Let me continue with the story about my classmates. Let's start with Aishara from Nepal. Her father is a geophysicist who was educated at Nagoya University and is still doing research and other work with Japanese scientists. He came to the US in October but got caught up in a bit of a COVID fiasco and couldn't meet with me, so we had to talk on the phone. Aishara is completely American in everything she does, how she speaks English, and how she uses the Internet. She was educated at the American School in India and speaks Hindi, Nepali, English, and a little Japanese. She wants to be a scholar or a writer in the future, wants to write about feminism. She is only 24 years old, so she doesn't know what the future holds for her, but she is going to pursue a doctoral degree in graduate school. Simmons University does not have a doctoral program, so she will probably think of other places to go after her master’s.

Ceci, 32, from Mexico, said that after dating a man for 10 years, she started to have a low self-esteem and started to despise herself, which eventually led her to feminism. She is an activist, and she was busy making placards for a demonstration she was going to participate with her friends at some event in October. Both the Lebanese student and Ceci are almost as American as the rest of the students from the US. Both of them, as well as most of their classmates, want to pursue doctoral studies. I can't help but hope that my classmates will go on to become scholars and researchers, whether in their home countries or here in the US. Since I was not able to attend the last class, I asked Prof. Suzanne to read my message to them.

Let me talk briefly about the other class, Body Politics. One of our assignments was to work in groups of three or four to create a collaborative work. As you can see in the photograph, my group focused on the early marriage of girls in Asia, Africa, and to my surprise, even in the US. The other groups made their own elaborate PowerPoint presentations.

Prof. Jyoti Puri

When it comes to the presentation, they not only present, but also ask questions and comments from their classmates for analysis and discussion. The instructor is Prof. Jyoti Puri, who is of Indian descent. Here is a photo of her with permission from the Simmons web.

Prof. Suzanne commented that she had learned a lot from my paper and thanked me for sharing, and Prof. Jyoti wrote that she admired me for stating the connection between my experiences in life and what I had already learned. I found their attitude to be really equal and that they are humble before their studies. I myself am their mother's age, so I have some pride in myself, considering that I have been thinking and writing in my own way. I am in no way trying to brag about the results of the class, so don’t take it that way, though.

Although it is said to be a mild winter, we have had a few light snowfalls so far. The next day, after a clear and cold day, I was thinking that the weather was strange because of the sudden warmth and terrible humidity, and then I read in the newspaper that the Midwest suddenly experienced several major tornadoes that killed about 100 people. It was around mid-December. The photo is Christmas tree in the lobby at my apartment.

The water bird whose name I didn’t know is called Canada goose. Nowadays, they are indeed nowhere to be seen. I heard that they take refuge in the warmth of Mexico and come back again. As you can see in the photo, they were not afraid of people at all and crossed in front of me with ease. The people who were reading books or working on their computers on the benches along the usual walking path were no longer there. The trees had all lost their leaves, and the view is clear now.

The last few weeks have been full of talk about Omicron, a variant of Covid-19. Especially with the Christmas vacation traffic, more and more people have been infected. The New York Times has been publishing graphs almost every day showing the ups and downs in the number of infected people. President Biden is also telling people to wear masks, to get tested, to get a booster shot, and to stay quietly at home. It is the same as in Japan that Biden is getting messages from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and having experts talk about the trends, but something is different from Japan. Right now, all I can say is what the newspapers are reporting, but in Japan, it's more like hysteria and ineptitude. They seem to be more concerned about publicity, numbers, and the approval rating of the cabinet. The one quality that Japanese politicians in particular are lacking is, I should say, commitment. This is a global pandemic, not just a problem of one country. For the past few years, the whole world has been swept up in this. No one knows when this pandemic will be over.

While former German Chancellor Merkel tearfully said that she did not want to see such numbers (maybe the number of infected or dead?), she seemed to have certain determination. A Japanese acquaintance of mine who lives in Germany appeared on a Japanese TV program and reported that although Germany is said to be in trouble, it is only in a limited area. But she lamented that she was pushed by the claims from the TV people that Germany is indeed in big trouble.

By the way, Mr. Biden announced that he would accept people from South African countries at the end of 2021 because Omicron has already widely spread in the US anyway. What is your take about this decision?

(Translated by Ms. Miho Tajima)