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Showing posts from August, 2012

More 仏国/日本 (France/Japan) Similarities

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Back when I lived in Strasbourg, I wrote this article about similarities I saw between Japan and France - the two foreign countries where I've lived with a homestay family. In the many months since then, I have continued to see interesting similarities between the two countries, though unfortunately I failed to write many of them down. Here, however, are a few more I've thought of:

Last Day in Ketchikan

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Well, early tomorrow morning I head out for Prince Rupert, along with my dad, brother and sister. My brother is starting college in Tacoma, Washington, and I'm saving money by coming along for the roadtrip and then flying out of Sea-Tac for Washington, D.C. I will, of course, be coming back to Ketchikan sometime, but never again in the same way.

Done as a Tour Guide - For Now

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Today was my last day working at the Totem Heritage Center, and in just a few days I'll be leaving Ketchikan and on my way back to Georgetown. Working as a tour guide was a wonderful experience, and it allowed me to develop a great range of skills, from research to prepared speaking and from foreign language to conversation skills. I loved sparking people's curiosity, educating them, and even entertaining them.

I really enjoyed the moments when I saw kids (or anyone) excitedly telling someone else something I had just told them. I also enjoyed meeting interesting people and hearing unique, thought-provoking questions. All of my coworkers were great as well, and, of course, the job was never stressful. Here's someone who blogged about my storytelling after visiting the Heritage Center a few weeks ago.

And, to finish with a little humor, someone commented to me today on how many clan names end with "-.adi," like the Gaanax.ádi of the Taant'a Kwáan. They joking…

Quick Alternate Histories: A Franco-German Empire

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I've decided to start a new series of posts on the blog, entitled "Quick Alternate Histories." In these posts I will suggest in a brief format a surprising idea that just might have been a historical reality, had events turned out a little differently. Of course, my intention is merely to make amusing and thought-provoking suggestions. Even if my ideas are utterly unrealistic, thinking about alternate histories is a healthy and constructive exercise: It emphasizes for us that history is neither preordained nor inevitable, nor will it ever be.

So, what is my first Quick Alternate History? I believe there could have been a lasting Franco-German empire during the 19th century.

Is One Semester of Study Abroad Enough?

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Studying abroad is a great experience, and it's something I would recommend to anyone who's able to do it. The rewards of the experience are immense, giving a student new learning, new perspectives and an entirely new world to explore. All you have to do is read a few of my blogposts from last September, October, November or December to get an idea of my wonderful experiences in Strasbourg. However, many of the friends I met in Strasbourg stayed there after I left, spending nine months or more in the city I learned to love after only three and a half. The question for me, then, is whether staying in France for the whole academic year would have given me a greatly magnified experience. Here's the more important question though, for anyone who might study abroad in the future: Is one semester enough?

Learning Lingít: A Personal Wish and a Cultural Imperative

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People around the world get caught up a lot on the "usefulness" of language. I remember that while I was living in Strasbourg, a girl I talked with complained about being from the Czech Republic because of how "useless" knowing Czech was. (I think she could speak at least four languages, no less.) She said she had at least been lucky to live near Germany, so she could learn that "useful" language relatively quickly. When first hearing this, I was fazed. Afterward, though, all I could think was, How can you say that? Your ancestors fought and died to protect your native language! And indeed, if history had gone a bit differently, Czechs today might well be speaking German, and Czech would hardly be spoken at all.

Admittedly, I too chose to learn a "useful" language - French, which is the second most common second language in the world. However, if you asked me what language I most want to learn next, or wish for instant fluency in it, I would tel…

In Support of Real Names on YouTube

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Just yesterday, YouTube asked me if I wanted to start displaying my real name on their website, rather than my username. Now, I knew YouTube had been purchased by Google, and I also knew Google has been gradually integrating all of its websites, connecting them for easy use on a single unified platform. All the same, I was surprised by this move, since it almost seems crazy for people to use their real names on YouTube, as if it was Facebook or Google+. However, I promptly answered the website's offer in the affirmative, and I agree that things should change. Now I'll explain why.

The Art of Racing in the Rain

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The Art of Racing in the Rain is one of the best pieces of literature I have ever read. At first glance, it looks like a novel with a superficial gimmick, (just like so many others), and the book jacket even makes it seem a little that way. After several chapters, however, this book becomes incredibly deep. It is really the most philosophical, thought provoking and deeply touching book I have read for many years, and I cannot hesitate to give it the highest recommendation to any reader.

Favorite Reading from June/July 2012

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Everyone once in a while, you just have to write a blogpost with a boring title. Now that you've seen it, though, let's go straight to it: Out of seven books I read and finished this June and July, here are four of my favorites.