Monday, November 20, 2006

First Entry: A little about me

Hello everyone! I'm Sam, and I hope you enjoy this blog. I'll be covering lots of subjects about Japan until I leave for my third trip to Japan in August of 2007. Although I will have graduated American high school by May 2007, I am taking a year off. I'll be attending high school in Japan for one more year, while helping out teaching English. At this moment in time I will be either living in Iwate prefecture, Chiba prefecture, or in the city of Kobe (Hyougo prefecture). If things continue to go well, I will be placed in a high school in Kobe.
This past summer and Spring I studied abroad in Japan. I'll be posting about these past trips and talking about different things that I observed while I was in Japan. While I was attending Nagano High School in the town of Kawachi Nagano (Osaka prefecture, not in Nagano prefecture!) I was also working on taking notes for a large paper, examining the problems within the Japanese high schools and the lack of meaningful reforms offered by Japan's Ministry of Education. which was published along with 20 others in a journal for Stanford University this past October. Without rewriting my paper here, I'll hopefully be posting a copy of this paper. Though because my computer just recently crashed, I will have to find the right disk I saved it to.
Well enough about that boring stuff! So why am I interested in Japan? Great Question! The simple answer is that I am not exactly sure how I got drawn to Japan. But I do know that once I did become interested in Japanese history and culture I wanted to learn more about it and travel to Japan. When I was in Lawrence elementary school (In my town this is k-8th grade), I grew up surrounded by Japanese culture. My town, Brookline, is right near the Longwood Medical Centre in Boston, the largest collection of hospitals on the east coast of the USA. Many Japanese parents who had kids, but were attending grad school for degrese in medicine sent their children to my school. The result was that out of 450 kids, almost 30% were Japanese. As a kid I grew up around the language, and with Japanese holidays. Japanese holidays such as New Years, to Boys Day and Girls Day were celebrated at my school. One of my fondest memories is of the many fares we had in my school where the mothers of the Japanese children sold lots of traditional foods and crafts. At other times we had traveling Taiko drum troupes and story tellers visit my school. This, more than anything else, was probably the source for my eventual interest in Japan. By the time I entered high school, I had begun to read books on Japanese history and contemporary society. One such was Patrick Smith's Japan: A Reinterpretation, and Andrew Gordon's JAPAN: From Tokugawa Times to the Present. Since then I've read numerous books on Japan, and continue to do so. In my Freshman year I took up studying Japanese. I was very lucky that Brookline High School offered Japanese.

I'll try and update my blog routinely every week depending on my school work load. And lastly, thank you for spending the time reading this blog.

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