Greetings   by    Juliet W. Carpenter


Fifty Years of Friendship

                                                                                        by Juliet Carpenter

This year is a special year for the English Society of Doshisha Women’s College, as we mark the passing of fifty years since its founding in 1967. Fifty years ago US soldiers were fighting in Vietnam; in Japan, the Shinkansen was new, and Kawabata had a year to go before receiving the Nobel Prize for literature. I was still an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, locked in combat with the Japanese language and wondering if the day would ever come when reading and speaking it would get any easier. If anyone had told me where I would be fifty years on, a longtime resident of Japan and president of this society, I would have been astonished and thrilled. 

So—what is the English Society?

        It is a society of people pursuing English for personal or professional reasons, whatever their level; some may want to be researchers or translators or teachers; some may be interested in how language and culture interact or the differences between English and Japanese styles of communication; some may want to read Harry Potter in the original or watch Hollywood movies without subtitles. It is a society of people who take pride in the English Department, including Shakespeare Production, and the many faculty members, students, and staff who through the years have helped make the department shine. The English Society is all this and more, with members around the globe; but let us remember that its ultimate purpose is to encourage shimboku 親睦, friendship, among one another. I cannot think of a more wonderful goal for any organization than the promotion of goodwill and friendship.

         Campus friendships continue down the years and are helped by thriving alumnae chapters around the country. I hope that more new graduates will explore what’s going on in their local chapter and take advantage of the opportunity to renew old ties of friendship and/or develop new ones. Also, a big thank you to the many faculty members who graciously take time to travel to these chapters each year to give talks, and kudos to the chapter heads and dedicated staff who skillfully coordinate so many events. Here’s to you all!

         This year is marked by various commemorative activities. There was a large crowd in Eikokan May 31 for the on-stage conversation between Miura Shion and myself, graciously
hosted by Professor Komoto Yoko. I hope that more alumnae will come back to the Imadegawa Campus in July for the summer lecture series, with another exciting lineup, and be joined by current students. And I hope to see a large turnout December 9, when we formally celebrate the fifty years with a big bash in the new Rakushinkan. Some ten people will receive a copy of The Great Passage, my translation of Miura’s novel Fune o amu, signed by both her and me. 
Memories of all the wonderful people I have met over my own thirty-one years at Doshisha Women’s College pass through my mind, filling me with thankfulness. I am reminded of these words by Hubert Humphrey: “The greatest gift is friendship, and I have received it.” It was Yeats who said, “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t met yet.” Let us celebrate fifty glorious years of friendship and look forward to all the still-unmet friends that tomorrow will bring. May God continue to bless the English Society of DWC!