Invasion of Privacy: Yuichi Tamura, living life and teaching students through humor

Take one part sociology professor, one part comedian, and one part Tom Cruise, and the result is what students and faculty alike recognize in Yuichi Tamura. Although Cruise himself can't be found roaming the sociology department, according to Tamura, he and Mr. Cruise have a "psychological connection." The parallels run deep: "My wife is taller than me. Nicole Kidman is taller than Tom Cruise. That makes me Tom Cruise," said Tamura.

Yuichi came to Geneseo in the fall of 2001 and has since rejuvenated the mundane classroom scene with entertainment and enthusiasm. "My classes won't change your life, but they're fun," he admitted. After completing his bachelor's degree in Russian Studies in Japan, Tamura moved to the United States to complete his graduate studies in Kansas. He watched a number of TV sitcoms to learn American language and culture, including Full House and Golden Girls.

But in addition to his education, other underlying motives pervaded his move to the United States: Tamura just wanted to be a cowboy. Inspired by John Wayne, Tamura mounted his first horse after moving to the United States. Sadly, "It was an absolute failure," said Tamura, "the horse wouldn't budge."

Tamura is a man of small pleasures. The best part of his life - second only to his wife and daughter-is Panera Bread's frontega chicken panini. "It's happiness," he said. In fact, every mention of food was emphasized with passion. Starting his day right is a simple matter of a medium Dunkin' Donuts coffee with cream and five packets of Splenda. He enjoys four of Baskin Robin's 31 flavors: chocolate chip, cookies and cream, strawberry and mocha. But Tamura is accommodating. "Baskin Robbins should have 31 flavors, even though I only like four."

As an adolescent in Japan, Tamura was a member of a comedy club, where he learned an invaluable lesson: "Comedy allows me to say anything, and the audience will assume I'm kidding."

With this idea in mind, Tamura confessed that in 10 years he most looks forward to a wig. "A Legally Blond wig," he said rubbing his scalp. After all, with Reese Witherspoon as his "all-time favorite" star, keep an eye out for a blond-haired spectacle roaming the sociology department in the future.