Growing up on a small island, seaside resort in New Jersey, I had little interest in Asia until October of 1968 when the US Army whisked me off to Vietnam where I served in the 525th Military Intelligence Group. My duties were fairly broad; however, the part I liked best was reviewing and analyzing intelligence information reports that dealt with both the political and tactical situation in the Vietnamese Highlands. Leaving the army in 1971, I returned to college and decided to pursue a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science with a focus on China and Japan, reasoning that if one really wanted to understand East Asia that they needed to understand Asia's titans.

While pursuing my undergraduate degree, I was able to study Mandarin at the Mandarin Training Center at Taiwan Normal University and then return to the University of California, Berkeley, to finish my degree in 1975. After graduation, I briefly worked for the US government in the Washington, D.C., area but soon left to pursue a Master of Arts Degree in Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, which I received in 1980.

I lived in Japan throughout most of the 1980s teaching English and free lance writing for a wide variety of publications. It is from that period of residence in Japan that I developed a strong interest in contemporary Asia. Luckily, I have been able to carry that forward as a columnist for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin where I wrote "Look East," and as the host of Asia in Review, a television show dedicated to substantive discussions on contemporary Asian affairs.

I am privileged these days to teach about China, Taiwan, Japan, and the two Koreas at Hawaii Pacific University where I strive to stimulate America's future Asian specialists. Seen from the Mid-Pacific or beyond, America's destiny lies in Asia. I invite you to join me in exploring that destiny in my new book, RANDOM VIEWS OF ASIA FROM THE MID-PACIFIC, just released by Savant Books and Publications.

William E. Sharp, Jr.