Coming to OIST is coming into a new identity. We leave behind family, friends, the familiar and cross hundreds or even thousands of kilometers to join this scientific community. For many, OIST is a new language. OIST is a new culture. OIST may even be a new hemisphere. OIST is remote, and coming here marks the tremendously brave act of choosing to create an entirely new life for the sake of knowledge and, dare we say it, adventure. Everyone—every student, post-doc, professor, technician, and family member—has a distinct memory of their first step on campus. It is a truly transformative event.

As we worked to create the third issue of Kuroshio, this personal transformation became the theme running throughout. Within the apt darkness of the first two pages, a lone poem wrestles with the question, Should I come? An established identity is then left behind until a single beam of light illuminates the void, while heightening a sense of linguistic isolation, as the prose piece asks, What do I say? What am I being told? A new identity begins to take shape. A personal essay then moves us completely into the light, marking a rebirth of the self when asking, Who am I here?, before the photo essay continues this vein of thought with the question, What am I creating? In the end, we return to a more stable identity—rerooted within Okinawa—when the final piece declares, I have grown; I am home.

This issue has no table of contents, no page numbers, no titles—just as there are no fixed signposts or maps to guide us through the process of finding who we are and who we have the potential to be within the OIST community. This journey is unique to each person. The struggles and triumphs are weathered and interpreted differently, so too we hope each reader will find his or her own entry into Kuroshio’s summer literary supplement.

We extend our most heartfelt gratitude to those who donated and helped bring this issue to print. Thank you for supporting our artistic aspirations.

–Virginia Houk