This month’s Blogger Dossiers features Sydney, who blogs at A Daring Adventure. She’s one of my newer blogger buddies, and I am glad I got to know her better by doing this post. She’s a college student who will be studying abroad soon, and I am thrilled for her. Meet Sydney, everyone, and do follow her on Twitter and Instagram, too!
I’m Sydney, a language enthusiast, lover of Japanese rock bands, someday globetrotter, and avid book collector. I’m guilty of car dancing, I love to go with the flow, and I’m obsessed with skincare. I study English and Japanese in college, and I would love to be a translator someday. For now, though, my goal is to teach English in Japan. In September of this year, I’m shoving myself out of my comfort zone and into the streets of Japan to attend university abroad for 11 months. I turned 20 this month and I’m really excited to start this new chapter of my life. Oh, and my favourite Pokémon is Charmander.
I saw One Ok Rock in concert in Los Angeles, California, in January of this year and I think that night will remain in the Top 10 Best Nights of My Life for a long time. It’s hard to put into words how much I love One Ok, but I’ll say that I cried during “The Beginning“. It helped that I was sweating so much no one around me could tell, but I was totally a mess. I fell in love with this band 7 months ago and have listened to them every single day since then, so having the opportunity to see them live was just . . . incredible. I hope I get to see them in Japan, too!
Sometimes I think of this as my “Japan song” because whenever I listen to it, I’m filled with an overwhelming need to go. I listened to it a lot when I was researching Japanese society and what it would be like to study in Japan, so when I listen to it it’s almost like I’m reminded of why I chose Japan in the first place.
Coffee Break Conversation
What started your love for the Japanese language?
I’m a massive language nerd. My Japanese friend (he’s up in that picture with me) nicknamed me “Fumi” (文), which means sentence, literature, writing, etc, because of my love for language. I was always interested in the Japanese language but thought it would be impossible to learn so I never bothered. Last year, some really emotional life stuff happened that pushed me to try things that I never thought I’d be able to do, and learning Japanese was one of those things. I just fell in love with it. I’d never had so much fun learning a language or found such joy in challenges. I started learning Japanese in July of 2016 and since then amazing opportunities have presented themselves, I’ve met incredible people, and I’ve found I feel truer to myself now than I ever did. So I own the Japanese language a lot.
What is one book you recommend to everyone?
Hm . . . probably The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I cried at the end, and the story itself was beautiful from the first to the last page. It’s great for people that like well-written books about complex characters, all of which is rooted in mythology. I still think about Patroclus and Achilles sometimes.
What are some things you have planned to do when you go to Japan for your study abroad?
A better question is what are some things I don’t have planned. ;P I want to do a lot of travelling, especially because I’ll be close to Kyoto and only four hours from Tokyo. I have a good friend that lives in Tokyo and I’m excited to get to visit him! We have Tokyo Disneyland in the plans as well as all of the usual tourist stops. I’d really love to travel all of Japan, though. I have really long breaks between semesters, so I have small plans growing that involve making my way from the southern tip of Japan to the northern. We’ll see . . .
How do you juggle school, work, family/friends, and hobbies? What works and doesn’t work for you?
I won’t lie — it’s exhausting. Some days it feels like too much. But I find that prioritising works the best, and I make sure to give myself plenty of “time off”, too. My school/work life has balanced itself out in the last year because I work mornings now and go to school in the afternoon, which makes it possible for me to have clearer evenings for homework, family time, and sleep. That helps so much. A consistent work schedule does wonders!
If you could give a Ted Talk, what would you talk about and why?
I would talk about the importance of raising children to be multilingual. As someone who wishes their parents had forced them to learn a second language as a child, I can’t stress enough how important I think it is. I hope to someday raise my children in a multilingual and multicultural household because I find them so enriching. You learn far more about the world when you open yourself up to other cultures, and I wish this was a more accepted ideology in America. I will always envy people that grew up speaking two languages because I think they have an incredible advantage in the world.