What is your occupation?
I currently live in London and am an external relations manager in the British government.
How did you come to study Japanese? What attracted you to Japan?
Japan offered me among the most beautiful memories and friends both in high school and at CSRJ. I started studying Japanese in high school, mostly due to Japanese anime and music (I am listening to Aimer - Rokutosei no Yoru as I write to add to the nostalgia :).
Did your studies at the Center help you in your career in any way? If so, how?
Among many other things, my studies at the Center taught me what discipline means. I am referring mainly to the discipline necessary for learning the Japanese language, which has been useful to me countless times in the last 10 years, both in university studies and in my career.
What are your most beautiful memories about life at the Center? Summer School, Cultural Program in Japan? Festivals?
The Summer School and Cultural Program in Japan are among my most beautiful memories / trips ever! I would never have thought in the ninth grade that I would see Japan at the end of high school, moreover, that I will keep my friendships in Japan even today <3.
Are young people now as attracted to Japan as they were 10-15 years ago?
Just a look on TikTok is enough - Gen Z is crazy about Death Note haha. I think animation studios and manga volumes still generate the same level of interest and enthusiasm. I think that young people are still attracted to Japan, but I understand the curiosity of many that's perhaps a little more nuanced and engaged in the historical and political context of Japan.
The thing you learned in Japan that is most useful to you now :)
The quality of public services and the fairness (I think especially when I lost my sight glasses on a bus in Tokyo, only to be found and returned to me in a few hours at the hotel :) I try to follow the same standard currently working in the civil service.
How do you see yourself now compared to Sasu, our volunteer 10 years ago? What advice would you give her?
It's been 10 years since I left Romania for my studies and career. I think I have the same enthusiasm and courage to be and try new roles and things, but in the meantime I have learned (I hope!) to have more patience with myself and those around me. I think I'm a better friend to myself. As advice, I would tell Sasu not to read Cioran so early and to take it all easier.
Finally, any wishes for the anniversary?
Happy anniversary, CSRJ family! Thank you for your support and trust, Japanese language and culture courses, friendships and the beautiful conversations about the future.