Volunteering and Interviewing Opportunities?

Donovan, Maureen H. donovan.1 at osu.edu
Tue Apr 12 18:21:09 EDT 2011

Hi Mike,

Nice to see you today!  Here is a link to the Asian studies conference --


 A good contact for you might be Michael Watson --

Michael Watson
Professor of Japanese Literature, Meiji Gakuin University
[ASCJ President, Web Editor]
watson at k.meijigakuin.ac.jp

He works on premodern literature, but is a wonderful person, who knows just about everyone.  He would definitely know about conferences going on this summer.  I've known Michael since the mid-90s and he just started following my Twitter feed.   His Twitter is at:



From: owner-KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu [owner-KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu] on behalf of Michael Larson [mikelarson100 at gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2011 5:07 PM
To: KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
Subject: Volunteering and Interviewing Opportunities?

Hello KineJapan,

This message is not directly cinema related, so sorry about the off-topic message.

My name is Michael Larson and I'm an MFA student in creative writing at The Ohio State University. I'm currently planning on going to Japan this summer to do research for a novel that I'm in the very early stages of writing. While I still intend to do that, the recent earthquake/tsunami catastrophe has made me want to do something more, and maybe see if I can't do a my small bit to help out a country that has given so much. Towards that end I have two requests:

1.) If there are any volunteering opportunities, I would like to get involved. I've contributed financially to the relief effort and helped to do a fundraiser on the campus here. But, since I was planning on being in Japan anyway, I thought I might be able to do some volunteer relief work. I speak and write Japanese, so translation is a possibility. I will be arriving in the country in July and will be staying until September. If anyone has any information on volunteering opportunities I would really appreciate hearing about anything I could do.

2.) I would also like to conduct some interviews with people who were directly affected by the quake and tsunami, for use in a non-fiction piece. Obviously, the whole of Japan was directly affected by the events (as, I'm sure, were many of you in the KineJapan community), but I want to focus on people in the Tohoku region. This is because I felt the U.S. news media presented a shallow and sometimes distorted view of what people in that area went through, and I'd like to assemble a piece that presents a more thorough perspective to an English-speaking audience. I'm hoping to get a wide range of voices, so all perspectives are welcome: foreigners living in Japan, Japanese residents of Tohoku, Japanese who've relocated to the U.S. because of the quake - basically anyone and everyone. I would be eternally grateful if anyone could put me in touch with people who might be willing to sit down and have a conversation with me. I promise to make every effort to be respectful, and to handle this topic with the nuance and delicacy it deserves.

If anyone can help me with either of those requests, or can point me in the right direct, I would appreciate it. To give this message a little more context, I've included my biography below my sign off. Thanks in advance for all your help KineJapan - I've been very happy to be part of this online community since I joined the list in the winter.

Best Regards,

Michael Larson

Before coming to Columbus, OH I was a member of the JET Program. I spent two year teaching and living in Mutsu City in Aomori Prefecture. I've also spent some time in Naruto City, Chiba Prefecture, and Nihonmatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture. I've been studying Japanese and visiting Japan for the last 7 years, since I was an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, where I minored in Japanese and worked with James Dorsey and Dennis Washburn. I'm particularly interested in modern Japanese culture, especially Post-War Culture and the Counter-Culture of the 1960's and 70's. I'm also a fan of contemporary Japanese fiction (esp. Hiromi Kawakami, Ryu Murakami and Banana Yoshimoto) and cinema (esp. Takeshi Kitano and Kiyoshi Kurosawa).

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