TITLE: Made in Japan
For most participants, the Japanese Exchange Teachers Programme is a chance to see Japan, pay off student debt, find romance, and party like university never ended. But for J.M. Frey, bitter at a disappointing end to what was supposed to be the launch of her academic career, it was a chance to escape to a place she had only ever seen in anime. It was a place to reaffirm her love of prose, grapple with a crippling accident, and discover the person she wanted to be now that the so-called "best years of her life" were over.
I moved to Japan because I hated my thesis advisor.
As ridiculous as it might sound – and in retrospect, how immature – she never knew how close she came to getting a fist in the nose.
If you think I'm employing an excess of hyperbole, I happily invite you to take a stroll into any local Grad lounge and start loudly decrying each of the pet topics of the students present. Ten bucks says that it's the professors that reach you first.
Thing is, people who choose to do an academic thesis do it because there is a topic that they are passionate about; sleep becomes irrelevant in the face of deadlines, coffee replaces blood in the veins when there is a pile of edits to do, and a daunting stack of dusty textbooks that smell like rancid socks becomes a pleasure. Passionate enough to pop you one if you start attacking them without the relevant research to back you up.
Now imagine that you've come to your last year of university with a topic you are passionate about. A topic that you've researched for the whole summer before fourth year, because you wanted a head start on the reading. A topic that you know is right up the alley of the professor that you have requested to be paired with.
Then imagine that the great plodding mess that is usually the administration side of any major educational facility steps in and informs you that no, you can't have that professor.