Aaron Buncher

My name is Aaron Buncher, and I’m a freshman at the College of William and Mary. I enrolled in Japanophilia because I know little to nothing a Japan, and would

like to become more informed about the country and its culture.  Of the little I do know about Japan, I find extremely interesting. I am

planning on majoring in Environmental Science, and am aware that Japan is attempting to reform its harmful environmental practices (which all countries have), to help sustain the environment for future generations. This is a wonderful idea, and in my opinion, the United States can learn from the Japanese about better environmental practices. Not only does Japan’s eco-friendly ideals appeal to me, but I am interested in learning more about what is and is not true about Japan and its culture, and being able to erase any misconceptions I may have about the country, and may not even be aware of.  I wish to come out of Japanophilia a more informed person about the Japanese way of life, more culturally sensitive, and more appreciative of the Japanese lifestyle. Like most kids growing up in the ‘90s, I was obsessed with Pokemon.  I collected every one of the original 150 cards in the series, except for Charizard (which I am still bitter about to this day). I have fond memories of waking up every morning extra early to watch the Pokemon show on television before school.  I didn’t care if the episode was new or a re-run; I just loved seeing the cute, happy, and exciting quirky creatures come to life in front of me every day. I am ready to learn more about Japan this semester, and hopefully to erase any stereotypes and pre-conceived notions I may have about the country.

Yunyuan Chen

My name is Yunyuan Chen and I am a freshman in College of William and Mary. I have always been fascinated and influenced by Japanese culture. At primary school, I liked a variety of Japanese animation especially Crayon Shin-chan. Shin-Chan is a naughty boy who always does some strange behaviors and says something fun. I found Shin-Chan so funny so I watched the animation over and over again. I even began to imitate Shin-Chan’s strange accent and at that time, many people around me said that I had a Japanese accent. Later I enjoyed the animation Naruto. The ninja’s world was truly mysterious and novel to me. I liked the different techniques owned by different ninjas. I was especially moved by the Ninja’s spirit. They never gave up easily and worked hard to train their skills. I often used Ninja’s spirit to encourage myself to work hard in studies. In high school, I began to read Japanese novel. I was startled by the extreme love of two protagonists in the novel Paradise Lost by Watanabe Junich. I used to despite suicide and thought people suicide because they wanted to escape the reality. But the novel told me that suicide could be a way to preserve forever love and gave me a new thought of suicide and death. In college, I want to continue my exploration and deepen my understanding of Japanese culture.

Emily Wells


Don't worry; it's Butterbeer

Hello, World! My name is Emily Wells and I hail from the land of oranges, alligators, and anthropomorphic mice. I am a freshman at William and Mary majoring in Figuring It Out and a new member of the Japanese Culture and Anime clubs. I have been interested in Asia (starting with China) since elementary school, and soon started reading CLAMP manga and trying in vain to teach myself Japanese from a book. I spent most of high school watching as much anime as I could get ahold of and cosplaying at conventions with friends. Now, my aim is to not only educate myself about the country’s history and politics, but to educate others and show them that it’s a lot more than Sailor Moon, sushi, and bizarre game shows.

Angel Zhang


Hello everybody~ My name is Junnan (Angel) Zhang. I am a freshman at College of William and Mary and I intend to major in International Relations and  minor in Accounting.

The city I lived back in China is quite close to Japan and the very first few things that I remembered about Japan is the food and the cloth. They offer all kinds of pretty dishes which I always like to try, such as takoyaki(たこやき), sukiyaki (すきやき), sushi(すし), tempura(てんぷら) and soba(そば). And I always dreamed of buying a beautiful kimono when I get older. Fortunately, I was also blessed with the privilege of learning Japanese in middle school and obtained a certificate of Level 2 of Japanese-Language Proficiency, which enabled me to watch the anime and drama in Japanese! I loved Conan, Ouran High School Host Club, Nodame Cantabile, SA Special, Moon Lovers and so on. The most fascinating thing is that I was planning to go to Japan for College at first but I ended up coming to America!

 I have always found flower arrangement (ikebana) and Tea ceremony (sado) amazing and I have learned a little bit by myself. I figured if I go to Japan, I will definitely gain a better understanding and that’s my game plan for next summer!

