Kenzo Okazaki ’21: Creating Cross-Cultural Understanding Through Translation

Kenzo Okazaki ’21 is a student from Salt Lake City, about 2 hours away from the Topaz internment camp. Being in such close proximity to a Japanese internment camp had undeniably sparked Kenzo’s interest on the topic. “I used to go down to visit quite a bit and I wrote my History 600 project on Japanese-American Internment,” Kenzo states.

More than that, however, Kenzo believes that “internment is the formative moment in Japanese-American identity.” He wanted to make this “history accessible to Japanese-speaking audiences [to] help facilitate cultural understanding between Japanese Americans and native-born Japanese,” a tension he “ha[s] felt personally.” He thought that his “studies poised [him] to do something about it.”

He was accepted as a participant in the 2020 Japan Summer Service-Learning Program, a collaborative program hosted by the Service Learning Center at International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo. However, due to the outbreak, this trip was postponed. So, he found other ways to get involved with ICU with the help of CCE’s Kristen Mullins.

His service translation project was a result of this. “I know that many of the museums that are dedicated to [Japanese Internment] are in remote locations because of the placement of the camps,” he states, “so I thought that they may not have access to translation resources,”

Now, he is working with Service-Learning students at ICU remotely.  Kenzo’s project “aims to connect students from ICU with organizations, such as museums and archives,” to offer translation services.

Currently, Kenzo and the ICU students are working on translating videos from the Poston Internment Camp’s virtual pilgrimage. They are also “working with the Go For Broke National Education center to translate the transcripts of their oral histories.” Kenzo states that “though the other components of this project emphasize English to Japanese translation, the Topaz Museum in Utah has given us some material to translate from Japanese to English. This will be an interesting task given the difficulty of translating 1940s Japanese,” a task that Professor Sanae Eda, the Director of the School in Japan, is helping the group to navigate. 

Despite some challenges, material and logistical, Kenzo feels fortunate to be working with students and faculty advisers who are passionate about the topic: “The biggest highlight for me has been seeing the interest that the Japanese students have in this issue. The enthusiasm with which they have taken to the project has been extremely exciting, and I am very lucky to work with a group of dedicated and interested students.”

Indeed, Japanese internment is a sensitive time in history, especially for Japanese Americans and native-born Japanese. It can be “very difficult and emotional” to read about this time in history and “it is something we are preparing the students for,” Kenzo states, “but this is also the point.

Much of our material is in the form of diary entries and oral histories, and these are unique in their ability to facilitate empathetic connections between students and the author or speaker. In my experience, encountering historical subjects in an empathetic manner eliminates the distance between a person and their ‘object’ of study. This understanding is a precondition for meaningful social and political engagement with issues of justice.”

As Kenzo states, empathy is needed when “encountering historical subjects.” This is especially important when, in some ways, there seems to be a tension or cultural disconnect between Japanese Americans and native-born Japanese.

When asked more about this tension, Kenzo explains: “Perhaps this is mostly personal, but I often feel that there is an extreme focus on what Japanese-Americans have ‘lost’ in terms of Japanese culture. I hope that studying this history will emphasize the processes and events which formed the modern Japanese-American Identity, its unique methods of cultural preservation, and ultimately demonstrate that being Japanese-American is not a ‘loss’ at all, but a transfiguration of culturally significant practices and attitudes that are worthy of respect and attention.” 

Thank you for all your work Kenzo!

Majarra – Exoplanets and Ethnoastronomy

Mittelman Observatory is proud to announce the opening of the exhibit “Majarra: Exoplanets & Ethnoastronomy” by Eva Bod ’20. Please visit go/majarra.

This exhibit features original art that explores both the new frontier of exoplanet discovery and ethnoastronomical stories of the sky — examining, visualizing, and contextualizing both modern cutting-edge discoveries of new worlds as well as diverse historical and cultural cosmological views of the Universe.

The art project that serves as the foundation for this exhibit has been two years in the making. Creator Eva Bod ’20 was an artist in residence at the Observatory and graduated with a major in Sociology and Anthropology. Eva pursued numerous interdisciplinary opportunities that bridged the humanities and the sciences while at Middlebury.

The online exhibit can now be enjoyed at the link above. The physical exhibit will be opening soon.

Mittelman Observatory. Because the sky is always open!

Resources and Reflections: World AIDS Day 2020 and Beyond

On November 30 Visual AIDS premiered TRANSMISSIONS, a program of six new videos considering the impact of HIV and AIDS beyond the United States. For those who were not able to attend the premiere those videos are now available to stream, and we encourage you to visit the TRANSMISSIONS website to watch the films (please...

Middlebury Vermont Campus Special Notice Regarding Year End Payrolls

Human Resources Business Partner job with Middlebury College | 1827967

Note: this information applies only to the Vermont campus. Please the other post for information on Monterey.

In preparation for year-end please review the payroll schedule below and plan your time entry and approval. Taking time to plan submission and approval in advance will be critical to successful and timely payrolls!

