Sunday, October 18, 2009

Another introduction...

Hey everyone,

I'm Leah Flake, the vice-chairperson of the 62nd American Executive Committee for JASC. I'm a junior at Smith College in Massachusetts, majoring in Engineering. Last year, I attended the 61st JASC as a delegate of the Environment and Sustainable Development Roundtable.

Next summer during JASC, I'll be leading a roundtable (with my Japanese counterpart Hiroki), again with an Environmantal focus, entitled "Spreading Environmental Awareness in Industrial Developing Nations." I'll share more about this RT later on, but part of the idea behind the roundtable is to assess international involvement (especially from the US and Japan) in the development of environmental policy and increasing environmental consciousness in the industrialized developing world.

Besides my role in JASC, I love Japanese culture and language, and am attempting to learn Japanese at Smith... it's a nice break from the harsh engineering curriculum. This summer was my first time in Japan, and my interest in the country and its lifestyle was solidified during this amazing travel experience. During this past summer's Japan America Student Conference, we traveled to four areas of Japan and became best friends along the way--I can honestly say I've never had an experience like this before, regardless of the country I was in.

My friend Azusa and I at a Japanese restaurant

For five years, my family has lived near London, England, which is where I attended high school. Before moving to London, I lived in New Mexico, Ohio, and Wisconsin. While each of these places is meaningful in some way, the place I call home right now is London--despite the fact that I am basically 0% British and do not, unfortunately, have any trace of an English accent.

That's all I have to introduce about myself, really... I'm excited to continue working towards the 62nd JASC, and am literally counting the days until all the preparation will finally end--which will mark the beginning of the 62nd Japan-America Student Conference. :) Have a great day, everyone, and I hope you like the blog!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

First AEC Introduction!

Hey all!

My name is Naoki John Yoshida, and I'm the chairman for American Executive Committee (AEC) for the 62nd Japan-America Student Conference (JASC)! The AEC is working hard all year round to prepare the 62nd JASC and make it into a reality. I'm going to start off with a little introduction about myself and my thoughts about JASC :).

I'm currently a sophomore at Cornell University up in Ithaca, NY where it just snowed for the first time this winter season a few days ago ><. I'm studying Engineering Physics (BEST MAJOR EVER) and Economics. Really different areas of study, but I enjoy both of them and am looking to establish some sort of connection between them. Academically outside of the class room, I'm involved in research, studying the effects of nanoscale materials at low temperatures, trying to determine their thermoelectric properties. To be honest, I bet that explanation doesn't make sense for most people (I'm not really sure if I fully understand it either yet), but the final goal is to develop a material that'll be able to efficiently convert wasted heat into reusable energy (thermoelectrics is the effect of a head difference to create a voltage difference/current). To broaden my interests in economics, I am involved in both the Microfinance club and the Cornell Investment Club. I'm a strong believer, among other things, in the power of microfinance supporting sustainable entrepreneurship to help solve alleviate poverty in developing countries.

I also try to enjoy as much as my free time as possible!! I follow pretty much every major sport, and am an avid soccer/football fan. I love talking/watching/playing these sports. In high school I swam, played water polo and ultimate frisbee. Unfortunately, once I went off to college, I wasn't able to pursue any of my sports I did previously.........and that's because I DANCE!

I've been dancing for over four years now, and its been a great form of exercise and relaxation for me. I enjoy all sorts of kinds of dance, but I am a bboy, someone who breakdances. We practice at school 5 days a week, but we have a family atmosphere, and no matter how much work we have, I'm ALWAYS excited to go to session :). I've been dealing with several injuries recently, but thankfully I've been recovering pretty well!

Check it out, I'm the one on the left in the Ichiro jersey:


Anyway, I and the rest of the AEC hope to covey to you all what the JASC experience is like and how we are working during this year to make sure the delegates have an unforgettable time. I'm going to focus on a particular aspect, the bonds that you form with your counterparts, especially the Japanese delegates. For me, as a Japanese-American (I was born in Virginia, moved to New York at 2 months old, went to high school in New Hampshire, and am now back in New York), JASC last year was an amazing opportunity for me to mingle with people from different kinds of perspectives. From discussions within our own round tables (which are discussion groups made up of the delegates considering one of seven topics) to just talking with them over lunch, I was able to learn all of the time. It wasn't just academic topics; I still found lots to discover in our cultural exchanges. I made friends that I plan on staying in touch with for the rest of my life, and could not have asked for anymore. Keep checking our blog to see more dimensions about JASC! Each of the other AEC members (there are 7 more!) will be posting their introductions soon, and we'll also update with a summary of our fall meeting, the first time the entire E.C. was able to get together ever since the conference ended.

Until next time!