Primary Contributors

Paula Curtis

sdiconPaula Curtis is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in History at the University of Michigan. She obtained a Master’s degree in East Asian Studies (premodern Japan specialization) at The Ohio State University (2011) and has a B.A. in Japanese Studies from Gettysburg College (2008) with a minor in East Asian Art History. Her present research is on socioeconomic networks between metal casting artisans, courtiers, and warriors based on forgeries in Japan’s late medieval period. She was a Fulbright Research Fellow from 2014-2015 and a Japan Foundation research fellow from 2015-2016. She is the creator, primary editor, and a writer of this blog. She also maintains a digital archive project related to Edo-style tops (江戸独楽), Carving Community.


Leah Zoller

Leah Zoller (pronouns: they/them/theirs) works in international education. After earning a BA in Cultural and Critical Studies from the University of Denver and an MA in Japan Studies from the University of Michigan, they participated in the JET Programme as a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) in Ishikawa Prefecture for two years and then worked in Kanazawa for a travel agency. They currently work in international education in the US.

Travis Seifman

Travis Seifman is currently a PhD student in History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has previously completed a Master’s in Art History from the University of Hawaiʻi, and one in Japanese Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. His current research focuses on intersections between Edo period popular & urban culture, and the history of the Ryukyu Kingdom.

Occasional Contributors

Nyssa Shannon

Nyssa Shannon received a B.A. in Japanese Studies with a minor in Anthropology from Gettysburg College.  She is a former JET Programme participant and served as a Coordinator of International Relations in Nishiaizu-machi, Fukushima (2008-2010). After returning to the US in 2011, she earned an MA in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University (’13). Nyssa recently started working in administration as a cultural interpreter for a Japanese manufacturer in the Midwest.


website: LinkedIn profile

Tony Nguyen

Tony Nguyen has a BA in Japanese and International Studies from Ohio State University. He recently completed his MLIS from the School of Library and Information Science at Kent State University. Information about Tony can be found at and yes, he is looking for employment.

Morgan Suity

Morgan Suity graduated in August 2010 from The University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences.  She received her B.A. in English, with a Japanese Studies minor from Gettysburg College in 2008.  She is currently working in public libraries. Morgan is a primary content editor of this blog.

website: Online Portfolio

Danielle Reed

Danielle is currently an administrative assistant in the Economics Section at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C and has been since August 2008. She graduated from Gettysburg College in May 2008 with a double major in Japanese Studies and International Affairs.


Rachel Reed

Rachel Reed graduated from Gettysburg College in 2008 with a BA in Japanese Studies. She worked as an Administrative Assistant in the Political Section at the Embassy of Japan in Washington DC for two years (2008-2010). Currently, she is starting her third year working for the Japanese government as an Assistant Language Teacher with the JET program, in Gojome, a small, rural town in Akita Prefecture.


Katie McDaniel

Katie McDaniel graduated from Gettysburg College with a BA in Japanese Studies and a minor in Political Science (2009).  After working a year with ESE elementary students, she was commissioned an officer in the Navy through Navy Officer Candidate School (OCS).



Guest Writers

Amanda Ciervo

Amanda Ciervo graduated from Gettysburg College in 2009 with a B.A. in Japanese Studies. She is currently an elementary school English teacher with the GEPIK program in Osan, South Korea.


Jen Logan

Jen Logan is in her final year of Loyola University Maryland’s Speech-Language Pathology M.S. program. She received a B.A. in Japanese Studies and Psychology from Gettysburg College (2008). She is also currently serving as the Technical Director of the Baltimore Zen Center.


website: Baltimore Zen Center

Jen Cammarn

Jennifer graduated from Gettysburg College in 2010 with a BA in Japanese Studies. She is currently on the JET Programme as an ALT and is teaching in Hakuba, Nagano, site of the ski jump, downhill, and cross country ski competitions in the 1998 Nagano Olympics.

website: LinkedIn profile

Steve Hashimawari

Steve Hashimawari graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2004 with a B.A. in Global and International Studies.  He subsequently moved to Japan to teach English and also worked and traveled with the Japan-based international NGO and NPO, PEACE BOAT.  He is currently living in Southern California and working as an HR Consultant for Interplace Inc.

