Alumni - 卒業生

Japanese Alumni

Rosario Paz

My interest in Japanese language and culture was piqued through exposure to its popular culture (anime, J-pop, and video games). As someone who already spoke Spanish quite fluently, I entered Swarthmore with the desire to learn a completely different language, one that would challenge me in both academic and cultural ways. I considered Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic as options, but opted for Japanese because of my prior exposure to it. Thus began my journey into all things Japan as a freshman at Swarthmore.  more

 

Daniel Moon '15

"The movies that you used to watch with subtitles take on a different tone and become a more visceral experience to you; given that the various characteristics of the Japanese language - such as its dictional and grammatical characteristics - are a reflection of Japan's cultural nuances, you find that you discover new ways of interpreting and perceiving aspects of your everyday life; you find that you can visit a country you always wanted to visit without having to worry about getting lost, or not enjoying the full experience because of your language barrier." more

Frank Mondelli '14

"...aside from all these special events and extra opportunities, daily life as a Japanese major was always invigorating, challenging, and, honestly, fun. Some of my best memories as a Swarthmore student took place in those classrooms." more

Jennifer Lopez '14

"There is so much more to learning a language than getting everything correct. Let yourself make those mistakes and just keep going." more

Jackson Pietsch '13

"After three years assistant-teaching English on the JET Program, I'm returning to the States this August to be near family as I start working as a freelance Japanese-to-English translator, aiming to specialize in video game localization (which I thought was just an idle would-be-nice idea, until I realized sophomore year that I could actually do it). I wouldn't be here without everyone in Swarthmore's Japanese program in turn being there for me and its other students." more

Joanie Jean '11

"Becoming proficient in a language that once thoroughly intimidated me to even some small degree, is probably one of the things I am most proud of.  Learning the Japanese language definitely isn't easy, and it may take a lot of time and hard work, but the reward definitely makes it worth it." more

Susanna Mitro '11

"At one point, we had to debate one another in Japanese, on topics like the pros and cons of school uniforms. It was encouraging to be able to truly communicate opposing views in Japanese, but at the same time very funny to try to construct complex multi-phrase sentences, and emphatically disagree with one another, using our somewhat limited vocabularies." more

Arthur Chyan '10

"After three years of language studies through Swarthmore's Japanese language department, I was able to carry out most of the research itself in the Japanese language. To be able to discuss a topic as complex as immigration with some of University of Tokyo's political science PhD candidates clearly stood out as a moment when I could see how much I had progressed." 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

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

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

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