Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Looking back at the semester

I look at the calendar and realize that in a few more days before 2008 is over. It's been an unbelievably fast year. I'm still nowhere near used to Boston. I finally feel like I've gotten a grip on being a student again and I'm going to be starting my last semester in less than a month.

But before that semester begins, I owe at least a look back at the classes from this past semester.

LIS 403: Evaluation
This was possibly the class I was least looking forward to. I kept hearing about how everyone was avoiding it even though it is one of the required courses. I have to admit that the course material and readings were not from my comfort area. Regardless, I was glad that I took the advice of those who came before me and my advisor and took the class with this professor. She kept classes interesting. And while I kept hitting wall after wall in the semester, I ended up with a decent idea of the kind of evaluation that is necessary in a library environment. Plus I was lucky enough to form an interesting evaluation proposal that I hope I'll be able to actually work on in the future. The last class was possibly one of the best I've had in grad school. We, as groups, presented results of test runs of usability tests that we designed. It was actually a lot of fun hearing about various websites and people's experiences.

LIS 415: Information Organization
Or as my professor put it, "The introduction to the introduction to cataloging." Another required course that had a number of interesting rumors surrounding it. My professor sucessfully intimidated me and the rest of the class by sending out an email with the syllabus a month before the class began. But it turned out that, while there was a lot of material to cover and I'm not sure how much actually made it into my head, this was my easiest course and I had a lot of fun in it. I was really lucky and had great partners for my assignments and presentation which possibly made all the difference. I had a moment when working on one assignment and I had 5-6 classification books spread in front of me, in my frustration, I felt something that can only be described as excitement. I think I'm meant to be a cataloger. Which is why I'm taking 417 with the same professor, who sent out the syllabus for that course in early November, within a week of registration.

LIS 439: Intro to Archives
Why did I take this course? I'm still not quite sure. I think I just wanted the experience. It was too late for me to do the Archives track, though while I was interested in archives, I didn't want to work in just archives. So I settled on taking the archives track intro course that came with a 60 hour internship. I learned a lot. Archives is definitely a different beast. I would have loved to go into preservation. I'm still sure that my place is in cataloging, but I am glad I've been exposed to archives. And I'm still going to be at my internship until I leave Boston and I might possibly be helping organize an exhibit in June, which would be so cool.

LIS 493: Intellectual Freedom
I admit it. I took the course because of Library War. I've always had an interest in the topic, but the fangirl in me pushed me over the edge on this one. It was a good course to take. I know more about Copyright and Intellectual property now.For my paper in this class I looked into the censorship that happened during the Occupation of Japan after WWII and it was fascinating. Self-censorship and hypocratic installation of democracy and stuff like that. I think I have another lifelong thing to work on.

So there you have it, my fall semester as I see it after surviving it. It's definitely not a smart thing to take four courses in one term. Especially these four. But I miraculously made it out with straight A's, so I'm happy.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I know, I know. I've been completely slacking on the updates. It was that busy of a semester. But I survived and now I'm home and while I'm catching up on some sleep, I'm planning on writing a few entries looking back on the semester.

Until then, Happy Holidays.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Long Time, No Blog

So I've made it safely back to Boston from Japan and I'm in my third week back at school. The Japan photos aren't completely up yet on Flickr, but I'm getting there. I think I have about a week's worth left. I'll post little summaries of my trip once I get those sorted. I also now have a backlog of three weeks worth of Boston photos since I've come back. But the photos from a weekend at Martha's Vineyard are up. Please have a look at the set if you have the time.

As for classes, I am going against everyones's advice and taking four courses this semester. This is mainly so that I can graduate in May. Even taking four classes, I was told by a number of people that there was no need to take these specific four classes. I'm just starting to feel the pressure, but hopefully it'll be what I need to keep on top and not procrastinate as much as I normally do.

LIS 415: Organization of Information
Known as Cataloging, our professor said that it is not Cataloging or even the Introduction to Cataloging but the Introduction to the Introduction to Cataloging. He is, of course, completely right. Many people recommended taking this course, which is required, with this professor. I'm happy so far, though intimidated by the perfection at which he handles this course. Amazing. Cataloging seems to be what suits me in this field, but this course will tell me for sure. As long as I survive it.

