I cannot believe that our semester together at Sophia University is coming to an end. I very much look forward to your final papers. As you know, they are due Wednesday, August 1, 2012. I’ve asked you to create something new out of your imagination. Your paper is a blueprint for your own self-designed organization to tell America’s cultural story to the world. (In the politics and policy class, you must tell America’s foreign policy story to the world.)
I am making you the architect, the visionary, and CEO of this new agency. What is your main theme? What organizational divisions will you have, e.g., exchanges, international broadcasting, arts, online? How is it different from the way I describe the United States Information Agency in Propaganda, Inc.? Would you include celebrities in your public diplomacy? Why or why not?
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with you these past three months. The time flew by, as it always does when one is having a ball, as I have been. I love your culture, your manners, and your commitment to learning. I hope that some of you will consider study abroad in the United States. I hope you all will never stop learning. I am your sensei, but always your student, as there is so much left for me to learn about Japan, its politics, culture, people, and yes, as “Lights of Japan” put it, its resilience. Our time together has inspired me to learn some Japanese. I’ll never reach a level of fluency but I plan to learn enough Japanese to show my respect for your culture. (I’ve already ordered flash cards and three books!)
I don’t wish to get too overly sentimental about what this time together has meant to my life. Why don’t I have Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders explain what I mean. Thank you for helping to show me the meaning of the word.