I wrote an article for Japan Today about a new documentary on the two American victims killed in the tsunami two years ago. The film, Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story, is directed by Regge Life, who was recently in Tokyo premiering the story.
Anderson, an American teacher living in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, was the first known American victim in the disaster. The film also includes memories of Monty Dickson, an American teacher from Alaska who was killed by the tsunami in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture. Both teachers were Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET).
Even though I did not know Taylor or Monty, I felt personally connected to their stories, as I was also an ALT with the JET Programme living in a coastal town during the time of 3/11. Just like Monty and Taylor, I rotated between several elementary schools and a junior high school; the only difference was that I lived in the northwest of Japan, which was luckily unharmed in the disaster.
My thoughts continue to be with both Taylor’s and Monty’s families, and I hope this film inspires others to live their dreams, just as Taylor and Monty were during their time in Japan.
Life was a wonderful person to interview, and as a storyteller for more than two decades who has worked on numerous Japanese projects, he has a particularly unique perspective on Japanese culture.
You can read the article here, and watch an excerpt from the film below.