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THE PEARL Soka University of America News Magazine

April/May 2009

Political Swingers? Invisible Children? Financial Crisis? Graduation?

peace out o9!

april/may 2009 contents letters 003 letter from the editor 004 opinion: soka time 005 ssu updates campus 006 athletics 008 international festival 009 humanism in action 010 ripples in the mind 011 a memory, a monologue a rant, and a prayer

off campus 012 the rescue 014 MUN conference 015 paint the nation blue 016 twilight induced delirium 017 web shows 018 economic crisis 019 fujimori case apollo’s ground 022 in the eyes of the court

feature 024 graduation columns 028 founder’s corner 030 on teaching 032 staff profile 034 study abroad 036 the galvanized 038 advice 040 brazilian wax

International Festival 2009

letterfromtheeditor Dear friends, Here we are at the close of the academic year—or for the graduating seniors, the ending of a marvelous, tempestuous and beautiful four years. On occasion we thought this time might never end, but now, with Capstone receding into the horizon, we are painstakingly trying to slow down each second, to fit in one last exchange or offer a final piece of advice. Many of us feel ready to graduate, but also quite emotional to leave. We ask ourselves: “What have we given to SUA? And what will we bring to the places to which we now depart?” In my final letter from the editor, I wish to convey something on many seniors’ minds: the future of SUA. Over the course of this year, especially around election time, many seniors expressed anxiety over whether students here will continue to harbor a deep commitment to the mission of this school, constantly making efforts to improve themselves, the university, and the world, or whether it will transform into a more “typical” college atmosphere, in which students party more than they study. While it is important to have fun sometimes, it surely cannot be one’s primary focus while attending a university, especially one such as SUA. It is a privilege to live and learn at SUA. Although I have taken it for granted at times, with the days counting down I am reminded constantly of how vital it is to cherish your time here and use it wisely. Our world has changed dramatically in the course of the last year, and the economic situation looks dismal. But do not despair! This is truly the time for students here, both past and present, to prove that SUA prepared us to face these challenges— not only to withstand the obstacles, but to transform them within our local communities, thereby changing the world. This is why it is essential for us to make the most of our education here, as alum Rekha Gokhale (’07) writes in her article on the economic crisis. Also in the April/May issue, check out what the seniors will be up to post-graduation. Please read the article on Invisible Children and find out more, or get involved; it is truly awe-inspiring and my heartfelt thanks go out to the SUA students who took part in The Rescue for informing the SUA community about it. Also, although missing from our past few Pearls, we have reinstated Founder’s Corner so you can read Dr. Ikeda’s reflections on his dialogue with Dr. Aurelio Peccei, founder of the Club of Rome. It has been a challenge working for The Pearl these past few years, but also one of my greatest honors. I thank the Pearl staffs past and present for their dedication to our publication. Daniel Pearl would surely be proud of our efforts. Jihii, Jean, Emiko, Janice, Swapnil and all of our writers—thank you a million times over for your dedication and efforts. The Pearl would not be here without you.


There is an Italian proverb which says: Chi trova un amico trova un Tesoro, or “He who finds a friend finds a treasure.” Well, I have discovered many treasures during my time spent in this cave of wonders called Soka, each far more precious than gold. So, with love and gratitude, I offer a final thank you to the faculty, staff, underclassmen and my mighty fine class of ’09. Here’s a toast to you all, and to the future prosperity of SUA!


Dear Soka students, Many of you talk about how you don’t have enough of me, yet you constantly waste me. There is only so much of me to go around, so please don’t talk about how much more of me you need when you already waste what you do have. You not only waste me for yourself, but you also constantly waste me on behalf of other people too. Still can’t guess what I am? I’m the 5-10 minutes between when a meeting should start and when it actually starts. I’m the excuse that students constantly use because they don’t know how to be on time. I beg you, please stop wasting me. In the real world, others don’t appreciate it when I’m wasted. Sincerely, Soka Time


Not only does “Soka Time” affect our meetings and activities, but it also has an immense impact on our academic life. The numbers vary, but in regard to my own four spring semester classes, I use up an average of nearly 55 minutes per week “waiting for more people to get to class before we get started.” Ever heard the saying, “being on 55 minutes! That’s crazy! Most of time is the same as being late”? In my classes spend about 5 minutes the real world, this will be true at our each day waiting for people to get to workplaces. Why not start training class, and some even take up to 10 ourselves now? Just because we’re minutes. stuck in the Soka bubble doesn’t mean we should forget what actually Think about your own classes. How happens in society. Don’t give me much time do you spend per class, crap about how at Soka, it’s tradition waiting for people? Now, think to be late, because this definitely about how much time in one week, isn’t a tradition that we want to build a month, an entire semester, you our school upon. spend waiting for class to start. For


How many times have you gone to a meeting at 7:00pm and it actually started at 7:00pm? How many times have you gone to a meeting that was supposed to start at 7:00pm and it started at 7:15pm? The second of the two scenarios is much more likely. Are you okay with that? I’m not.

soka time


Jolie Tea [2011]

my entire semester (15 weeks), I spend over 13 – nearly 14 hours waiting around for people… and this is just during class time. A student body that consists of many individuals who are busy with academics, clubs, departments, sports, work and tons of other things that keep them occupied simply can’t afford to waste such time. An upperclassman told me that “Soka Time” used to have an entirely different meaning than it does now – it was a term used to describe the ability for Soka students to accomplish a lot in a small amount of time. Let’s bring back that original definition of Soka Time.

soka student union updates Eric Reker [2009] SSU President

On Monday, April 13th, an Area Heads’ Meeting was held. This is a recount of the campus happenings in all of the different areas. Marilyn Gove from recruitment shared the numbers for Experience Soka. The largest Experience Soka yet to date, 51 individuals RSVP’d to the event, and 51 showed up! 35 came from California, 14 from around the United States, and 2 individuals even came from Japan! After the weekend of events, many of the students expressed great interest in becoming a part of the class of 2013. Though some were waiting on final notifications of financial aid, many students expressed deep interest in attending SUA.

individuals from the track-and-field team were able to volunteer time on the ranch doing various tasks including drywalling and being ranch-hands. Again this year, we here at SUA will be welcoming Soka Women’s College students to our campus for a twomonth intensive English program. The students will arrive on June 1st and will stay through July 31st, learning and living in an English setting. Also, there will be 13 new summer bridge program students who will be joining the SWC students.

and the administration, staff and faculty for helping make this year so wonderful. It has been my absolute pleasure to be able to write this year. To have been afforded this opportunity by the members of The Pearl is truly a wonderful honor.

In other exciting news, the Graduate School has begun the launch of its new Graduate School Program, the teaching certification program for The new performing arts center Japanese as a foreign language. construction is still on schedule, in The program looks to advance the an update from the construction teaching skills of students and enrich and building site manager. The their understanding of the language construction group also shared and the culture of Japanese-speaking tentative drawings for the look of people. Classes will begin August 29, the performing arts center upon 2009, and will be held once-a-week completion with the Area Heads and on weekends to provide individuals these drawings were also presented in the local area an affordable at the following Student Forum on and manageable way to receive a the 15th of April. certificate. Showing a different side of the track and field arena, Director of Athletics Mike Moore shared the track-andfield team’s recent outing to a ranch out beyond Temecula, CA, where

On a more personal note, in this last issue, I wanted to express my personal thanks to the members of The Pearl staff, all of the students,



SUA Swimmers Shatter School Records at NAIA Championships Agnes Conrad [2012]



This year the 53rd Annual Men’s and 29th Annual Women’s Swimming & Diving National Championships were held on March 4-7, 2009 at the St. Peters Rec-Plex in St. Peters, Missouri. To the teams, coaches, and officials who have become accustomed to attending the event, this was just another year. But to six swimmers from Soka University of America, this was something bigger; the 2008-2009 Academic year marks the inaugural year for official NAIA sports teams at SUA. All the early morning practices and long hours in the pool paid off. The girls’ team, consisting of freshmen Michelle Nunn, Stephanie Dill, Kelsey Parsons, and Agnes Conrad, and junior Kelsey Campbell,


placed 13th out of 19 teams. Nathan Flores, the lone male swimmer, managed to single handedly placed Soka 15th out of 17 teams.

yard backstroke, and a time of 2:07.37 in the 200 yard backstroke. These times earned Stephanie 8th and 5th overall, respectively, making her Soka’s first female NAIA In his senior year Nathan finalist. Stephanie also broke Flores became Soka’s first a school and personal record male NAIA finalist. Nate in the 500 yard freestyle with made finals in both the 50 a time of 5:21.48. yard freestyle and the 100 yard butterfly with times of Kelsey Parsons posted 20.63 seconds and 50.14 a personal best of 5:37.43 seconds, respectively. He in the 500 free and Kelsey earned 4th in the 50 yard Campbell posted a personal freestyle and 7th in the 100 best of 5:33.47 in the same yard butterfly and posted event. Campbell also posted a lifetime best in prelims in a personal record in the the 100 yard butterfly with a 1650 yard free with a time of time of 50.08. 19:29.94. Similarly, Stephanie Dill For an inaugural year, shattered personal and Soka’s swim team shows school records in all of her tremendous promise! events, posting a time of 58.98 seconds in the 100

Athletes awarded at 2009 athletic banquet.


SUA Runners Set a New Standard: Track Season Highlights Riri Nagao [2011] On April 25th, the Track & Field team competed in their last meet of the season and successfully finished their long, tough, and most competitive season yet. Many school records were broken and established; most athletes marked brand new personal records (PR’s) and the team even sent one athlete to nationals, becoming SUA’s first allAmerican athlete.

and earned an All-American title by placing fifth in the 200 meters with a time of 21.7 seconds. During the outdoor Track & Field season, Gianni Vernon (‘12) qualified again, to participate in the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field championships for the 200 meters and 400 meters. This will be held from May 21st to May 23rd in St. Louis, Illinois.

This, year, the track team was able to truly embody the meaning of “Ohana” Under Coach Karla Bailey and Coach Gigi Charlson’s wings, a team of eight men and eight women athletes completed the season and finished strong. Now that the bar has been raised, next year’s team will have greater challenges, even more broken school records and even more legends to leave behind.

Gianni Vernon (’12) broke many school records in the 60 meters, 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters and long jump, Nicholas Starinieri (’12) broke the 800 meter record, and Russell Randall (’09) broke the javelin and shot put record. Gigi Charlson contributed to this article.


