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Internship experiences in the U.S.A.

Former intern reminded of time here

By Shoko Hisanaga, Times Record Contributor

I received your hearty, funny messages (from the staff) through my friend Cliff Fisher, who is visiting Japan. I interviewed him about his volunteer work in Japan for The Times Record (Jan. 11, 2002, "Brunswick renovator learns tips from Japanese builders"). The letters from you reminded me of my life in Maine. Cliff and I have talked about a lot of things for hours. As we talked more, my English seems to be coming back. Moreover, his energy and deep interests in minka or Japanese farm houses, makes me think, "Am I working towards my dream?" I cannot explain well, but this meeting brings me many fresh ideas. Since he will join renovating minka during this visit to Japan, too, I am planning to go with him to see how he will work. And hopefully, I would like to write something to tell you.

Since I came back to Japan, I have done what I like - editing English educational materials. Moreover, I am working as a volunteer by interpreting for people joining conventions in the Yokohama area, meeting many new people.

One day, when I talked with a client, my former boss, I was asked, "What was the most interesting thing for you while you stayed in Maine?" I answered, "I was surprised to know that many people knew me through what I wrote in the paper. Moreover, because there were few Japanese there, I was invited to an elementary school by a guest speaker to talk about Japan. I think I enjoyed such a thing."

However, now I feel what I enjoyed the most was meeting people and learning many things from them. When I talked with Cliff, I thought I really like interacting with people.

Regarding my current work, because I just started working as a freelancer, I sometimes face difficulties finding clients. However, I always feel the language difficulties I had in the United States were much harder. Also, through my current work, I can meet new people, learning new things. I think I am happy to work as a freelancer.

Finally, Cliff also brought me a letter to the editor that ran in the paper. It was from Owen K. Nichols. Actually, since I came back to Japan, I exchanged e-mails and received his replies. He was suffering from a bad illness, but he typed e-mail and always encouraged me. When I saw his last e-mail's title, "The end is nearer," and read it, I was afraid to lose his friendship. I could not respond.

I was sad to find his name in the obituaries of The Times Record. I really appreciated Mr. Nichol's advice. I will do my best to live up to his encouragement.

Shoko Hisanaga was an intern at The Times Record from July 2001 to May 2002. The web site for her freelance business, Just Write Studio Japan, is

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