People

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I woke up in the morning to the voice of construction workers outside. I stared at the ceiling just 2.5 feet above me and realized they were not talking in […]

Campus

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White buildings of Occidental College campus stood majestically against the blue sky. The campus was known for its beauty and often appeared in films and TV shows. The arched corridor […]

International students

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I arrived at Occidental College in mid-August. The program organizer welcomed me in the lobby of the administrative office, and I joined the rest of the Waseda students and other […]

Departure

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I left Japan with one suitcase. It was a large suitcase, but I packed unnecessary things like the books I had already read while forgetting to pack a toothbrush. My […]

How not to get shot

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In 1992, the same year that I saw videos of an African American man bludgeoned by multiple police officers and the ensuing riot in Los Angeles, a Japanese high school […]

Challenges

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There was a popular narrative among very high-minded students that you should immerse yourself in the environment in which you had no choice but to speak English because having Japanese […]

Study abroad program

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At school, I was preparing to apply for the study abroad program. I attended talks and meetings with organizers and students who had done the same program and met with […]

Nobu’s insecurity

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When my sister’s boyfriend, Nobu, learned that I got a tutoring job after failing the waitress and sweetshop sales jobs, he said to my sister that I couldn’t hold the […]

Tutoring job

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The next job I landed was a tutoring job at a tutoring school. I had tutored before, and it didn’t require carrying anything heavier than a textbook. The school had […]

Waiting tables

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Next, I got a job at a beer restaurant. Many college students worked waiting tables, so I thought it must be easy enough to do even if you are an […]