Reimer Struve

Reimer Struve is currently working for WIP Japan Corp as translation coordinator. WIP Japan Corp has 15 years of experience in the translation industry and one of the ten biggest translation companies in Japan. He made it into the translation business by sending applications to numerous Japanese translation agencies, finally getting accepted at WIP Japan as an intern (an unusual way to enter a Japanese company, where internships are still mostly unheard of).

Thien-Kieu Lam

Thien-Kieu Lam is an artist who is producingBound in Japan. Bound in Japan is a community book art project that aims to promote awareness about diversity in Japan and enhance intercultural understanding by engaging native and non-native residents in the creation and sharing of book art.

Chuck D.

Chuck D. is a contributor for the website Founded in 2006, is a news and information website dedicated to Japanese pop culture.

Karen Curtin

Karen Curtin graduated from The Ohio State University in 2008 with an M.A. from the East Asian Languages and Literatures Department and a concentration in Japanese Language Pedagogy.  She attended the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies 2009-2010.  She is currently a Japanese Language Lecturer at The Ohio State University.

Dave K.

Dave K. lives in Baltimore, and has been published in the Gettysburg Mercury, Front Porch Journal, Welter, ULA Redux, and The Light Ekphrastic. He is also a regular contributor to Adfreak and the Gettysburg Times. Visit him on the web at

Alissa Murray

Alissa Murray graduated from the University of Montana in 2008 with degrees in Japanese Language and English Creative Writing. She attended the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in 2009-2010, then returned to Montana where she spends her free time writing stories and stabbing people with swords at the University Fencing Club. She will be applying for graduate programs in International Relations in the upcoming year.

David C.

David C. is a salary-man living in Tokyo. He would write more but TPS reports don’t write themselves at 3AM.

Chris Kern

Chris Kern is currently a PhD student of Japanese literature at The Ohio State University. He obtained a Master’s degree in Japanese at the Ohio State University (2007) and has a B.A. in Computer Science from Grinnell College (2002). His present research is on Kamakura and Edo-period commentaries on the Tale of Genji.

Ai-Lin Sui

Ai-Lin Sui is currently a MA student at the Center of Japanese Studies at the University of Michigan. She earned her BA in East Asian Studies with a focus on Japanese literature at Washington University in St. Louis (2009) with a minor in Biology. She was a Native English Teacher for the AEON*Amity Corporation in Kobe, Japan (2009-2011).


Natalie Jones

Natalie Jones is a recent graduate of Creative Writing and Journalism from London Metropolitan University. She is working on the marketing team at, where she is currently discovering the complex world of SEO and Social Media Management. She has also worked as a freelance writer for a variety of online publications. You can follow her blog and her world travels at

Paul Yarabe

Paul Yarabe is a senior majoring in molecular and cellular biology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He participated in the Japan-America Student Conference as a delegate in August 2012, and is currently the American Executive Committee Chair of the 65th JASC.  Paul is passionate about conducting biomedical research and improving global education.

Joel Challender

Joel Challender is an interpreter, translator and researcher living and working in Japan since 2003. Since graduating from SOAS (London) in 2002 with a BA in Japanese he has worked as an in-house and freelance interpreter and translator in various fields. He currently works as a researcher for Kyoto University Disaster Prevention Research Institute and the Crisis & Environment Management Policy Institute (CeMI), while also providing translation, interpreting and coordination services to companies in Japan and overseas, tackling various business, finance and other commercial documents. 


Elizabeth Mekaru

Elizabeth Mekaru is currently a Study Abroad Advisor for the University of Michigan Center for Global and Intercultural Study. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2005 with a B.A. in Asian Studies, and taught English in Yokohama for two years before returning to U-M to complete her M.A. in Japanese Studies in 2010.

Alex Williams

Alec Williams spent summer 2013 at Asia Policy Point, a policy resource center focusing on US-Japan relations, and as of 2014 is a senior at Tufts University and intern at Argopoint LLC. The opinions expressed in his guest article, however, are his own. You can reach him at awill11246 [at] gmail [dot] com.

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