The Soka Peace Invitational, held at SUA on March 7th was the opening meet for the team’s outdoor Track season. This meet drew together ten collegiate schools and several track clubs for a totaling approximately 300 competing athletes. This year’s audience turnout was also the largest yet, due to the support of SUA’s very own Spirit Department. Heather Hallahan (‘12) established the women’s long The team’s indoor season jump record, and Ritsuko lasted for one month and they Rita (‘12), Emily Dixon (‘09), participated in three meets, Heather Hallahan (‘12) and including the University of Keiko Yoshioka (‘12) broke Washington (UW) Indoor the women’s mile (4x4) relay Open Invitational in Seattle, record. Washington. Gianni Vernon (‘12) qualified to run for In addition to competing indoor nationals, held in against many established Johnson City, Tennessee collegiate teams, Soka’s from March 6th to March 7th track team witnessed The sixth official season started in the second week of January with timed trials and demanding workouts; athletes were on the track every day and in the weight room twice a week. Having understood that this season will be the most competitive yet, Coaches Karla Bailey and Gigi Charlson trained the athletes with strenuous workouts.

performances by and competed in the same stadium as world-class athletes such as Jamie Nieto (Olympic high jumper) and Asami Tanno (Olympic 400 meter runner) at the Pomona Pitzer Invitational,.


“appreciating our comm u SUA Goes to the Community: Humanism in Action Kelly Lewis [2012]


After finishing off March with a well-attended fundraiser for 4 Girls Global Leadership, Humanism In Action, a student club at SUA, spent April volunteering all over Orange County! On Easter Saturday, HIA members spent the morning helping out at the OC Ronald McDonald House. Because the RMH relies entirely on donations and volunteers, we were immediately able to see our help make a big difference. While doing household chores and inventory checks for the RMH, we


were really inspired by talking to some of the residents and hearing their stories, and by interacting with other volunteers who had cooked breakfast for the families and donated beautiful Easter baskets to the children. This semester, HIA has also been nurturing our relationship with the Boys and Girls Club each week. During a recent visit, we made construction paper “passports” with maps and pictures, and the kids got to draw pictures to show what

they knew about different cultures. The children were really excited to see us, and we were grateful to get to be role models for them. HIA is always looking for more humanists to volunteer with us, so if you’re interested, please contact Jenna Callahan [] or Sari Nakayama [snakayama@soka. edu] .

unity through celebration” The Community Comes to SUA: International Festival 2009 Robert Asabushi [2010]

Adventureland, Community Relations, Entertainment, Information Center, Logistics, Registration, Special Guest Care, Student Project, and Volunteer Recruitment committees. One committee I would like to especially highlight is Special Guest Care. This committee focused on organizing a birthday celebration for SUA to show appreciation to the community for welcoming SUA to this beautiful area. The Community Relations committee created a bookmark with this theme on it and distributed it to every student. This year, we were able to welcome about 10,000 festival participants to SUA.

We enjoyed over 600 international musicians and dancers performing on three stages, wonderful international food, children’s Adventure Land, student projects, a Soka Education exhibit and over 140 exhibitors. Students and staff had been working behind the scenes since January to efficiently produce a memorable experience for all who attended – special thanks to Wendy Harder and Chelsea Nakabayashi for spearheading the entire event.


May 2nd, 2009. Celebration! Friendship! Culture! It was a day for students to see the product of their exalted efforts preparing for the annual International Festival. You may have noticed the chaotic frenzy taking place in your friends’ lives as they tried to balance their studies with planning activities for the campus-wide festival. The purpose of International Festival is twofold: to commemorate the commencement of SUA (May 3rd, 2000) and to show appreciation to our local community for supporting SUA to be part of Aliso Viejo. This year, the International Festival consisted of nine committees:


RIPPLES IN THE MIND Garrett Braun [2011] and Miles Clark [2011]

JFK; Jonas Brothers; Toronto Blue Jays; Jungle Book; Nipple Tassels; Munkberry Moon Delight; All effects of the entity of Keanu Reeves; Lamps; Captain James Hook, the sleaziest sleaze of the seven seas; The 42 families; Gary Sinise.


The eleven elevated causes of social disenchantment with the Humanities. Each for the very reason that they are on the list do they violate the premise of the human perspective. They function to disassociate the original state of the human. Our modern time brings us many technologies which complexify life to an extent of great misinterpretation. The avarice of advertising and industry has cloaked the face of the true humanities. In its place, its evil doppelganger resides in academia the world over. Herein lays the purpose of Soka. Rather than being driven by commerce, Soka is based on the Buddhist philosophy of inherently questioning and striving to alleviate human suffering, grounded on a resilient relationship with the self. Every class at Soka necessarily involves the human condition and the inquiry of who you and everybody else are. “And at an institution like


this, that is a question that we all have to ask, not just the students and faculty of humanities” says John Kehlen (a.k.a. JPK), Director of the Humanities concentration at Soka. So then, how does each of us question our surroundings, figure out who we are, and evaluate everyday life with a learned personal inquiry? These inquiries should be natural; their ultimate goal a satisfied human experience. A school such as ours, especially in its galvanizing stage, should be continually reevaluating its modes of operation. The job of a student is to connect the humanitarian perspective with action. The student must shatter the shackles of institutionalized reality and the categorization of pedagogy, ever reexamining the school to make certain that the classes we take and the ways we learn resonate with our human perspective. This is the life long job of the humanities according

to Kehlen: “You must ask questions every single day of your life; the day that you stop asking questions is the day that you begin to die, mentally and spiritually.” Questioning in the classroom and about the classroom is training for questioning the rest of life and how to live it. From the above discussed “core” of the humanities, we are propelled into motion for the sake of our brothers and sisters. You can expect three drastic advancements in the Humanities concentration here at Soka, which come from the combined suggestions of the students and faculty. After discussing with JPK, here are some possible upcoming changes for the Humanities: added film and media courses (finally fighting the canon’s view of moving pictures), at least one tutorial-structured class which encourages greater individual inquiry, and team teaching opportunities. Get your human on!


SUA’s C.I.A. presents Erica Lee [2011]

a memory a monologue a rant and a prayer

with which Changes in Action was working as part of the college campaign, has given organizers free reign in creating their own show and program. The pieces picked for the Soka production were chosen for their powerful messages and varied points of view, ranging from that of a male journalist to a woman who fought against being gang raped. There was a great turnout for the first-time show, with almost 100 Soka students and staff coming to support their classmates who were performing. The feedback from audience after the show was amazingly positive and Changes in Action, which held one show this

year as a test run, will surely put on the production again next year with the possibility of expanding to two shows. The production is a fundraiser held to support Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the only hospital in the DRC that offers reconstructive surgery for women who have contracted fistula from being brutally raped. Fistula is a condition in which women lose control of their bodily fluids as an excess orifice was created in the act of getting raped. Information is available for those interesting in taking action on


On Saturday, April 18th, Soka’s newly official women’s club on campus, C.I.A (Changes in Action) held its first production of A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer in Pauling 216. The production is comprised of different monologues written by contributing authors who include Maya Angelou, Howard Zinn, Edward Albee, Jane Fonda, and many more. It is an anthology edited by Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues and founder of V-Day. This variety of contributing authors frames the issue of violence against women in many different perspectives and contexts. V-Day, Eve Ensler’s organization


THE RESCUE: Invisible Children takes a stand Savannah Russell [2011]


For the past 23 years, the Ugandan government and the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) have been engaged in Africa’s longest war. Joseph Kony, the leader of the LRA, believes himself to be the “Spokesman for God” and is the first individual to be indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Although nobody knows the LRA’s true objectives, some have said that they aim to restore democracy, end human rights violations, ensure peace, security, unity and economic prosperity and stop oppression. Their actions however, blatantly contradict their mission. The LRA is accused of human rights violations, including murder, rape, mutilation and the abduction of thousands. Roughly 90% of the LRA are abducted children being forced to participate in these atrocious hostilities. Between December 25th and December 28th of 2008, the LRA killed an estimated 1016 people, many of whom were


hacked into several pieces. In the last three months alone, more than 104,000 Congolese have been displaced in an attempt to flee from Joseph Kony and the LRA Peace talks have been going on for several years. The Juba Peace talks held between 2006 and 2008 signified an effort to end the violence, but Kony never showed up to sign the peace agreement. About two months later, the LRA launched an attack on a small village in Southern Sudan. The attack prompted the government to withdraw from peace talks. Humanitarian groups stepped in, declaring that an international effort was needed to detain Joseph Kony. Now, the organization Invisible Children is taking a stand. Step One: The Rescue. On April 25, 2009, in 100 cities across 10 countries, thousands of people “abducted” themselves to show the world that the thousands of child soldiers are not alone. The abductees were citizens of the world, both

young and old, who dedicated their entire weekend to sitting in a mock LRA camp, writing letters to political figures, celebrities and many others, asking them to help rescue us, but more importantly to rescue the children of Joseph Kony’s army. The abductees gave up the comforts of their home—their bed, their bathroom, their computers—and slept outside on the ground with hundreds of others. The Orange County event was a huge success. Over 2,000 people showed up and raised $6,000! At 9:30 pm, a huge mob of screaming youth--cameras and phones out- began to swarm the stage. Our rescuer was there. Well known poppunk band, Paramore, came out to read the Rescue Anthem and rescue Orange County. It was a joyous moment for all! Around 11 pm, an announcement was made that the Rescue Riders were going to venture on to Las Vegas. Four SUA students hopped in their car and joined the

Rescue Riders in Las Vegas for a day. January Coleman-Jones (‘12) highly enjoyed The Rescue: “Having been to many protests, the Rescue was unique in that there were so many youth, even high school and middle school students. It was really great to see such young people fighting for things they truly believe in!” The Rescue Rider idea was brought about a couple weeks before the event. Bobby, Jason and Laren, the founders of Invisible Children, would lead a crew from D.C., Los Angeles and New York. Their goal was simple. As soon as their city was rescued, they would move on to the next city and keep going until every city was rescued. Veronica Ortega (‘12) got on the bus in LA and traveled to San Francisco from there. I jumped in an Invisible Children van after the OC event got rescued and headed to Las Vegas. It was a crazy journey from the OC to Vegas; we knew that OC was going to be rescued, but Vegas was a different

story. We didn’t have a rescuer. We sat outside the courthouse all night long, not sleeping and losing a lot of hope. Then San Francisco was rescued and the RR’s came to our rescue. Our spirits were lifted and later that day we were rescued. We all jumped on the bus and headed for Wichita, Kansas. When we were driving through New Mexico, Wichita was rescued, so instead we all went up to Chicago, the very last city to be rescued. We arrived Wednesday afternoon and all ran to meet up with the Chicago crowd, arms wide open, accepting hugs from every single person. Every single person became family, whether you met them or not. We struggled together over the next couple of days to get Oprah’s attention and to find a location that would sleep 500 people, if sleep was even possible. Thursday afternoon, 400 of us stood outside Oprah’s studio singing and dancing in an attempt to get her to rescue us. But she wasn’t there. On Friday, May 1,

