Chris An

PhotobucketHey! My name is Chris An and I’m currently and undecided transfer student as of last semester, but I plan on entering the business school next Fall. It’s interesting how I became interested in Japan. Like many, it started out with a fascination for Japanese animation, which was so incredibly different from many of the cartoons I watched when I was younger. It all started out with the series Neon Genesis Evangelion. While the show itself was incredibly fascinating, what captivated me the most was the OST. I didn’t have too much interest in music at the time, but it was something what had captured my interest.While my interest in Japan grew, I was met with opposition from both my parents and my grandparents. Being a Korean-American, born in the United States, my grandparents had lived through part of the Japanese occupation of Korea. As you could imagine, my grandparents were not too happy to find out that I wanted to learn Japanese and learn more about the culture. [Read more…]

Mary Grob

My name is Mary Grob, and I am a film studies major in my last semester at the College of William and Mary. My interest in Japan developed later in life. I first saw Kurosawa’s Rashomon in in high school and immediately feel in love with Japanese Cinema. Over the next few years, I watched everything I could find from Ozu to Miyazaki. Once I came to William and Mary, I began to take classes to further my understanding of the culture and nation that produced some of my favorite films. I look forward to exploring more of Japanese visual culture and “gross national cool” this semester.


Arielle Kahn

Arielle Kahn has a confession to make: she is a Japanaphilia noob. She knows next to nothing about Pokemon, Doraemon, or Hello Kitty. She didn’t watch Power Rangers or Sailor Moon as a child. Her range of video game experience is limited to Super Mario 64 and Kirby and the Crystal Shards. She didn’t discover Miyazaki films until an embarrassingly late age. She does like the anime Cowboy Bebop a whole lot, but only knows it exists in the first place thanks to a more Japan-savvy friend. All in all, she is totally unprepared to take this class—which is precisely the reason she’s here. As a third-year linguistics major, and having just finished her fifth semester of studying the Japanese language, Arielle realizes that language and culture are inextricably intertwined, and figures that it would probably be fairly illuminating to study their intersection. Also, she is feeling left out and wants to get in on the party that is Japanafandom and see what all the fuss is about. And she wants to play more Nintendo. Oh, and eat more sushi. Always there should be more sushi.

Tori Szczesniak

Hi! I’m Tori Szczesniak and I’m a junior double-majoring in Film Studies + Environmental Policy. I have my own professional photography business and I love anything that has to do with art + design: interiors, fashion, graphic design, sustainability, diy, etc.

I’m excited about Japanese culture and “gross national cool” because I have interests in Japanese film, fashion, and technology. I grew up on Miyazaki films, and one of my favorite films today is Departures (Okuribito) directed by Yôjirô Takita. I am curious about Japan’s emerging role in our global economy, its impact on our artistic world, and its environmental initiatives.