My name is Pallavi Rao and I am currently a first year student at The Ohio State University (go bucks!) double majoring in Japanese and East Asian Studies. From September 2015 – May 2016, I will be studying abroad at Nanzan University, in Nagoya-shi, Aichi prefecture, Japan. This blog, “Indojin in Japan” will serve as an account of my time in Japan, although it will also log of my experiences studying Japanese language and culture. I hope that this blog can also give various advice to other learners of the Japanese language, and provide help to those who want to get started.
The name “Indojin in Japan” literally means “Indian person in Japan.” I like to consider myself an ABCD (American Born Confused Desi), or an Indian person who was born and raised in America. I spent the first 18 years of my life living in Cupertino, California, which is well known for being the headquarters of Apple, and moved to Ohio for college.
Why on earth would I move from sunny California to moody-weathered Ohio? I never could have imagined how many times I have been asked this question, but to tell you the truth, the answer is not necessarily simple. The Bay Area is great and all, but the competitive atmosphere starting in middle school can really get to you. High school was really rough for me because I was not good at math or science, and I felt like teachers gave up on me a lot. And yeah, the climate was mild and always pleasant, but after 18 years, I was thoroughly bored of living in this so-called “perfect” Cupertino. The Ohio State University not only had a great program in both Japanese and East Asian Studies, but because it is so large, I knew that I would have so many opportunities to branch out there. I know that I am still only 19, but it was the best decision that I could have ever made.
So what do I like about Japanese culture? I I especially have an interest in Japanese history, performing arts, and daily rites of life. In addition, I have always enjoyed learning about various religions, and I really realized it this semester when I took Religious Traditions of Japan. Although I am a Hindu myself, I feel like I can easily connect to many different religions, despite some being farther away from my ideology than others. At Nanzan University, I hope to further my religions studies and learn more about religions present in Japan such as the various sects of Buddhism, Shintoism, and even Christianity. I especially have an interest in learning more about the Hidden Christians of Japan (kakure kirishitan).
My favorite manga/ anime would be One Piece, Samurai Champloo, and Fullmetal Alchemist. I have never met a person who studied Japanese and had not watched anime before (except, funnily enough, my super awesome best friend), and I think that it is important to acknowledge the inner otaku in all of us 🙂
Feel free to email me with any questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org