Living Between Two Worlds


“I wrote a lot about the interaction of language, humans, and society in what became my first book. I think these ideas are what constitutes a big part of my experience here in Japan. When you learn a second language it is like you have a second soul. It is like you build a second part of you, which is what I think did since I came to Japan.

“I spent a good two years on the badminton club, and I basically had to be the only foreigner amongst Japanese people. Naturally at the start I think most of us want to be a part of the culture we are living in, and that is what I tried really hard to do.

Me being a lady added an additional level to the complexity to the social situation I was in. I didn’t just have to be a Japanese person I had to be a Japanese lady.

“What that meant was I had to learn to speak in a similar tone to the others, talk about the things they talk about, act like they do. I was spending over twenty hours a week with my team while at the same time I am part of an all English taught undergraduate program. For one part of my life I was in English mode and for the other I was in Japanese mode. It was like a split personality living between the two worlds.

“I am also interested in the attitude of people towards language and what people think the common language should be. In English we accept a plurality of ways to speak the language, but in Japan people are pretty mono-centric about languages, most people believe there is one standard that everyone has to follow. Everything else beyond that is not Japanese. It is interesting that the idea of language standardization is in part a constructed belief that was started in the early 1800s. Now because of media and print, people have started to see the language as a symbol of the national identity.”

(Her first book published in Japanese can be purchased online at

Editors Note: This is the first post featuring both English and Japanese. In the future we will continue to publish in both languages when the time and resources permits.”






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Born and raised in Seattle, Washington Tim is currently living and working in metropolitan Tokyo, Japan. Heavily influenced from scenic vistas of the Pacific Northwest, Tim’s photographic style demonstrates the dichotomy between urban landscapes seamlessly fused with nature and seeks to show the beauty found in everyday life.

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