2009, 500 people gathered at her studio at 4 am and surrounded the entire block holding up peace signs. At 9 am we were rescued, live, on the Oprah show. It was incredible! Tears of joy, hugs and kisses spread through the crowd. We did it. We completed step one in the process of ending the 23-year war. Step Two: Lobby Days. On nd June 22 and 23rd of this year, Invisible Children and several thousand supporters will gather once again to take all the letters that were written and the video of the Rescue to D.C. We will once again raise our voices for the voiceless. This is how we are going to end the war. Our generation has started a movement and we will follow it until the end. To learn more, go to www.invisiblechildren. com or email myself (srussell@soka. edu) or Veronica Ortega (vortega@



SUA Students Attend MUN Conference in Spain Irina Punga [2010] Irina Punga interviews MUN Conference participants Ruchi Kishore [2012], Andrew D’Ambruoso [2011] and Andy Cheong [2011]. Pearl: What country did you represent and in which committee? Ruchi: Italy in ECOSOC Andrew: Republic of Brazil in ECOSOC Andy: Russian Federation - Security Council Pearl: What topics did you discuss and what conclusions/resolutions did you reach? Andrew: The topics were: "Financial Crisis: Measures to prevent global economic meltdown" and "Trafficking in Persons: Measures to prevent and suppress the trafficking of children for the purposes of converting them into child soldiers and/or sexual slaves." We identified one major problem as being the lack of accurate information regarding the whereabouts of trafficked persons due in large part to the government documents that are forged in order to smuggle human beings across borders. Pearl: How were the dynamics of your committee? Ruchi: My committee was active till the very last session of the conference. Every country made an effort to contribute and bring forth their country’s position. Delegates debated in a healthy manner and incorporated others’ viewpoints in forming draft resolutions. Even with the hectic daily schedule, ECOSOC was productive and energetic till the end. Pearl: What do you think of the organization of the conference? Ruchi: This was my second conference and it was completely different from the first one that I attended. I feel that this conference is great for beginners as it is relatively small and more personal. It allows delegates to explore and grow without any hesitation or intimidation from other delegates. Pearl: What was the funniest event of your conference? Andy: Our crisis was Georgia bombing Moscow (I represented Russia). I fought every other delegate in the committee and asserted my awesomeness.


Pearl: What was your achievement? What did you gain from the conference? Andrew: I won the best delegate award in ECOSOC (although I felt Tommy deserved it). Soka's delegation was also pictured in a Spanish national newspaper, El Mundo, in an article covering the conference. Andy: Best Delegate; Friendships, experience, and love


Pearl: What would you recommend about MUN for prospective members? Andrew: Read the news at least three times daily! Simply researching UN documents is not enough to be a heavyweight in committee sessions. You MUST be current on world events, because more often than not, events relating to Trafficking in Humans (for example) are not far isolated from continuing violence against migrants in some countries. I would recommend the following: For those of you who use Firefox, there is a neat little add-on called "Morning Coffee" in which you can save the URLs of all your favorite news sites and access them all at the click of a button. In my "Morning Coffee," I have the New York Times, the LA Times, BBC, Xinhua, China Daily, Taiwan News Online, Human Rights Watch, Japan Focus, Asahi Shimbun, El Pais, Al Jazeera, and Arutz Sheva. Also, there is a brilliant (and free!) email subscription to the "UN Wire" which sends news updates about international news every other day. It's lovely. Andy: If you care about what goes on in the world, want to be creative with possible solutions, want to make friends, and become more worldly, but are willing to put in the work, then MUN is for you.

Another Republican gone Democrat. On Tuesday, April 28, Pennsylvania Senior U.S. senator Arlen Specter, Republican for thirty years, announced his decision to exchange his GOP elephant for a donkey when he runs for re-election in 2010. This surprising announcement came as Republicans are desperately trying to maintain support after Obama’s landslide win in November. Should Specter’s announcement come as a surprise? In 1965 Arlen Specter, then an aspiring DA for Philadelphia, was advised by his Democratic seniors not to take the position of more experienced contenders. Seeing an opportunity, Republicans approached Specter and led him to victory on the red ticket. Soon after, Specter changed his registration, going on to be a longtime Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. However it seems that Specter is increasingly at odds with the Republican Party, citing its steady movement toward the right as reason enough to trade parties. In his announcement on Tuesday, Specter stated that he was not ready to lose the Senate seat to the conservative audience in Republican Pennsylvania. Pundits have been speculating that Specter’s opponent Pat Toomey was proving to be a tough match. Toomey has attacked Specter for being “too moderate” on social and economic issues. He lost Pennsylvania’s primary to Specter in 2004 but with experience as president of the conservative Club for Growth, is proving to be an ominous candidate in 2010. Is Specter turning out to be one of the most indecisive politicians in Washington (second only to the ultimate flip-flopper, Joe Lieberman) or are Republicans really alienating the politically moderate? Perhaps Specter’s cry of political freedom will strike a chord in other conservative moderates who will also take the brave jump to the other side.

paint the nation blue Maya Ono [2011]



Twilight-Induced Delirium Michelle Hamada [2011]


Is your ideal man a pale skinned immortal who sparkles in the sun? Whenever someone acts strangely do you suspect that he or she might be a vampire? When you get any sort of cut or scrape do you wonder if someone out there is intensely attracted to the scent of your blood? If you have any of these symptoms you might be suffering from a disease known as Twilight-itus. The strange and horribly crippling Twilight-itus is the irrational fervor experienced by those who have read Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, a story that created tremendous hype as a book and accumulated even greater fandom as a feature film. The young-adult novel follows Bella, a shy teenage girl and her tortured, dramatic romance with Edward, a gorgeous and mysterious vampire forever stuck in his seventeenyear-old form. The books deal with the typical trials of young love: insecurity, miscommunication, jealousy, love triangles and all the other great mishaps we deal with in our own mortal romances. However, their romance is intensified by Edward’s restraint to fully consummate his attraction to the scent of Bella’s blood. Author Stephenie Meyer’s Mormon background materializes through Edward’s restraint completely uncharacteristic to his teenage boy appearance, in what Time magazine called “the erotics of abstinence.” Their passion is not marked by the sordid make-out sessions one would see on Gossip Girl or on the trashy “reality” shows MTV produces, but instead in the elongated moment before their lips meet. Although originally marketed towards tweenage middle/high


school girls, the Twilight audience has attracted people from all age groups, including a huge following of middleaged women (check out twilightmoms. com). A recent entry from the website demonstrates the longlasting effects of the novel: “Today my girlfriend dumped me proclaiming she wanted someone more like her ‘Edward.’ I asked her who Edward was. She held up a copy of the ‘Twilight’ book. She was talking about a fictional vampire. FML. (2/5/09)” Meanwhile, here at Soka, sophomore Ellyssa Daum spent the end of her summer traveling to the setting of the novel, Forks, Washington. Senior Stephanie “Zedi” Holmes also plans to stop in Forks during her post-graduation road trip with her best friend. In fact, the normally sleepy town of Forks (pop: 3,100), has received an unprecedented number of Twilight tourists and has begun to capitalize off of the recent fame. Restaurants in Forks now serve Bellaburgers, and Bellasagna, while the local candy store sells chocolate called “Edward bites.” A recreation of Bella’s red 1953 Chevy pickup is permanently parked in front of the Forks Chamber of Commerce. I wish I could simply report on the absurdity of this phenomenon, but the recent outbreak of Twilight-itus has not only hit my closest friends and family (my mom is on her second cycle of reading the Twilight saga), but I, too— embarrassing as it is—must admit that I am a casualty of this epidemic. Fortunately, here at Soka Twilight fans have a sort of informal support group where we try to remind each other to do our homework. Sophomore, Krystal Roush advised me not to read the fourth book until after finals. “After I read the fourth book,” she claimed,

“I kept thinking I would see Edward everywhere. It messes with your brain. Wait.” I can only relate the experience of reading these books on the brain to a drug addict’s all- consuming physical desire for his drug of choice. I wish I was kidding. Honestly, the other day in Core II, when Sarah England asked how Freudian belief was present in our current society, I thought immediately of Edward and his internal battle between his vampire instinct to kill and his human control. The rest of the class was a blur as I pondered what Freud would think of vampires and whether there was any evidence that Stephenie Meyer was influenced by Freudian ideology. The passion present in these books has obviously struck a chord, but why? I think a large reason is a reaction to the way we perceive the limitations in our own lives – consisting of the economic crisis, school stress, frustration, and teenage boredom. Speaking for myself, I struggle with balancing homework, club activities, relationship fiascos, and keeping my room clean, all while trying to remember to brush my hair in the morning. Life is good, but not epic. The Twilight Saga, on the other hand, is shamelessly dramatic, intensifying a teenage romance to a battle with immortality, restraint, and the complexities of humanity (as defined through the internal struggles of a vampire). It’s intoxicating because the passion in which the characters deal with their struggles is what we’re lacking. True love, eternity, even words like courage, integrity, and honor are only occasionally mentioned and thought of. And the “erotics of abstinence?” Are you kidding? This is college!

patrick duffy& the crab

a new generation of web shows Jean Marcus [2011] become a trendy—and cheap—way to tell stories. During the SUA Peace Gala last year, the Pearl team had the opportunity to interview actor and guest Patrick Duffy. One of the many things he told us was that he was working on a show, on which he and a puppet crab would talk about anything. “It is going to be called Patrick Duffy and the Crab” he said with apparent enthusiasm. One month ago the first episode, entitled “Patrick Duffy and the Crab discuss Facebook and Ringtones,” was uploaded and already has 45,000 views. Doesn’t sound like much, but if it keeps going it might transform into a hit, like many other less professional videos on YouTube. Or like The Guild. In October of 2008 I had the opportunity to venture to the Blizzcon, one of the biggest gamer conferences in the world, to present products from Blizzard (such as World of Warcraft and the Serie

Diablo). Regardless of the geekiness of such an exploit, one event was a press conference with the cast of The Guild. To be honest, I had no clue what it was at the time but I went to take a peek. In a room with thousands of people and many others waiting to enter, people were enthusiastic about this small group of, for me, unknown actors. After the conference I took a look and saw that this Guild was a show ranging from 3 to 5 minute episodes on YouTube! In the beginning they made their show by themselves with a small camera, and now they have advertisers. We are in a time of quick information created by anyone, and entertainment couldn’t go anywhere different. It can be a blessing or curse to the development of mankind, as anything else in the future. But as good renaissance citizens, we have to be ready to embrace it and put it to work in the best way possible. So go get your cameras and tell a story!


