I've spent a lot of time in Japan. I first went there in 1999 as a high school student through the Michigan-Shiga Student Exchange Program. I then returned to Shiga Prefecture in 2004 to study Japanese language just after college in preparation for the world's most exciting entry-level job ever: United States Pavilion Guide at the 2005 World Exposition in Nagoya, Japan! That was so much fun that I decided I wanted to go back to Japan again, which is how I ended up back in the country from 2007 to 2009 through the JET Program. You can read stories and/or see pictures of each program in the links below.
- Michigan-Shiga Student Exchange Program (Coming Soon)
- Expo 2005: Photo Album and Journal Entries
- JET Program: Photo Album
(You can also see some follow-up pictures to my JET adventures in my Shanghai World Expo 2010 gallery, as I also stopped in Japan to visit JET friends on the way back from China.)
I do speak Japanese, if not fluently, then well enough to express just about anything I want to say in a "creative" fashion that sometimes makes native speakers laugh. 日本語でメールを書いてくれたらうれしくなるよ。だから送ってください！ まだ上手じゃないけどね。
I'd be more than happy to answer anyones questions about any of the programs above—I get a fair bit of traffic from kids looking for information about the Michigan-Shiga program especially since there's not much out there, so by all means, drop me an e-mail. I'd also love to talk to you about my JET experience (though on that subject there is a ton of information out there) and would be thrilled to go on at length about the Expo (either the 2005 one specifically or World's Fairs in general) should you be interested in the subject. Or, you know, I could try not to bore you and stick to a nice reserved conversation about it. Either way, really. ;-)