LIS 438: Introduction to Archives
Another class that is notorious for taking up a lot of time. But that's also because it comes with a required 60 hour internship. It's a required course for students on the archives track. I'm interested in archives, but this late in the program, there's no way I can switch without taking an absurd number of extra courses, so I'm going to settle with a normal librarian degree with some archives experience on the side. I've been assigned my internship site and once the details are set and I get the okay to blog about it, I'll tell you where it is.

I'm quite glad I'm taking this course alongside 415. A lot of the things so far are overlapping and I'm getting a very clear idea of the differences between Libraries and Archives. It's some really cool stuff.

LIS 403: Evaluation
Another of the dredded required courses. I'm free from them next term and couldn't be happier. This is a course about how to measure a library's success or failure at doing what it should be doing and what that actually may be. I can see why the program requires it. I can see why it's vaulable. I can see why pretty much everyone doesn't want to take it. It's much more on the management side of libraries. Measuring a library "good" factor? And accurately? And with purpose? I'm going to have to keep reminding myself that this will be very educational and good for me in the long run.

LIS 493: Intellectual Freedom
My "fun" class. I decided that the best way to keep me on track was to take a course for fun. I've been interested in intellectual freedom from the moment I learned that humans have a history of burning books (which is somewhere in between reading Fahrenheit 451 and watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). I also admit that I'm totally taking this course because of Library War. I've got a guilty smile on my face every time something remotely connectable comes up in class, which is every few minutes. It's fun. If my other courses don't kill me, I'll be creating something that will connect the events in Library War (not the love story bits) to court cases and events and stuff in real life. The events will mostly be American, but I'm going to do my best to find and understand Japanese censorship events.

So there they are. I'll let you know if I survive.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I'm leaving on a jet plane...

Doesn't everyone have to say that when they're taking off?

I have a taxi taking me to Logan in less than 4 hours. My flight to SFO leaves at 6am, so this is going to be an interesting and tiring trip to the other side of the States, then the other side of the world, but completely worth it.

Almost a full month in Japan. Been looking forward to it for a while.

While I had been good lately about posting frequently, I think I will be absent from here again until I get back in September.

Have a great August everyone, I know I will.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Summer '08

I have managed to go through the entire summer term without updating this blog about the term. My last class was two days ago and my grades are already in. 6 weeks is incredibly short. Though I am glad that I chose these two classes to take over the summer. Relatively little homework and classwork, but I learned a lot.

LIS 414: Corporate Libraries
Since corporate libraries is a field that isn't really studied much, there really wasn't much material. The field trips were great and possibly the only way to learn what a corporate library is like is to see a few.

When I first decided I wanted to go into libraries as a career, corporate libraries was somewhere I wanted to avoid. It went against some stubborn aesthetic ideal of mine. But after my first semester I saw that going into this field I was going to have to take off the rose-colored glasses.

"Keepers of Knowledge" is for the books and those who read them, not for those who work with them.

While reality was placed before me, I still want to do this. Plus I was able to see a true need for my Japanese ablities. In all honesty, I don't want my Japanese to be an extra skill, included in the package like a toy in a cereal box; I want to work where Japanese is required. I don't want to walk the same path as everyone else and I've always used that as an excuse to not choose from the paths laid before me.

This class has given me a peek at possibilities I never considered before and a bit of confidence that I finding a job where I can put my Japanese to full use isn't a silly idea. I'm going to have to work a bit harder to bring my Japanese up to the same level as my English, but it looks fully worth it.

LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals
I am grateful to my fellow grad students who suggested that I take this course over the summer and with this professor. While I've spent a good few years blogging and gained the small amount HTML knowledge that inheirently comes from writing entries, I knew nothing of code or how it worked or why there was an http in front of website names or anything of that sort.

Now I know a bit more than I did. And more importantly, I know what things I don't know yet. Or at least some of them. In essence, I now know which direction is up and which way is North and I can start figuring out which maps I want and where I want to go.

It's also opened up the possibility of various jobs that I never would have even considered and with that, the need to take various cources I never would have considered taking, but would need to take to get the skills to get these jobs.