Sharing stories is what we enjoy most, be it around a campfire or through images on a gargantuan IMAX screen. One of the most beautiful movements in this revolution of being human is to reinvent ways to tell those stories, as well as finding new media through which those stories can be transmitted. In the “Internet Era” the feeling of being around the campfire has been updated through YouTube. Anyone can show the entire world anything they want. All you need is a camera. And not even a good one. From this concept of having entertainment production in anyone’s hands, web shows started to pop up around the YouTube sphere. It is not necessary anymore to have millions of dollars and a TV channel to broadcast our imagination. With the ascension of YouTube and the affordable prices of High Definition camcorders, you can defy any corporation monster with your own stories. And that is how web shows


Right Here, Right Now Thoughts on the Financial Crisis from an SUA Alumnus Rekha Gokhale [2007]

After graduating from SUA two years ago, I began working in Japan. Last year, quite suddenly I realized that the dollar dropping in America affected financial systems all over the globe; food prices hiked up in Japan, and the Indian rupee fluctuated wildly every 24 hours. People talked of major auto companies like Toyota facing bankruptcy and thousands being laid off in Japan and the U.S. SUA professor of Economics, Hong-yi Chen, explained that since the Great Depression, a culture of heavy consumerism has emerged in developed countries, particularly in the U.S. Consumerism supported the failing economy during the depression, and so, to avoid another depression the U.S. government has consistently influenced increased consumerism ever since. Financial markets profiting from the credit system gave out loan after loan, overlooking the reality that people could not repay them. Thus, a system of ‘fake prosperity’ or a ‘bubble economy’ emerged. If someone could not pay up and money stopped flowing in the market, the whole system collapsed. According to Prof. Chen, however, one cannot blame financial institutions alone: “I think the root is really in the people greedy for material enjoyment.”


In his 2007 Peace Proposal to the UN, founder Dr. Daisaku Ikeda wrote a short piece entitled Taming Capitalism in which he underlined the errors in giving free reign to the abstractions of currency and credit that have no real connection with everyday life: “Money can of course function as a means of meeting the absolute needs


of daily life. But when it comes to relative needs, money, as capital, can easily become an end in itself, locked into a spiral of ceaseless increase and accumulation. Our present-day system of values is said to be diversifying, but it is in fact becoming more solely focused on money….As individuals and as societies, we need to develop the capacity to control money and capital rather than sinking into commodity fetishism.” SUA alum Sherman Sogabe (‘07), now working as a manager at a seafood market in Las Vegas, believes that American markets are failing because “there’s been a huge lack of innovation during the last couple of years.” Sogabe feels that the fundamental problem lies in a largely sterile education system that raises analytical copycats, instead of creative individuals who can contribute to the market. The present narrow market leaves thousands laid-off with no alternative means of survival. “If we open more manufacturing companies, or innovative design firms in the Creative Arts area, we can build more jobs to help more families, and speed up economic growth.” Sogabe believes the Obama administration is doing their best to raise Americans’ confidence, while taking appropriate steps to regulate banks, health care and education in the country. But the situation is still very delicate. Following up on the economic crisis, Dr. Ikeda’s 2009 Peace Proposal introduces the concept of a humanitarian competition, in comparison to the military, economic and political

competitions the world has known so far. Educational reformer Tsunesaburo Makiguchi analyzed and envisioned the concept of humanitarian competition, or global cooperation, in his book The Geography of Human Life, 100 years before the current crisis: “What is important is to set aside egotistical motives, striving to protect and improve not only one’s own life, but also the lives of others. One should do things for the sake of others, because by benefiting others, we benefit ourselves.” This statement is no longer an ideology, but a true and urgent fact that must be implemented. Prof. Chen concurs with Makiguchi. She predicts that the comeback for America and other countries will depend on how human society and the international community respond to the present crisis: “It is a warning to the international community for the future, of the instability in having one powerful country like the United States dominating international affairs.” It is imperative that the international community cooperate to solve the current crisis. At the recent G20 Summit, Obama called for support from the international community, but cooperation generally seems difficult. At a recent conference Prof. Chen’s friend, Chinese economist Dr. Lin proposed a win-win situation that resonates with Makiguchi’s concept of humanitarian competition. Developed countries should assist developing countries with financial resources to improve their infrastructure, like transport and communication. Assisting the economic growth of

developing countries will encourage more trade activity, ultimately leading to a sustainable increase in global economic growth. This is a win-win proposal for both sides; developing countries will get the very badly needed financial resources, increasing the rate of trade, and this in turn will help developed countries stay out of depression. Globalization has made the world highly interconnected. In Sogabe’s view, the best step America can take is to increase foreign aid, on which America currently spends less than 1% of its GDP. Sogabe says, “Creativity is not restricted to country, religion or ethnicity. If we can help [developing countries] up their education level, thus bringing up their level of innovation, that would encourage more manufacturing, more production, more trading and thus overall economic stability.” At the conference, Dr. Lin stressed the responsibility of intellectuals to educate people about the right direction for humanity. I feel that SUA students can also play a significant role in assisting the current crisis. We have a diverse international community gathered on one campus. What can we do to fight the crisis? Talk to your professors, to one another, and to people, write to leaders in your respective countries, and persuade them to make the right decision. There is so much we can do if we only act. Stand up SUA! Show the true purpose of a value-creative education, by beginning the most fulfilling part of your SUA career, right here, right now!

*Parts of this article have been taken from Dr. Daisaku Ikeda’s 2007 and 2009 Peace Proposals.

Alberto Fujimori

Elizabeth Pastor [2009]

Strongman of a Fragile Democracy Polls suggest that the majority of Peruvians think Fujimori is guilty. However, some still strongly believe in his innocence. This division is rooted in the paradox of the twofaced “Strongman” of a democratically fragile country in crisis. During the 90s, the Shining Path’s terrorist assaults on peasant communities, authorities, and politicians in the highlands and cities of Peru triggered a state of terror. I still remember blackouts and water shortages almost every day at home as a result of the car bomb attacks on power towers and water channels. On the news, I watched Fujimori closing down the Congress and other state buildings with military forces seizing almost all of downtown Lima, the capital. He created a new de facto constitution and implemented a 10 pm curfew. Raids occurred almost every day, on the buses and in homes. In addition to the terrorist assaults and military interventions, the critical atmosphere of the time involved mistrust towards the corrupt policemen and authorities. Neither the authorities nor the guerrilla were perceived to be trusted. Once, my home was raided and my father was taken

along with many of my neighbors to the police station on a military truck, simply because they found a red book with a sickle and hammer on the cover hidden in a trunk under my bed. Contrary to thousands of other cases, my dad luckily returned after two hours. My mom and uncle, a policeman at the time, successfully bribed the Sergeant. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), around 20,000 people were identified as either disappeared or forcibly arrested during the 90s. Women alleged being raped by guerrillas or military, or in many cases by both. Students who sympathized with the left were expelled from universities and others quit school for security reasons like my neighbor, an economics student at the most prestigious national university, San Marcos University. Thousands of people arrested like my father stayed in jail for more than five years without trial. What the TRC brought to the people goes beyond the actual Fujimori case. It is about our current fragile democracy.


On April 7, 2009 the Peruvian Supreme Court sentenced Alberto Fujimori, the ex-president of Peru, to 25 years in prison for his participation as a “mediate author” of the massacres of “La Cantuta” and “Barrios Altos,” as well as the kidnappings of businessman Samuel Dyer and journalist Gustavo Gorriti during the military’s countersubversion against the Maoist-Leninist Revolutionary guerrilla, the Shining Path in the 1990s. This sixteen-month trial was televised weekly as the “Century’s Trial.” On November, 2000, after a decade in power (1990-2000), Fujimori left Peru, attempting to escape the scandals of corruption involving his advisor and head of the National Intelligence Agency (Servicio de Inteligencia Nacional-SIN) Vladimiro Montesinos. He went to Tokyo, Japan and managed to stay there as a fugitive for five years because of his Japanese citizenship. In November, 2005, Fujimori left Tokyo and arrived in Chile, where the Chilean Supreme Court arrested him and two years later authorized his extradition to Peru to face prosecution on the aforementioned charges.



Apollos Ground





A Look Back At Important Technological Court Decisions

Katrina Ortiz [2012]

CASE Harald Welte v. Sitecom (2004) LOCATION Munich, Germany



Unlike the United States or the United Kingdom, Germany does not have a common law tradition. Therefore, there is no system of precedent established by the disposition of particular

cases. Instead, German case law binds only those who are parties in a particular action, and not parties who bring separate actions in the future. The German system is a civil law tradition which

relies on a series of codes, and to a lesser degree customary law, to establish a legal framework. *http://law.


The most important source of law in Germany is its Constitution or what is referred to as Basic Law. The Basic Law was introduced in 1949 and was originally intended to serve

as a starting point on which to structure a new German democracy following the end of WWII. Despite the fact that the Basic Law was originally viewed as a temporary document, it has

become a crucial source of rights for the German people, and all those within Germany. The first nineteen articles of the Basic Law establish the basic rights of the German people.


The courts in the Federal Republic of Germany can be divided into three categories: ordinary courts that hear civil and criminal matters; specialized courts; and Constitutional courts. In civil cases, original jurisdiction lies with either

the local or regional court; in criminal cases, depending on the type of criminal activity alleged, original jurisdiction may lie in the higher regional court, also referred to as the appellate court. The highest court in the ordinary court system

is the Federal Court of Justice. It is the court of last resort for actions originating in the regional or appellate courts, but does not have original jurisdiction in any proceeding and does not hear appeals from the local courts. Germany.htm

“German court requires company to comply with terms of General Public License, Giving legal weight to the increasingly important document that governs Linux and other open-source programs�



This case has to do with netfilter/iptables, an open-source networking software which performs such tasks as creating firewalls to protect networks from unwanted traffic. Harald Welte, one of the initial creators of netfilter, sued Dutch company Sitecom, for using the software in a wireless network product without abiding by the terms of the General Public License (GPL). In early April of 2004, a three-judge panel in a Munich court granted Welte's request for a preliminary injunction to stop any distribution of the product that doesn’t comply with the GPL. Specifically, the court forbade Sitecom's German subsidiary from distributing the netfilter software without attaching the GPL text and the netfilter source code free of royalties. The importance of the case has to do with the broader ramifications for a software industry increasingly dependent on the

GPL. "This would be the first reported decision I'm aware of that interprets the GPL," said Brian Kelly, an intellectual-property attorney with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. "Case law interpreting the GPL is both inevitable and useful, because parties are going to end up fighting over ambiguities in the license." The decision lends weight to the license, said John Ferrell of law firm Carr & Ferrell. "This preliminary German decision reinforces the essential obligations of the GPL by requiring that if you adopt and distribute GPL code, you must include the GPL license terms and provide source code to users," he said. The decision could also help Welte to track down GPL violators in general. Welte claimed to have received many reports of alleged violators and has actively pursued several cases, claiming to have convinced Allnet, Fujitsu-Siemens, Securepoint, Belkin and Asus

into GPL compliance with their wireless networking products. Though a decision in Germany isn't directly relevant to cases in the United States, the countries' copyright and contracts laws are similar. This case was landmark for 2004 in that it is the first time the court began to increasingly scrutinize GPL. Reasons for this revolve around the fact that the popularity of servers using open-source operating systems such as Linux was steadily increasing. Other GPL-covered projects, including software for word processing, network adapters and Windows file sharing were also beginning to come to fruition at this point as well. Five years have passed since this case began what was assumed would be a wave of persecuting GPL violators—however this type of court action in the U.S. remains to be seen.




