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Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures



Student News: Japan Track - Vol. 01

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Japan Track News Vol. 01 [ most recent | Vol. 07 | Vol. 06 | Vol. 05 | vol. 04 | vol. 03 | vol. 02 | vol. 01 ]

  • Robin Uhle (Dartmouth '09; DAMELL-Japanese & Anthropology), academic year 2008-2009
  • Uhle Robin (Choochin Matsuri) Robin combined her interests in Japanese with her growing expertise in anthropology by choosing to write a senior honors thesis on the Choochin Matsuri, or "Lantern Festival," held every fall in Hanover's sister city of Nihonmatsu, Japan. Through a grant she received from the Goodman Fund at Dartmouth, she was able to travel not once, but twice to the city. Robin writes: "My first stay in Nihonmatsu was just for a week, to witness the festival in October. My second visit was for two weeks in August to allow for more in depth research of the town, its people, and their history. Between the grant, my Japanese skills, and contacts made through the Japanese department, I was able to gain enough information to write an honors thesis for the Anthropology Department." And a fine honors thesis it is.

    Robin is currently living on a small island off the coast of Nagasaki, where she is teaching English in Japanese public schools.

  • Hong ("Linda") Li (Dartmouth '11), Fall 2008
  • Linda Li Linda participated in the Japan language study abroad program in Chiba/Tokyo in the summer of 2008, and stayed on in Japan through the fall to participate in an International Workcamp in a little town called Kurogi, just 2 hours outside of Fukuoka. During the 80 days that she spent there Linda experienced the warmth of summer, the changing colors of autumn and the peace of winter. Linda describes her experience as follows: "Forgetting the stress of the city and the distractions of technology, we as a group of 6, lived in. . .the traditional way: the nights were filled with games and talking rather than TV or technology and the days with fun and work. Our main project was to construct a 250m hiking trail in a nearby forest called Greenpia. Aside from that, we also learned about the Japanese way of harvesting rice, the drying process of hand-processed tea, the way to construct a bamboo hut and numerous other long-lost secrets of the Japanese traditional lifestyle."
  • Elva Fan (Dartmouth '10; AMES-Japanese & Economics), Fall 2008
  • Elva was one of the first students to spend a semester at Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS) through Dartmouth's new exchange with this university, located on the outskirts of Tokyo. While at KUIS in the fall of 2008 Elva took courses on Japanese language and culture; she also pursued her extra curricular interests, including musical theater and the "koto" (Japanese zither). With a strong interest in the financial sector, Elva attended numerous info sessions set up by companies such as investment banks. She summed up her experience as follows: "All in all, my trip to Japan has been a very enlightening experience from which I have acquired new knowledge that would otherwise be quite difficult to acquire elsewhere."
  • Robin Uhle (Dartmouth '09; DAMELL-Japanese & Anthropology), Summer 2008
  • Linda Li Robin first visited Japan after her freshman year; she participated in DAMELL's language study abroad program in Tokyo/Chiba, Japan in 2006. In the summer before her senior year she returned, doing a teaching internship for the Guy Healy program in Nagasaki. Though the internship offers no salary, it does cover travel expenses and sets up students with a homestay family for the duration of their stay. Robin taught English in a Catholic elementary school for girls. Here is what Robin had to say about the internship: "Working with Guy Healy's program was one of the best experiences of my life. I especially loved working with the younger children. Learning wasn't a chore for them, but a great game, and their joy in learning made me fall in love with teaching. I have never felt such sense a accomplishment and pride as I did when some of the 3rd graders had a casual fluid conversation with me in English. Even in just the three months I spent there, I truly felt as if my presence had made a difference."
  • Shannon "Lani" Lee (Dartmouth '09; AMES-Japanese), summer 2008
  • Lani spent a good deal of her summer vacation in 2008 researching the culture of "maid cafes" in the Akihabara district of Tokyo. What is a maid café, you ask? Here is how Lani describes it: "A sweeping local phenomenon in Tokyo is the emergence of maid cafés. At these cafés, women dress and act as French maids. Customers are greeted as 'master' and served cakes, coffees, and teas normally found at cafés. Some offer different services, ranging from time alone talking with maids about comic books to body massages." Her interest in these establishments began while in Japan with the DAMELL language study abroad program in Chiba/Tokyo, and Lani was able to obtain funding from the Dickey Center at Dartmouth to return later to gathered more materials. The research culminated in an independent study, including a research paper in which she parsed the cultural significance of these cafes for what they say about gender relations in the hyper-consumer culture that is Japan today.