I'm done with almost half of my time here and my classes for next term are already set, so it's now a question of what to do with those last three courses in the Spring. But first I need to worry about Fall semester where I have decided to take four courses, three of which are infamous for having heavy workload.

Though I plan to have a blast in all four classes while squeezing every last cent's worth out of them. And from my tuition bill, that's a lot. Wish me luck?

Shakespeare on the Common



Last week I went to see "As You Like It" at Boston Common with a group of friends. It was a great performance of it and a perfect summer night for some Shakespeare. Plus it was free.

(^_^)v

Friday, July 25, 2008

Shopping List



Because of [Library War] and [Library War Radio] I've grown quite fond of a voice actor named Tatsuhisa Suzuki. Not only intelligent and amazingly talented but very straight-forward (sometimes a bit too much, but it's cute, so it's okay) and it really doesn't hurt that he's quite attractive.

Despite being low on cash thanks to the tution at my school and my decision to hold of getting a job until the fall, I'm still determined to buy a few of his things in Japan. But to control myself, I made a list of the various things I might want and stared at it for hours before deciding what I really really wanted.

I ended up picking the most expensive things on the list. But they're guaranteed to satisfy. This should hold me over for the ridiculous schedule I have set for myself for the fall.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Prince Brand Penne



I realize that there is a 99% likelihood that out of the people who check in on this blog, only my mother is going to understand why this photo is hilarious. But that's enough for me.

It's PRINCE pasta. And PENNE at that! And on the shelf above it was macaroni. I almost burst out laughing in the grocery store.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"I hereby declare it B&W week. Because I can."


"I hereby declare it B&W week. Because I can."
Originally uploaded by LuxVesperis

Decided to take a different look on the things I take pictures of by using my recently neglected black and white mode.

Three days in, I've found that I've been taking more pictures of more every day things and looking for things with more light and dark contrast.

Flickr set.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Fortune(?) Cookie


Fortune
Originally uploaded by LuxVesperis
The girl next to me in class got this fortune. We're not quite sure what it means.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Happy (Late) 4th


July 4th Fireworks
Originally uploaded by LuxVesperis
Spent the holiday at a BBQ topped by fireworks on the Charles with the Boston Pops.

Spent the Saturday at a librarian party.

Spent Sunday recovering.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Back in Boston


Long Beach Airport
Originally uploaded by LuxVesperis
So I somewhat survived the red-eye flight back to the East Coast and my class that night.

I would write about the ALA convention and being home, but I'm reading a Japanese novel series called Library War and loving it so much I'm devoting every free second to reading it.

Though tomorrow I'm off across the river to celebrate this country's birthday with some good friends.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Back in California

ALA: Friday


ALA's 2008 Annual Conference is in Anaheim so I took the opportunity to go home for a few days.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A change of pace

Dawn

I've let yet another month go between posts. While I have a lot to say, I don't post it here because I've been attempting to write both English and Japanese versions of everything I post and this has been much more draining that I had expected.

I can write a lot in English. I can write a lot in Japanese. But when I have to think about both so that one will be the mirror of the other just in another language, it is draining to the point where I am tired before I've even started typing.

I finally realized that the way I write in English is very much the American side of me and it's not just how I express myself, but how I view things and how I explain them for my imagined audience. And these are all different when I write in Japanese. I'm not the same person. But I am. So the core of what I'm saying is the same, but the shape it takes is different.

Previously I had been writing posts in English then translating them into Japanese, but from now on I will decided a topic and write freely on both. Hopefully that will keep me writing more and provide an interesting site for those who can read both English and Japanese.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Robin's Nest

Nest?! April 19 On April 19th, I heard a flutter of feathers and looked outside my window to find a nest in the process of being built. Of all the places, a robin decided right outside my window would be the perfect location.

I spent the next month or so checking in the nest and taking pictures almost every day. I decided to hold off posting about it here so that I could do a digest of the whole process like DASH. (Yes, my mind is never that far away from TOKIO.)

First thing every morning and every time I came back to my room, I would check on the progress of the nest:
Nest: April 22

The nest is complete.


