O Tomodachi

O Tomodaci cover
O Tomodachi
(Friend)

by Dick Jorgensen

$28.95

In 1954,  29-year-old grad student Dick Jorgensen went to Japan as one of four “ambassador” teachers in a first-ever exchange program. He spent the next two years teaching at the University of Hiroshima, founded in the wake of the atomic bombing of the city in 1945. Living with Japanese families, he was forced to find new ways to reach students ravaged by World War II.

Thus began an incredible journey for "a kid from the Midwest." Those two years in Japan were the start of a lifelong love affair with travel and with Japanese culture, architecture and history. While there, Jorgensen met luminaries in the fields of history, politics and education and visited many parts of Japan – including Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe, Sapporo, and Nagasaki.

As a work of history, O Tomodachi (Japanese for "friend") provides a perspective on postwar Japan that is both historical and accessible. As memoir, O Tomodachi gives readers a wonderful sense of what it was like for a young American to go off to a foreign land, a place that had only recently been the enemy of the United States, and to open himself to new experiences and people. 

Reviews

"The memoir offers interest as a piece of historical travel writing...valuable as an account of pre-Peace Corps intercultural education efforts. Teaching in mid-’50s Hiroshima is the memoir’s strongest theme, and these sections are intriguing indeed...A warm, appealing eyewitness account that displays the author’s appreciaiton for Japan’s art and architecture and its postwar challenges.”
- Kirkus Reviews
 
Jorgensen "reminds us of a Japan we can only imagine today, in the mind’s eye and old newsreels. His is a great story of an American’s love affair with a Japan that no longer exists, yet remains the Japan of our longings."
 
- David E. Sanger,
Chief Washington Correspondent for The New York Times.

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