The picture was made by Shoko Nasu, of Shiiba Village's Fudono Elementary School, and presented to me during one of my visits to her school. Typically, Fudono Shogakko has an enrollment of seven students. The school has three teachers, a principal, a secretary, a cook and a part-time school nurse. Such teacher/student ratios are common in rural Japan.
I worked in Japan as an English Teacher for the Shiiba Village Board of Education for three years. I was a Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET Program) Participant. I had the unique distinction of being Shiiba's first foreign resident.
Shortly after I started work, the Yakuba (village office) staff asked me write a column in Shiiba Village's monthly newsletter. "Adventures in Shiiba" was about daily life and the mixing of cultures. I wrote "Adventures in Shiiba" in English. Kouichi Higuma and Takashi Kusuda translated my articles into Japanese. To make things easier, I used a writing style suited for translation into Japanese.
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Erik Kassebaum email@example.com