Nest: April 23

One egg


Nest: April 24

Two eggs


Nest: April 25

Mommy warms the eggs


Nest: May 4

Discovered a third egg
when Mommy was away

Nest: May 7

One chick


Nest: May 8

Two chicks


Nest: May 9

Parents take turns
feeding the chicks

Nest: May 10

Down feathers


Nest: May 13

Pin feathers


Nest: May 16

Fluffy!


Nest: May 17

Eyes open


Nest: May 19

Squeaky little fluff balls!





Nest: May 22On Thursday morning, I saw the chicks fluttering around outside the nest and by that afternoon, the nest was empty.

I could see a bit of blue of the one egg that never hatched peeking through. Left behind. Just like me. *sniffle*

And now every time I see a robin, I'm going to wonder if it is one of the parents or one of the chicks, all grown up. (^_^)

More photos of the nest and the robin family on my Nest set on Flickr.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Looking back on the semester

Classes ended last week and grades are in. It's hard for me to believe that the semester is over. There are always things I could have done better, but I'm determined to keep this blog positive, so I'll just focus on what I've gained. I also started out passionately writing about why I chose the classes I did and such, but I realized that most people probably wouldn't be too interested, so I'll refrain from the details.

LIS 404: Management
A class to bring home the realities of having a library job. I learned about different types of libraries and the bureacracy involved in each. And I got to talk to the Librarian of the Harvard-Yenching Library. And the class got cookies every week.

LIS 407: Reference
My professor for this course was fantastic. No words can do his lectures justice. Every week he proved that a library job is boring only if you make it boring. While I did learn about reference materials and reference questions and the reference interview, possibly the best thing I may have learned is that chances must be taken. I forgot that somewhere along the way in the semester, but with the way the course ended, I don't think I'll forget it for the rest of my librarian life.

LIS 423: Storytelling
In my efforts to be different from everyone else, instead of focusing on fairy tales or mythology, I wrote my paper about and told stories from the rakugo tradition. I'll be honest, my serious interest in rakugo started after watching Shaberedomo Shaberedomo, which I watched simply because Taichi Kokubun had the lead role. As I read more about rakugo, I found in the tradition what the weekly readings attempted to convey. I find speaking in front of an audience easier now and, rather than more confidence, I think it's because I make sure to keep in mind what I want to convey and the situation in which I must convey it.

Overall:
I got over-excited in the beginning of the semester and ran out of steam around Spring Break. I'd like to work on pacing myself during Summer Session and participate more in class discussions.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring


Boston Public Garden
Originally uploaded by LuxVesperis

April is two thirds of the way over. The weather is getting comfortably warm. People are walking around in shorts and flip-flops. I only have three weeks of class left. And I've been neglecting this blog. My apologies.

Classes are going well; my grades are so far not too shabby. I don't want to jinx it, so I'll report on those when the official final grades are in my hands.

Today I met up with two fellow former Hama ALTs. We had dim sum in Chinatown and walked around a lot and had dinner in Porter Square and talked a lot. I took a lot of pictures and had a fantastic time.

Walking through Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden , I finally realized that it really was spring. Tomorrow is Patriots' Day and the Boston Marathon and a Red Sox game, so I'll be staying in to avoid the crowd and do school work, but I want to go back out there soon to take a few more photos of whatever I might find.

Commonwealth Avenue112th Boston MarathonBoston Marathon ShadowsLongfellow Bridge

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Weeks 4-7: Feeling it

First of all, I would like to apologize for not updating for a month. There haven't been too many changes, but still, there have been things to post on that I have not yet.

Half-way through the semester and past spring break, this is where is starts getting hard. I have a paper/report/project due in each class coming up and there are a number of readings I haven't done yet. I would like to emphasize "yet". I will do them, even if I'm not held accountable for them with quizzes. Actually, I'm more likely to do the reading because there aren't any quizzes. Strange, I know, but very true.

Today I did a telling of 「猫の皿」[neko no sara] "The cat's plate" in Storytelling. It went well. I definitely could have done better and I wish I didn't have to stand (who tells rakugo standing?), but the class laughed at the punchline and that's all that matters. Getting a good grade was icing on the cake.

In an attempt to connect each of my classes to Japan, Japanese culture or Japanese lanugage in one way or another, for Storytelling I decided to have all of my assignments surround rakugo, a type of Japanese professional storytelling. It's been fun so far. I admit it, the biggest inspiration came from Taichi's movie [Shaberedomo Shaberedomo], but I've always had an interest in it and this is a great opportunity to look into it. Next week I have a paper due, which will simply be an introduction to rakugo, its structure, history and place in present-day popular culture.

For Reference, I'm doing my reading report on the History of Japanese-English dictionaries. Choosing this topic made my life 300% more difficult than it needed to be, but if you're going to do it, may as do something interesting and different. I ultimately found myself at Berkeley's East Asian Library because of this reading report, but that journey deserves its own entry, so I'll leave it for another time.

For Management, I'm writing on customer service, focusing on foreign language. Don't know how this is going to go because I've been busy looking for sources for the other classes. Plus I'm interviewing the Librarian of the Harvard-Yenching Library for a different project. Excited about it, but my mind hasn't gotten around to more than scheduling the interview.

It's going to be a busy few weeks coming up.

Also, all new library students have to make a wiki and a simple webpage as part of a requirement to prove basic technology skills, so for anyone interested, here are the links.
(Note: Keep expectations LOW; they're very basic.)
Personal wiki.
Death Valley wiki.
Webpage featuring Chicago (my parents' cat).

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Snow day!

Residence campus under snow

Today was my first-ever snow day! It's exciting. Especially since it's a very soft snow.

Though I'm sure everyone with cars is hating it. Like the man who is currently digging out a space for his car across the street.

It's a bit disorienting for me. The only kind of weather emergency school closing I've experienced were typhoon and high wind days in Hamamatsu. One look outside and you could see why; children could literally get blown away in that.

The only other thing that came close was in second grade when the alarms went off at recess and we were told to come inside because the smog levels were too high. (Note: I grew up in Southern California.)

Streets and snow

Compared to those experiences, today was pleasant.

I took a walk and took a few pictures and then went back to my dorm to take advantage of my extra three hours and study. Even now it looks very peaceful outside. It's hard for me to realize that this beautiful snow is causing a lot of people a lot of greif.


Button no one uses and snow

I wonder if this feeling will wear off over time.

It probably will to a certain degree, like if I ever get delayed because of the snow.

But even then I'll probably separate the beauty of the snow from the reality of the trouble it's causing everyone. Like the strong winds of Hamamatsu and the colorful sunsets of Southern California (caused by smog refracting the sunlight).

They have their negative sides, the smog is actually be a big problem, but something about the sight of them is in resonance with my aesthetics and I can't help but take a moment to look.

Rain Boots!

On a slightly different subject, my rain boots came and I am very happy with them. Black and white, yet still nice and bright. They were cheap, but they'll probably last the winter.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Week 3 - Direction?

I can pretend to have complete control for about two weeks; I had my third week of class. Not that I have lost control of my life and school work, but I definitely underestimated the difficultly of entering back into student life. I'm keeping my head just barely above the surface of a sea of books.

There is silver lining to it though. As every day passes, I want more and more to do work that combines Japanese and English. For all three of my classes, I am incorporating Japanese language into the major projects, partly because I want to do them, but also because I want to have something afterwards that demonstrates a proficiency in libraries in both languages. A sense of direction is emerging in my studies.

Maybe I just want to go back to the EAL. I still love that library; being in those stacks felt like home to me. Only after coming here and trying to find Japanese language sources, did I realize how lucky I was to be a student of Japanese at Berkeley with the East Asian Library as my workplace. I want to take everything I learn here and put it to the good of the East Asian Library.

Who knows? I might not end up there. But it's good to have a dream.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Week Two - "Why do I need to give you this job?"

Ever since meeting with my advisor when I first came here, this question has never left my mind. If I get asked this at an interview, what will my answer be? I'm a grad student so that I can answer this question in a way that no library or company could refuse me. I want to prove that they need me, they just didn't know it yet.

Elementary, junior high, high school, college; they were all about the total experience and getting out with a decent grade because it made the next step easier. It was the grades that mattered, not what I got out of a class. I did have life-changing classes and I did spend most of my student life studying. But there were always the classes that I took, did the work, passed, gained nothing, and have no regrets that I didn't try harder.