  • Ariel Weber (Dartmouth '09; AMES-Japanese & Linguistics), summer 2008
  • Getting internships in Japan is very difficult, especially for foreign students. Much to everyone's amazement, Ari managed to arrange two internships in Japan during his undergraduate education. In the spring and summer of 2007 he worked with People for Social Change, an NGO whose goal is to act as a mediator between various other NGO and nonprofit sector organizations. In this organization Ari served as an outreach and event management intern. Ari writes: "While the organization was very small (about 6 people total), it was a rewarding experience in a Japanese language environment in which I could meet many people from a diverse collection of fields, including the British Ambassador to Japan." From this internship Ari moved to one with the Nature Conservation Society of Japan's (NACS-J) publication office. In this position, he assisted the group's committee secretary with various language-related tasks and translated web content for the website manager. Ari's second internship stint was during the summer of 2008. This time he worked with Federal Express Corporation at their Chiba headquarters and HR office in Tokyo. As an HR intern, he focused on a project to develop the company's sustainability publication as well as helped with the policy for keeping track of progress toward "green" goals.
  • Tamar Groveman (Dartmouth '09; DAMELL-Japanese), academic year 2007~2008
  • Tamar Roveman Tamar spent her junior year studying at Keio University in Tokyo as part of Dartmouth's exchange with that prestigious university. She described the language program there as "intense, challenging, and taught by a wonderful faculty who were always approachable and eager to see their students succeed." The novels of Kanehara Hitomi increasingly interested Tamar, who spent part of her year researching this up-and-coming young writer. This research was to become the basis of her senior thesis, written upon her return to Dartmouth. While in Tokyo Tamar also enjoyed interacting with various other international students and exploring the nooks and crannies of that exciting city.
  • Alisa Yamasaki (Dartmouth '09; DAMELL-Japanese & Biology), academic year 2007-2008
  • Alisa Yamasaki As a student majoring in biology at Dartmouth, Alisa was hardly our typical candidate for the Dartmouth College - Keio University exchange. When she explains, though, that she is determined to obtain an M.S./PhD in Molecular Biology and hopes one day to facilitate experimental collaboration and scientific dialogue between researchers and physicians on both sides of the ocean, it all makes sense. Alisa spend the 2007 - 2008 academic year on the Keio campus in downtown Tokyo, refining her already considerable Japanese skills. In addition to courses in Japanese language and culture, she studied biology and international law with the Japanese students. "The classroom environment was very different from that of universities in the US," wrote Alisa. "There was a much more formal relationship between the lecturer and students. It was also interesting to compare the lecture styles and the different ways that information was presented." Alisa also took time to travel through Japan as well as enjoy what Tokyo had to offer: "from the beautiful parks and museums at Ueno to the vibrant nightlife in Shibuya, Tokyo always offered a plethora of entertainment options."

    At last look Alisa was working in a science laboratory in Kyoto for the summer.

  • (Chip) Jeffrey Shaffer (Dartmouth '09; AMES-Japanese & Economics), academic year 2008-2009
  • Chip spent three terms during his senior year working on his thesis on contemporary Chinese and Japanese artists. The question he was asking was: "How do certain institutions-specifically art schools, galleries, art fairs, biennials, museums and auction houses-affect artists' financial success as judged by sales at auction?" As part of the research Chip interviewed almost 15 leading figures in the art world, from gallery owners to museum curators and auction house employees. Chip writes: "one of the most exciting aspects of my thesis research was my trip to Tokyo and Hong Kong. I received a $2,000 grant from Dartmouth to travel to these two cities over winter break and speak with gallery owners and auction house employees. It has been an amazing experience."

    Chip is currently spending a year teaching English in Okayama, Japan, after which he intends to attend law school.

Student News: Japan Track [ Most Recent | Vol. 07 | Vol. 06 | Vol. 05 | Vol. 04 | Vol. 03 | Vol. 02 | Vol. 01 ]