My name is Sheila Burt. This is a blog about Chicago and Japan. The word inaka means countryside in Japanese. I was an English teacher in rural Japan for three years. I lived in Namerikawa, Toyama and Matsuyama, Ehime on Shikoku Island. Prior to starting my position in Japan, I was a freelance journalist for the Chicago Tribune, Time Out Chicago, Gapers Block and the Daily Southtown (now the SouthtownStar). I also completed a six-month research project/internship for Crain’s Chicago Business in 2010. I studied print journalism with a concentration in sociology and a minor in American history at Northwestern University. Some of my favorite stories involve the American Dream — seeing when it succeeds, and when it fails, turning into what one of my professors in college called “The American Nightmare.” Born in Evergreen Park, Ill., I am currently based in the Chicago area. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.