Alumni - 卒業生

Japanese Alumni

Marty Griffith '05

"I am currently teaching English in Japan through the JET program. . . I can not even begin to describe how much my experience here has been enhanced by my study of Japanese language and culture and I am grateful every day for the opportunity. I am now able to enjoy Japanese books, movies, and television, and have found that experience, along with making friends with many Japanese people, has opened my eyes to a very different worldview from my own. That is not just lip service either, I am exposed everyday to a truly different culture and way of thinking and I feel that this experience has informed and shaped my own thinking in many ways. Surprisingly, it is not just the differences between Japan and America, but the similarities that fascinate me as well, and if I could go back I would actually chose to take MORE classes in my major if I could." more

Victoria Swisher '06

"The single thing about the Swarthmore Japanese program that stands out most in my mind is the fact that Japanese class was the reason I got up every morning. I looked forward every day to attending either drill or lecture, and without fail it put me in a great mood for the rest of my day. More specifically, I enjoyed attending the Delaware area's Japanese Teachers Association meeting where various students gave speeches or skits, where I was able to see the creativity of students of all levels and connect with people who had a shared passion for learning Japanese. I also enjoyed giving and listening to the speeches we prepared for class at Swarthmore because it was extremely rewarding to see how far each of us had come in the span of only a year." more

Rachel Amiya (Huneryager) '05

". . . In other words, it's a rather rough mountain to climb, but the views are fantastic." more

Lan Le '04

"I have to say that studying Japanse culture was responsible for a lot of my most memorable experiences at Swat. The moment I received the letter stating that I had won the Alice L. Crossely Award for my senior thesis on Japanese manga is somewhere at the top of my list. I was just so excited by my thesis that I sent in an intermediate draft to the committee for consideration. I really wanted everyone to see all the work that I, and my advisors, had poured into that piece of writing. Receiving that prize, at a school like Swarthmore where we don't pass out recognition like candy, was such a validation of my experiences." more

Fraser Tan '04

"I think my favorite moment was when Jo-sensei organized a giant cooking party for us, as we were learning the vocabulary for cooking. The entire Japanese class (and friends!) piled into the Friends Meeting House, and we all helped cook enourmous amounts of curry, and we could only speak Japanese. It was tons of fun!" more

Alex Hudson '05

"I am currently living in San Jose, California, after having spent last fall in Osaka helping out Joseph Small '05 with his Fulbright project. I am a touring member of San Jose Taiko, one of the first and most influential North American taiko groups, and am in fact on the road right now in the final third of a two month touring schedule. My interest in Japanese culture (particularly postwar) was one of the factors that led me to taiko in the first place, and of course now I play taiko as a sort-of job. I currently live in the Japantown neighborhood of San Jose, which is one of the three remaining Japantowns left in America, and as a result have become involved in the community's attempts to maintain and preserve these locations. My studies have also taken me to Japan twice, and I expect to return there again in the near future in some capacity." more

Casey Lee '05

"I think the study of Japanese requires equal portions of discipline, organization (both in life and in the mind), patience, and a sense of humor. There is just so much going on all the time: character systems, grammar (particals, verb conjugations, sentence structure, usage), vocabulary, kanji...integrating all of it and becoming accustomed to the sound/pronunciation can be a long and awkward process. For me, the most challenging and fun aspect of Japanese is expressing oneself accurately and appropriately. There are so many ways to say one thing and so many set-phrases, knowing when and how to use which one is, for the most part, neither intuitive nor apparent. When I learn and express something well, however, it is probably one of the most exhilarating moments in language learning...I can almost hear a "click" in the air affirming that I'm getting somewhere." more