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Why Japanese? A Love for the Language and Culture.


Riki Borders ’23 spent his earliest years in Misawa, Japan, then just before middle school moved to the U.S. with his family. Later recruited by Hamilton to play football, Borders found that the College open curriculum allowed him to major in both computer science and Japanese studies.We asked him some questions about his interest in Japanese.

Why did you decide to study Japanese?

I decided to study Japanese so I can communicate with my mother (who is Japanese) as well as my Japanese grandparents. Being half Japanese, I feel like I'm almost obligated to learn the language. It's no issue, as I love everything about the language and Japanese culture! I am also considering moving to Japan in the future to work, as I lived in Japan previously and loved everything about the atmosphere. Knowing Japanese would be a must if I'd like the opportunity to move back.

What's the most rewarding thing about it?

Riki Borders '23

Majors: Japanese studies and computer science

High School: Smyrna High School

Hometown: Clayton, Del.

open curriculum

Honestly, the most rewarding thing about learning Japanese has been my newfound ability to talk with my grandparents in their native tongue. When I was younger, our conversations would be really broken and inconsistent, but now that I can hold my own in a conversation, it feels great, and I truly enjoy talking to my grandparents even more than before

Do you think you'll continue with the language in some way after you graduate from Hamilton?

After I graduate I intend to keep learning the language and improving so I can eventually go back to Japan. Even if I don't end up living there anymore, I'd like to keep the door open, and I'd also like to keep my ability to speak with my mom and grandparents in Japanese as well.

What are you thinking about doing post Hamilton?

After Hamilton, I plan to go into software development, with no particular preference in where I go/live. I'd be grateful for any opportunity I'm presented with. 

Is there anything else you'd like to say about your experience studying Japanese?

I want to encourage anyone who appreciates Japanese culture or has an interest in the language to take the Japanese courses at Hamilton. The department is outstanding, and every professor I've had for Japanese has deepened my love for the culture even more.

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