Here I want to share with you my favorite Japanese song called YELL. And the line I liked the most is :「さよならは悲しい言葉じゃない」(Farewell is not a sad word)


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Mike’s Test Post

by Charles Fliss

Here is some info about me. I’m a computer geek. Here is some text about me.Mike in front of Washington Hall I can keep typing so that the image has some text next to it to show how it looks right justified

Nathan Traceski

Nathan’s life changed when he was 7. A genetic mutation allowed him to develop a superpower…the ability to become a Pokemon master! Or so he thought. This virtual world enthralled him and he spent a grandiose number of hours staring at a 2D screen, with his thumbs twiddling to no end. Cast all illusions aside; he did have a life in the real world as well. OK, you’re right. He did spend most of that time with friends who also lost themselves in the phenomenon, working toward the ultimate goal of catching them all. How he wished he could sick his Lv. 100 Mewtwo and Dragonite on the bullies at school. Hyper Beam would have demolished them! Nathan’s parents admired the imaginative spirit of their son. He had fun.

Reality check: Middle school – angst, puberty, first crush, friendships lost and found. Pokemon moved to the backseat as a hobby; no longer a lifestyle. Other passions emerged including art, baking, poetry, and mathematics. He had indeed become more learned as he matured. Success in school was easy. He could regurgitate facts to please his teachers. High school was another level to beat in the fickle game Nathan played. He realized that at this age, innocence gets tossed out the window like a cheating ex’s junk. Sexual awareness kicked in, clicks formed,  and the world turned against those who weren’t, heaven forbid, cool. Nathan cowered on the sidelines, ate lunch alone, and kept waiting for the 3 o’clock bell to ring. What did he truly appreciate of the immense world around him? He couldn’t even answer that. Was he happy? No.

Out of complete and utter boredom, he once took a Pokemon Personality Quiz. This was the result:

Evidently, something was wrong. How did a feverishly giddy child end up so lame? So normal. College was next. Hold up, what?! Nathan was pessimistic and apathetic. College is the land of freaks who want more of life. They seek understanding and don’t need approval to be content. Passion is the smell of the air. This was no place for someone who used up his childhood in a fantasy, and regarded everything else in vain seriousness. During the fall of 2009 after Nathan graduated, he boarded a plane and flew for 20 hours across the Pacific Ocean to a little island called New Zealand. He spent the next 2.5 months in an apartment with four strangers, and spent his days as a zoo volunteer. Where did this courage come from? It emerged from the necessity for Nathan to find clarity. Soul searching can begin at any age, and is a perpetual experiment. Nathan was introduced to fresh perspectives and he was able to interact with real-life Pokemon: the animals of the Wild Kingdom. When he returned home, his family could sense immense growth in him. He even wanted to do more and more. Next destination: Puerto Rico. Deep in the jungle he sweat out the two best weeks of his life. He aided in the research of indigenous frog, lizard, and tree species with a dynamic group of individuals. He loved it so much that he did the same thing in New York!

So you think Nathan is ready for anything? Not hardly. But now he can be one of those passionate kooks who goes to college and has the desire to be a part of something bigger than himself. All right, so what the hell does this have to do with anything? Some cheap way to give an inspirational pep talk? Nah. Expressionistic catharsis.

Nathan still plays Pokemon. Yet Nathan doesn’t know much about Japan. He knows that people are fascinated by its futurism and that it has created abstractions of empirical status such as anime, Hello Kitty, pop art, and Pokemon. He would love to know more. He has faced both relatable and unique circumstances thus far in his life. He is ready to soak up what he can. Japanophilia is new and exciting to Nathan, so bring it on!

They are out there!

Gregory Ranzini

Gregory Ranzini

As a child, I largely missed out on the prominent expressions of Japanese soft power around me- rather than memorizing Pokemon or watching Dragonball Z, I spent the bulk of my time reading and absorbed in the invention of progressively more ill-advised rubber-band guns. When I was eleven my (normally pacifistic) mother, apparently in the throes of a temporary bout of insanity, [Read more…]

Max Reiter

こんにちは。 私はマックスレイテです。My interest for Japanese language and culture was sparked in large part by my discovery of the anime series Naruto and Bleach roughly six years ago.  I enjoyed watching the development and maturation of Uzumaki Naruto and Kurosaki Ichigo, while also enjoying the twisting and turning plotlines that always kept me coming back for more.  At the same time, I connected musically (I am a classically trained pianist) with the shows’ opening and ending theme songs.  I would, and still do, listen to the full versions of these songs, embracing the natural (as in about nature) themes that run through their lyrics.  My interests in anime, manga, nature, and music were all coming together to shape my passion for Japan.

