My name is Supachot Suriyachai, and I'm currently a student at the University of Florida participating in this year's exchange program at Aoyama Gakuin University.
As many of you have experienced first-hand, UF has unfortunately decided to cancel both the Aoyama Gakuin and Kansai Gaidai exchange programs. However, most of us realize that the situations where we currently study are not what the media exaggerates it to be. You may be discontent with the abrupt recall and termination of the program, as am I.

Therefore, I have decided to taken a shot at gathering our voices in order to have UF International Center reconsider its decision.

Please take part in signing our petition for the reinstatement of the exchange programs.

I hope that we can stand strong against an unfortunate turn of events and gather our strength to make this year complete.
You may or may not have thoughts of returning to Japan at this point, but please lend us your power in this petition for voluntary reinstatement of the programs.

Please let me know where and when you'll be able to meet to sign the petition. I live in West Palm Beach (FL), but I'll also be around Gainesville so please let me know when and where we can most conveniently meet.
I plan to submit this petition as early as possible (around end of March), so that Kansai students can still return to KGU without too much disruption.

I hope to hear from you soon, and let's make this a happy ending!

Truly Yours,

Supachot B. Suriyachai

--
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English Chat Session Leader
Supachot Suriyachai (ƒX[ƒpƒVƒ‡ƒbƒgEƒVƒ…ƒŠƒ„ƒVƒƒƒC)
kamishiro@ufl.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A blog post from one of my professors at Kansai Gaidai University:
gDespite a Potential Nuclear Crisis at Fukushima, Life Goes On in Osaka - Graduation Ceremony Photo Essayh

http://visualanthropologyofjapan.blogspot.com/2011/03/despite-potential-nuclear-crisis-at.html

 

Japan is certainly facing the most difficult time it has faced since WWII - the 9.0 earthquake and aftershocks, tsunami destruction and a nuclear catastrophe at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant. The world is worried and concerned about Japan and its people. Countries are worried about their citizens in Japan, companies are worried about their employees in Japan, universities are worried about their exchange students in Japan and parents are worried about their children in Japan.

 

Still one needs to be cautious about reacting to information that is not accurate. The international media is making the nuclear situation sensational to say the least. Headlines and teasers are misleading and many people don't bother to read details buried deep in the story.

 

Perhaps the greatest disservice to everyone living in Japan has been the foreign press 'mis'-reports in their attempt to present 'Breaking News' which in turn have inflamed home country families to an emotional level that they bombard many of us living here with calls of GET OUT! RUN! ESCAPE! (Nakamura post on EASIANTH listserv, March 21, 2011)

Japan is suffering from cultural orientalism and geographic orientalism. People need to look at a map. Japan is not as small as is being reported. Not all of Japan is at risk in this crisis. I came across this Twitter post from tomoakiyama that puts things in perspective:

Distance between Three Mile Island & NYC: 100 miles / Between Fukushima Nuclear Plant & Tokyo: 150 miles. Stay calm people.

The distance between Fukushima and Osaka is 350 miles.

Do the research and make up your own mind. Don't be blinded by sensationalism and biases in the media and governments.

And so while we can worry and debate about the safety of Osaka and Japan, in areas not directly affected by the earthquake and tsunami, life generally goes on. This isn't an act of ignoring the problems or of defiance or indifference. It is real life. Over 3000 students graduated from my university on Saturday. They have worked hard and we are proud of their accomplishments. A moment of silence was held during the ceremonies and a student group collected donations for the recent earthquake in New Zealand and the earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region of Japan.

 

The Center for International Education at my university is advising students to monitor these web sites for more information:

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
http://www.iaea.org/

World Health Organization (WHO)
http://www.who.int/en/

Japan Times
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/

Kyodo News
http://english.kyodonews.jp/

Here are a couple of links to stories from the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12722435

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/ferguswalsh/2011/03/japan_nuclear_leak_-_health_risks.html

Here is some information from the Ministry of Internal Affairs in English especially for foreigners:
http://www.e-gov.go.jp/link/disaster_en.html

Regarding volunteer efforts, see the Tokyo Voluntary Action Center website:
http://www.tvac.or.jp/di/20996.html

Related: "Why Ifm not fleeing Japan" at Washington Post.com
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-im-not-fleeing-japan/2011/03/16/ABQsdhk_story.html