Michael Burns

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Michael Burns

Division: Niseko Town Hall, Industry & Tourism Division
Duties: Translation/Interpretation (EN/JA), Language Support & Instruction, Tourist Information, Event Planning, School Visits/Readings
Languages: English, Japanese
Nationality: United States of America (Kansas)
 

Personal History

Education:
University of Kansas
Major: History and Japanese Language and Literature
 
Nanzan University (Nagoya)
Intensive Japanese Program (4 months)
 
Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies (Kyoto)
Intensive Japanese Language Summer Program (2 months)
 
Hokkaido International Foundation (Hakodate)
Summer Seminar in Japanese Language and Japanese Culture (2 months)
 
Work Experience:
Japanese Language Tutor, University of Kansas (2 years)
Student Assistant for KU History Professor Jeff Moran (1 year)
President of Japan Student Association, University of Kansas (1 year, previously board member)

Past Events

Introduction

Hello everyone! My name is Michael Burns and I’m from Kansas in the United States. I first started studying Japanese in college, where I majored in History and Japanese Language and Literature. I’ve always been a big fan of premodern history and literature, so getting the chance to take a deep dive on Japanese history was a great experience for me. Although I’m interested in eventually returning to academia, I believe that working in an international environment such as Niseko is a great way to gain a variety of experiences that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. It’s really exciting to take part in work involving tourism, international communications, and event planning. I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with everyone and I hope you all will do the same for me!

Where I’m From

Although I was born in Chicago, I grew up in Kansas City, which is confusingly located at the border halfway between Kansas and Missouri. Both cities are part of the American Midwest, a region often characterized by wide open fields and agriculture. Kansas fits this stereotype perfectly: it is located in the middle of the Great Plains and is known for its farms, particularly wheat and cattle. Perhaps because of this, Kansas City is known for having (in my opinion) the best barbecue in the United States. Although taste obviously up for debate, Kansas City does hold the largest barbecue competition in the country every year, and the barbecue restaurant competition in the area is fierce.
 
If you’re not from the United States. You’ve probably only heard of Kansas as the setting of The Wizard of Oz or the hometown of Superman. As Oz shows, Kansas also gets a lot of tornadoes. Most buildings have basements so that people can hide if a tornado comes. However, tornadoes rarely hit major cities, so although I have seen one before I’ve never been directly hit by one.
 
The Midwest is known for having friendly, slow-paced country living-style culture, but I think that it depends on where you live. Places like Chicago are really busy and have a much faster paced culture, but small towns in western Kansas might be more similar to the popular image of the Midwest. I lived in eastern Kansas near Kansas City, so it sometimes felt culturally in between Chicago and western Kansas. It’s not much of a tourist destination, but if you’re interested please give Kansas a visit some time!

Photos

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