About Bill Kunz
An associate professor in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, Bill Kunz was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and lived in Okinawa, Japan, with his family. Kunz taught at the University of the Ryukyus.
Kunz taught students at the University of the Ryukyus about U.S.-style media and its role in society. Located in Okinawa, which is within Japan's Ryukyus islands, the university is one of the largest and most prestigious in Japan.
"It's exciting," Kunz said. "I've always wanted to do this."
Kunz took his family with him, including wife, Miyuki Taguchi, and 5-year-old twins Maya and Tomo, who attended kindergarten in Okinawa. The children are bi-lingual, and their mother speaks only Japanese to them, so the twins didn’t have any language difficulties.
"It's amazing, the ability that kids have for language acquisition. It's tough to learn as an adult, but hearing the kids switch back and forth between Japanese and English is amazing," he said.
Before leaving for Okinawa, Kunz said he was not sure what to expect from his Japanese university students, but he was looking forward to the challenge.
Japanese classroom schedules are very different from their American counterparts, he noted. In the United States, students typically meet for about four hours of class time a week, but classes in Japan meet for just an hour and a half a week.
"I'm not sure, because of the language and culture difference, how it'll work. It'll take some adjusting," Kunz said. He's curious and eager to find out how Okinawa may differ from bigger cities, such as Tokyo and Kyoto, which are more formal and faster paced.
In early February, as soon as he finished with the academic term in Japan, Kunz returned to the States, only to leave again two days later for British Columbia, Canada, where he's producing the curling portion of the NBC network's coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics.