Sarah Bither ’13, who works as an assistant teacher in Japan, is delving deep into Japanese culture, sipping and plucking her way to deeper understanding. She’s taking tea ceremony and koto lessons.
“Koto is a traditional Japanese stringed instrument. Both of these are highly traditional, stylized and respected art forms in Japanese culture that require a lifetime to master,” she says. “It is a wonderful and fantastic way to learn about the culture, especially because my teacher does not speak any English.”
Bither majored in Asian studies at Hamilton College, with a focus on Japan, and minored in English and economics. She was accepted into the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, which led to her job in a rural mountain village. She works with teachers of English in middle and elementary schools.
Her longer-term goal is to be a cross-cultural consultant for international businesses. She says her Asian studies professors have helped her pursue her interests; she considers them to be lifelong friends.
“The two most important things about the Japanese program at Hamilton that I think sets it apart from other colleges are the wonderful and supportive professors and the program’s emphasis on oral practice,” Bither says.