Mayumi Yoshinaga

Mayumi Yoshinaga, a native of Nishinomiya, Japan, was puzzled one evening when the man who brought her pizza stood in the doorway of her apartment waiting for something.  All that was on her mind was grabbing a hot slice of the pizza but she could tell something was expected.  Tipping isn’t common in Japan, and it took an explanation from Mayumi’s roommate for her to understand this familiar U.S. practice.

Mayumi is in Pullman as part of the WSU College of Education-Nishinomiya Education Board Partnership.  The Nishinomiya Board selects a teacher each year to send to WSU to take courses at the Intensive American Language Center  and to learn how to teach English as a second language when she or he returns to Japan.  Mayumi has found her courses very helpful and says  that they have definitely prepared her for teaching when she flies home on Oct. 17.

Although her instruction is the main reason for her visit to the U.S., Mayumi’s time here has provided a variety of new experiences outside of the classroom as well. Tipping is just one of many cultural differences she’s experienced. For example, the strength of the electric burner in her Chinook apartment  is different than the typical gas burner she uses in Japan.  Testing this new cooking device was followed by a few run-ins with the smoke alarm and a couple of burnt meals.

Mayumi has also had to transition from using the metric system to our English system, which she says is confusing when the news reports the weekly temperatures in Fahrenheit, rather than traditional Celsius. In fall, Pullman’s typical overnight low of 30 degrees would be equivalent to a scorching 86 degrees based on the Celsius scale.

Mayumi considers herself lucky to have experienced one of the most traditional of Pullman activities, Cougar Football Saturday.  While attending her first PAC 10 football game with a friend, Mayumi was confused by the yellow flags being thrown out onto the field by the referees.  WSU fans around her were helpful in explaining the details of the game and kept her informed when big plays were made on either team.  That was typical. Mayumi has found that most people on campus are welcoming and full of questions about her life and what she thinks of Pullman.

Throughout the trials of adapting to life in a radically different place, Mayumi has proved successful and will hopefully return to Japan with entertaining stories and a wealth of knowledge found only at WSU.  — By guest blogger, Sarah Goehri

Alumni honor, alumni praise
Two college of Education graduates, Danyell Laughlin and Michelle Kelly, are winners of regional Washington State Teacher of the Year Awards.  Good for them, and great for their students.  When told that their honors would be mentioned on the College of Education’s alumni news page, Michelle responded with a compliment: “My Master’s program at WSU was one of the most influential professional experiences of my career. I still think about it fondly. The professionalism of the faculty in my program inspired me to achieve at a higher level than I thought possible.”

If you’ve heard alumni news worth sharing, please remember to pass it along.

Undergraduate scholar
Elementary education major Jacqueline Nuha will be among the scholars featured at the McNair Achievement Program‘s Research Poster Exhibition, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Oct.14 in Pullman’s Holland/Terrell Library Atrium. Jacqueline’s topic: Understanding the College Choice Process for Asian American and Pacific Islanders and Their Access to College Information.

Mooovie of the day
Ever create a video to share a message with students or colleagues?  Two WSU Distance Degree Program academic advisers who were preparing for a technology conference wanted to show simple that is, so they made their own video at a farm. It was meant to be a light-hearted piece about communication techniques. Then the cattle got busy.