Haruna TomaruName: Haruna Tomaru
(Climbing Castle)
Sign: Aquarius
Teaches: Japanese
Bloodtype: B

How long have you been here?

This is my seventh year. I came here in 1999.

How did you end up here?

I came here as an exchange student when I was in college at Kyoto Seika University. My major was humanities. I wanted to work an international job. Then, I didn’t know specifics about what job I wanted. My uncle worked at United Nations and he always talked about different countries’ culture so I got interested in working with and studying different cultures. We had three choices at my University: Thailand, Australia, and the US. I went to Thailand when I was in high school, so I chose the US that time. But I still loved Thailand. The people are so nice and the weather was too. But I wanted to see non-Asian countries. And for Australia you had to do homestay, but at Antioch I could stay in the dorm, so I chose here.

What kinds of music do you like?

All kinds. But not country. In Japanese music, I like some punk rock. Rock and electronic music. Buffalo Daughter is one of my favorites.

How did you like the dorms here when you were a student?

Living in a dorm is not common in Japan, so living with the same roommate in the same small room in Spalt was odd. We stayed in North first, and she said it was too noisy for her, so we moved to Spalt together.


Osaka. Osaka is very active and chaotic. And the food is delicious. It’s a fun city.

When’s the last time you went home?

Every summer. We had a Japan program until two years ago at Antioch, and I always took Antioch students to Kyoto and we stayed there for three months. And I was an assistant director of the program and I also taught Japanese. And I lived with students in the dorm of Kyoto Seika University.

What do you think of the Antioch party scene?

This year is better than last year. Last year we didn’t have many strict rules…but there weren’t that many people. Last year I invited guest artist from Japan. Ryota san…he did a good performance at the party. He was a professional drag queen. He was my friend from Osaka and he is getting popular as an artist in Osaka and Kyoto.

How do you amuse yourself in Yellow Springs?

Travel. I always go back to Japan every summer. I can go travel during breaks. For six years, during breaks, I went to Mexico and Cuba and New York…I like teaching Japanese at Antioch most of the time. But most of the time, many people develop skills fast. And especially after people went to Japan, then take Japanese, they keep taking Japanese classes and try to improve so I’m really happy to teach them.

What’s your favorite drink?

Coffee and green Japanese tea. And mojitoes!

You know tea ceremony, right?

Yes. I learned it in high school in tea ceremony club. We invited a tea ceremony teacher once a week and learned the ceremony techniques from her.

The easiest one is probably two or three months. It depends on how many times you go to lessons. I only did it once a week so it took a while.

What took the most getting used to at Antioch?

English. So it’s not just Antioch I guess, but being in a foreign country. For Antioch, you have to be really tough because there are many things, not just problems, but many things that need to be discussed. You can just try not to get involved in things, but sometimes it’s related to you and I think it’s really important to think about for yourself.

Are you good at staying away from drama?

Well, my position has been really awkward. I’ve been a teaching assistant for four years, and I just started to teach by myself these last two years. When I was a TA, I was between students and professors…

Who taught Japanese before?

Harold Wright. He is a very famous poet. He translated a Japanese emperor’s poetry. And he translated the famous Japanese poet Tanikawa Shuntaro. And I think he taught at Antioch for almost thirty years.

Why did you stay?

I went back to Japan and I graduated from Seika and I worked as a tour director for a while in Japan. One day trips from Kyoto to different places.

What do you plan to do after this?

I want to go back to Japan, to Osaka. But not yet. I’ve lived in Detroit for nine months and Seattle for seven months. For just traveling, I’ve been to San Francisco, San Diego, El Paso, Santa Fe. South Carolina. Florida. DC. Chicago. New York. Vermont. St. Louis.

What’s your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?

I like Okinawa. It has beautiful oceans and tropical beaches.

Can you understand the Okinawan accent?

Well, the young people there can speak standard Japanese, but old people speak with more of a dialect, and I really cannot understand the words.

Who do you like better, Godzilla or King Kong?


What are your hobbies?

Travel. When I can’t travel, I watch movies. I try to show more Japanese culture on campus through movies. Charisma was the last movie. I like art…Okamoto Taro is my favorite artist. He was a painter so he did murals and sculpture.

What has changed about Antioch that you have seen?

When we had an exchange program, we had more foreign students on campus. But it’s getting to be less so. I wish students would get more interested in different cultures and not just from the media or internet. Things you think you know about other countries might be wrong because they’re from the media. You feel like you know about it, but if you go to Japan, you see with your eyes and you can learn more deeply. You don’t just have the image of what it is, but you can feel the atmosphere and everything. Now it’s difficult to travel in the world because of dangerous things going on.

Is there anything you’d like to say to the student body?

Study the Japanese language—the grammar is really different from English and the verb comes at the end, so the people’s way of thinking is really different. So learning different languages is important! Also, there is an intensive study abroad opportunity at Ryukoku University in the fall semester. It’s four weeks. You can learn about it through a website. (www.world.ryukoku.ac.jp/ jas/index/html)