The Columns

Welcome FLTA Michiko Nakada

— by on October 27th, 2016

How to say “Welcome” in Japanese: Yōkoso

Michiko Nakada
2016 Foreign Language Teaching Assistant

Michiko NakadaMichiko Nakada

Tell us about yourself. 

I’m from Nagoya, in the middle of Japan. I mainly studied Japanese culture at Nanzan University. Nanzan University is also where some W&L students have studied Japanese for study-abroad in past years. I’m interested in not only the cultural side of Japan but also Japanese as a second language. So I really enjoyed studying them. I wish I could study more in the future.

Nagoya might not be as famous as Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka, but it has lots of unique and interesting things to experience. From the point of view of Japanese history, Nagoya is one of the most important places. In the Sengoku period (age of civil war), there were many famous samurais, and the most well-known three samurais are all related to the place of Nagoya deeply. So, if you are interested in them, you’ll definitely enjoy Nagoya if you visit someday.

I also strongly a visit to Inuyama Castle near Nagoya city — that is one of the most beautiful Japanese castles.

What made you come to Washington and Lee as an FLTA?

Before coming to Washington and Lee University, I’d worked for a company for six years. I actually liked my job. I could meet various customers in many fields and I think I’d done something worthwhile. However, when thinking about the future, I always imagined going back to school to study more and becoming a kind of language teacher of Japanese. Although six years might be a little long to change something, finally I quit the job and started my new career.

What is your favorite part about the area so far?

I really love the beautiful nature in Lexington. Lexington is very quiet and peaceful, and I can enjoy amazing star-watching at night. I love Washington and Lee’s Japanese program, including the professors and students. (Unfortunately, I don’t know about other students but I’m pretty sure they all must be nice.) The program is really thoughtful and fun. They always search for something new and exciting for students. The students are also great. They always try to do their best and know how/what difference of culture brings them. I hope they’ll have a new style of thinking from the diversity.

Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to doing while you are in the USA?

I’d love to do something new that I can never experience in Japan. I usually stay in my TA’s office room or East Asian languages department and talk with Japanese professors or students. I know there are very nice other professors and students at Washington and Lee, so I’m looking forward to seeing them more. It must be very exciting. Moreover, I expect my English to improve. Because I always speak in Japanese in class — it is very good for students — I’m pretty worried about my English.

What are your plans for when you return home?

I’d like to go to graduate school next for studying linguistics or Japanese pedagogy.

After I get a master’s degree, I’d like to find a job related to JSL. I’m not sure yet whether in Japan or not.

What do you like to do for enjoyment?

I like karaoke, listening to music, watching movies, shopping, eating and so on. I am a little sorry that there is no Japanese-style karaoke here. So, I try to find time to sing loud in my apartment when my housemate is out. In my free time, I enjoy watching dramas or movies here. Because I haven’t watched them a lot before, now I’m looking for some nice ones. If you have any recommendations, please let me know via email or something.

Reach out to Michika at nakadam@wlu.edu.