Junko Brudenell - Language coordinator of the Japanese Program

Get to Know: Junko Brudenell. Language Coordinator of the Japanese Program.

Interview by Levi Laggan

What levels of Japanese do you teach here at FSU?

I'm the Language Coordinator for the Japanese Program, and I teach 3000 and 4000 levels.

What got you into Japanese, and why did you choose FSU specifically?

When I was in college, I was looking into some way to come to America. I was studying English, English literature, and a little bit of linguistics. American culture was a very big attraction for our age group, and during college, I participated in two summer programs, which motivated me to come back and live here. I didn't want to live in Japanese society, and I was looking for a job teaching Japanese. I got a scholarship to a graduate program at the University of Mississippi to learn how to teach Japanese at the university level. I taught at Wake Forest University for one year, then the University of Virginia and the US Naval Academy. I got married to a man from Tallahassee, and I was actively looking for a position. I met a Japanese woman at a party. She asked if there was anybody who has a master's degree and can teach, and I was like, "Oh, it's me!" so that's how I came to FSU.

What brought you to Florida?

When I was a middle school or elementary school student, my mom and I used to watch game shows, and the prize for the winner was a one-week vacation in Florida. I was like, "Wow, Florida, that sounds so nice, and it's not cold. I want to live in Florida," So that idea was always there.

What do you think students will benefit from learning new languages, specifically Japanese in your case?

To be able to have thoughts in another language gives you another world. When I learned English, it was easier to connect with emotions because, in English-speaking countries, emotions are expressed more freely. There are too many etiquettes and rules in Japanese, so certain emotions are not welcome to express. When I started to construct sentences in English, it made me think more consciously. I think learning a foreign language makes you more conscious of your thoughts and widens your world.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start learning Japanese?

Students always say speaking and writing are so hard. Of course, it's hard. So start with tons of listening, tons of reading. Read and listen to the same things many times until it starts clicking. Start imitating, including intonation, and have fun with it. The key is to find the medium that helps you enjoy learning. When I was learning English, I enjoyed watching cooking shows in English, and that helped me a lot.  

What are your current favorite things about teaching at FSU?

I love how passionate and motivated many students are for learning Japanese language and culture. That gets me going. I want to help them get a foundation in Japanese so that they have no problem conversing with natives when traveling or living/working in Japan.

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