Last week, I visited my study abroad alma mater, the Japan Center for Michigan Universities, to talk and answer questions about the JET Program, reverse culture shock, and life “after Japan.” (I’m just glad I made it through the whole thing without once using the JET cliche, “Every situation is different.”)
No recording of the talk exists, but the director of the center snapped a picture before I left.
Last month I was invited to give a speech at the “Japanese Language Speech Gathering” in Yatsushiro. I was told to speak on something lighthearted, so I took the occasion to talk about what I anticipated would be an entertaining topic for the audience of mostly older, rural Japanese folks: a Buzzfeed-style list of the the “10 Things That Surprised Me About Japan.” Among my choices: alcohol vending machines posted outside of elementary schools, TVs installed in the dashboards of cars, the lack of hand soap and towels in public restrooms, and the bizarre pervasiveness of the 60s pop song “Daydream Believer” in the entire nation’s 7/11 stores.
A small excerpt of the talk was uploaded to YouTube:
For those interested, I’ve included the draft of the speech that I carried with me to the stage: