In this cold and lonely winter, I can’t help but dream of the picture perfect Japanese summers I enjoyed during my time in Tottori. It seems like forever ago that life was so carefree, but during these difficult times I can still find sunshine in those memories of lazy days and long nights, beers on […]


My recent column painted a pretty bleak picture of my life in JET in the age of COVID-19. However, these past two years have given me some of the greatest experiences of my life. I’ve put together a bit of a “highlight reel” of the best of times. There were extraordinary moments that caused me […]

THROUGH YONSEI EYES: DEAR ASIAN AMERICANS: An open letter and guide-in-progress on being a productive ally to African Americans by a devastated and outraged Asian American

Are you also devastated and outraged? You should be. That’s just the start. So, what’s next? How can the Asian American community mobilize to be productive and supportive to the Black community right now? I’m not claiming to be a perfect ally/activist, or that this is the definitive guide to being an ally in 2020, […]

THROUGH YONSEI EYES: Life as I knew it

They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. You don’t know you’re riding a high until you come crashing down.  I always knew my JET (Japan Exchange Teaching) Program experience would be temporary. I had decided in winter of 2019 not to renew my contract and return home in August 2020. It […]


Many English teachers in Japan have a tough time during the holidays. It’s times like these when we realize how much we need each other here. I look around the room and become overwhelmed by how deeply I love the people around me.

THROUGH YONSEI EYES: The virtue of goodbye

Late March and early April are times of great change within the Japanese school system. In March, the students have their graduation ceremonies. They are serious affairs filled with tears and stoicism. It’s difficult to move on from a middle school.


Like many things in Japan, school lunch is a ritual. It’s not cafeteria-style like in the states. Students will spend their entire day, including lunch, in their classrooms, and teachers will rotate every period. After the fourth period bell rings, several students will don ridiculously adorable white aprons and hats, and go down to the lunch room to bring food back to the classrooms.


I tried to take in the reality of my circumstances. I had just moved from the metropolitan Bay Area to rural Japan to teach English. I didn’t know any Japanese. I didn’t know anyone in Tottori, the least populated prefecture in the country. I had no Internet and no cell service, which meant I couldn’t even call home. There was nothing to fill the crushing silence.