Sunday, December 11, 2005

Memoirs of a Geisha On-Line Book Discussion Group

This is the letter that is being sent out to my school community. I invite anyone I know, or those of you I don't know who stumble across this website, to join in on my project. Please contact me before the end of January and you can participate in my on-line discussion group! Thanks!

Dear Perry Community,

In October of this year the Japanese Fulbright Memorial Fund program gave me the amazing opportunity to travel to Japan for three weeks. You may read about my trip at my site: In order to participate on the trip, I had to design several projects that would incorporate my school and the community. I am inviting you to be a part of my Fulbright follow-on plan.

I have created an on-line book discussion group through Blackboard that will connect book lovers from all over the United States. We will be reading one of my favorite books, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. This book, set during the 1930’s and 40’s, chronicles the rise of Sayuri from a poor orphan girl in a fishing village to one of the most powerful geishas in Japan. It is an amazing story that is not only rich in character and plot, but gives you a sense of Japanese culture and the art of a geisha.

The majority of the discussion group will be held on Blackboard. You will receive a login and password (and instruction if necessary to navigate this site), enrolling you into the class. All you need to connect is Internet access from a computer. We will have live chats approximately once a week and a discussion board to share our thoughts as we read the book together. For those who live near Perry, Ohio, we will meet every two weeks in person to talk about the book. You will have the opportunity to view videos and learn more about the geisha community, background on Japan and the lifestyle of the country now. We will look at artifacts from the country and explore a culture that is different from our own, but contains a heritage rich in tradition and majesty.

The discussion group will start the first week in February. We will spend two months discovering this book together. The group will include high school students, educators, community members and book lovers from all over the United States! Please consider being a part of this unique project!

Anyone is welcome, please contact me at if you have any questions or are interested in embarking on this journey with us! I look forward to reading with you!


Rachele Alpine
PHS Language Arts Department


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