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Patrick Burleson - Fukuoka (2008-2010)

Where were you in Japan as a JET and when?

Fukuoka-ken, Ukiha-shi, Yoshi-machi from 2008 to 2010.

What sparked your interest in Japan?

I grew up playing Nintendo and wanted to learn more about the country it came from. This led me to start studying Japanese in high school, as well as studying abroad at Daito Bunka College in Saitama and getting a degree in Japanese Language and Literature from the University of Georgia.

What are some of the things your prefecture is known for?

Fukuoka is the northernmost prefecture of Kyushu and is probably best known for Tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen and mentaiko (spicy cod roe). The hotspots are the nightlife district of Tenjin and Hakata, where the Gion Yamakasa festival takes place every July.

Did you pick up any of the regional dialects? What are some of your favorite words or phrases?

The regional dialect is Hakata-ben, though I can't think of any particular words or phrases.

What is your favorite memory of your time in Japan?

My town was quite rural and it was about an hour and a half by bus and train to reach the city. I always enjoyed spending time with friends downtown, going to a Fukuoka Hawks baseball game, or checking out the nightlife.

How did your experience in Japan change your life? What are you doing now, and does it have any connection to Japan?

I was able to improve my Japanese, and since returning to the US, I've worked at Japanese companies where the cultural experiences and linguistic skills I learned have helped me make connections and work more closely with my colleagues.

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