My name is Jeff Beecroft and I am a student at the University of Utah. My major is Asian Studies while I am also pursuing a minor in Economics. I have a love for traveling and I have been to many places before. During my travels however, I felt a special connection to the people and places in Japan. Tokyo, my favorite city, has been directly affected by the events of March 11th, the large earthquake that struck Japan and triggered a tsunami and following nuclear emergency. There are many people in the States that do not fully understand the situation, so I hope I can shed some light on it. The people of Japan are suffering immensely emotionally as a whole. Many people died in the disaster and the recovery is long and hampered by the continuing situation at Fukushima. At the time of this writing, the situation is still far from over. Everyday, people risk their lives to cool down the reactors and keep it from getting worse. However, Japan is alright. People go about their lives just like any other day, especially so in the Kansai area that houses Osaka and neighboring cities like Kyoto, Kobe, and Nara. The people of Japan are incredibly resilient. I saw firsthand just how everyone was keeping to their usual routine in a recent experience.
I hope to continue my studies in Japanese and become fluent. This event and the trip so far in Japan has been memorable to say the least. It will stick with me forever. I have made fantastic friends, learned first hand new culture, and gained a lot of ability in Japanese. In Japan, they have a word that is somewhat hard to define easily. Ganbatte means “to hang in there, to do one's best”. I think it is appropriate to use this in wishing the best for Japan. I also apply it to my own life and try to do my best in anything I set my mind to. The study abroad in Japan is truly a wonderful opportunity to experience culture. I am grateful for the opportunity and the memories I have made will stay with me for a long time from now.