FHS’ New Japanese Teacher

Amongst the variety of forgien languages offered here at FHS, a new forgien language teacher has become a part of the crew. Joseph Mielke also known by student’s as Joe sensei has stepped forward to be the new Japanese teacher for levels 1-3.

Mr. Mielke arrived in America with his wife and daughter to start their new careers here in the U.S.

“While I grew up in Ohio, I had never been to Findlay. I have lived in a lot of places over my professional life and there is something unique and amazing about learning about a new place. I’m slowly learning about Findlay and it’s pretty crazy to look at Findlay not only through a “I grew up in Perrysburg” lens but also “looking through Findlay through the eyes of an expat.” I feel very much a part of the expat community both in Findlay, Ohio, and the US,” Mr.Mielke said.

Mr. Mielke went to Bowling Green State University majoring in Asian Studies. Mr. Mielke also studied in Japan before becoming an English teacher.

“I also attended Nagoya Gakuin Daigaku in Nagoya City as well as briefly in Hiroshima Jogakuin University in Hiroshima City for a month in 2007,” Mr. Mielke said.

Mr. Mielke had been fascinated by Japanese culture and decided to pursue that dream by not only learning Japanese but also living in Japan for 10 years.

“I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese culture, even as a child. I grew up playing video games like Street Fighter, Dragon Quest, and SNK with my older cousins. That was my first experience with Japanese things. As I grew older, I began to connect the dots between what I enjoyed from Japan. What eventually led to wanting to teach in Japan was to have new experiences and challenges. Once I started studying the language, I discovered there were jobs teaching English there via the JET Programme. Fifteen people applied in 2009 to do it and of the fifteen, three of us were selected. I felt honored to have made that cut,” Mr. Mielke said.

First going to Japan as an exchange student with BGSU Mr. Mielke was able to attend a peace ceremony held by the survivors of the Hiroshima bombing. He then later went back to Japan as an exchange student and finally he came to live in Japan.

“I first went to Japan in Summer 2008. I went to Hiroshima City with a group from BG to attend seminars regarding international peace programs and nuclear disarmament. There, I was able to attend the Hiroshima Peace Ceremony in August and talked to people who survived the blast which had a huge impact on me. In 2009, I went to Japan again as a summer exchange student. From July to August, I did an independent travel study around the country for my senior thesis. I eventually moved to Japan in summer of 2010 to start teaching English in Kumamoto Prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu,” Mr. Mielke said.