JET Programme Bonds Japanese and American Hearts:
Beyond the Tragedies of the Great East Japan Earthquake
The March 11th tsunami took the precious lives of two American participants in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. Ms. Taylor Anderson and Mr. Montgomery Dickson, both working as assistant language teachers in Ishinomaki City and Rikuzentakata City respectively, lost their lives after evacuating their students. Ms. Anderson and Mr. Dickson, who deeply loved Japanese children, have left their aspirations which bonded Japanese and American hearts. They have been handed down to their students, who keep them very much alive. Here, a message from one of Ms. Anderson’s students is introduced:
A Message from Ms. Haruka Kameyama, in the third grade at Mangokuura Junior High School, in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture
I first met Ms. Taylor in her English class at the elementary school where I went to. By then, I had already attended some private English lessons because I had long been interested in English and foreign cultures. So I think I was an active student in Ms. Taylor’s class. The more I learned about the cultures of foreign countries and how they differ from Japan, the more I became intrigued by their charms. Ms. Taylor was full of humor, and taught us the joy of learning English. As I learned English more, my passion of English increased. Everyone, myself included, loved Ms. Taylor so much.
The Great East Japan Earthquake completely changed what we had taken for granted. Many sad things happened. Fortunately, however, none of people close to me lost their lives. At least that was what I thought at the time.
However, I learned the sad news of Ms. Taylor’s passing away some time after I returned home from the gymnasium where we and many others took shelter and newspapers began to cover more news about the disaster. I could not believe it. I was just not ready to accept what happened at that time.
Ms. Taylor, I have really learned a lot from you. I will never forget what I felt in your class such as the allure, joy and desire to learn English more. I have a dream to become an English teacher in the future. I will study harder to make that dream come true and, someday, I will be a teacher just as wonderful as you.
Thank you very much, Ms. Taylor.
Ms. Taylor, at center, talks with children (photo by Taylor Anderson Memorial Gift Fund)
Ms. Taylor gives a class. (photo by Kazuma Elementary School in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture)