Eastern Michigan University and Japanese Exchange and Teaching Alumni Association presented “Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story” in the Student Center Auditorium.
Faye Valtadoros, JETAA President, shared her reason for bringing the film to EMU, saying “it is an important story for everyone to hear,” and that it brings “the unknown to the public’s knowledge.”
She knew once she saw it at a national conference that she had to bring it back to EMU.
“Live Your Dream” is a documentary about Taylor Anderson and Monty Dickson, both of whom taught in Japan and lost their lives during the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, which occurred on March 11, 2011.
The auditorium was filled with a variety of students, faculty and many guests. The special guests in attendance who were recognized were Regge Life, the producer and director of the film, Andy
Anderson, the father of Taylor Anderson, Shelley Ann Fredrickson, the sister of Monty Dickson and
Kazuyuki Katayama, the Consul General of Japan in Detroit.
This film detailed the lives of Taylor and Monty through the experiences of their family and friends. Fredrickson, an EMU alumna, shared how her brother defined success as “doing what you love.”
Both Monty and Taylor were doing just that, working in the country they had fallen in love with and sharing that passion and dedication with others. They were known for truly investing in the students’ lives and the community, and they took care of their students, putting them first during the disaster.
“Their accomplishments make this tragedy into something beautiful,” Marian Kandler, a sophomore majoring in Japanese and accounting, said, “They died doing something they loved.”
Andy Anderson said he hoped that the film could bring some small element of positivity to someone through its viewing. He also shared how the Japan Exchange Teaching program had broadened both Taylor and Monty’s horizons in life and that such a program allows people to serve as a type of ambassador for their countries.
This is an ongoing event, and there is still a lot of rebuilding which is taking place in Japan.
Anderson shared that 27,000 people are still in temporary housing. Fredrickson said that despite those conditions, “they are moving forward.”
The screening of this movie provided a unique cross-cultural opportunity and a chance to gain a better understanding of life in Japan, both on a normal day-to-day basis and during the disaster.
As reflected in the film’s title, the families and friends of both Taylor and Monty encouraged all who hear their stories to truly “Live Your Dream.”
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