Lexie Lucero-Carter

note: not actually cool

Greetings, I’m Lexie Lucero-Carter. Sophomore at The College of William and Mary. Linguistics major. Japanese minor. I’ve been studying the Japanese language since my freshman year of high school, and have been more or less aware of Japan through means of anime, manga, and video games since elementary school. Since attending college, I’ve taken several Japanese language courses, a course on Japanese monster mythology, and a course on Japanese modern/contemporary literature. As these courses have given me new background on Japan that I couldn’t receive through Japanese pop-fiction alone, I hope to take more in the rest of my years at the college.

I enjoy drawing, and have been (unsurprisingly) influenced by various anime and manga styles. I like learning things about comics as a means of storytelling.



Andrew Kim

579796_357613410964550_966681175_nAs a senior at the College of William and Mary studying Asian and Middle Eastern Studies with a focus on Japan, it’s hard to imagine a time when I wasn’t surrounded by items or symbols from Japanese culture. Like many people, I grew up playing video games on Nintendo systems, listened to many a song on a Sony Walkman, and fell asleep in the backseats of my family’s Toyota brand cars.

However, it wasn’t until my father showed my child self an episode of Astro Boy recorded on a VHS tape that I finally caught the Japan bug that influences my academics to this day. My research interests are in Japanese “new media” which include such forms as video games and anime and how they are so easily consumed by worldwide audiences despite Japan-specific cultural references or imagery. I can’t wait to share some of my research findings with you all and I hope it’s as interesting to each of you as it is to me!

Victoria Mikolaski

Hi! My name is Victoria Mikolaski and I’m currently  a junior majoring in East Asian studies at William and Mary. I have a passion for foreign languages and have studied Spanish for 6 years, French for 7 years, and have now been studying Japanese for 3 years. My interest in Japan started when I was young with Japanese popular culture in various mediums: music, manga and anime, and fashion.  I have a diverse number of interests, and often I’m doing something creative with my hands like making art or playing instruments. Once I started college, I acquired a new hobby, cosplay, that brought me closer to some subcultures that have strong connections to Japan. I’m going to Japan for study abroad soon and hope to learn even more about Japanese culture and language! 

William Penix

Windforwings playing BOTB

Windforwings playing BOTB

Wie geht’s? My name is William Penix and I am a senior majoring in Film & Media Studies at the College. What drew me to the class was my experience with the Japanese Cinema class, and I was excited by the prospect of learning about the cultural context for Japanese film and film in Japan. Among my favorites in the Japanese Cinema class were “Rashomon,” “Harakiri,” and “Branded to Kill.” I love reading film theory, watching all sorts of films, analyzing them, but mostly writing about them. Whether it is writing film reviews for The Flat Hat’s Reel Talk blog or writing a research paper about “The Cabin in the Woods” and its relationship with modern surveillance, writing is something I enjoy the most. I have interned for German film production company Constantin Film, was an editor for the Galway documentary that premiered at this past Global Film Festival, and served on the Public Relations committee for the festival, as well. Additionally, I enjoy theater, dance, and especially music. For the first 2 1/2 years of being at the College, I was involved in an avant-garde metal band called The Funeral Games as the lead vocalist. Currently, I am the lead vocalist/lyricist for a melodic hardcore punk band called Windforwings. At the present moment, it seems like Windforwings will be my last musical endeavor, so it’s time to go out with a bang. In my spare time, you can find me obsessively reading about and watching matches for my favorite European football clubs: Werder Bremen, Chelsea, Olympique de Marseille, and Celtic.

Anastasia Rivera

On the plane from Japan, smiling to hide the pain...

On the plane from Japan, smiling to hide the pain…

Hi! My name’s Anastasia Rivera and I’m a sophomore at the College of William and Mary. I hope to graduate double-majoring in Philosophy and East Asian Studies. I’ve always been interested in Japan, from when My Neighbor Totoro was the most played VHS in my house to manga  hidden in my high school textbooks. It wasn’t until I came to college that I realized I can learn so much about Japanese society. Now, I’ve spent the past year and a half discovering various cultural traditions in literature, anime, and in-person as I studied abroad last winter. And I definitely want to return soon! I’m excited to understand how Japan’s been able to create a distinct presence worldwide as we work through this class material.

Alexia Blair


Hello all!  My name is Alexia and I am a history major in my last year at the College of William and Mary.  When I was little, I had been watching television at my aunt’s house in Athens, Greece.  Lo and behold, after a few channel changes I had come across a style of animation I had never seen before.  The characters were exciting, cute, and fun!  At the time I had thought to myself, ‘Why do they have such big, pretty, expressive eyes?  Are there more cartoons like this?’  It was the first time I had ever seen something like Sailor Moon.  Since then I have taken an active interest not only in knowing more about Japanese animation, but also the culture and the language as a whole.

Brandon Trainor

My name is Brandon Trainor. I am a junior at William and Mary who has finally settled on majoring in English with a minor in Philosophy after extended flirtations in the government, music, and film studies departments. Luckily during my time as an serial_experiments_lain_02academic wanderer I have had the chance to take a few classes on Japanese culture. My interest in the subject could probably be traced back to countless afternoons spent in front of a TV watching either Toonami or Godzilla films after school as a child. These memories, in combination with a very hyperactive nostalgia drive, have provided a sturdy backbone for a life of fascination with and consumption of Japanese popular media. Currently I find myself most occupied with the novels of Ryū Murakami, the films of Sion Sono, the collected works of Hideaki Anno, and the anime Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Jessica Colbert

At the MoMA, featuring Frida Kahlo's "Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair"

At the MoMA, featuring Frida Kahlo’s “Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair”

Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome. My name is Jessica Colbert, and at the time of writing this I am in my final semester of undergraduate study at The College of William & Mary. My major is English, but I also have an large interest in film studies, music, and language. For graduate school I am going to get my Master’s in Library & Information Science, hopefully at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

I am in this class because I have always had an interest in Japan. Before I was born, my mom and dad lived on Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa. Growing up, my mom had a lot of knick-knacks from her time in Okinawa around the house. In high school I practiced Shorin-Ryu karate. I also highly enjoy Japanese film and literature, especially of the horror/kaidan genre.

Von McKnight

My name is Von McKnight. I’m a sophomore considering a major in linguistics. I have a deep passion for foreign languages. My initial interests in Japan stemmed from the language, which I started learning in the eighth grade and kept up with for nearly five years (I have since taken a break to take a stab at learning Russian). Video games were how I first got exposed to Japan. Because of my Japanese teacher and her unwavering love and passion for Japan, I became interested in learning more about Japan myself. Especially its culture, which I must admit I know very little about since up until now I’ve primarily focused on the language.

Colin Weinshenker

UntitledI read Murakami Haruki’s Kafka on the Shore in my early teens. It was to me what Catcher in the Rye is to many American youths, and as a result I picked up a lasting (if vague) interest in Japan, one I hope to finally make good on by taking language classes in Japanese next year. I have fingers crossed though, because Japanese classes will have to go on top of my main studies in computer science and applied mathematics at the College of William & Mary.