氏名：シャープ サイ（Cie Sharp）
Fort Lee, New Jersey（1991～94年）
I am a real estate investor, and manage my own rental properties.
While I am not of Japanese ancestry, my interest in Japanese culture and arts took root in the mid-1980s, when I lived in Honolulu, Hawaii. The cultural contributions of Japanese Americans past and present were and continue to be all-encompassing.
After I returned to my birthplace of New York, my interest in anime and Japanese films took me to a point where I was determined to create my own crossroads. While peers my own age were preparing to choose whether they wanted to learn French or Spanish, I asked my mother “Why can’t I learn how to speak Japanese?” This was just the beginning of my journey of knowledge of the Japanese language and culture.
I had a tutor at the time, who was aware of the Japanese Weekend School of New York. They determined that the best fit for me would be to take Japanese language classes in Fort Lee, New Jersey. It was a long ride from my home in Long Island, but fortunately, I was blessed with the best mother in the world, who was willing to drive me.
I will never forget Yamamoto Sensei, whose patience and clarity of teaching made her my favorite teacher of my young life. The Japanese Weekend School also offered quite a few cultural presentations over the course of three years that I attended. To this day, I treasure those times, and will always be greatful to the Japanese Weekend School for allowing me to partake in this most exquisite learning experience.
As I got older, I became busy with various things and unfortunately did not continue studying Japanese language. However, with my relatively recent practice of Kendo and Iaido, I have a new passion for studying Japanese language. Last summer, I had the priceless opportunity to assist some members of the Hiroshima Hibakusha community by driving them to various speaking engagements. I never would have had this precious opportunity to communicate with such stalwart witnesses of history without the foundation in Japanese language imparted to me by the Japanese Weekend School, as well as being connected to the Hoshuko Alumni Association. With the solid foundation that I was able to build at the Japanese Weekend School, I am confident that my next endeavor to study will someday bring me to fluency.
To current students, I say please study hard, not just with great discipline, but greater enthusiasm. You are taking your first steps into a vast world. Learning Japanese language gives you an exclusive backstage pass to fully experience every detail great and small that Japanese culture has to offer. It only gets more difficult as time goes on (i.e., learning Japanese for the very first time in University, or trying to learn Japanese while juggling work and other responsibilities of adulthood). You are being given a precious opportunity now. Please take it with great passion and enthusiasm. Gratitude is good too, but that will definitely come later in great quantity.
To all teachers, this is an outstanding service you are doing. I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity I was given!