James and I did this recent interview over Skype when he was in Japan and I was in the Philippines. The photos of cherry blossoms and sports are his.
When I was a kid I was fascinated with Japan and the code of the samurai. Later I did Japanese language at the University of Sheffield in the UK. In 1988, immediately after graduation, I joined the JET program, which was set up by the Japanese Ministry of Education to help students speak better English. I was dispatched to northern Japan, to Tajiri, a conservative, rural town of about 15,000 people, … Read More
I met Phyllis around 2007 when she was teaching English at a foreign languages university in Japan. It was her second stay in Japan. Directly after college she’d come over as with JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme), teaching English in the elementary and secondary schools. Phyllis also taught in an English language program for international students at the University of Idaho, where her experience in the classroom was very similar to mine at the University of Pittsburgh.
Phyllis: I came here with the JET program at twenty-two. I thought of myself as a strong and independent woman … Read More