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor emergency. Dartmouth and the community offered me the opportunity to try something new and to exercise some leadership, and without the many restrictions I feel I would have faced in Japan. I'm deeply grateful for these things, and the support. I'm also grateful for the many friends who taught me a lot along the way. (Photo: Takehiko is in the middle.)
- Ayako Sugimoto (exchange student from Keio University, Tokyo) Sept 2011~June 2012
My life at Dartmouth started with the DOC Trip, and I was amazed at the welcoming atmosphere. Some small things, such as living in an on-campus dorm and taking only three courses per term, were different from what I was used to at Keio, and needless to say, all the big events, such as Homecoming and Winter Carnival, were things I would have never experienced in college life in Japan. I feel I got the most out of this traditional liberal arts college, both culturally and academically. I really enjoyed taking classes outside of my major, in a small college where the professors are within reach of students. Small classes with a lot of discussion were at first overwhelming, but I came to enjoy these as well. Dartmouth was just perfect. This year was certainly my most enjoyable year of college life, and I am very happy to have been here. I appreciate Dartmouth for giving me this opportunity, and thank you to all those that have made my experience a fantastic one.
- [Event & Remembrance] Japan After the 3.11 Earthquake: Rethink Rebuild Remember (April 2012)
This event, which took place on April 6th, 2012, brought Keiko Kiyama and Nozomi Kanda to Dartmouth as part of their tour of East Coast colleges. Both women have extensive relief work experience in post-3.11 Japan. Kanda-san, the director of Power of Japan, shared her personal experiences with the earthquake, describing what her family went through living in the same town as nuclear reactors. Kiyama-san, the secretary general of JEN (Japanese Emergency NGO), talked about her NGO's activities and also explained what to look for in the future. They were introduced by Prof. Dennis Washburn and student Shotaro Nakamura. We were very grateful that so many people were able to come together to rethink, rebuild, and remember a year after the 3.11 earthquake. Exchange student to Dartmouth from Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS) Takehiko Konuma was the one largely responsible for bringing this event to Dartmouth, and we thank him for his efforts.
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