JCMU had the chance to sit down with Jayne Ann Bloomfield (Fileccia), an alumna returning to Hikone with her family last month in order to reminisce on her time as a student in JCMU.
What is your name, and what JCMU program did you participate in?
My name is Jayne Ann Bloomfield. I attended JCMU on the full academic year, and was the first group to live in the new facility (1990-1991).
What did you do after JCMU, and what are you doing now?
After JCMU, I continued studying Japanese. After graduating from Michigan State University, I started classes at Madonna University to teach Japanese Language at the secondary level. I was offered a job in the Detroit Public School system, working at a magnet school, doing Foreign Language Immersion Cultural Studies (FLICS) in the Japanese track. I worked in the kindergarten wing, speaking 100% Japanese.
I worked at FLICS until I had our first child. Afterwards, I continued my love for the Japanese Language and culture by doing various activities: teaching home school classes, working at the Japanese school in Novi, MI, coordinating an overseas exchange program, and lastly, something I do to this day, speaking at various schools to educate students on Japanese culture and way of life from a very basic level.
You returned to Hikone and JCMU a few weeks ago with your family. How was it?
My return to Hikone was amazing! My family and I loved every moment of touring the academic buildings (Ringo Hall & Dorms) and reliving old memories (for example, we had tatami mats in our dorm rooms, not mattresses & the “bean” pillows☺️). We visited Hikone Castle, stayed at the Tobata Ryokan in town (awesome experience for my family), went to the Hikone Castle Museum, and lastly, no trip to Hikone is complete without going to Sugimoto (a student-favorite restaurant in downtown Hikone). The owner, Sugimoto-san, was a huge part of our experience at JCMU.
What would you say to other alumni looking to visit JCMU in Hikone?
Returning to JCMU and Hikone reminded me of why I loved living in Japan. The culture and the environment greatly impacted my family and I. My 3 sons still talk about this as a highlight of the trip. We also had the great opportunity of running into another alum, Shane Applebee, and his family while there. Although I never personally met Shane before, our common experience at JCMU made for an instant friendship. This is just one of many experiences of my return to JCMU. It was also fun seeing Nishizawa-san (JCMU’s longtime Office Manager working in Hikone since its inception) again☺️. She’s the exact same ball of amazing energy she was before!!!
I’d love to go back again! Part of my heart is in Hikone, and it will always be a place I once called “home.”
JCMU would like to thank Jayne for speaking with us, and we’re glad that she and her family enjoyed their time in Hikone! We love hosting JCMU alumni returning to our Hikone campus, as it gives us a chance to reconnect with many of our former students. All alumni interested in scheduling a return to the JCMU Hikone campus should contact Ms. Yuko Nishizawa and Mr. Benjamin McCracken, the Office Manager and Resident Director of our Hikone campus. We look forward to seeing you there!