Russian Professor Dr. Benjamin Sutcliffe Russian Professor Dr. Benjamin Sutcliffe

Adam Cook

Name: Adam Cook
Major: East Asian Languages and Cultures

Four and a half years after graduating from Miami University, I find myself building on the dreams that were sparked by the classes that I took and the professors who inspired me in the GREAL department. I entered Miami University in the fall of 2003 with very little direction, and I proceeded to spend the next year and a half digging through biology and chemistry books. It was halfway into my second year when I realized that the part of the day that I enjoyed the most was my Japanese class. From then on I decided to take as many classes as I could to expand my knowledge of East Asia.

This led me through several years of Japanese and Chinese language classes, through Japanese tales of the bizarre and the supernatural, and through some of the finest cinema and art I had ever seen. I developed a strong urge to see what was on the other side of the world for myself and it was here that I decided to apply for the JET Program to teach English and continue my path of self improvement and study in the country that I had read and heard so much about, Japan.

My major in East Asian Languages and Cultures had prepared me for what I now consider the best experience of my life. Keeping an open mind I left the spot on the application for “preferred location” entirely blank and was placed in a town called Obihiro in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan. After a few weeks of teaching I was hooked and ended up spending the next four years teaching at high schools with students of all varieties including a school for the visually impaired. Just as rewarding as the hours I spent in class, were those I spent after school getting involved in as much as possible. I spent 3 years studying the art of Japanese tea ceremony, participated in a calligraphy exhibition in Tokyo, contended in a horseback archery tournament, ran an ultra marathon, and made friends with people of all over the world. I never expected to have any of these opportunities before I left my hometown of Charleston, West Virginia. I learned the importance of pursuing your dreams and how unexpected turns in life often just mean chance to discover a new side of your self.

I’m currently residing in Japan, training in traditional Japanese archery, and translating an Encyclopedia to aid those who share my interest in Japanese culture. In the future I plan to work in some fashion using my experience to help people search out new perspectives on life and to do great things just I was once encouraged to do. A great thanks goes out to each and every one of the professors who took the time to show me how mysterious and wonderful the world really is.