The Drawbacks of Living in Japan: Missing Major Events :(

The first African-American President is elected and sworn in and where was I? Right here in Japan. When Michael Jackson (a legendary talent) passed away, where was I? Here in Japan. When I heard the news about Osama Bin Laden, where was I? Reading about it on my computer…in my apartment…here in Japan.

Not all of these events are positive or even happy, but all of them are major. Whether it’s considered a good event or a bad one, there are times I wish I was home to just see how the American public and media respond to certain events. Or even to be at home to talk about these things with my family & friends.

What exactly spurred me to write this post in the first place? Well, I was checking my email yesterday and got an email from the Morehouse Alumni email newsletter. Do you know what it said? Well apparently Oprah’s final show is coming up and a local Atlanta television station did a segment about the hundreds of Morehouse Men who will be a part of the show. Oprah has had a big hand in funding the school and helping it grow to what it is today. I’ll let you read it for yourself; check out the email I got:


Morehouse Men Surprise Oprah During Goodbye Shows

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
4:00 pm (EST) Check your local listings

Support Morehouse Excellence:

For media inquiries, please contact Elise Durham, media relations manager at

Interview with Monica Pearson posted: 2:11 pm EDT May 22, 2011Updated: 1:45 pm EDT May 23, 2011
ATLANTA — The Oprah Winfrey Show will end a historic 25 year run Wednesday. Producers taped two of the final shows at Chicago’s United Center last week and Channel 2′s Monica Pearson was there.

Pearson knew before Oprah that hundreds of “Morehouse Men” would also be an emotional part of her surprise spectacular.

Click here to view:

Oprah is Morehouse College’s largest single donor. Her endowment is worth $12 million.

Years ago, Oprah said her goal was to guarantee 100 young men got their college education. So far, there are more than 400 “Sons of Oprah,” each with an impressive resume.

Bankers, lawyers, doctors and artists, … all of the Morehouse men traveled to Chicago for a reason.

Like dozens of Hollywood stars, they too had a surprise for Oprah.

“We’re thrilled to be part of historic moment, milestone in television history and Oprah’s life and in Morehouse College History,” Morehouse College President Dr. Robert M. Franklin said.

Led by some of the first Oprah scholarship recipients, her Morehouse Men are signing a pledge to raise money for a scholarship of their own.

“This gave me an opportunity; I want to help the people who come behind me to do the same thing,” Morehouse junior Shawn Teasley said.

Monica asked Franklin,” For some of these young men would they have been able to continue their education at Morehouse without the scholarships?”

“Absolutely not. We lose a number of young men each year for financial reasons,” Franklin replied.

Men like New York City attorney Imar Hutchins.

“I had a 4.0, but I desperately needed money to stay in school,” Hutchins said.

Wall Street’s Shaka Rasheed, who now manages billions of dollars, was another recipient.

He came to Morehouse with a father in prison and a mother raising three sisters in the inner city.

“I knew walking in I didn’t have the money to pay for it. Receiving the scholarship made it possible for me to be a great student,” Rasheed said.

Oprah’s example has touched each of the men and though many have achieved financial, professional and personal success, they have not forgotten how it felt before Oprah’s “light” came into their lives.

“It was difficult at times not knowing if you will be able to realize the fullness of your potential because you didn’t have the money. But it worked out,” Rasheed said.

In less than a month, Oprah’s “sons” have raised nearly $400,000 for Morehouse scholarships.

You can view their emotional thank you on stage during the “surprise spectacular” Oprah show Tuesday on Channel 2 at 4 p.m.


THIS A HUGE EVENT!! Oprah is like a television staple in the United States. She is such a big part of American TV and popular culture that it’s kind of hard to imagine her not having a show anymore. I never really watched it all that much (it’s more geared towards a female audience) but everyone knows the show. I still remember that old Oprah music that was EXTREMELY catchy. I didn’t know much about the show as a kid except that my Mom watched it all the time, but I knew that theme music like the back of my hand. She’s been at it for longer than I’ve been alive! At least I think so. After graduating from Morehouse I realize that I have been quite detached from Morehouse, my teachers at Morehouse, and my friends from Morehouse. Seeing things like this, though, make me proud that I was actually able to finish there, hard times and all (see my story). The year I was supposed to graduate (2002) Oprah Winfrey was the speaker…unfortunately I wasn’t there, but I wish I had been (Bill Cosby spoke at mine). I can’t believe how many big events have happened while I’ve been in Japan. Don’t get me wrong, I really like it here, but there are times when I feel like a bit like a double outsider, not quite fitting in here because I’m not fluent in Japanese, and feeling distant/detached from America because I’m missing out on some once-in-a-lifetime events.

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  • Mia

    Sorry you’re missing some great events. I saw the show and seeing those 300 Morehouse Men was THE BEST segment to me. And they’re paying it forward by starting a scholarship fund for future students with $300,000 of their own money.

    • Donald Ash

      AARRRGHH!! Mia, I really wanted to see that. You were supposed to lie to me and tell me that it was the worst part of the show…YOU’RE KILLING ME! LOL :)

  • I remembered this post.. and I wanted to share this with you so you don’t entirely miss out on fireworks!

    • Donald Ash

      Awww, thanks Nanami. I appreciate that. Happy 4th!

      • We set em off in our back yard ^ ^; lol

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