Interview with Holly (kingy0hanabi) About Japan, Making Dreams Come True and Creating Amazing Content.


If you are a student, you might have seen Holly’s blog on Tumblr, as there she shares her studying techniques, her progress and answers various questions. Nevertheless, it’s quite hard not to notice that she really likes Japan. Not a long time ago Holly visited this amazing county, entered Cambridge and even created a YouTube channel. Today we will discuss Japan and Japanese language, but at the same time we will talk about success and good content.

As I noticed, you really enjoy Japan, Japanese culture and learning Japanese language. How did you understand that you like this county? How did it start? 
I was first introduced to Japan through a penpal that I had during my early teenage years. She lived in Fukuoka, and having never been to Japan at the time, I was instantly mesmerized by all of the things that she told me about her country. I decided suddenly that if she was going to work so hard to learn my language, it would only make sense if I returned the effort and tried to learn hers too–and that's where it all began, really. It was a slow start but gradually things started to click, and now I'm here five years later doing just what I love–learning Japanese full-time. And the best part? I'm still friends with that penpal to this day and we keep in contact regularly. 

This year two of your dreams came true: you entered Cambridge and visited Japan. What's the secret of making dreams come true? Is it all about hard work? 
There is no secret method to making dreams come true. However, I think we need to realize that every single one of us has the potential to achieve greatness. If you want good grades, do your best and study. If you want to become an athlete, train as much as you can. Although sometimes we fail or the results of our efforts do not always lead us in the direction that we first had envisioned, I like to believe that if one starts with an initial goal and strictly works towards it, reaching it is not impossible. I like to think of learning as a sport–my dad says that getting into Cambridge is like my Olympic gold medal.

What was your first impression of visiting Japan? Does it look exactly the way you imagined it to be?
Until I went to Japan for the first time this year, the only things that I truly knew were reflected through the voices of my Japanese friends living there and the books that I would read. Surprisingly, nothing was too much of a shock for me. Seeing everything that I had only ever witnessed through articles and web-pages in front of my eyes was incredibly surreal. I remember stepping off the plane and just thinking, 'At last! I made it!'

What advice can you give to those who are just thinking of visiting this country?
My main point of advice to people visiting Japan would be to try picking up some of the language. Short phrases and simple words are fine. The majority of people who I interacted with during my trip–particularly those in tourism-industry and customer-service-based jobs–always tried their best to speak to me in English, and most felt incredibly relieved when I responded in Japanese. I'm a firm believer of the phrase, 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do'–and this applies to both the language and cultural aspects. Of course you do not have to be fluent, but just knowing how to say 'thank you', 'excuse me', and other simple utterances will show a greater sense of appreciation for kind actions. A mutual effort also leads to better communication. (And ease when travelling!) 

Japanese is a complicated language. What is the most important thing in studying Japanese?
Japanese is a language that strongly emphasizes hierarchy and status, even within everyday conversation. In English, there may only be a single way to say 'you', but in Japanese, this varies significantly because the pronouns used differ depending on who you are speaking to. Of course we all make mistakes, and this is okay, but knowing the different ways to address people from an early stage not only shows respect, but proof of cultural awareness and understanding. This may not be the most vital thing, but it's something that I consider to be important. 

 What's one best thing about Japan?
The best thing about Japan has to be the people. Even speaking to strangers in the street, people running family-businesses, students and employees– all have given me the greatest, most fulfilling insight into how other people live, and it's something that I will always cherish. Whenever I feel too tired to study Japanese, I remember the genuine kindness of the people that I met during my short stay there, and it keeps me pushing forward because I know that someday I will return again.

Advice for people wanting to create their own content?
Create the content that you would like to watch yourself. If a kind of Podcast or blog post that you'd like to listen to or read doesn't exist yet, that's your sign to go out and make it! Uploading videos and blogging is one of my most beloved pursuits, because it allows me to record memories whilst sharing them with the rest of the world. If we create these opportunities for ourselves, the rewards are limitless. 

All the pictures belong to Holly (kingy0hanabi).

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