Interview by Chris Simmons
Since Halloween is approaching, we thought we’d head over to the spooky side of the prefecture… TSUUUGAAARUUUU. Ok, so maybe it’s not so spooky, but that’s where we found Ms. Rebecca Evans. Learn more about this Arizona native and her “curry boyfriend” in this week’s Spotlight.
Why did you choose to join JET?
I’ve been studying Japanese for a long time. Japan, and even JET, have been in my goals for a long, long time. Basically since I was 15, so almost 9 years. I love teaching (though I’m discovering that I probably prefer one-on-one tutoring to classroom teaching), and I love the Japanese language. JET made sense.
What do you hope to gain from JET?
I have kind of a lot of expectations. I hope my time on JET will be a huge growth experience- I have a feeling it has already been, and it’s only been 2 months. I hope to become more independent. More patient. I hope to get better at going with the flow and letting things roll off my shoulders. I also want to practice working with a LOT of different kinds of people. Etc.
What are your plans after JET?
Grad school. I want to probably eventually teach at university, though I suppose if I decide I hate that, having the credentials wouldn’t hurt a freelance tutor/translator career. In grad school I hope to focus my research on language/linguistics. I’m interested in the etymology of Asian languages. Specifically, I’d like to research the connections between the Asian languages found on the islands. Like Japan, Indonesia, Samoa, etc. I hope to learn something about how the world’s languages are all inter-related.
How long do you plan on staying in Japan?
Probably 2+ years. Not sure yet.
Do you participate in any clubs or extracurricular activities/hobbies?
I was never into team sports as a kid, but I’m interested now. That means I suck, but I’m eager. I’m trying to start participating in my base school’s volleyball practice every so often. I also like biking, yoga, crochet, and I hope everyone will teach me how to snowboard this winter! I tried once and really liked it a lot.
What are a few things you like about Japan?
Everyone’s always smiling and fixes social awkwardness right away. There’s no negativity readily apparent.
What are a few things you dislike about Japan?
Due to aforementioned social awkwardness fixing, it’s hard to be genuine with people.
What do you miss the most from your hometown/country?
My bunny. Her name is Persephone. My family, especially my stepdad. My other pets: dogs and cats. The music scene. My friends and former students. Taco Bell, McDonalds, Goodwill, and Sprouts being in walking distance. Vegetarian/vegan food.
What was it like growing up in your hometown?
Hot. The high in Tsugaru today was 55 degrees Fahrenheit and it is October 6. In Arizona, the high today was 93 degrees Fahrenheit. Needless to say, 55 degrees is the dead of winter for me. I’m pretty afraid I’m going to die this upcoming winter, so please help me out. I have no idea what I’m doing! It was also fairly ugly and dead in AZ (desert, you know). Very much suburbs- ugly houses that all look the same. And brown everywhere. So I’m COMPLETELY overwhelmed by all the alive/green things around me here. Aomori is totally beautiful.
What are your family and siblings like?
Well, first of all, I have 4 parents. Divorced and both remarried. My mom and dad are both kind of your average white American, other than we never really had much money, so we weren’t exactly WASPy. My mom and dad are both musically inclined and well-spoken. My stepdad is from New Zealand. He and my mom met online on a Christian forum where she was trying to find meaning in her life, and he was trolling all the Christians and basically being an evangelical athiest. My stepmom is from Indonesia. She and my dad met through physical letters. My dad is old-fashioned. I have an older and a younger brother. Mike is 25, Stephen 21, and I missed both their birthdays this year by coming on JET, boo. Mike is a huge stoner and plays guitar and writes music. He talks VERY LOUDLY and often forgets what he’s saying in the middle of his sentence. Stephen speedruns video games in his room all day and streams to Twitch, where he has thousands of people watching.
That was long. Well, you asked!
Do you have any interesting or embarrassing stories about adjusting to Japanese culture?
Hmmm. Not Japanese culture, but I messed up my Japanese once in a pretty comical way. This was when I studied abroad. I had told some Japanese friends I’d meet them for lunch, since they always gathered in the cafeteria on the same day. I didn’t end up going, but ran into them heading to class. They asked where I’d been and I said, “Well, I made curry last night and” and started to finish “so I had the curry leftovers for lunch” but they interrupted me halfway through my sentence and all cracked up laughing and started congratulating me. I was really confused. It turns out that “curry” and “boyfriend” can only be differentiated by a long or short vowel, and you use the same verb (make) to say both “make curry” and “get a boyfriend”. So I accidentally told a group of people with a completely serious face that I hadn’t met them for lunch because I’d got a boyfriend last night. You can fill in the implications yourself. Oops!!
surf reddit or facebook? Facebook. I’ve glanced at Reddit for author interviews once or twice. I hear it’s a scary place, so I generally stay away. XD
watch a movie or tv series? Movie, generally speaking. Though I guess you can fall in love with a cast of characters and enjoy seeing them over and over, every week or whatever, so that’s kind of a cool relationship, too. Routines can be very soothing.
hit the beach or hit the slopes? Oh man. Both!!
take pictures or be in the pictures? Again, both. I really love both and can’t choose. XD