From Russia[n] With Love

Although this article is not about CJK, its purpose is to describe how I was put onto the CJK path. I studied French in high school, but it was really my studies of Russian, courtesy of the United States Army, that eventually put me on the CJK path. Immediately after graduating high school in 1983, I entered US Army Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, which was followed by Interrogator School at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. The third part of my training, which was associated with my MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), Interrogator, was to learn Russian.

I attended the 47-Week Russian Basic Course at DLI-FLC (Defense Language Institute, Foreign Language Center) in Monterey, California for almost all of 1984. It was a great experience, and helped to set the stage for my current career. One of my classmates memorialized our 47-week adventure into learning a foreign language by creating the following artwork that I treasure to this day:

Immediately after finishing my Russian studies, I entered The University of Wisconsin-Madison in January of 1985, and my first plan was to declare Russian as my major. After learning that I’d need to take a half-dozen literature classes, I changed this plan, and instead declared linguistics as my major. An undergraduate degree in linguistics required one year of a non-Indoeuropean language, and I narrowed my choices down to Arabic and Japanese. I spent a good chunk of Summer of 1985 figuring out which language to study during the upcoming school year. I ultimately—and obviously—chose Japanese. Events that transpired five years later in the Middle East make me extraordinarily grateful that I came to that decision, otherwise my being in the US Army Reserves, combined with Arabic language skills, would have translated into a lot of sand in my boots.

I enjoyed learning Japanese, so much so that I continued beyond the first year, which included taking the second year intensively during Summer of 1986. I also enrolled in the Technical Japanese program at UW-Madison, and eventually worked closely with Professors Edward E. Daub (my son’s namesake, and who likes to use 江戸の鳩 as a pen name), R. Byron Bird, and Nobuo Inoue (RIP) to typeset Basic Technical Japanese in the late 1980s using a Macintosh SE and Apple LaserWriter II NTX-J. Those were fond memories for sure. It was during this period that I developed a strong interest in Japanese character sets and encodings. I was hired by Adobe in mid-1991, and the rest is, shall we say, history.

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