GRADUATION 2009! Compiled by Jessica Bennett [2009] The Class of 2009 is finally graduating! We asked them to tell us their plans post-grad and got an overwhelming number of responses. So, if you’re curious where many of your beloved seniors will be in the future, look no further. And don’t forget to check up on us on facebook too!

You’re graduating from SUA… what will you do now? Witty and wacky Mr. Kerry Barclay: “I’m going nomad…” Future performing artist, Ms. Jessica Bennett: “I will pursue stage and musical theater in New York, participating in an acting program while working and auditioning. I hope to later teach performing arts. Please stay in touch & shine on you crazy diamonds!” The petite and pretty fashion icon, Ms. Rhea Bithar: “I'm going to work as a wedding planner in India!” Spirited and inspiring Indian beauty Ms. Alankrita Chhikara: “I am going back to India to apply to the Indian Civil Services. It was a hard decision, but thinking about how to best put my Soka education to use, I decided that staying in America would be easier than returning to India. So, I am off to reduce the chaos in India and shine as a global citizen! Come visit me!” The pretty and hilarious track star, Ms. Emily Dixon: “I am taking a bunch of science and math classes and then applying to a pre-med program.” Hip-hoppin’, Club Senate-leadin’, gorgeous gal Ms. Carrie Finsilver: “First, I plan to go home and spend a few months with my family. In August, I will start work as a Peace Corps volunteer and although I don’t know yet exactly which country, I will be somewhere in Central Asia! Come visit me!” The fierce, fearless dancing beauty Ms. Carolyn Garciaguirre: “I am moving to New York and attending Columbia University's Teacher's College for 2 years in the Elementary Inclusive Education-Preservice program.” Soccer pro and great guy, Mr. Mitsuaki Hirai – “My plan after Soka is to attend a graduate school in the field of public health at UCLA or Boston (I have not decided yet).” Awesome, strong and lovable Mr. Masahiko “Macha” Hirano: “I will join a graduate program at University of Washington (Seattle) for education.”


She’s passionate and lovely, Ms. Jennifer Akiko Ijichi: “I will be attending Seton Hall University's MA in Diplomacy and International Relations program!” Born and bred in Kansai, the chill and chevere Mr. Takayuki “Iza” Izaki: “My plan is to work in Japan for 4 years and get a teaching degree at the same time.”


She’s the only ‘09er from Korea, the charming Ms. Yun Mee Jung: “Starting this fall, I will attend an MA program in East Asian Studies at Stanford University. I've always wanted to contribute to building peace and friendship in East Asia, especially among China, Korea, and Japan. I believe this is the first step toward my dream.” The pretty and sweet piano pro, Ms. Taemi Kawasaki: “I'm going to attend the International and Comparative Education Program at Columbia Teachers College to study education policies and systems.” A very loud and lovely Indian lady, Ms. Pavitra Kavya: “I plan to pursue a degree in Human Resource Management Education and work as an I/O psychologist. I also want to go to film school for direction. So I see myself doubling up as a psychologist and making films on the side. But mostly living each moment king-size.” Humble and elegant, Ms. Takae Koizumi: “I'm going back to Japan and attending a law school there.” Charming and hardworking AD gal Ms. Erika “Eppon” Kubo: “I’m going to grad school to become a counselor!” The samba-dancing, always smiling Brazilian beauty, Ms. Cintia Kussuda: “I will be learning Japanese culture and teaching English in Japan after graduation.” The always fashionable and exquisite Ms. Theresa Liu: “I will do a PR internship in a museum for one year. Afterwards, I will attend graduate school for a Masters in visual arts administration.” Ghungroo dancing, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese-speaking beauty Ms. Hiromi Makiuchi: “I’m attending Teacher's College, Columbia University for my Clinical Psychology Masters.” She’s from Japan, not India! The soulful and sultry Ms. Sonal Malkani: “Beginning in July, I will be interning at Eternal Ganges Press in New Delhi, India for a year. After that, I hope to attend graduate school in New York for an MFA in creative writing.” Sweetly intense and beauteous, Ms. Rhea Mahbubani: “The September after graduation, I will join NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. My focus for the next year-and-ahalf will be Reporting the Nation, which includes writing, reporting and developing multimedia content in order to cover major national issues. This program promises to get me out of my comfort-zone to become a fearless reporter and writer.” The goofy Georgia peach, Ms. Yuki Matsuyama: “I'm looking for a job right now.”


Lovely, compassionate and an amazing basketball player, Ms. Sari Nakayama: “I will most likely be an after school teacher (Math) at a private elementary/middle school in Culver City and on Saturdays I will work at a Japanese school. I am so determined to work as a teacher in LA for at least a year.”


“The one thing I gained from studying at Soka, beyond academics and being involved in club activities, was learning about and understanding myself. It’s important to always be self-critical—to learn how to be self-critical and to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. We are not perfect and we are not meant to be. To me, this has been the most painful, but best learning experience. For those of you freaking out about your future, don’t worry! I didn’t know I wanted to go to graduate school until right before my senior year; we have our whole lifetime to accomplish the things we want, and having set plans right after graduation doesn’t guarantee a secure life. I know many of my classmates still don’t know exactly what they’re doing after graduation, and that’s the beauty of life. It’s always important to think about where your passions lie and go from there. Best of luck!”


–Kazumi Tsuchiya


Charming singing sensation Ms. Yuko “Yupi” Nakazawa: “I'm going to a graduate school to become an elementary school teacher.” Sweet tea-drinkin’ southern belle, Ms. Margaret Nelson: “My goal is to be a rockstar and make big money!” She’s smart, sweet and cute, Ms. Yukiko “Obachan” Obata: “I'm going to a Japanese university to finish my undergrad education in physics and will be pursuing physics at a grad school in the US.” Silly, sweet and pretty Ms. Yuko Ogawa: “After my graduation, I am going to graduate school in psychology. I am applying for it during the next semester.” A dream boyfriend, the affable and sweet Mr. Ryan Park: “Final Answer: Fulfill my dreams... and eat cookies with milk. (Which means I don't know my plans yet but once I find out, I will let you all know).” Javelin thrower and future doctor Mr. Russell Randall: “I am going to pursue my medical career, attending a post-baccalaureate graduate program, taking MCATs and applying to medical schools.” Indian beauty Ms. Shreyanka Rao: “?” Former presidente and musician extraordinaire Mr. Eric Reker: “Beginning fall 2009, I will attend the Cornell Institute of Public Affairs in Ithaca, NY, to study public administration and policy development.” She’s a slurpee-loving activist (and she’s cute too!), Ms. Nikkie Ritchie: “I’m looking to work on campaigns that create positive change on a local, state, national, or international level. I am going to ROCK THE WORLD.” Mellifluous sun-inhaler Ms. Dulce Rivera: “I will be a Renaissance woman in search of the elixir of eternal life!” He can run fast, talk politics and dance smooth, Mr. Zane Romano: “I’m going to travel this summer, and then begin working for the Department of State in August. After 2 years of working with the DOS I plan to return to my studies as I pursue a graduate degree and thereafter further my career in politics, which will positively promote SUA to thousands if not millions of people.” I could listen to her accent all day; the lovely Ms. Amy Samuels: “I am going home to England to work for the rest of this year. Currently, my intention is to save money so I can go to Japan next year to continue my studies in Japanese.”

The revolutionary, real and rad Ms. Anna Schindler: “work + live with the BEST PARENTS EVER + study + BE WITH THE MOST AWESOME CAT EVER + watch children + defer loan payments + get married + track down bad people and get even + watch movies, PBS, & CurrentTV” You know her as a beautiful, strong and savvy lady who tells it like it is, the one and only Ms. Lana Shapiro: “I’m moving home and finding a job. ASAP.” The Hawaiian hottie whose voice makes us all melt, Mr. Ryo Shintani: “I am coming back to SUA for the Fall Semester of 2009. After that, my dream is to go to school to study music therapy.” She’s sweet, but a spicy dancer, the charming Ms. Tomomi “Taga” Tagawa: “I'm going to study public policy at Cornell University. My concentration will be international development.” She has a sweet smile and personality, the dainty Ms. Masako Terada: “I will be working somewhere in Japan.” The beautiful and opinionated Ms. Yuko Tomita: “After graduation I will be going to Tanzania to intern at UNHCR for a month or so and will also visit my family in Japan for a month. In October, I’m moving to England to pursue a Masters in Gender and Development at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. If you are ever in England or wherever I will be in the future, please let me know! I will take you on a tour of the city and make sure you have fun! ; ) Good luck with everything and keep in touch! I will miss you guys.” From Nor Cal (the best place on earth), she’s determined and pretty, Ms. Kazumi Tsuchiya: “I’m going to graduate school for Public Health. For a while, I was debating where to go— University of Michigan or Boston University— since they are both really great schools. But, I finally decided on U of Michigan! If you’re ever there, please come visit me—I’ll be there for at least two years!” Future basketball star and current stud Mr. Mitch Valdes: “WHEN (emphasis on the when) I graduate in 2010, I will play professional basketball in Japan for a couple of years, hopefully coming back to play in the NBA someday. Later on in life, I will become a high school principal and, after that, the Athletic Director of SUA!”


He’s everyone’s favorite Indonesian guy, the vivacious Mr. Tommy Yotes: “I am still waiting for the financial aid from my grad schools. If everything goes smoothly, I will be studying comparative politics either at the London School of Economics or at the Graduate Institute of Geneva.”


