Learning About My Culture In English

This term, I am taking a Japanese Modern Literature class in English. I am enjoying it, and getting more confident about studying in the U.S. Before I registered for this class, I was concerned about what it meant to take a Japanese class in America as a Japanese person. Also, I thought, “I love reading Japanese literature. But I know most of the literature in Japan, so why should I have to take this class?” In the Masters in Studio Art program, all of us are encouraged to take an elective class (above 300 level) outside of the Art Department. I looked at many classes that interested me, then decided to check the details of this class, Japanese Modern Literature. I contacted the professor, and found out which books would be used in the class. Suddenly, I found myself at the bookstore reading a Japanese book in English for more than an hour with deep joy. I realized that I enjoyed reading books written in my language, even when they are translated into English.

In this class, I have learned about the development of democracy in Japan after the late 1800s, through both Japanese literature and English writing. I can see both Japanese and American perspectives, and although sometimes there are huge gaps, the issues Japan has faced are similar to America as well as many other countries. I am learning about not only literature and English, but also about the differences and similarities between countries.

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