Racconkai in East Coast USA

AISF Director Junko Imanishi hosted Raccoonkais after she attended the screen painting dedication ceremony, representing the association of Japanese Friends of Shofuso, at the Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia.

At 11:00am on Sunday, April 28, 2007, Dr. Scott Qiao (1996 Raccoon) and Dr. Zhang Shaoming (1997 Raccoon) came to University of Pennsylvania, where Maho Imanishi is now enrolled as a graduate students. After the tour guided by Maho in the historical buildings of it Veterinarian School, the first Racoonkai in Philadelphia was held in the restaurant in China Town. Dr. Qiao, who was awarded a Ph.D. from Tokyo Institute of Technology, immigrated to Canada, and then is now working for a US company in semiconductor business. Dr. Zhang, who was awarded a Ph. D from Tokyo University, finished his post doctoral research at Yale University and recently moved to Pennsylvania State University Hospital in Hershey.

Dr. Zhang gave Imanishi a ride to New York, where a Racoonkai in New York dinner was held at Shun Lee Palace, a Chinese restaurant on East 55st, with Dr. Xu Xiaoyuan (98 Raccoon) and her husband, both of them are the researchers at the Medical School of Columbia University. Their daughter is also a student in the last year at Columbia University. Good to see them all doing well in New York.

At 6:00pm on Monday, April 30, Dr. Sun Yanping and her friend Dr. Mitchell Albert greeted Junko as the Logan Airport, and based on their recommendation, Raccoonkai in Boston held at the Morocco Restaurant in the old district in the city. Dr. Wang Yuepeng (97 Raccoon) and his wife and two children also attended the dinner. Dr. Sun has been as busy as before in the Brigham and Women's Hospital of Harvard Medical School, where she started her research about MRI even when she was in Tokyo University, as she already has her own laboratory. Dr. Wang, who is a researcher at New England Medical Center of Tufts University, has studied at night after his work for National Examination to practice as a doctor in USA. He has finished his tests and is starting residency soon. It has been really hard work for him but he has decided because his wife and his 12-year-old son insisted to stay in USA.

Although these Chinese Raccoons in USA has little chance to use Japanese language these days, they quickly remembered and we talked in Japanese about various topics including the good-old stories at Atsumi Zaidan, hardship of making career in extremely competitive society in USA, as well as about education of their children. Most of them are currently applying Green Card or Citizenship. See you all again in USA!!!

It seems that less Raccoons go to USA after their Ph.D. in Japan. There are a few people who came back to Japanese Universities after their post doctoral studies in USA. There is no case yet, but going back to China seems to become one option for them. There seem to be more and more diversity in career planning for those who were awarded Ph.D. from the universities in Japan.

by Junko Imanishi