Zekuu, Organizer of J-AMFM (Japanese Anime Lovers) in Abu Dhabi & JLS (Japanese Language Society) of Abu Dhabi
Posted by advaitin on June 4, 2006
1) Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your educational and work background?
I grew up watching Japanese imported Anime (English dubbed versions) in the USA, but didn’t really develop an interest in Japanese culture until my college years when I became friends with a lovely girl from Japan. After that, I started watching Anime in Japanese with subtitles (the storylines can differ significantly since there are often subtle references which are only understood when one is familiar with Japanese pop culture and/or customs) and also branched out into Japanese rock / pop music and later Japanese films. I moved to the UAE not long after graduating with my Bachelors degree and have been in Abu Dhabi for nearly 10 years now.
2) What inspired you to start J-AMFM?
It is both a passion and a dedication. I have a longstanding interest in Japanese culture and it’s a wonderful feeling being able to share this intriguing and fascinating world with others.
It was a little over a year ago that J-AMFM came into being, mostly by chance. I had attended a Japanese language course offered by the Japanese Embassy in Abu Dhabi and a few of us wanted to keep practicing after the course ended, so we formed another group (Japanese Language Speakers or JLS of Abu Dhabi) to enable us to keep in touch. In fact, J-AMFM was originally started as a companion group to JLS as a large number of people who had attended the Japanese language course did so because of their interest in Japanese Anime. I never expected that it would eventually have a greater response than the JLS group – lol.
3) How has the response to your forum been so far?
Believe it or not, neither group did much in their first year of existence and we struggled to get people to attend the meetings. At one point, I was so frustrated with the poor attendance, I even considered closing both groups! Then, almost miraculously, toward the end of last year, there was a surge of people suddenly wanting to join J-AMFM and the group was ‘re-born’ in 2006. We are now going strong and have had meetings nearly every week for the past two months when before we were lucky to have a meeting once a month! All I can say is many, many thanks to the members who have really shown their support and whom I’m really delighted to call my friends ^_^
4) Any interesting tid-bits and happenings that you can share from the forum?
I think that the greatest thing about this group is that age is no boundary when people come together to share their common interest. Our members range in age from early teens to mid-thirties; yet, everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the meetings and the younger members often bring fresh perspectives that really enliven the discussions. I even got hooked on a really great series thanks to the suggestion of one of those younger members – lol.
5) What are your other interests and hobbies?
Reading the above, you might think that my life revolves around Japanese media (and in a way, that’s not far from the truth – lol), but I also like to read the occasional novel and I’m very keen on working with computers. So, I guess you could call those my ‘other interests and hobbies’.
6) What are your favourite books, music, movies, celebrities and inspiring personalities?
Favorite Book: hmm, tough call (I’ve read tons), but two which immediately come to mind are 100 years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Contact by Carl Sagan, ironically, both were given to me as gifts!
Favorite Music: Alternative / Melodic / Progressive Rock – bands like L’Arc~en~Ciel, MUCC and Asian Kung-Fu Generation (all Japanese) or RUSH (Canadian)
Movies: Shawshank Redemption, Daremo Shiranai (Nobody Knows), Spirited Away (Miyazaki Hayao’s masterpiece!)
Celebrities: Hyde (L’Arc~en~Ciel), Sakurai Sho & Matsumoto Jun (ARASHI), Kamenashi Kazuya (KAT-TUN) & Nakamura Yukie (a brilliant & beautiful actress)
Inspiring Personalities: Dali Lama, Mother Theresa & my parents ^_^
Personal Motto / Philosophy of Life: “I want to make at least one person smile every day.”
7) What is your motto or philosophy of life that you would like to share with our readers?
Favorite quote by which I live my life: “If you were to choose between two trees, an oak and a willow, which one would you rather be. The oak which stands tall amidst the raging storm or the willow which bends beneath the force of the gale. You might think the oak is best; yet, once the wind ceases, the willow will also stand tall again while the oak may have a few broken limbs.” No clue who said it first and I’ve heard loads of variations on the same theme, but its simple philosophy remains the same each time.