Thursday, February 4, 2010

Here is the 8th AEC!

Hello Everyone!

My name is Marie Watanabe (the left one on the picture with my lovely JASC friend, Svet:)) and, yes, I am the last American Executive Committee (AEC) member of 62nd JASC to be introduced on this blog. (I apologize for my rather late appearance...)
I am currently back at Wellesley Collge starting the second semester of my sophomore year. As one of the eight AEC members, I work as a secretary, delegate selection, and a New Orleans co-site coordinator. I will be leading Sustainable Regionalism roundtable with my Japanese counterpart, Toru Omiya aka my "buddy".

To tell you about myself, I will start from my brief background. I was born in Houston, Texas, and grew up in the warm weather until I was 6. Then I moved to LA, California, and Tokyo, Japan, and went to a Japanese school in Tokyo until my sophomore year in high school. Because of these years in Japan, I am fluent in Japanese and familiar with Japanese cultures. (I LOVE everything about Japanese food... can't live without it!) I then moved to Greenwich, Connecticut, and graduated Greenwich High School and came to Wellesley College in Massachusetts. My parents moved back to good old Houston, so now I am back to my roots in the south:)

As a Japanese-American, I lived about half of my life in Japan and another half in the US. In that sense, I feel that I am perfectly bi-cultural and bilingual as I respect and embrace both countries. It is always hard to answer when people ask me questions like "which country do you like better?" or "where is your hometown?" simply because I like both countries and I feel like I have multiple hometowns. (Although I must say that I sometime wish if I could bring the Japanese food and convenient life in Tokyo and the chill, relaxing vibe of Texas and vast areas of space in the US all ideal world)

Participating in 61st JASC was an eye-opening experience for me because it gave me a chance to connect with other intelligent, interesting student delegates as well as prominent leaders in business, government, journalism, and other fields. Most of all, JASC helped me to re-discover Japan through a month-long series of field trips and activities. Before going to JASC, I had an arrogant view that I already knew about Japan enough since I lived in Tokyo for many years and often went back to visit my relatives and friends. BUT, after visiting places that I had never been and seeing and hearing things that I had never known about Japan before, I felt that I had only known a few dimensions of Japan.
This shocked me in a good way. The feeling of ignorance and a sense of admiration to the diversity and richness of Japanese cultures truly inspired me to learn more about Japan. Not only the country, but the people I met through JASC became an invaluable source of inspiration. Some of the 61st delegates had extraordinary backgrounds and stories from the past, and just by listening to them and exchanging ideas with them motivated me to learn more from them.

As a 62nd AEC in the American year, I hope that I could assist this year's delegates to have a memorable, special experience in the US. I hope that both American and Japanese delegates will take something valuable away from the conference and learn new things about the US.

I recently made a trip to New Orleans this past month and got really excited about planning events and schedules for JASC in New Orleans. The city of NO has a lot to offer ranging from Post-Hurricane Katrina situation and historical an cultural aspects, and I think delegates will definitely enjoy the real jazz music and Cajun food in French Quarter:)

Anyway, I hope you consider applying to JASC!
The deadline is approaching soon so hurry up!:P

1 comment: