University of Missouri
Summer 2012 Japan Program
Student Profiles

Tyler Castner  タイラー・カスナー
Dear Host Family,

Hello! My name is Tyler Castner. Thank you so much for taking care of me. I can’t wait to meet you! I’m 20 years old and in my third year at the University of Missouri. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and grew up in the small, suburban town of West Chester. After graduating high school, I moved to Columbia, Missouri to attend college at Mizzou. I am pursuing a double major with my in Journalism and International Studies with a focus on East Asia. I also have a minor in Spanish. After graduating, I have aspirations of doing graduate work to earn my law degree and one day becoming a lawyer.

My hobbies include taking nature hikes and reading outdoors. I love reading and listening to all genres of music. I’m also really interested in and read a lot of manga. I enjoy eating and am really looking forward to trying new foods while in Japan. I’m excited to learn about Japan from you! I’m sorry for the trouble I’m causing you for giving me a place to live, but please take good care of me!


Tyler Castner

Sean Noble  ショーン・ ノーベル

Dear Host Family,

My name is Sean Noble. I am 20 years old and majoring in Chemical Engineering. My home town is St. Louis and I am the oldest of 10 siblings. I love children and can be very social at times. I try to be quiet and respectful. In high school I played the saxophone and baseball. I love to read books and manga, play video games, and hang out with friends. I am looking forward to experiencing life in Iida and am excited to be able to live with you.

Thank you in advance for allowing me to stay in your home. I apologize for the inconvenience this may cause you. I am looking forward to having many conversations and experiences with your family. I am sure we will grow close in the time that I spend with you. Thank you again for your hospitality. I appreciate it greatly.


Sean Noble

Jordan Bartels ジョーダン・バーテルズ
No allergies. Living with cigarette smoke is okay.

Dear Host Family,

My name is Jordan Bartels and I am deeply grateful that you are allowing me to live with your family this summer! I am 22 years old and come from a small rural town named Milan, Missouri. I am a part of a very large and very loving family.  I enjoy playing the guitar, being outside, spending time with friends and family, as well as studying Eastern philosophy. Even though the culture of my small town is probably very different from that in Japan, I am very much looking forward to experiencing a new and exciting way of life. As the summer draws nearer and nearer, I am growing more and more ecstatic! I hope not to intrude on the normal family activities or disrupt the normal day-to-day flow of your home. I know that this summer will be a memorable lifetime experience for me; I also hope it will be a memorable lifetime experience for you too.

Greetings from Missouri.


Jordan Bartels

Caleb Jones  ケーレブ・ ジョーンズ

Prefers non-smoking

Dear Host Family,

Hello! I am so excited to have this opportunity! I have been looking forward to going to Japan for a long time. First, let me tell you a little about myself and my family.

My name is Caleb Jones. I am 19 years old, and attend the University of Missouri. I am currently a sophomore. majoring in International Studies with an East Asia emphasis. In total, I have been studying Japan and the Japanese language for almost five years, and I am very eager to put my language ability to use.

As for my family, I have one sister. She is also studying at the University of Missouri, majoring in Education. Both of my parents have studied at the University of Missouri in the past, too. Currently, my father works at a post office and my mother is a nurse. My family also has two pets, a dog and a cat. Every day I am thankful for having been raised with such a wonderful and loving family.

Overall, I am thrilled to be able to study abroad in a place like Japan. I am sorry for the trouble my stay may cause you. I am looking forward to meeting you and having many memorable experiences together!



Caleb Jones


Joe Shadduck ジョー・ シャダック

Dear Host Family,

My name is Joe Shadduck and I am so excited to go to Japan this summer. I have been excited for this opportunity all year, and I have wanted to see Japan my whole life. I love Japanese language and culture,  and I am looking forward to seeing it firsthand this summer. I am from St. Louis, Missouri. I have a younger sister and a younger brother. I love listening to music and I play guitar and piano. I am an economics major and enjoy discussing economics and politics (although many other people do not!). I also enjoy hiking, and look forward to hiking in the mountains near Iida this summer. My other hobbies are playing video games, watching movies, and reading. 

Thank you so much for taking me in this summer, and sorry for the trouble I am causing! I can't wait to learn about Japan from you. I look forward to meeting you and I hope that we have an interesting summer together. Thank you so much!


Joe Shadduck

Dakota Jones ダコタ・ ジョーンズ
Allergy: Sulfa drugs

Dear Host Family,

My name is Dakota Jones. I am a second-year Psychology student at the University of Missouri. My Dad was in the military, so it's hard to say if I have a hometown. My family is from St. Louis but for the last almost ten years we've lived in Rolla, Missouri. I have three siblings, a younger brother followed by two younger sisters, making me the eldest. My parent's are divorced and have remarried. My mom is a nurse at a facility for wayward teenagers in Rolla and my father is now a mechanic in Pennsylvania. I have a very large husky dog name Nika and a cat named Mojo. They live with me in Columbia and will be watched my brother while I'm staying in Japan.

I am a full-time college student and work when I can, so I don't have that many hobbies, but I enjoy reading and films. Thank you so much for allowing me to stay with you this summer. I've always wanted to go to Japan since I was a little girl and now I finally get the chance. Thank you for helping me achieve that goal. I'm excited to get a first-hand look at the Japanese culture and experiencing all I can experience. I can hardly wait to meet my host family. Thank you so much for accepting me. I'm sorry for inconveniencing my lovely host family but thank you so much for letting me live with you.


Dakota Jones

David Parker デービッド・ パーカー
No allergies, or health issues, non smoker, but can tolerate moderate amounts of tobacco smoke.

Dear Hostfamily   

Hello my name is David Parker, I am twenty-two years old. I attend the University of Missouri. My major is Japanese language, and I am from Chariton Iowa.  I have two older brothers, two cats and a dog.  I like to play most sports, video games, listening to Rock and Roll music. And I love to meet new people.  I also love "the Sasuke trials." 

I am so happy to be traveling to Japan, and I am very sorry for the inconvenience that I may be causing you by staying at your house this coming summer.  Thank you very much for extending your homee to me. I look forward to meeting you.


David Parker


Rachel Beamon レーチェル・ ビーモン

Cannot tolerate tobacco smoke.
Allergy to zucchini (??)  
Dear Host Family,


My name is Rachel Beamon.  I am 22, and I’m majoring in International Studies at the University of Missouri. My main interest is in foreign languages, so I’m studying Japanese and Chinese right now. I also studied Korean for three semesters. I’m also interested in linguistics, music, and writing fiction. I like both cats and dogs, singing, reading science fiction/fantasy, and learning to cook new things. Someday I plan on learning to play piano.


My dad is a freelance musician (trumpet) and retired Marine. Right now he is writing his dissertation to finish his PhD. My mom is also a musician (euphonium) and former Marine. She teaches English composition at the University of Illinois. She’s also working on her PhD.


I was born in California, but we moved a lot because my dad was in the Marine Corps. I’ve lived in California, Colorado, Missouri, Louisiana, and Virginia. I visited Canada with my dad twice, when I was 9 and 10 years old. I grew up mostly in St. Louis, but my family doesn’t live there anymore. However, my boyfriend’s family lives there, and they have become like a second family to me.


Thank you so much for welcoming me into your home! I’m really excited to finally learn about Japan from within instead of from across the ocean. I hope I won’t be too much trouble or inconvenient during my stay, and I sincerely look forward to meeting you this summer!


Thank you very much,


Rachel Beamon

Brittany Fuemeler ブリットニー

Dear Host Family,

Hello!  How are you? Wonderful I hope! Thank you very much for taking me in and allowing me to live in your home!!

My Name is Brittany Fuemmeler. I am 23 years old and I am a third-year student at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.  While I have been studying and learning the Japanese language, I am also currently studying biology and majoring in Fisheries & Wildlife.  I want to become a wildlife biologist so that I can work with and help protect endangered animals, worldwide.  I really love animals. I use to have two dogs and three cats!

Aside from my school work, I have also been working a full time job in order to be able to pay my bills and living expenses. For the last 6 years, I have lived on my own in an apartment.  Due to the fact that I will be in Japan for a little more than a year, I have been living with my father and step-mother as well as her two sons. I also have a mother and younger brother. They don’t live here though. One of my favorite things to do is performing using a light hoop and a fire hoop. (I will have my light hoop with me when I come to Japan! I can show you what it looks like!! I’m sure you will really enjoy it!) Hula hooping is one of my favorite hobbies.  I also hand make hula hoops to sell.  I also really like to read books, sew, and create costumes, study foreign languages and play video games.

As said previously, I will be in Japan for a little over a year!  Once the summer program ends, I will be attending Kwansei Gakuin University.   I am really nervous but at the same time, I am REALLY excited to visit and live in Japan!! I really look forward to meeting you and learning more about you since you will already know some things about me from this letter!   I hope that we can make many wonderful memories together as a family! It will mean a lot to me!


I can’t wait!!

With a lot of love,


Tony Bui トニー・ ブイ


vegetarian--does not eat fish or meat. but DOES consume dairy products.
cannot tolerate tobacco smoke
allergic to cats

Dear Host Family,

Nice to meet you! My name is Tony Bui, and I am glad to meet you as my host family in the near future. I truly love Japan and its traditional and popular culture! But first, I would like to tell you more about myself so that you can know me better.

As you may know, I am an undergraduate student studying Japanese and biochemistry at the University of Missouri.  In the near future, I plan to double major in of Japanese and biochemistry. When I meet you in the summer, I will have already completed my freshman year at the university.

