by Dylan Grigg ’13 –
I have always had a passion for travel. With my family I have taken trips all over Europe, Canada, and, most often, the United States. I’ve fallen in love with the Spanish culture, the Italian lifestyle, and the beauty of Arizona and Colorado, to name but a few fond memories away from home. Since an early age, I have wanted to visit Japan as well, hoping to experience a culture completely foreign to me. Though I expected to someday tour Asia, I never thought I would end up living there, even for a brief stay. Yet this past summer I boarded a fourteen-hour flight from New York to Tokyo, beginning a truly extraordinary adventure.
At a lunch meeting back in February I was offered my first job, an English language consultancy and teaching position at the Bingham McCutchen Murase LLP. Tokyo office. The law firm’s New York chapter arranged for my stay in Tokyo over the summer, including weekend trips to Kyoto and Nara, along with a final weeklong trip to China before my return home. I did not experience my first substantial dose of the Japanese language until the flight over, and the small amount of Chinese I knew failed to be of use in Beijing. Despite this, I was able to thrive in both countries. It took less than twenty-four hours in Tokyo to embrace the lack of legible street signs, find a few good Italian restaurants, and recognize that merely living overseas would be the easy part. I still had a job to do.
Though I had few details on the actual work I would be doing, I was not unprepared. My experiences at Pomfret the last few years equipped me with an understanding of unfamiliar cultures and the ability adapt to new environments. Mr. Corrigan’s comprehensive study of rhetoric in AP English proved crucial in explaining to the staff how to best express and defend a position in English correspondences. In private conversation lessons with the few secretaries charged to American or British lawyers, I drew from dorm conversations at Pomfret, using topics such as Gossip Girl and Taylor Swift to spark their interest. My overall Eastern experience was undoubtedly made more enjoyable by my preparation for the job at hand; preparation I am only now realizing I was exposed to.