A short presentation of yours: what you studied, what you do now, some highlights about you
My name is Ana-Maria Anton and I graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy and Journalism at the "Spiru Haret" University, the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the "Dimitrie Cantemir" Christian University and a Master of Intercultural Communication and Professional Translation at the "Hyperion" University. I also volunteered at the "Angela Hondru" Romanian-Japanese Studies Center. I currently own my own business offering 2D and 3D graphic design services, as well as 3D modeling and printing services.
What attracted you to Japan, how did you end up studying Japanese?
Being passionate about sports, at the age of 13 I enrolled in a Karate class that took place at the school where I was studying. Thus, the first lesson of the Japanese language was learning the numbers from 1 to 10 and the names of the techniques. I can say that through Karate I learned more about Japanese culture, and as I grew up, I read more and more about Japan. The decision to study Japanese was also influenced by a passion for sports. I started studying Japanese in 2010 because I wanted to understand the information, news, or interviews about the Japanese athletes I admired and also to better understand Japanese culture.
How did you find out about CSRJ? And what is the most beautiful memory about the Center?
In 2013, after graduating from the Faculty of Foreign Languages, I wanted to continue studying Japanese, but not on my own. A very good friend recommended me the Japanese language course at the "Angela Hondru" Romanian-Japanese Studies Center and I liked the way of teaching and the atmosphere so much that I decided to enroll every year. In 2014 I volunteered for the Center and had the opportunity to learn many new things that helped me develop my skills and become a better person. It is difficult to choose a single moment that I can describe as the most beautiful memory, because all the events organized by the Center that I participated with the other volunteers (who became my friends) are beautiful memories. A team of people with the same goal, who share the same joy for the Japanese language and culture that they want to share with as many people as possible. These are the most beautiful memories I have and will cherish for the rest of my life.
When did you first arrive in Japan? Tell us a little about the Cultural Program. What was the first sensation?
I first arrived in Japan participating in the Cultural Program in 2014. I visited 8 cities, 2 islands and a peninsula. Until then, I only saw Japan in pictures, documentaries, or through the stories of people who visited Japan. It seemed like a distant dream. But the moment I arrived in Japan and realized that my dream had finally come true, I looked with enthusiasm and emotion at the places I had only seen in pictures before. During the trip I visited famous temples such as Todaiji Temple in Nara, Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto, Asakusa Temple in Tokyo, Osaka Castle, I made a wish when I touched the floating gate on Miyajima Island, I watched the sunset from the 39th floor of the spectacular Umeda Sky Building skyscraper, I admired Mount Fuji in Hakone Park, I really felt the Japanese spirit participating in a demonstration of the tea ceremony offered by the Hayashi family, I walked in the most famous shopping areas: Namba in Osaka, Harajuku, Shibuya, Akihabara. It was more spectacular than I imagined, but just the way I wanted it to be: a real cultural experience.
What do you think makes Japan special?
One of the amazing things that makes Japan so special is the way it combines history and traditions with its incredible modernization. You can walk the streets of Tokyo and find temples that have existed in the city for centuries, as well as the latest technology in existence today.
Another thing that surprised me when I arrived in Japan, and it surprises most people, is how polite the Japanese are. They always try to help people when they need it. They always follow the rules and keep order wherever they go, keeping the city safe and clean. It's something you certainly don't see wherever you go.
Public transportation is one of the main things that amazed me when I arrived in Japan. Public transport is excellent, and I had the opportunity to travel by high-speed train (shinkansen), ferry, tram, bus, subway and a lot on foot. Japan's train, bus and subway networks are efficient and punctual and extremely reliable compared to other countries.
And last but not least, the Japanese food. In Japanese, traditional food is known as "washoku" and is based on five rules. The five rules mean the use of five flavors, five colors and five cooking methods. The full menu in Japan consists of a soup, three garnishes and rice. This means that the food is delicious because of the flavors, and looks beautiful because of the colors. Food is mostly low in calories, which means that in addition to all the other benefits, it is also very healthy.
How did you come to print a samurai armor in 3D? How difficult was it? What can you tell us about this armor?
I've always wanted to combine my passion for 2D and 3D graphics with that of Japanese culture. Thus, when Mr. Șerban Georgescu, Director of the "Angela Hondru" Romanian-Japanese Studies Center, proposed to me to make a samurai armor, I did not hesitate for a moment. We thought that the samurai Date Masamune, with his black armor and golden crescent moon, would be the perfect host for the Center's 16th anniversary gala. It was an honor for me to make this armor, and I hope that as many students of the Center as possible will enjoy its presence.
Date Masamune (1567-1636), also known as "Dokuganryu" (the one-eyed dragon), was a remarkable tactician, a brilliant leader, a fearless warrior, and the founder of Sendai city. He was respected among the samurai as loyal and ambitious, but also proud and thoughtless. Despite his frightening reputation, Date Masamune was an educated man who supported the development of art.
The making of the armor was not difficult, but rather meticulous, requiring a lot of attention to detail. The armor has a total of 204 pieces, their 3D modeling being ready in a week, and 3D printing being ready in 344 hours (requiring 6kg of raw material). Then followed the finishing, consisting of sanding, grouting and painting, which lasted about 10 days. During the 10 days, in addition to finishing the printed pieces, I also made the wooden support of the armor, I cut the sleeves and the armor for the thighs using leather. In the end, all the pieces were tied with string using traditional techniques (tying took 2 days and I used about 200 meters of string).
Any advice for current CSRJ students?
When it comes to studying Japanese, my advice is to be patient and persevere. At first, learning Japanese can be intimidating, but if they set goals, they will always be motivated and on the right track. I also advise them to get involved in as many events organized by the Center as possible, because it is a great opportunity to develop their communication skills in Japanese, and to learn new things about Japanese culture.
Photos: Ana-Maria Anton ©