Charles Fliss

Howdy! I’m Charles Fliss. I’ve always been interested in Japan. When I was younger, the Samurai and their weapons were amongst my favorite of ancient warriors and I actively quested for plastic katanas with which to do battle. As I grew older my interest expanded as I was exposed to anime – first in the form of Pokemon, then in the films of great Japanese directors such as Miyazaki and Otomo. Soon I was sucked into the wonderful world of manga and enthusiastically discussing the deeper meanings of the Final Fantasy games with my friends. In spite of my exuberance, my experience had always been bound to history texts, movies, comic books, and the occasional convention.

All that changed in the Summer of 2009 when I applied to be a Peer Assistant for the Keio University / William and Mary Cross Cultural Collaboration. The program brings forty students from Keio University in Tokyo to William and Mary to learn about and experience American culture first hand. I was lucky enough to be hired by the program and it is no exaggeration to say that it was a life changing experience. Not only did I make absolutely tremendous friends from an ocean away, but I realized how truly ignorant I was of the world, and specifically Japan. Thus I set out to deepen my understanding of Japan, the United States, and their intertwined histories.

I still want a Squirtle.

To learn more about The Keio / William and Mary CCC check out the site for this year’s program:

Now if you really want to learn more about me, keep reading.

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Domo-kun (どーもくん) is the mascot of the NHK television station in Tokyo. He has recently become popular in the U.S., advertising for stores such as Seven Eleven (as here) and Target. I love Domo because he is so goofy and in many ways reminds me of myself a little. Get me started on Domo and you’ll be talking for a while.

When I was in high school my friends introduced me to modern Japanese music for the first time. Starting off with Bump of Chicken and L’Arc en Ciel was probably not a good idea, because I was quickly hooked. My friends from Keio University introduced me to even more Japanese music, including this song, “A  Blue Bench.”


I like this song because it reminds me of my friends. I hope you enjoy it too!