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.


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.

Students act as bridge to Japan on memorial trip

When a major earthquake and tsunami devastated Northern Japan, claiming thousands of lives and wiping out entire towns, the world watched in horror. In Indiana, Alex Kessler, who had earlier that evening said goodbye to a visitor from Japan, was struck by the images of people crying. Kayla Lindsey, who attends a Japanese school in […]

JET alums rally to save group’s funding from chopping block

NEW YORK — More than 40 former Japan Exchange and Teaching Program alumni from across the United States recently holed themselves up in a Manhattan hotel to figure out how to sell their organization’s value to the Japanese government as potential budget cuts loom large. “I think the Japan Exchange and Teaching Alumni Association of […]

‘The Harimaya Bridge’ spans generations, cultures and the Pacific

Through most of the film “The Harimaya Bridge,” protagonist Daniel Holder wears a sullen, stone-faced stare, communicating profound distaste for his surroundings. He simmers with hostility while tromping around Japan, and understandably so — this is the land where first his father and then his son perished. Daniel (played by veteran actor Ben Guillory) has […]

‘The Harimaya Bridge’ Tells a Universal Story Characters Come From Different Countries, Races, Generations

In a new movie, “The Harimaya Bridge,” premiering in San Francisco on April 23, an American journeys to Japan, a country he has long resented, to collect some items that belonged to his estranged son, who died there two years prior. Confronting painful memories and long-held stereotypes — his own and those others hold against […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: Japan’s 2009 at a Glance

A new political party in power, another World Baseball Classic title, a Japanese movie winning an Oscar, the yen soaring to the highest yen-to-dollar rate in decades, North Korea continuing its nuclear tests, and Obama making his first trip to Japan as president. These are some of the biggest events of the past year in […]