Founder’s Corner Daisaku Ikeda


Dialogue with Dr. Aurelio Peccei, too late!’ That man was Dr. Aurelio Cofounder of the Club of Rome, Peccei (1908-84), first president and 1975 cofounder of the world-renowned global think tank, the Club of Rome. There is a famous riddle. He warned of the devastating Water lilies are growing in a pond. consequences of exploding Large lily pads are floating on the population growth, environmental surface. They double in number degradation, the waste of natural every day. The first day there is one resources, and the tragic gap in lily pad, the second day there are wealth between the developed and two, the third day there are four, developing nations. All these factors the fourth day there are eight, and were intertwined, he said, and if so forth. If the entire surface of the left unaddressed would trigger a pond were to be covered by lily pads chain reaction leading to the day of on the thirtieth day, on what day destruction. would it be half-covered? The answer, of course, is the We’re out of Time day before—the twenty-ninth. One day before the pond is completely Dr. Peccei said to me that world covered, half of its surface will be leaders today are irresponsible. If free. Everything seems to be all we allow things to continue as they right—there’s still plenty of room. are, the world will become a barren But by the very next day, in just a place in the twenty-first century, brief interval of time, it’s all over— and both nature and humanity will there’s no more room left. be destroyed. Though this truth is Anyone might notice that the right before our eyes, he asserted, end is near if they saw the pond on political leaders, business leaders, the twenty-eighth or twenty-ninth scientists, scholars, and bureaucrats day. However, there is one individual do nothing; they think only of their who noticed the danger much earlier immediate self-interest. They place and who cried out: ‘If we don’t do a higher priority on preserving their something right away, it will be own lifestyle than thinking about


what kind of world they will leave to their children and grandchildren. That is why, he stated, humanity itself must undergo a revolution. And a speedy one at that: there is no time left. An Outdoor Salon I first met Dr. Peccei under the blue skies of Paris. White apple blossoms shimmered in the spring breeze…Apologizing that the room [we sat in] was small and cramped, I said: “The garden is very pretty. Why don’t we go outside?” Dr. Peccei thought that was a splendid idea, and he smiled warmly. He seemed to share my dislike for empty formality. He stood up and his energetic movements immediately struck me as those of a man of action. Dr. Peccei was a survivor of decades in the harshly competitive business world… The rays of the sun were strong, so we set up an orange parasol on the green lawn and carried some armchairs outdoors. In a flash, our impromptu salon was complete. We Need a Human Revolution More than an IT Revolution

As Dr. Peccei spoke, he sometimes leaned forward in his chair with great intensity. The human race, he said, has experienced three revolutions so far: the industrial revolution, the scientific revolution, and the technological revolution. All of these were external revolutions. The problem was that the wisdom needed to decide how to use the fruits of those revolutions was as yet undeveloped. The human race, which possesses an astonishing amount of knowledge, is astonishingly ignorant of how it should behave, he continued. Though our technology is developing quickly, culturally our development has stopped and petrified. To bridge that gap, he insisted, we need a renaissance of the human spirit, a revolution of human beings themselves.

population and industrial growth continued to increase at the present rate, natural resources would be depleted, the environment would be polluted, and there would be widespread food shortages in less than one hundred years. A year later, in 1973, the oil shock occurred. ‘No oil!’ Stoppages in oil supplies made the entire world tremble. The club of Rome report’s warning took on a very real dimension in far less than a hundred years. Everyone was concerned that the wealth of the present was indeed short-lived. But Dr. Peccei’s main point was not that we must develop alternative resources because the old ones are running out; he was trying to elevate the discussion to an entirely different level. He asserted that the frantic pursuit of ever greater wealth, ever greater development, ever greater economic growth as Limits to Growth humanity’s sole objective was itself profoundly mistaken. As long as In 1972, three years before Dr. we proceeded on that path, then Peccei and I had our first meeting regardless of the energy resource, in Paris, the Club of Rome had it would be rapidly depleted and published its first report, “The pollute the environment. Limits to Growth,” which stirred up As he pointed out, the great controversy. It warned that if present generation will consume

more natural resources during their lifetime than all generations preceding them. And all to what end? Dr. Peccei believed that humanity had been spiritually corrupted by the myth of economic growth. This myth insists that we must always produce and consume more this year than last. Otherwise, we will lose the economic race and businesses will collapse. Political leaders will fail to get reelected. There is no choice: we must stay on the treadmill. If the planet goes to ruin or the exploited ‘have not’ nations starve, it can’t be helped. That is the prevailing mentality. The word development has become the mantra of our age, and behind the false hopes it offers lies the reality of future catastrophe, from which we continue to avert our eyes. To be continued. Selection excerpted from SGI Newsletter Sept. 2000, Recollections of My Meetings with Leading World Figures, Dr. Aurelio Peccei, Cofounder of the Club of Rome.



On Teaching Hiroshi Matsumoto, Ph.D.

Efforts to innovate classroom teaching and make learning intrinsically interesting to students


One position I held before coming to Soka University of America (SUA) was teaching at one of the Pac-10 universities located in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to Japanese language and linguistics, one of the courses I immensely enjoyed teaching was a series of interdisciplinary courses on Japanese culture (JPN 331, 332, & 333). They were taught in English. These courses were created by the university then to further strengthen its baccalaureate core curriculum aimed to assist students in grasping a broad perspective of world cultures. Unlike SUA, the majority of my students were Caucasian American students who had never visited a foreign country, experienced study abroad, or even acquainted themselves with any international students before. Facing such circumstances and needs, I made efforts to work with the university and develop the new course contents in such a way that they could help familiarize students


with not only Japanese culture (i.e., everyday life of the Japanese, such as dining, clothing, and leisure pursuits) but also Culture (more intangible/ abstract aspects, including their ways of thinking, and beliefs) (Matsumoto, 2009). I eventually developed the following course contents: JPN 331 focused on ancient Japanese culture. While covering the history of ancient Japan, the course explored the important beliefs and characteristics of ancient Japanese religions (Shintoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism). We also examined how intricately these ancient Japanese religious beliefs are intertwined with many facets of everyday life of the Japanese today. JPN 332 dealt with medieval Japanese culture. In this class, we studied various aspects of everyday life of the Japanese during the Edo Period (1603-1868), when the feudalistic classification system (mainly consisting of the classes of samurai warriors, peasants, craftsmen, merchants, aristocrats,

and outcasts) determined the framework of Japanese society to a great extent. More specifically, the course incorporated the following components: (1) Bushido, the way of samurai warriors, such as their dedication to the feudal master, which may still be alive in many Japanese businesspeople as loyalty to their companies, (2) multibusiness management styles the merchants adopted (i.e., while dealing with not only rice and sake, but also kimono fabric and money exchange), which led to more stable accumulation of wealth and hence laid the foundation of modern-time Japanese capitalism, (3) skills of the craftsmen, which contributed later to the high precision and quality among various industrial products in today’s Japan (such as electronics, cameras, and automobiles), and (4) the peasants’ hard work and diligence, which again may be the prototype of many Japanese workers’ work ethics today.

Finally, JPN 333 centered on modern Japanese culture. It shed light on various aspects of Japanese society (i.e., the group and hierarchy, the individual, and egalitarianism), government (including pacifist constitution and democracy), and business (especially, its emphasis on quality control and trust relationships). To make this class intrinsically interesting, I focused on asking students effective questions to help them think. For instance, we once examined the topic of the Japanese education system. While watching a segment of the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer program featuring Japanese education, we learned that high school students in Japan tend to study hard to be admitted into a small number of prestigious universities as the school names can ensure their future employment and social status. I asked my students, “How about in the United States?” to help them compare the two countries. Several students responded that there exist some extremely prestigious universities in the United States, as well, but each student’s grades

matter more in many American hiring practices. Then, I asked them, “Then, how about you? Why are you studying at this university?” to encourage them to apply and synthesize. One student was surprised and said, “I hadn’t thought of that question before.” The student continued, “Well, probably, the bottom line is money, isn’t it?” After a few moments, I said, “How about other students here?” “Do you all agree?” This topic was so stimulating and eye-opening that many students were really thinking in silence, until another student raised her hand. She said, “Professor Matsumoto, aren’t we probably learning here so that we can broaden our views and understand other people in the world better?” I was impressed with her answer. It occurred to me then that the answer to this question may differ depending on our philosophical orientations. I shared the following story: A well-known explorer was once asked, “Why are you trying to climb many high and dangerous mountains?” The explorer replied,

“Well, I climb mountains because there are mountains.” I explained to students that our purpose of studying in the university or taking a Japanese culture course may change depending on our philosophy, whether for practical or intrinsic purposes. I added, “I would really appreciate if many of you would pursue knowing not only because of pragmatic reasons, such as finding jobs and making money, but also more existential reasons, in other words, for its own sake.” Here at SUA, I helped develop four upper-level content courses in Japanese: JPN 401 (Cultural History of Japan), JPN 410 (Japanese Literature & Film), JPN 411 (Introduction to Practical Japanese Linguistics), and JPN 415 (Post-war Modern Japanese Culture and Contemporary Issues). They are taught in Japanese. My efforts to innovate classroom teaching and make learning intrinsically interesting continue here, as well. I will resume this article in another issue of The Pearl during the next school year.



Matsumoto, H. (2009). Efforts toward innovative Japanese language education for promoting cultural understanding among American university students: Examining the teaching efforts through Japanese language courses, Japanese culture courses, and Japan study abroad program. 7th Nihongo Kyouiku Gakkai Jissen Kenkyu Forum Houkoku.



staff profile: Adam Berube

thoughts on SUA and how to pursue your passions. Jihii Jolly [2011] So you’re an undergraduate student at SUA, involved in too many activities, regularly lacking sleep and a Soul Wings Singer/Ghungroo Dancer/Department Chair/RA who is passionate about your weekly television addictions. You’re likely confused about how your overstuffed planner is somehow magically going to compliment your pending Liberal Arts Degree with a concentration in who knows what. By graduation, you’ll be well-versed in the enduring questions of humanity and pretty fluent in Chinese with a cool circle of friends somewhere in Shanghai. You’re colorful. Your pocket is filled with interesting anthropological theories and you could probably carry out a lengthy conversation about your Capstone topic and the nuances of Chinese culture that you’ve experienced firsthand. Now what? This whole “forging your own path” thing seems way off the radar, because you need a job and house and some new friends now that you’re leaving the Soka family behind. We happened to run into some inspiration that we thought we could share with you, from someone who is familiar with the dilemma we’ll all inevitably face, and as addicted to LOST as our generation.


