10/10//07

TURN LEFT WHEN YOU HEAR THE DOG BARK
Moravian professor Eva Leeds begins her Tokyo teaching stint

"Fool's dance" at a Tokyo street festival.

Sticking to Japanese meals while in Tokyo is harder than it should be, says Eva Leeds, associate professor of economics and business at Moravian College. "Tokyo is becoming international," she says. "It has restaurants from all over the world. There seems to be a fine French bakery on almost every block." Adding to the challenge of finding a decent rice-and-bean cake is the fact that most of the Tokyo streets don't have names. "I knew this, but until I got here I didn't fully appreciate how much harder it is to read maps. What looks like a major road on the map may turn out to be a back alley in reality." Asking for directions doesn't always help. "Getting anywhere requires the kind of precise instructions that say 'Turn right at the first flowering bush, then turn left when you hear the dog bark.' "

One solution to Tokyo's parking problem.

Professor Leeds, who arrived in Tokyo in September, will presumably have plenty of time to get acquainted with the city's layout as she undertakes a two-year teaching position at the Japan campus of Temple University. Her leave of absence from Moravian enabled her to accompany her husband, professor of economics Michael Leeds, who accepted a two-year appointment as an assistant dean there. In a blog documenting the pair's Japan experiences, he describes it this way: "The e-message from the dean’s office of the Fox School of Business at Temple stated that they needed someone to spend up to two years at Temple’s Tokyo campus. I almost deleted the message, but I decided to forward it to Eva with the note: Am I interested? She responded: You are!" Professor Leeds is teaching three courses: Principles of Microeconomics, Introduction to Financial Markets, and Introductory Statistics. Most of her students are Japanese, about a third are American, and the others are Chinese, Korean, Indian and other nationalities. "One student transferred here from Northampton Community College," she says. "He was even more surprised than I was to find a soul from Bethlehem!"

To read more details about the Leeds' time in Japan, or to leave them a comment, check in with their blog: maleeds.wordpress.com.