Monday, February 3, 2014


It's been quite a while since I've posted on shrinecastle! In May of 2011 I launched JapanCulture•NYC, an English-language resource for all things Japanese in New York City. I've devoted all of my free time to attending Japanese-related events, interviewing Japanese artists and members of New York's Japanese community, and writing about Japanese culture.

I'm resurrecting shrinecastle now as part of the Blogging Project for first-year Japanese students at Columbia University. I was accepted into the Postbaccalaureate Studies Program at Columbia this semester, and while I'm not starting completely from scratch, I am doing a lot of important review work. I chose Columbia because I wanted to improve my Japanese and take a more serious approach to learning and studying. A great deal of Japanese culture is tied to its language, and if I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the culture, I need to be more proficient at speaking.

I'd like to introduce myself to the other students participating in the Blogging Project. I am Susan Hamaker, and I am half Japanese and half Caucasian American from a small town in North Carolina. I am not your typical college student. I am 45 years old, married, and I have been living in New York for 14 years. I have had a 24-year career in television production, but I am making the transition into full-time writing, with JapanCulture•NYC as my vehicle.

When I was growing up, I spoke only English to my mother, who is from Okinawa. This blog is named after her, the English equivalent of her maiden name, Miyagi. She taught me how to count to ten and how to say "hello," "thank you," and "you're welcome." I've learned a lot more taking various classes over the years, and now I am even more focused at Columbia. The fast pace of the class forces me to be focused. I'm excited for what this semester will bring!



Melissa Denis said...


I had no idea you were in television production. That's so interesting.

Two of my sisters and my brother in law are A.E.'s. I tried to learn from them last year to sort of get some experience in television production. It's a very interesting field.

Oh I think it's awesome you're back in school! :)

shrinecastle said...

メリささん、コメントをありがとうございます!私は選手 (players) の名前やデータ(statistics) をタイプしています。おもしろいですが、新しい仕事が欲しいです。Lol. 私のウェブサイトはとてもたいせつです。毎日、日本文化について記事 (article) を書いています。うれしい!