Adam Berube, SUA’s selfdescribed fabulous, funny, and caring Residence Hall Coordinator seems the perfect match for a school he describes as amazing, warm, and providing. But really, aside from that guy who can bust you when you’re boisterously involved in underage drinking; that guy who’s always eating really healthily in the cafeteria or working out at the gym, who is Adam Berube? What’s his story? How did he get here – to the land of sunshine, legendary Taiko drumming and global citizenship? Adam’s passions are dance and Res. Life. He started taking theatre and dance classes back in fourth grade. When he went to Keene State College in New Hampshire, he thought he wanted to be a High School English teacher but two education classes later, he changed his mind. Four years after that, he graduated with a degree in Theatre and Dance. Three out of those four years, he was an RA and loved it. “I loved the bonds that I made with my residents and the difference that I could make so easily and so quickly. It wasn’t something I had to wait for a long period of time to see results. I could do programs – people could learn stuff right away.” So, spring of his senior year, he started applying to jobs and was hired as an RHC at SUA. A few weeks after graduation, he packed up and drove across the country just in time


to receive the incoming class of 2011, also packing up their lives around the world and moving to sunny California. Yet as much as he loves his job at Soka, his first year in California was tough. Aside from the perks of being so close to Laguna Beach, like many students have often complained, he hated living in Orange County and he missed his friends and family. Soka however, was nurturing. Although surprised to not meet another Caucasian person on campus until his second week of work, Adam appreciates the diversity of students at SUA. Coming from a predominantly Caucasian, larger East Coast school, the presence of such a variety of cultures at Soka has helped him learn a lot about himself and others. Adam has often been asked if he regrets getting his degree in dance. He doesn’t. During the Fall of 2008 and 2009 he taught dance classes at SUA’s Recreation Center and this past spring he choreographed the musical Urinetown at Aliso Niguel High School. He says, “I’m happy with the path that I chose because I got to pursue two of my loves, my passions. Dance and Student Affairs/ Residential Life were the two things I really loved in college so I pursued both of them and I was really able to create my own path, which led me here.” Although he’s still not entirely certain what he wants to do with his

life, he says he’s comfortable now. He’s considering the possibilities of graduate studies in higher education or movement therapy in dance. When we asked him if he has any life mottoes that keep him the smiling person we so often see, he said he has many, but particularly: “This feeling is only temporary…I find that when I am so hung up on something and it is really getting me down, I can say, this feeling is only temporary. If you dwell too much on something and it’s out of your control to change immediately…I’ve learned that it’s important to just address the situation at hand and to move on, to let it go.” He too has consciously processed and internalized the mission of SUA and works in his own ways to keep the student body engaged, aware and comfortable. So we’re thinking that it’s okay to have no idea where you’re headed after SUA. We’ve seen firsthand that it’s possible to stay true to your passions and pave your own way while finding an apartment, job and community to call home. And while we too, are continually redefining ourselves and adjusting to our new environments, Adam inspires us with his own way of defining himself: “in the ways I can make other people happy.”

Here are some highlights from our interview with him: Pearl: What sets SUA apart from other schools (in good ways or bad ways)? Adam: In my department, in Res. Life, [at another school] I would be on duty as an RA and I would write at least 3 incident reports a week – 3 a weekend was normal. I feel at this university, RA’s write maybe one or two an entire year…also I wish there were more opportunities for SUA students to become engaged in things off campus…I went to school in a place where the college was the center of the town…there was a long Main Street, shopping centers, restaurants, bars and everything was within walking distance. There was constant public transportation or you could ride your bike anywhere. [Also], it’s funny this whole idea of the 24-hour study room. My library at my college campus was 24-hours. There was nobody in there after 11 o’clock – not like it is here. It makes me wonder what expectations previous Soka students or current Soka students have set upon themselves or each other that requires them to have such awful sleeping patterns and eating patterns…it’s like binge studying. You stay up for 24-hours to study, take your exam and then you’ll sleep for two days. I never dealt with these things when I was an RA. I never had to deal with students who were up all night studying. I would deal with students who were binge drinking.


Pearl: What do you think of the student body at SUA? What is your relationship with them, in your own mind? Adam: When I was an RA and a student, I made connections with staff members and faculty members – they let me into their lives. I felt so privileged coming here and being able to provide those opportunities to students – like opening my apartment Wednesday nights for LOST, or just letting people use my apartment to cook dinner. I think especially in Res. Life those bonds are crucial when it comes to programming or just daily interactions and knowing my residents…knowing people on campus. Are they healthy? Are they successful? What can I do to help them out? Just having those social bonds first lays the groundwork for future connections.


study abroad

Chelsea Schwartz


As my anticipation for study abroad kept intensifying, I knew that I was going to love SUJ. When I arrived, I felt as if I was in some strange dream and I could barely believe what I was witnessing. Between the stunning cherry blossoms, gorgeous campus, irresistible aroma of Japanese food, and the warmth in the air, SUJ has been truly amazing! The first week, however, was extremely challenging and draining for me. We had several meetings and orientations, as well as a placement exam, which I could not sufficiently prepare for. I was also spending money like crazy on random fees, transportation and food. And it was difficult at times to communicate because I felt like I could not express my ideas clearly in Japanese. I would often get frustrated, but remained hopeful that things would improve. After the initial challenges, I can proudly say that I am loving my life here and feel well-adjusted. This


lifestyle is a lot more relaxed than life at SUA because the workload is not so demanding and you actually have a lot of free time! At the same time, I am changing some of my habits for the better. I sleep earlier because I have to bike or walk to school and cannot get up ten minutes before class (like I do every day at SUA). I am gaining more fluency in my Japanese as I constantly immerse myself in the language and culture. Classes are taught entirely in Japanese, which allows me to learn more. The friendships I am building are incredible and I feel like everyone here really supports one another. I’ve met people from all over the world, with whom I feel I can share my passion for SUA. The second you tell someone you are from SUA, they immediately smile and ask a plethora of questions, which makes me feel so proud to be an SUA student! I see so much sincerity in the people here and felt welcomed from the moment

I entered Japan! Even though it has only been a few weeks, I feel that I am growing so much. One of my main goals was to deepen my Buddhist faith. I had the great honor of seeing the Founder at the entrance ceremony and it was one of the most enriching experiences in my life! He really encouraged us to do our best in our studies and not to worry about anything. In addition, I feel my faith getting stronger because of everyone’s support. As a new member of SGI (Soka Gakkai International), I have faced a lot of prejudice in the U.S., which I do not encounter here. Instead, I feel a continuous sense of serenity and I am able to reflect on myself and what I want to achieve, without having to feel judged by anyone. Overall, Japan has been good to me and SUJ is truly a life-changing, special place. I’m so excited for more great things to come during study abroad!

study abroad

Swapnil Mathur

Study abroad is one part of Soka life that it seems many of us looks forward to. For me however, it was just another semester in another country. For me, being at SUA was already a ‘study-abroad’ of sorts, so I always wondered what the big deal was. In fact, I was kind of scared of study abroad, because I knew that I was as skilled at Japanese as a monkey is at chess. Then, before I knew it, it was time to depart from SUA to an experience, that I had been told, would change my life, possibly forever. It has been only twenty days since I have been in Japan (possibly more by the time you guys ready this) and the experience of being here is nothing short of overwhelming. Whenever I travel to a new place, I go with no preconceived notions, keeping in my mind that the experience of being in this new place has to be my experience, free from the influence of what people have told me. So when I came to Japan, I came here with an empty bag that needed to be filled up by novel experiences and boy, have the last twenty days been amazingwhat! Coming to Soka University (yes, it’s Soka University and NOT SUJ) as a representative of SUA is a really huge responsibility. Lately, I have discovered just how much the students here look up to those of us who come from SUA

and just how much respect we get, simply by virtue of the fact that we are from the American sister school. I think my welcome to my dormitory is the best example I can give. When I landed at Narita Airport, a nice gentleman from the international student’s office was there to pick me up and escort me to Soka University Campus. Upon arrival at the dorm, I was extremely shocked to see that some 60-odd residents of the dorm had gathered as a choir to welcome me by singing the SUA student song “On the Path of Peace.” That one moment was extremely overwhelming. It wasn’t till that very moment that I realized how much I missed SUA, even though it had just been two very amazing months that I had been away. After the initial greetings, hand-shakes and introductions, I was escorted to my very small, but surprisingly comfortable room, stocked with water, juice, some cake, candy and some chocolate. What followed was a week of orientation on different aspects of being a student at Soka University along with a placement test to determine at which level of Japanese the students would be placed. Before any of us knew it, classes had begun and, surprisingly enough, I was actually able to understand a lot of what was going on in class, despite the fact that

the classes are in Japanese only - sno English. For the first time, I got a solid dose of what the Japanese students must feel like being at SUA, having to take such difficult classes in a foreign language. Kudos to you guys for that! The last twenty days have been quite a learning experience, not only academically, but also in terms of sights, sounds and culture. Japan’s culture is very different from that of the US or India and for that fact I feel extremely glad that I chose Japan for my SA program. Not only do I get to go crazy in electronic shops or trip out at absolutely amazing concerts (electronic music is big in Japan) but also pig out on amazing Japanese food (I had the most spicy ramen the other day, that made me sweat out of every pore of my body!), experience the culture of this wonderful country and accumulate stories that will be the stuff of legends! Recently, A quic addition to the stuf of legends. I was taken on as the photographer for two big musicians as they made their date with jJapan; Dirty South from Australia and Infected Mushroom from IsrealIsrael. Infected Mushroom’s gig involved me photographing their show followed with hanging out with them the next day and doing a photo shoot for their upcoming album! From here, there is only going forward!



the galvanized Tommy Yotes [2009] and Sonal Malkani [2009]

This is a conversation between two friends, with scotch on the rocks and 12 days before we depart: Though that constructive spirit collides with the sense of responsibility to trailblaze our political thoughts, as seniors, we are unable to grasp the exigencies of our shared purposes. What are our shared purposes? I think one of our shared purposes is anchored in the idea of deconstructing this Manichean binarism of male and female, of the haves and have-nots, of black and white, of gay and straight, of Muslims and non-Muslims, of SGI and non-SGI, etc. Our current educational system is still centered on acapitalistic model that prevents many students from receiving a first-class education. Because of its young age, SUA, still trapped in this vicious cycle of the capitalistic production of knowledge, is unable to financially capacitate all students to receive such a humanistic education. Imagine an intelligent young girl living in a rural area in Cambodia who can afford the SUA application fee but not the funds to transport herself to Phnom Penh, the only site where she can take the SAT exam. Will we be able to finance this girl and many others like her one day? Will we be able to circumvent the politics of capitalism that breed such inhumane inequality? That is one of our shared purposes, right? Don’t you think that it is self-centered of us to ignore our privileged four years here? This is about providing greater access of Soka education to students worldwide. It’s about making the best use of money to invest in changes that we can create within the framework of our shared purposes. But it’s not all about money. That is definitely a crucial way of taking responsibility, but our life work can also reflect our shared purposes. We can also dedicate our lives to transforming the ideologies that reproduce such inequalities. By basing our vision of life on the sense of gratitude aimed towards the betterment of humanity, I think we can achieve what Daisaku Ikeda envisages as “devoting all of our efforts to the welfare of the people.”