Pay PeriodStart DateEnd DateDEADLINE for submission and approvalCheck Date
2611/30/202012/13/202012/14/202012/18/2020
2712/14/202012/27/202012/18/202012/31/2020(Thursday)
112/28/20201/10/20211/11/2021 (Or 12/23/2020 if you are not working over break)1/15/2021

To reiterate: these are the upcoming pay period deadlines:

26: Monday 12/14/2020

27: Friday 12/18/2020

1: Monday 1/11/2020 (Or Wednesday 12/23/2020 if you are not working over break)

A few key notes:

  • Hourly employees will find Holiday and Holiday worked in their Oracle timecards instructions are available here.
  • Salaried employees do not need to make any entries in Oracle they will continue to receive their salaries throughout the winter break.
  • Absences and time worked can be entered early, please plan ahead and submit time entries to avoid missed pay during the winter break.
  • Preparation for W2s: Please verify your mailing address in Oracle.

Pay Period 27 (2020)

  • There are 27 pay periods in 2020, the 27th pay period will not have many of the standard deductions calculated over the 26 standard pay period.
  • The deadline for pay period 27 is early due to the winter break. All submissions and approvals must be done by Friday 12/18/20 at 3:00 pm.

Pay Period 1 (2021)

  • If you are not working, please enter your time before leaving for the holiday (12/23/2020).
  • The standard deadline is immediately following the winter break, it is imperative that all time and approvals are complete on January 11th by 3 pm.

Monterey Campus Special Notice Regarding Year End Payrolls

Logos | MIIS Communications

Note: this applies only to the Monterey, CA campus. Please refer to the other post for information on the VT campus.

In preparation for year-end please review the payroll schedule below and plan your time entry and approval. Taking time to plan submission and approval in advance will be critical to successful and timely payrolls!

Pay PeriodStart DateEnd DateDEADLINE for submission and approvalCheck Date
2612/07/202012/20/202012/14/202012/24/2020(Thursday)
112/21/20201/03/20211/04/2021 (If you are not working over break – 12/18/2020)1/08/2021

To reiterate, the upcoming pay period deadlines are:

26: Monday 12/14/2020

1: Monday 1/4/2021 (Or Friday 12/18/2020 if you are not working over break)

A few key notes:

  • Hourly employees will find Holiday and Holiday worked in their Oracle timecards instructions are available here.
  • Salaried employees do not need to make any entries in Oracle they will continue to receive their salaries throughout the winter break.
  • Absences and time worked can be entered early, please plan ahead and submit time entries to avoid missed pay during the winter break.
  • Preparation for W2s: Please verify your mailing address in Oracle.

Pay Period 26 (2020)

  • The deadline for pay period 26 is early due the winter break. All submissions and approvals must be done by Monday 12/14/20 at noon (12:00 pm PT).

Pay Period 1 (2021)

  • If you are not working, please enter your time before leaving for the holiday (12/18/2020).
  • The standard deadline is immediately following the winter break, it is imperative that all time and approvals are complete on January 4, 2021 by noon (12:00 pm PT).

VT Unemployment Fraud

As a result of COVID-19, there has been an increase in the numbers of reported fraud and scams, specifically relating to unemployment insurance benefits and COVID-19 resources. If you or a member of your household has received paperwork from the state of Vermont for unemployment benefits when you did not apply for unemployment benefits, it is important that you report this as identify theft fraud to the Vermont Department of Labor.

A report can be filed using this link on the VT DoL website: https://labor.vermont.gov/form/report-ui-fraud or by calling 802-828-4104.

If you are the victim of identity theft, the state also recommends using the following resources after filing the report:

www.annualcreditreport.com : This website allows you one free credit check per year with the larger credit reporting agencies.

www.identitytheft.gov : This website will guide you to file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  This website also has other information to assist you with this situation and some valuable FAQs.

https://labor.vermont.gov/phishing-scam-updates : This website alerts to active phishing scams in Vermont.

If you have previously claimed unemployment benefits, the state has the following guidance on minimizing UI fraud:

Five Things UI Claimants Can Do To Minimize Fraud

  • If the regular UI claimant has a common number UI Claimant PIN (i.e. 1111, 2222, 1212, last four of SSN, etc.), they should immediately request a pin change by calling the UI Claimant Assistance Line at: 1-877-214-3332.
  • PUA claimants should not use common numbers or names as their password.
  • If the claimant believes his/her account(s) have been compromised, they should file a fraud report with the Department using the links above.
  • All claimants should actively monitor their UI account, as well as any other online accounts (i.e. bank accounts, credit cards, etc.) to ensure there is no unauthorized activity.
  • Review our notice on detecting a fraudulent call impersonating the Vermont Department of Labor. Click here to read our fraud notice.

For more information on identity theft, security freezes and obtaining a free copy of your credit report, please visit the Vermont Attorney General’s website at www.ago.vermont.gov/cap. Additional information is also available on the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.consumer.ftc.gov.