Grad school is different. I'm finally studying what I genuinely want to study. There is so much that I don't know and so much that I want to know. While the reality of how much each class costs is a definite factor, the question is no longer "Is this a good class or a bad class?" but "How do I make this class work for me?" Responsibility for getting more bang for my buck, if you will, is on my shoulders, not the shoulders of my professors.

So I have written out what I want to get out of each of my classes. I'm sure they'll change as the weeks pass and I'll update my goals whenever I tweak them.

Reference: Be able to find the answer to any reference question. Be able to clearly direct someone on how to find the answer to any reference questions. Be able to compose a reading report using both English and Japanese sources.
Management: Know what management methods are most efficient for me. Be able to use management for the better of the organization. Talk to the director of the Harvard Yenching Library.
Storytelling: Gain confidence in public speaking. Be able to hold an audience's attention. Know what to say and what not to say and how. Be able to organize an event to raise international cultural awareness.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ask and ye shall receive.

Soon after I post an entry complaining about not having New England storms, a blizzard appeared before my window. I managed to record this just when a roll of thunder rolled.


Please excuse the yodelling in the background; I realized after I started recording that my camera would pick up the music that was playing from my computer. Anyone who knows me well enough will know who it is even if they don't know the song. (^_^)

Sunlight after the storm


And I had just decided to not go to the library.

Thank goodness I didn't go.

I might have gotten caught in that!


A few minutes later, the storm was gone and the sun was shining.

Weird.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Snow!

Seal Beach on Christmas

Knowing that I was coming to a place where it snows on a regular basis and going to a school that shuts down during snow storms, I was bracing myself for some serious winter storms. I was prepared to write entries filled with beautiful white scenery and about how horribly cold I was and how I missed my California winters where I could wear flip-flops every day and going to the beach on Christmas day didn't sound strange at all.

While the first weekend was chilly, what I have experienced so far is far from what I expected. There have been a few cold days since I've gotten to Boston, but on the whole, I've been quite comfortable. And nothing yet has compared to the painful cold that was caused by the strong, bitter wind in Hamamatsu.

Snow... A week after I moved in, still before classes began, I woke up, turned on my computer and looked at the weather gadget on the right side of my screen. Not being a morning person, it took a few seconds of staring before I realized it was the symbol for snow.

Snow?

So I opened my shade and saw a white covered world outside my window.

Snow!

And I stood staring for a few seconds until my mind finally woke up.

Woah, snow...

This was new for me. It snowed in Hamamatsu (in fact when I first saw it snowing outside my window in Hamamatsu, I had an even slower time realizing what was going on as I wondered what that white stuff was), but the snow in Hamamatsu usually stopped before noon and no trace of it was left by the afternoon. This was snow.

Remaints of a SnowmanBut before I could totally appreciate the white world around me, it grew warm. The slowly disintegrating snowman on grounds of the neighboring campus was a depressing sight to see on the walk to class. And then that Friday, it rained.

Not only did it rain, it poured. The intersection near my dorm was more than half underwater. Many of the girls here own cute rain boots, which seem to be in style. After a day and a night of maneuvering around the minature lakes in the streets and the bogs on the sidewalks, I ordered some rain boots for myself. They should be arriving soon.

The weather continued to be chilly, but nothing that could be considered 'cold'. One day it was even warm. I was getting disappointed. Where was this winter that I was promised and was dreading?

Flooding It rained again. Nowhere as bad as the last time it rained, but it still caused everyone without rain boots to walk around to avoid getting soaked.

Speaking to some new Boston friends, I learned that this was very strange weather for this time of year. Thoughts of global warming entered my mind while I pondered if I was happy or sad that it was a warm winter.

One thing was for sure: I could definitely do without the flooding on the corner near the dorms.


Snow!
And then I woke up this morning to find it was snowing. For the first time in my life, I got to go to school, walking in the snow. It was beautiful. Since it had just started to snow as I went to class, it was white and soft and beautiful.

I could get used to this.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Week One - "I'm studying to take bibliographic control!"