What does he mean by that?


I think it is really simple. I challenge you to consider the politics of the micrological—the everyday human-to-human interactions.

For instance, it takes courage to be an openly gay person on our campus. I feel the necessity to shake the system and make other heterosexuals, especially guys, uncomfortable with my political stance on certain issues. I feel that one of the purposes of me being here is to introduce and galvanize the power of “the others” who are stereotyped within the dominant heterosexual structure. In order to work for the welfare of “the others,” we must deconstruct these fucked up formulaic generalizations attached to minorities such as gay people. As for me, it takes courage to be caught between nations and cultures. I live in the middle space, the in-between uncomfortable space, always struggling to defy the state of political madness that racially and nationally compartmentalizes people. I feel the necessity to shake the system and make everyone love the discomfortability of being geographically and culturally discrepant. One of the purposes of me being here is to introduce and galvanize the power of “the others” who are stereotyped within the ethnocentric culture. It is true that wherever I go, I feel exoticized as a woman. For instance, in the U.S. and in Japan as well, the exoticization of my identity is inevitable. If we are to advocate for “the others,” we must challenge everyone with whom we come into contact. In the framework of such micrological interactions, we must also bear in mind that SGI and non-SGI binarism is also a social construct that hinders us from being who we are as Soka students. We subconsciously divide our Soka community through such binarism. This runs the risk of jeopardizing our ability to achieve our shared purposes, and indeed, as SGI students ourselves, we feel that we must understand the responsibility that comes with constituting the majority. What is this responsibility, though? First, we cannot turn a blind eye to upholding our school value of non-sectarianism. As students being associated with the dominant religious group, we have to work toward raising the awareness that promotes inter-religious understanding and active (confrontational) dialogue. Second, we cannot succumb to the complacency of our ignorance toward the existence of students with different religious denominations. This means that SGI students have to be aware of misinterpretations of their actions reflected in their quotidian religious practices. We are sharing this Soka space together, and we must respect our neighbors as we try to create nurturing living conditions for every student. I am glad that we can openly share our thoughts with you before we graduate. I am glad that you are eavesdropping. We hope that our conversation triggers the madness within you. We challenge all of you to speak out. The Pearl, the cafeteria, the gameroom, the classroom, your teacher’s office, even your own room, they are all your blank canvases. Go crazy with the colors! Paint like everyone is watching, paint like no one is watching.


What will your story be? We’re all interested. Keep it real. We dare you to galvanize.



I am struggling to appreciate Aliso Viejo. How can I Erica Stein [2011] change my outlook on the city?


               I can’t count how many times a week I hear the statements “Aliso Viejo is sooooo boring,” or “I wish Soka was in a more interesting location!” I’d also be lying if I said I never complain about this small suburban town. However, after spending the weekend 5 hours north of Los Angeles – I have a newfound respect and appreciation for Aliso Viejo. Last weekend, a friend and I went to visit another friend in the countryside. The week prior to the trip I jokingly told my Soka friend that we would see more cows than people. I didn’t realize, at the time, that this statement would be utterly true.  After we passed Santa Barbara, it felt like we left civilization as we knew it. There were literally no people, no homes, no shopping malls, no restaurants, nothing. There were rest stops every 50 miles and lots of empty land. Despite the fact that it was incredibly beautiful, my friend and I were desperate to see human beings. You see, the two of us are city girls to the extreme. I was born in Los Angeles and she is a Manhattanite from New York City – neither of us was used to this setting. We kept expecting to see something familiar – anything familiar.  However, as we kept driving north, we only saw more empty land, more animals, and a lake. Now, I don’t want you to think that my New York City friend and I are not nature friendly. To the contrary! We love nature – however we both find that nature is better viewed in small doses or when you are intentionally planning to go see nature. Neither of us realized that we were going to be so immersed in it over the weekend. The friend that


we were visiting attends a university between Los Angeles and San Francisco. We expected a college town – more or less.                 When we arrived in my friend’s city, there was nothing to do. From his window I could see farm land, the freeway, and his 75year old neighbor in a rocking chair on his front porch. I also swear I saw a confederate flag or two. My friend and I joked that we left California in 2009 and entered Tennessee circa 1962. It was unbelievable. The best part was, we were in a college town, occupied by over 20,000 college students, but my Soka friend and I were homesick – for Aliso Viejo! A statement I never thought I would utter. Of course I loved and missed Soka on summer vacation and winter break, but I never longed for Aliso Viejo. This was a first for both my friend and me. While it is true that in this town, there were bars, restaurants, and a movie theatre, they were all within a four block radius! And while these bars, restaurants, and movie theatres stayed open way past the 10 p.m. Aliso Viejo closing time, it was absolutely no fun. We’d rather have everything close at 9:30 p.m. sharp in Orange County than be in this town where everything closed at 3 a.m.   After the weekend ended, we arrived back in Aliso Viejo ecstatic. We made it out alive without turning in to country bumpkins (my friend almost did turn into one, but I will spare her the embarrassment and not go in to detail about her interaction with a muscular horse…).We were so happy to be back home, in a city with people, restaurants, and things to do. We didn’t even care that no restaurant was open when we got

hungry at 10 p.m on our first night back.                This city girl can survive in Aliso Viejo.  Aliso Viejo offers a more urban setting and the restaurants, hookah bars, and attractions are pretty great. I also never realized how much there is to do in Irvine. Orange County is also ridiculously close to Disneyland. And if that wasn’t enough, Orange County is smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles and San Diego. What’s not to love? Furthermore, since I am on the topic of complaining… I’d like to mention why it is critically important that we all appreciate SUA.  In March, a friend who attends an Ivy League University came to visit Soka. She could not stop raving about how beautiful the campus was. She literally said that Soka was the most beautiful campus she had ever seen. I was stunned, because this girl has been to her fair share of college campuses, with friends at Columbia, Princeton, Wellesley, and UPenn – to name just a few.  She was also obsessed and addicted to the Soka food. She couldn’t believe the options, the quality, and the taste. Her visit was a reminder to me of how fortunate I am to attend this university. We are so lucky to attend such a beautiful school, with such great food, in a not so terrible location. So many people are desperate to get to Orange County – and we all complain so much. Maybe it is the fact that I almost turned into a country bumpkin, but I have a newfound appreciation for the school and its location. I hope this helps you appreciate Aliso Viejo just a little bit more.

October 19th, in the neighbourhood of Gávea, then a backwater suburb of Rio de Janeiro, a boy was born ready to explore the world. No, it was not me, although that is also the day of my birth. He was one of the greatest poets Brazil has ever had: Vinícius de Moraes. If you are expecting comparison between Moraes and me in this Brazilian Wax, all I can say is that I would be more than honored to be thought an equal to this incredible man. Vinícius loved the youth. I’m not sure what he was like when he was young himself, but when he grew older all he wanted was to live among young people to help them express their art. People often say that Tom Jobim, the famous composer of Garota de Ipanema, was the most important figure of Bossa Nova, because he was the heart of it. But it was Vinícius who put all of these people together in the bar of Copacabana to start this new beat, this mixture of Africa and Europe representing the mix of ethinicities in Brazil at the time. As the Bossa Nova flourished,

he leapt to create new projects with other musicians such as Baden Powell and Toquinho and he kept engaging in partnerships with young people, until his death in 1980. He knew that there should be this stream of life storming in all directions in order for people to feel human. His total confidence in the youth allowed him to constantly push new and fresh young artists to the spotlight. Although young at heart, Vinícius knew that his body could not follow up anymore. The day that I discovered I was born on the same day as Vinícius, I didn’t care. It was around 10 years after Vinícius’ death, and one of my uncles told me that I shared a birthday with the “poetinha” (the little poet), one of Vinícius’ nicknames. I shrugged my shoulders. I never liked poems anyway, I probably thought at the time. It was good that I did not have any interest in him in this early stage of my life or else I would probably try to emulate his life, step-by-step, and would not be here to tell you these things, unlike Pierre Menard, the author of Dom Quixote.

It was Jorge Luís Borges who presented Menard, who lived the exact same life as Miguel Cervantes to be able to reproduce the exact same story, only better. It is interesting to observe that similarities are the qualities which people conjecture to be attributes that make the people equal--the same birthday or life almost immediately puts you in the position of equivalence. For example, if your father is a flute enchanter, you would also become a great flute enchanter because of his influence. But what really happened between me and Vinícius was a great relationship of feelings, which is the capacity of accepting emotions for what they are. I know it sounds cheesy. But that is because I am thinking of an event that happened to Vinícius that resembles my life a lot. He was a diplomat and in the time of the military dictatorship in Brazil, the government was dismissing all the “homosexuals, alcoholics and depraved” from service. He returned for the dismissal and while being judged in the military court, his only remark was “I just want to make it clear that I am just an alcoholic.”

brazilian wax Jean Marcus [2011]



mission statement The Pearl strives to emulate slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s efforts to bring out the human side of every story. Following his courageous model, The Pearl opens channels of communication in an endeavor to articulately and respectfully express differing opinions. The contributors to The Pearl report on issues of concern for the campus, the local community and the globe, aiming to unify the campus toward the realization of the mission of Soka University of America.

Jessica Bennett is GRADUATING! WOOT WOOT!

Jihii Jolly needs a job.

Jean Marcus will lay down on a beach for 2 months straight while reading and writing, this time for pleasure.

Janice Lee is going to be in the city again.

I will think about playing Maple Story with you.

Emiko Kobayashi loves ‘09!

credits Jessica Bennett (Editor-In-Chief, Comedienne); Jihii Jolly (Managing Editor, Layout, OCD-specialist); Jean Marcus Silva (Public Relations Liaison, Layout, Spiritual Guide); Emiko Kobayashi (Business Manager, Sweet Tooth); Janice Lee (Photography, Layout, Spontaneous Laughter); Aaron Freedman, Robin Joe (Editing Team); Sara Nuss-Galles (Advisor); Michael Strand (Alumni Advisor); Armando Dubon, Saeed Fakhriravari, Sam Morales, Derrick Springer, Pamela Stoyka, Geoff Westropp (Technical Support)

aprilmay 2009 issue  

peace out o9! Political Swingers? Invisible Children? Financial Crisis? Graduation? April/May 2009 Soka University of America News Magazine

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