Department Of Asian Studies, Center for East Asian Studies                                             

"My Experience at the US-Japan Council Annual Conference" by Katherine Revels

A few months ago, I attended the Tomodachi Daiwa House Leadership in Dallas to make connections with other students interested in contributing to the U.S.- Japan relationship and learn how to network and be a leader in the fields I am currently studying. It was after that conference that I decided to branch out into the education sector and was truly inspired to continue studying Japanese. After such an amazing experience, I was truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel again to attend the U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference in San, Jose CA this past month. Not only did I reconnect with old friends also studying Japanese culture or language in some fashion, I was able to attend presentations concerning innovation and technology and speak to people involved in the Japan- U.S. relationship. Among the presenters there were notable government officials, journalists, educators innovators, and even Japanese- American celebrities to name a few! More than 700 professionals and young professionals came together to discuss innovation and strengthening the bond between the U.S and Japan.

The conference was structured to include a few large presentations and several breakout sessions in which attendees could choose from a set list of topics to attend a discussion panel on. My favorite panels included one on education and one on women in the workplace. In regards to the education panel, a brief look into the low student exchange rates between the U.S. and Japan was coupled with spotlights on a variety of programs currently in place to encourage more students to study abroad. It was incredible to hear directly from program coordinators and ask questions about how to get involved one on one. The panel on women in the workplace was regulated by Hiroko Kuniya, a well respected and highly educated journalist. Though the panel touched on the current dilemma on women working in Japan and equality, the panelists mainly discussed how important female leadership is in the workplace and explored ways for women to advance despite several common setbacks.

After the conference, our sponsor was kind enough to afford myself and the other Tomodachi alumni the opportunity to go on a tour of both the San Jose and San Francisco Japan towns, two of only three remaining in the U.S. Stops along the way included the Japanese- American museum in San Jose where we learned about Japanese internment and experienced a simulation of a bunker, the historic circle of the original Japanese shops in San Francisco, and a Japanese-American cultural center, daycare, and assisted living home. The tour was very rich in history, and left me with a lot to think about. I look forward to continuing my studies on Japan, as the information and connections I gained through this conference are truly inspirational. レベルス

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