Sota Fujimoto as told to Amanda Trogus
Finding my Voice
My name is Sota Fujimoto. I was born in Japan and I came to America for College. I got to Ohio Northern University. I chose this college because I liked the feeling that it gave me. Having a small-town college seemed to me like a good choice for me, and ONU says it is a green college which also is important for me. I came to America because since I was able to speak some English, I wanted to become better and it was a great opportunity. I choose my major to be business management because I wish to manage my own business in the future. Japan has a lot of business and has a large market in every kind of industry. To be honest I am unsure what I will do after college. I want to make my own business, but I am unsure of what it should be.
I do miss Japan sometimes. After all, I have friends and family there. I do have friends here, but I am a very shy person. I also prefer to be alone most of the time. I’d rather be in my room enjoying myself than to be out and talking to people. That is just who I am. Don’t get me wrong–I do have friends that I hang out with here. I just don’t have a big group of friends, which to me is not a bad thing. I’d rather have a few friends than a big group of friends where you can’t really get close to anyone and people could be left behind.
Something about being shy is that I cannot speak what is on my mind. I can speak more freely with my friends back in Japan, but here it is a little harder to be more open. I find American people to be very outgoing. They are able to make a bunch of friends sometimes and not be afraid to talk to people they have never met. They are always on the go and able to do new things. When I came to America I noticed this. I think in Japanese people are not as outgoing as people here in America. That might be one reason why I am a little shy. Being shy is just who I am. And another reason why I don’t talk to people that much is because I fear my English is not very good. So how will I be able to understand what they are saying to me? American people talk very fast and it is hard to understand what they are saying. Don’t get me wrong, I do love living here and going to school. America has so much to offer and the culture is a bit different than Japan, but it is still interesting. Making friends here is hard because it is hard to talk to people. Like I mentioned before, people talk so fast and it is hard to understand them. Though there are some people here that I can talk to and feel a little more comfortable with. It is also nice that there are other people at Ohio Northern University that are also from Japan.
Being able to talk to people from Japan makes it a little easier here. It is nice to know that there are other people here who are also going through the same thing I am. I do enjoy my classes and learning about how to create a business, but one of the classes I took this semester was one of the best. It was a photography class. It turned out that I enjoyed that class a lot more than I though I would at first. I just started to like taking photos around July of the summer of 2017. I took some pictures of my friends and I when we went to Mount Fuji. It was super fun to go back home to Japan and see my old friends. From the pictures I took, I started to notice that I enjoyed the experience of taking them. So, when school came around I took a photography class. I never thought that anyone would like my photos. I just did the homework and sometimes took photos for fun.
I never take photos of people though. Since I am shy it would be hard for me to go up and ask someone to take photos of them. So instead, I take photos of objects and animals. Mostly nature is my model and I enjoy it. I like most of my photos to show an uplifting feeling and be able to look happy. I think having a positive photo might bring someone’s day up. I never saw myself as someone with any good talent in any sort of art. Taking photos was just something I did because it brought me joy. I thought of myself as a beginner who didn’t know much about how photography was supposed to be. Throughout the semester people told me that they loved my photos. I didn’t see why. I do like the photos I take, but I didn’t think others would like them as much as they said they did. It was hard to talk about them sometimes though, because English is not an easy language to learn. Every time we did a project we would have to talk about the photos, and throughout the semester it became easier to do so.
When I went out to take pictures, I never really had a plan set on what I wanted to take. Sure, I had an idea or a theme, but it isn’t always as simple as going out and having everything you want right in front of you. Sometimes you have to go outside a few times to get different lighting, and that could take forever. When I take pictures, I base it on a feeling I get when I am out walking around. When I walk around, I look to see what nature has to offer on that day. Then I stop, and I just get a feeling of I have to take this picture. It is something that is hard to explain but that is sort of what it is like. In a way, now that I think of it, I guess my pictures speak for me. How I see the world, what the world has to offer. Photos can say many things that sometimes people can not say or even put into words. In the end I have learned that I do love to take photos and maybe I do have some sort of a talent at it. I don’t plan to give up on taking photos after this class and who knows, maybe these photos will become something more in my life down the road.
This story originally appeared in Facing Our Futures Beyond High School, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio.