2nd Coordinator for International Relations
My name is Rose, and I am the Amami City Coordinator for International Relations (CIR).
As representatives of their respective countries, CIRs strive to enhance the global presence and accessibility within their placement city. Duties include translating materials, interpreting, hosting events, and more. While I do a variety of these things, my main responsibilities include welcoming and interpreting for the crew and passengers of cruises, translating documents for the city hall, and writing articles for the Explore Amami website.
I was born and raised in Texas, USA, in a small town with a population of less than 650 people. While I did not know much about Japan at the time, I started watching anime in high school, and then during college, I was able to expand my interest in Japanese language and culture. I concentrated in Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies at Brown University where I had the opportunity to travel and study in Japan.
In 2020, I applied and was accepted to work as a CIR in the JET Program. However, due to COVID-19, my departure was delayed to October of 2021. I had been assigned to work on a remote island called Amami Oshima. Having never heard of the island, I was worried about the difficulties of traveling. However, after arriving, my fears were alleviated by how easy it was to travel to big cities like Tokyo and Osaka.
Ironically, Amami’s remoteness is one of its best charms. The relaxed tropical atmosphere is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of big cities. Tourists can rent a car and spend their entire trip admiring the scenery. One of my highly recommended sightseeing spots is Tsuchihama Viewpoint. While it may not be the most famous spot on Amami, its simplicity and visibility from the road evokes a deep appreciation for my island placement.
Amami is not just a place of stunning natural beauty–it is a community of warm-hearted and welcoming individuals who have truly made my stay here a memorable and enriching experience. The genuine kindness and support of the locals have made me and other JETs feel like a part of this island's family. Embracing the local customs and learning some of the island dialect has not only been enjoyable but has also allowed me to connect on a deeper level with the people here. Witnessing the delight and appreciation on the faces of the locals when I engage in Amami traditions, such as wearing tsumugi silk or singing and dancing to folk music, has been truly heartwarming. My time here has been defined not only by the natural wonders but by the beautiful souls who call Amami home, and for that, I am profoundly grateful.