I was raised in the Capital District region of New York State and initially intended to become a secondary school teacher in the United States. I first came to Japan as an exchange student during college. As a result of this experience, I became extremely interested in Japanese language, culture, and intercultural communication.
After receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Education, I decided to pursue graduate studies at Columbia University. I eventually earned an M.A. in Applied Linguistics and returned to Japan to work at a university. The subject of my MA research was linguistic politeness in Japanese and American English. Since returning to Japan, I have taught at two universities in the Nagoya area prior to working at the University of Tsukuba. I also received my Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Lancaster University in the UK.
I am interested in the relationship between language and culture. Our cultural backgrounds influence our worldviews and can impact intercultural communication. The strategies people use to apologize, compliment, refuse, et cetera vary by culture and social situation. For example, "that's going to be a bit difficult" functions as a refusal in Japanese, but does not necessarily qualify as a refusal in English. A typical American English refusal strategy includes an expression of regret and explicit reason or excuse ("I would love to see a movie with you, but I have to study for my exam"). I am fascinated by such cultural and linguistic differences and believe that mastering such pragmatic aspects of language is critical to acquire proficiency in a second language.
College is a wonderful opportunity to experience new things and meet various people. The University of Tsukuba provides a wealth of opportunities for students. My advice to you is to seek out new experiences that will broaden your horizons and contribute to your personal and intellectual growth. I realize that college is also an uncertain period of time because students are attempting to chart their future life courses. Make it your goal to excel at everything you do and you will be successful. I wish you the best of luck.