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”.
Missy first discovered her interest in Japan in elementary school. Her best friend was always wanting to show her the latest manga and anime that she had discovered, but Missy wasn't interested and would always say that she would try to look at it later. That "later" came when she was 13 years old and she read her first piece of manga. That led to her watching an anime show. Between the Japanese language, storyline and school uniforms, Missy was hooked.