Not unlike the Japanese culture she studies, Amanda Moore’s interests are multi-layered, complex, and have been developing for years.
Moore wants to combine her passion for words, business and Japan in a career translating for a Japanese business.
“I don’t really know where my passion for Japan and Japanese culture came from,” she says. “I just know that I find it fascinating, and I hope to work in Japan as an English translator for a big corporation.”
Growing up, she envisioned herself as a writer, but during high school she became intrigued with Japan and more recently is intensely curious about business.
“I love words and think it is fascinating how we can communicate ideas to one another through these words,” she explains. “Business is a solid choice for job opportunities later. No matter what, business is applicable. Whether you are a chef, musician, or a sales clerk, you are driven by organization and the mechanisms behind business.”
After graduating high school, Moore visited Japan as a graduation gift from her mom, and she spent this past summer reading business journals to help her sister’s startup company.
“I think translating will be a good use for all of these interests,” she says.
While researching colleges and universities, Earlham quickly became Moore’s top choice.
“I found a lot that said that Earlham has the best Japanese program in the U.S.,” she says. “We get a lot of personal attention, there are good travel abroad options, and I like the interdepartmental aspect of the department.”
Moore cites professors who teach in the Japanese program who also teach in business, anthropology, history, geology, literature, and classics.
“I went to a big high school, but this is the best environment for language learning,” she explains. “Japanese is much easier to learn in smaller classes.”
Moore says she is captivated by Japan’s landscape.
“You have the metro skyscrapers in Tokyo, then you have the rolling green hills with shrines nestled within,” she says. “The language and writing system is fascinating. The Kanji characters are the hardest part of learning the language, but they make it the most fun.”
As an example, Moore cites the character for ear and the character for gate.
“When you put the two characters together, it means ‘listen,’” she says. “It’s difficult to think about language this way at first, but when you learn a little you can start piecing things together and it’s like a puzzle.”
Moore describes business in Japan as a “shifting landscape.”
“It’s a bit precarious right now because the Japanese economy has reached a point where there are not jobs available for all the people who are seeking jobs,” she says. “The elevator that they once had isn’t going to work in the same way that it once worked.”
On campus, Moore lives with six others in Japan House, which hosts Japan-related events and has Japanese-only hours between 6 and 8 p.m. when most of the talking takes place each day.
“It was really difficult in the beginning of the year, and everyone still has a dictionary with them,” she says.
She will spend her junior year in Japan at Waseda University.
“The yearlong program is more independent and will provide me with enough motivation to get more out of it,” she says. “I am looking forward to the language immersion and improving my speaking ability. And the food is really good. I am also excited to look at all the business courses they have to offer, and one in particular brings in a different business leader each week to discuss different topics.
“I look at this year as an adventure or a challenge. It will be hard, but if I push myself I can succeed and find out how much I can really flourish in this kind of environment. You can be happy and not push yourself but you’re not going to know what you are truly capable of until you push yourself.”