I am now officially a grad student.

As a full-time student, I'm taking three courses: Reference, Management, and Storytelling. Reference and Management are two of my five required classes and I think I will get a lot out of them. Storytelling, I'm taking because the course description intrigued me.

Each class meets once a week for three hours. The once a week part sounded great, but the fact that it was for three hours at a time worried me. From junior high all the way until I graduated from Berkeley, I had problems staying awake in class. It was rarely an issue of interest on my part; even in my favorite classes, I was known to nod off. I can't seem to be able to keep my concentration on one thing for more than about 45 minutes. So what surprised me was that I stayed fully awake and engaged for all three of my classes.

I won't bore you with details of the full nine hours of class I had, but here's a taste of what I'm doing.

Reference: My professor has a reputation for making this class one of the notorious ones that sucks your soul and spare time away from you. Within the first few minutes, I could see why. And within a few minutes, my professor became one of my personal heroes. Simply put, this course is to teach us how to find the resources we need to answer practically any question. Examination of reference works and learning how to manipulate searches to find what we are looking for. I almost cried for joy about three times in the class. All of it, all of the hard work for it, sounded like heaven to me. In the first few minutes of my first class, I knew coming here was the right choice.

Management: While most of my classmates look reluctant in taking the course because it has more of a business management feel to it than library management, as my instructor (he's the manager of a local public library) said, we need to learn to fundamentals of management first before we can apply it to libraries. I'm rather looking forward to it, actually.

Storytelling: Within the first class, I figured out that I'm going to enjoy this class, but also that I don't want to go into children's libraries or folklore libraries. I have an interest in it, but something about the vibe isn't quite for me. But the class will involve a lot of speaking in front of people and it is definitely something I need to work on. I'm also looking forward to the long telling we have to do at the end of the term. I already have a story in mind, but it's going to take a lot of preparation and I can't wait.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Where am I? Who am I?

Simmons College
Why am I here?

Let me give you a summary of the events that led me to become a student at Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

I'm a Japanese American girl from Orange County in Southern California (trust me, it's nothing like TV producers would like you to think). Grew up in a typical suburban setting, leading a very typical suburban life. And then I went to college at UC Berkeley where I spent four of the best years of my life. GO BEARS!!

Hamamatsu Board of Education
After graduating from Cal with a major in Japanese, I went to Hamamatsu in Shizuoka prefecture in Japan on the JET Programme.
I spent two years as an ALT, planning and teaching English Conversation classes at junior high and elementary schools. I spent my third year as ALT coordinator at the Board of Education, organizing meetings, keeping the flow of information smooth, helping ALTs with things that may seem simple but are difficult without knowing Japanese, and offering whatever support I could give to our ALT supervisor.
It was a great experience. I made a lot of great friends from all over the world. I learned a lot about myself and about people in general.
But after a year of being ALT coordinator, and because of the three year maximum on JET contracts at the time, I ended my JET life and spent a little over a year living with my grandmother who lives very close to Hamamatsu. I relaxed and traveled and decided what to do next with my life.
East Asian Library: Reading RoomWhile I was at Berkeley, I worked in the East Asian Library for three years. It was wonderful. I love that library. Even the simple jobs, the tedious, repetitive jobs, were so much fun. I loved being with the books and helping patrons find what they needed. Saying goodbye to Berkeley was hard, but leaving my job at the EAL was probably the hardest part.

Years later in Japan, I still had the desire to go into the library field. It never went away. I feel comfortable surrounded by books and information. There's nothing else that comes close to it. So I applied to the GSLIS program at Simmons, choosing an East Coast school for another change of scenery. And I got in.
Snow on the Quad So here I am in Boston. Where it snows. (Yeah, go ahead, laugh at the SoCal girl.) And where I seem to be experiencing more culture shock than I did when I first moved to Japan. Just getting settled into my new home in the dorms (I have a spacious single room. Well, spacious as dorm rooms go.) and into my new life as a graduate student.
Not entirely sure what to expect, but I'll take on whatever comes my way because I'm pretty sure this is what I want to do. What I'm meant to do. To somehow learn whatever it is that I can here and do my part to make this a better world. And enjoy myself as I do it.