An Anthem for a Nation and her Gaijin

Over the weekend I received an email from George Mason University, saying that they were pulling me out of the study abroad program. It felt like a devastating blow. It felt so official, as though there was nothing I could do. It was in writing. But I resolved that there was no way that I could just let it go like that, the way a picnic simply picks up a rain date after letting go of its big day. So I got up Monday morning, trekked over to Mason, and began the battle against an academic giant for the country who would call me Gaijin, for the nation I would call, anata.

I went from official to official, bringing my case before every department I could think of, and my meetings bled into the next day. As I went to bed Tuesday night, I knew that all I could do now was pray, hope, and wait. On Wednesday morning, they gave their final, final answer: “No.” The decision is “irreversible.” The fight was over. Needless to say, it was a somber morning. Yet, again, I find that I am caught in this dance between mourning and rejoicing, of sorrow and joy, as the day went into the afternoon and evening and then late into the wee hours of the night (as evidenced by the post’s date being, yet again, the 24th, not the 23rd), I saw more and more what God’s plan could be for this next year. I grew excited as I learned about classes that I could take here that I wouldn’t have been able to take had I gone to Sophia University. I’m also awaiting an email about a possible opportunity to be a part of the relief effort in Japan in some capacity for some duration of time. While I want so much to go to Japan, and would be overjoyed at the prospect of spending even just a month there, I know that God has great things for me here in the wonderful world of American Academia.

With my heart broken now twice over, I find that my anthem is becoming the lyrics of a song, “Out of these ashes, Beauty will rise.” I believe that God can bring beauty out of Japan’s ashes, because he is already bringing beauty out of my ashes. God love Japan.


About Stephen Gabriel Falke

Stephen Gabriel Falke is passionate about loving Jesus and loving Japanese! He grew up in Virginia, America, and first visited Japan in 2007. He then studied abroad at Sophia University in Tokyo for a year in 2012. He also participated in the JET Program as an ALT from 2015-2017. He currently works as an English teacher at Hirosaki Gakuin Seiai Secondary School in Hirosaki, Aomori, Japan.
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1 Response to An Anthem for a Nation and her Gaijin

  1. Heather Scott says:


    I am sorry that things did not work out the way you intended, but I am so impresssed with how you are handling this situation. Your optimisim is very inspiring. I know you will get to Japan one day. I am confident that you will have a great experience there when the time is right.

    Good luck!

    Heather Scott:)

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