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Harvard Medical School︱PhD︱Essay

How I rediscovered my passion for Japanese anime, and built myself for Harvard Medical School

Harvard Medical School︱PhD︱Essay

In the modern world, having a passion for anime and Japanese culture may be synonymous with negative connotations amongst certain peers. Since Grade 9, I’ve been one of those people who have a deep devotion to anime; as a result being branded with an antagonistic epithet of, otaku. Usually, a person should not be discriminated for their passions, but having an affinity to Japanese culture and anime was not considered extremely healthy for my social and academic life.

While the term “otaku” usually includes individuals with an intense penchant for anime, it can also apply to people who just have a general interest. However, I myself was one of those people who were quite ambivalent about anime, but I managed maintain an unparalleled zeal for Japanese culture. Due to my fervor and pursuit of knowledge of the Japanese culture, my acquaintances thought I was one of those “otaku” characters.

Certainly, after being branded the title of an “otaku”, I started to lose a lot of friends. This caused me to develop a form of inner hatred for the passion that I loved so much. Since high school is about the whole “fitting in” game, I decided to drop Japanese culture and anime in an attempt to regain my friends.

After two years of my Japanese culture prohibition, I felt as if I was not whole. Thus, in the spring of my Grade 11th year, I decided once again to explore Japanese culture. By that time, my Japanese proficiency had already dropped far below the level I had attained in Grade 9. However, since I missed almost 2 whole years of Japanese culture, I came back to that passion with a burning desire like I’ve never had before. This prompted me to not only re-learn most of my Japanese, but I even began to blog about anime shows.

By [Privacy Blank], I had become more than what I ever was in Grade 9. I had become a prominent anime blogger, learned to speak Japanese in order to communicate sufficiently, and made many “comrades” via social networking. While many may regard my achievements in this field as “falling into the bottomless abyss of otaku-dom”, I come from a different perspective to my case.

Although I certainly admit that pursuing anime and Japanese culture may not be in my best interests if I was going to aspire to be a medical doctor, but it taught quite a few things. Since my fascination of Japanese culture and anime was solitary, I had no one to rely on for guidance. Due to this adversity, I was able to gain experience in self-teaching the things I wanted to learn. Not only was I able to sufficiently learn proper Japanese vocabulary and grammar, I was able to demonstrate my proficiency whenever the opportunity arose. Also, as a testament to my skills learnt from my experience in anime blogging, the website I’ve been blogging for has garnered over an average of over 1000 views a day. Thus, by pursuing my desires to be enriched by Japanese culture, I’ve also learnt to rely on myself and be able to take initiatives in the face of adversity.

To this day, while I’m still rather ambivalent in letting my friends know that I’m actively immersed with Japanese culture and anime, it is without a doubt that some of the skills that I’ve learnt from my experience has made me more independent than ever before. Thus, by rejuvenating my passion for Japanese culture instead of abandoning it forever, I was able to pick up core skills and integrate them to make me a better individual. Those “core skills” I’ve learnt helps me to read ahead, understand course material, and be more confident with my writing in all of my AP courses this year. As a result, I’m able to better excel at school thanks to my original commitment to Japanese culture and anime.

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