Although I attend a school in Columbia, Missouri, my hometown is Memphis, Tennessee, which is about an eight-hour drive away from the college campus.  Another city that I have lived in for a long time is Los Angeles, California, which is where I was born. In my home in Memphis, I have three dogs: a German Shepherd, a Chihuahua, and a Papillon. The Papillon is the cutest, I think.

My parents are from Vietnam and moved to America years before I was born. Even though I’m Vietnamese, I have never been to Vietnam. To tell you the truth, I’ve never traveled out of the U.S. before, so that makes Japan my first ever country abroad! I’m very excited.

This year, I am nineteen years old and 168cm tall;. I also enjoy studying and love doing sports. I have many interests, though I’m not that impressive in any of them. The sport that I’ve been doing the longest is swimming. I’ve been swimming competitively for many years, and it has even helped cure me from asthma. Another sport that I enjoy is running. I consider those two sports to be inseparable for my health. Another sport that I love to play is tennis. This is the one sport that I can do for hours by myself, but I can enjoy it even more when I play with someone else. But when I mention tennis, I mustn’t fail to say that I love ping-pong. I also consider these two activities to be a nice pair. There is also another sport (well, not a sport, really) that I also do on quite a regular basis, and that is Kendo. I’ve been doing Kendo for the past two and a half years, and I hope to continue my interest and learning of the art to properly hone my skills of sword drawing and manipulation. But there is an art that I’ve been interested in even before my practicing of Kendo, and that art is Kyuudo. I’ve never done it, but I have always loved the elegance and beauty of it. When I was a little kid, I would even make my own bow and arrow to practice with, though I have to admit that I was rather clumsy.

I also take pleasure in relaxing activities, too, which include reading books and Manga, watching some Anime, and listening to music (including Japanese music). I like, too, folding origami, which is something that I’ve loved since I was a child.

Well, that was quite a lot about me! When we meet, I’m hope that we’ll get to know each other more and better! I really look forward to meeting with your family! It shall be my first ever experience to study abroad and live with a host family, so I will always remember my first stay in Japan!

When I come to Japan, I am sure that I will make many mistakes, but I hope that I can correct them soon after. Although this will be my first time in Japan, I hope that I will not cause too much trouble for your family. I’ll do my best to be a good house guest and follow the rules as much as I can. I also look forward to cooperating with you in some of the activities that you do. Since it’s my first time in Japan, I’m really excited about living, working, and learning many things! My Japanese is not very skillful yet, but I hope that it will be okay. I will also be very happy to share my English with you, too, if you would like.

I also understand that you are taking an immense amount of effort to take care of me this summer, so I would like to give you my sincerest and deepest appreciation and gratitude for your assistance. Thank you, thank you very much for your accepting me into your household. I am very grateful of your kindness from the bottom of my heart, and I will do my best to express my gratefulness through my humble actions and cooperation in your home.

Let’s have a wonderful summer together!


Tony Bui

Shawn Nemati ショーン・ ネマティ

**Shawn will be staying in Japan only until July 15.

Dear Host Family,

My name is Shawn Nemati-Baghestani. I am 21 years old and have studied at the University of Missouri for three years. At the university, I am studying music and medicine. I play the oboe and guitar and love to sing and listen to all types of music. Besides listening to and playing music, I enjoy playing soccer, writing, spending time outdoors and learing new things.

I am incredibly excited to visit Japan. There are so many things that I hope to learn about your culture, language, and country. Thank you, so very much, for inviting me into your home. I am sure that my experience in Japan would not be as rewarding without you. I am eager to meet you all. Take care!

Best wishes,

Shawn Nemati-Baghestani

Kelly Washatka ケリー・ ワシャットカ

Dear Host Family,

Than you very much for your generosity in letting me live with you this Summer.

My name is Kelly, I am twenty-one years old and I graduated last December. I got my
degree in English and Theater. I am from St. Louis, which is famous for the “Gateway
Arch”. I do not watch sports much, but I know we also have a very good baseball

My family in America is not very large, but we are very lively and loving. My
grandparents are from Ireland, and on holidays we always gather in the kitchen and
sing Irish songs. If you like, I would be happy to teach you some!

I love writing; I write comics and fantasy stories. I hope I will get to write stories or
articles as a career. I also love performing in theater. I have done a little acting, and
am very excited about learning puppetry!

My favorite summer activities are going biking and hiking, and I love travelling! I am
so excited to see Japan, and hope I get to do some hiking while I am visiting.

I am not very good at speaking Japanese right now, but I hope that I will get better. I
am very excited to practice Japanese and to learn about your wonderful country.

Thank you again for being my host family. I am sorry for the trouble of
accommodating me, and I hope I will not be a nuisance. I am looking forward to
meeting you and hope that we will have a very good time together.



Chris Eggers クリス・ エガーズ   (Student Leader)


Chris was on the program in Iida as a student in 2011.