About Me

Since the earliest days of my childhood, I have always been fascinated with videogames, graphics, and technology.  My fascination started with playing Frogger and Pac-Man on my family’s old Windows 95 desktop, and continues with me now owning nearly every mainstream videogame console and a Sager gaming PC.  What I love about videogames is that they allow players to dive into a fully immersive world with a combination of luck, strategy, and skill.  I love games that have enveloping stories and roleplaying aspects so I feel I am part of that world.  My love for videogames eventually led me to discovering anime, which inspired me to study Japanese culture and eventually start learning Japanese.  Now that I’m finally going to Japan, I look back at how my passion to travel there started and smile with fond memories.  Though my original reason for studying Japanese as a language was for my own benefit of translating multimedia, I now have a much deeper appreciation for the country and its culture.

Childhood Catherine

An enthusiastic 1st grade Catherine presents her collection of 100 dogs.

I first visited Japan in May 2013 as a sophomore through the Communication Arts & Sciences College at Michigan State University (MSU).  I went on a Communications & Games study that focused on how Japan companies use technology.  During my study abroad trip, I had the opportunity to visit Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoro, Nara, and Odaiba.  The highlights of my trip were seeing live presentations from Square-Enix, Future Scope, and iNiS on software they use to render their trailers and games.  Another portion of the trip was comparing culture with students from Kobe, Waseda, and Keio Universities.  I also got to go to eat at the Capcom cafe, see the Fushimi Inari-taisha and Todai-ji Shrines, shop in Harujuku and at a Pokemon Center, and see the giant Gundam statue.  Since then I have been determined to pursue a career that would allow me to work with technology and broaden my cultural experience so I could return to Japan!  For more information on my trip, visit my other WordPress blog: Adventures in Japan (日本の冒険).

ガンダム、行くぜ!Photo of Gundam Statue I took in Odaiba.

ガンダム、行くぜ!Photo of Gundam Statue I took in Odaiba.

Michigan State May 2015 Graduation

Michigan State May 2015 Graduation

I graduated from MSU in May 2015 with a double degree in Media Information and Technology and Japanese.  I also earned three certifications for WCAG website accessibility through my IT job for MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.  Though my classes mainly focused on graphics and web design, I dabbled in game design, programming, video editing, photography, and even took a graduate seminar in Classical Japanese.  Being an introverted person, I enjoyed studying though many of my classes were extremely competitive and heavy in homework.  I worked part time as an IT Accessibility Specialist and worked with clients of my department to improve their content to make it fully accessible by users with disabilities and cognitive disorders (this eventually turned into a full time position until I left America).  As a student, I was vigorous in my studies and volunteered as an International Teaching Assistant Facilitator to evaluate foreign TAs on their ability to teach in English.  From there on, I knew I also wanted to teach abroad in Japan.  Since there is a generous market for teaching English in many prefectures, I applied to Nichii Gakkan and received my current job for teaching conversational English in Tokushima Prefecture.

Flower GirlIn my spare time, I love exercising and focusing on how I can improve myself.  As a person who suffers from restlessness and anxiety, I try to accomplish little things every day to contribute to a larger goal.  Running is a huge part of my daily routine; I run every morning and bike whenever I can.  I also enjoy fashion, doing makeup, jewelry, and cosplay.  I do this not only for myself but also to inspire other people to freely express themselves.  I enjoy following fellow cosplayers and seeing their characters and creativity come to life.  Music is another huge part of who I am.  I feel liberated by listening to passionate compositions; from piano to progressive house music.  My friends tell me I am one of the most understanding and patient people that they know, but I owe that entirely to my caring mother and father who were always there for me and supported me throughout all of my life.

I believe anything is possible with diligence and hard work, and that nothing is ever achieved without enthusiasm.  In the future, I hope to work at a bilingual IT company in Japan and continue my web accessibility work.  The purpose of this site is to detail my journey in Japan and document my experience so I can continue to motivate other people.  Thank you for reading!  読んでくれて、ありがとうございました。