International Author Anne Creceni reveals benefits of foreign languages to Parkdale students


On Thursday, Sep. 15, Japanese and English teacher and author Anne Cresceni engaged with Parkdale students by having a raw and eye-opening conversation with students of the World Language department about the benefits of learning a language.

Creceni shared that she is a teacher and author, as well as a speaker, TV commentator, newspaper columnist, public speaker, and radio/TV personality. Although she was born and raised in Southwest Virginia, she has accomplished all of these roles in Japan!

 “All of this has been possible because I can speak Japanese […],” Creceni explained.  “And so speaking a foreign language, one of the main things it does, it just broadens your opportunities and enables you to talk to people that you would never be able to talk to if you hadn’t learned that language.”

After her huge climb to success in Japan, she wants all students to know that they too can climb.  But how did she get here? 

In 1997, Crecini traveled to Japan for a short ‘trip’ while her husband, then fiance, was completing the Jet program where students learning Japanese in college can get an all-expense paid contract to go teach English in Japan.

However, Creceni was not always a fan of her new living arrangements.  She reiterated to students that in order to learn a language, you have to like it, which wasn’t the case for her at first went to Japan. In fact, she hated her first time there; the language, food, and culture was so foriegn to her and she didn’t enjoy it. It wasn’t until she returned to the states that she realized she enjoyed teaching English to older Japanese students. 

After coming to this realization, she went back to Japan and started teaching at Furoka University in 2003.

One of the main concepts Creceni emphasized throughout her visit was the importance of asking why? Creceni really wanted students to learn to mature and stop themselves in situations and wonder about the ‘why’ aspects of things. 

“I think that we tend to only see things from the surface sometimes,” said Creceni. “Having curiosity and not only asking the what, we always need to seek the why.”

Creceni came to this realization after discovering that it is normal for Japanese people to sleep with their babies.  She found this weird and kept questioning ‘what are they doing that was weird and doesn’t make sense, instead of seeking the ‘why it was happening. In Japan, the child is the center of the family, which is why married couples call each other Mother & Father when they have a child.

After finding this out, she thought how beautiful that was and how she was tearing down their culture without ever seeking the why. She encouraged students to do the same when faced with concepts, ideas, and practices they may not be familiar with or used to.

This wasn’t the only time Japanese culture helped her broaden her perspective. There is a term in Japanese “Itadakimasu” which is used before eating. Creceni learned from her best friend Machiko that this to actually used to thank the food for sacrificing its life to the consumer.

Upon learning this, Crecinin, who struggled with an eating disorder for over 15 years, had a complete shift in her attitude and outlook on food. This is why Creceni wants to stress the importance of how learning a language can benefit students beyond the classroom.

In fact, she explained, “Japan saved [her] life.”