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.

Kaitlyn Smith

Hello! My name is Kaitlyn and I am a freshman at William and Mary. I am currently undeclared but my plan is to major in linguistics. I was raised on Nintendo games and Miyazaki films which kickstarted my interest in Japan and Japanese culture.  I recently began studying the Japanese language and I find it rather difficult, but also very interesting. I hope to one day become a competent speaker so that I might be able to visit Japan and have the ability to communicate with the people that I

Kathryn Plunkett


As a history major, culture has always been of interest to me. I am fascinated by everything from fashion to music to grass-roots social movements, and especially how all of these entities interact and adapt over time. For the most part, my cultural knowledge is limited to the United States and Europe, but this does not seem sufficient in our increasingly globalized world. My interest in Japan stems from this knowledge gap; it is a culture completely foreign to me, but also one that wields so much influence on a global scale. It is my hope that study of Japan will not only help me to understand this completely unique society, but also how to approach studies of culture in general. It is, ultimately, people and their cultures that are at the root of all political decisions and historical events.

Brooke LaRue

Hello! My name is Brooke LaRue and I am a junior at The College of William and Mary majoring in Film & Media Studies with a minor in Marketing. I am particularly interested in how the arts can be used to promote community engagement. Outside of class I intern at the Muscarelle Museum of Art and sit on the Editorial Board of ROCKET Magazine. My experience in Japanese culture is limited, but this past summer I had the incredible opportunity to work for the company that represents the Japanese fashion brand, Sacai. I am excited to look further into the influences of Japanese fashion. 10492158_737038246362225_1117356397316438900_n

Amanda Blair

My name is Mandy. I am a Junior Studying Psychology at the College of William and Mary. I also am a part of the W&M Women’s Rugby Club. I come from a military family background. My interest in Japanese Culture developed as a child due to the fact that I grew up in Okinawa, Japan. Ever since then I have been interested in Japanese culture, language, movies, and animation. I am currently studying Japanese with the hopes of one day being fluent and going abroad to Japan.

Alice An


My name is Alice An and I am currently a senior at the College of William and Mary and will be graduating in May 2015 majoring in International Relations with my language focus on Japanese. I transferred to William and Mary my junior year from New York University. I’m interested in the Japanese culture and language because both my grandfather and mother can speak Japanese as well as Korean. My grandfather worked as  a diplomat in Japan for a few years and my mother spent some of her childhood growing up in Japan so as a young child, I also grew up with Hello Kitty and yakisoba being made in our home. I’m excited to learn more about aspects of Japanese culture that I never knew about!