Smiles spread on the Japanese storekeepers' faces as Jonathon, an obvious foreigner, asks them a question in their language. Jonathon, a University of Iowa graduate student who is spending a semester abroad, loves this interaction with the locals, both for absorbing the culture and practicing his Japanese language skills.
When images of Japan post-earthquake and tsunami bombarded us, it made it difficult for anyone familiar with Japan to remember the extreme organization and efficiency of this awe-inspiring nation. Soon after I read a Newsweek article, “Apocalypse Now?”, which said “Before now, Japan has never been pitied”.
Miles first discovered his interest in Japan in elementary school. His best friend was always wanting to show him the latest manga and anime that she had discovered, but Miles wasn't interested and would always say that he would try to look at it later. That "later" came when he was 13 years old and he read his first piece of manga. That led to him watching an anime show. Between the Japanese language, storyline and school uniforms, Miles was hooked.