East Asian Studies
Hometown: Kalamazoo, MI
Major: East Asian Studies with a focus on Japan
Study Abroad: Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, for 11 months
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Superman
Best Adjective to Describe You: Gay (both in the carefree, merry sense and in that I date women)
In 10 words or less, why should a student want to be involved in this department?
Studying culture that is not your own is for winners.
What initially drew you to this department? What keeps you coming back?
I came to Kalamazoo College knowing that I wanted to study the Japanese language; I’d watched anime in the original Japanese with English subtitles and liked the cadence of its speech. My interest in the language led to my selecting Professor Dennis Frost’s “Who Are the Samurai?” as my first-year seminar, a class that introduced me to the vastness and richness of Japan’s history and culture. My interest in Japan continued to grow, and after realizing (through trial-and-error) that neither science nor math were for me, I chose this department for my major.
What’s your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores in this department?
Some of the best classes have the biggest workloads; don’t let it intimidate you, or deter you from continuing if the subject is one you have a passion for. It is do-able, and it is worthwhile.
How does your department connect to your other interests and activities?
I enjoy the occasional anime. I also really like Japanese food.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
Differences in custom, way of thought, and opinion, are valuable. These differences can be beautiful, and they can be ugly. Every disagreement is an opportunity to grow in your knowledge and understanding of the world around you and become a more humble and whole human being.
What has been your favorite class at K? Why?
I greatly enjoyed Professor Roselee Bundy’s “Contested History” (a sophomore seminar) which, as is stated in the course description, examines “the controversies surrounding the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the proposed exhibit of the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian fifty years later.” It’s an excellent course and I would recommend it to anyone interested in a detailed and thought-provoking examination of these events.
What is your SIP?
I’m planning on translating a book from Japanese into English.
What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
I kind of want to get a small translation job that I can do from home so I can spend lots of time with the 10+ rescue cats I’m going to adopt. Maybe in the future I’ll find myself working as a corporate translator, but a job that would involve flying back and forth from the United States to Japan doesn’t appeal to me much.