During high school, my fascination skyrocketed to include anything and everything Japanese.  Academically, I applied for and was accepted to the 2008 Virginia Governor’s School Japanese Language Academy.  There, I learned the basics of Hiragana and Katakana, read numerous literary selections from renowned Japanese authors, and immersed myself in a cultural experience I will never forget.  I have studied the art of ancient and modern Japan through my AP Art History class.  I have visited multiple Japanese Gardens, exposed myself to new foods and customs, and participated in an authentic Matsuri.  Today, I am as passionate about the Japanese language and culture as ever before.  I watch many anime series, most notably: Naruto, Naruto Shippuuden, Bleach, One Piece, Death Note, Claymore, Mai-HiME, Rosario + Vampire, Rosario + Vampire Capu2, and Hunter x Hunter.  I also read such manga series as: Bleach, BoBoBo-Bo Bo-BoBo, Buso Renkin, Claymore, D. Gray-Man, Death Note, Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Drive, Fullmetal Alchemist, Gestalt, Gun Blaze West, Hikaru no Go, Hoshin Engi, Hunter x Hunter, MAR, Naruto, One Piece, The Prince of Tennis, Ral & Grad, Rosario + Vampire, Rosario + Vampire Season II, Shaman King, Slam Dunk, Togari, Ultimate Muscle, WaqWaq, Yu-Gi-Oh GX, Zatch Bell!, and Zombie Powder.

Right now, I am a first semester Freshman at The College of William & Mary.  I am currently enrolled in Japanese 101 with Kitamura Sensei and Japanophilia with Professor DiNitto.  I am planning on becoming a History major, with a focus in American history (an area which I am also deeply passionate about), and then advancing forward to Law School.  However, I want to work in International Law, specifically, doing work associated with Japan.  Someday, I wish to travel to Japan and experience, first-hand, its culture, landscape, and people.

Thank you for taking the time to read about me and my passion for Japan!  I thought I would leave you with my eleven favorite Japanese songs.  I hope they give you the same peace of mind they give me:

1.“Wind” = Akeboshi  2. “Soba ni Iru Kara” = Amadori 3. “Yura Yura” = Hearts Grow 4. “Blue Bird” = Ikimonogakari 5. “Closer” = Inoue Joe 6. “Kanashimi wo Yasashisa ni” = little by little 7. “Change” = Miwa 8. “Seishun Kyousoukyoku” = Sambomaster 9. “My Answer” = Seamo 10. “Utakata Hanabi” = Supercell 11. “D-tecnolife” = UVERworld 


Anna Carter

Hello! My name is Anna Carter and I currently attend the College of William and Mary. Interestingly, my hometown in southwest Virginia has fewer people in it than the class of 2014 that I recently joined. I’m not certain what academic path I may take; right now, college is a new adventure that I’ve not quite figured out, and I’m excited about the challenge it represents.

Although I definitely did not realize then, my first encounter with Japanese anything was Hello Kitty; I remember being in elementary school and owning random items such as erasers and rubbery pencils bedecked with the iconic, oddly ambiguous face of Sanrio’s marketing giant. Like many members of my generation, I later became entranced with Japanese entertainment through contact with anime and manga (the addicting gateway drugs to Japanese culture) like InuYasha, Fruits Basket, Ouran High School Host Club, Fullmetal Alchemist and many others. This developed into an interest in Japanese music and films.

My repeated (though relatively limited) exposure to these various forms of media eventually led me to research different facets of the Japanese culture. My knowledge of this fascinating society is still fairly narrow, so when I spotted a course titled “Japanophilia” during registration I signed up immediately. I hope this course will help me broaden my awareness of the many unique aspects of Japan.

Chris Shea

If you’d asked for my name in second grade, my reply probably would’ve been, “I’M ASH KETCHUM, AND I CHALLENGE YOU TO A POKEMON BATTLE!”

 My Pokemon Journey, Part 1

It’s actually Chris Shea, for the record, and pop culture in general has always played a larger role in my life than my parents would have liked. However, I’ve only recently taken a look back to find that it wasn’t just America responsible for my brain-rotting hours of television and video games. Pokémon, Godzilla, Mario, Hole in the Wall, and even Sailor Moon were just a few of my unintended early encounters with Japan.

 <- My Idol, Age 8

Now a freshman and possible Chemistry major at W&M, I enjoy playing cello, badminton, and being an “asianophile” in general 😉