Captivated by anime at the age of six, Amanda Rollins from La Crescenta, Calif., grew to be intrigued by all things Japanese and storytelling.
“I fell in love with Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z,” Rollins said. “My older brother helped me find sources for anime online, and I was able to keep learning more. They are serialized, like a string, with several episodes per season. They captured my imagination, and I started making up my own in elementary school. We ended up buying VHS copies of all the episodes.”
She took her first Japanese language class in high school. As she made plans for college, her passion for Japan continued, and helped determine the goals and plans she made for her future.
“Serendipity drew me to Wittenberg,” Rollins said. “I ignored all the college fliers that came, just shoved them in a drawer. For some reason, I wasn’t doing anything the day the Witt literature came, and I took the time to read it. I felt I had found my school. In the end it met all of my absolute requirements – a strong East Asian Studies program, a free application and a generous scholarship.”
She has pursued her love for Japan and learned more about East Asian cultures and people, and although she didn’t take theatre classes, she auditioned for productions every semester.
“I’ve been interested in theatre since middle school, and when I came to Wittenberg, I knew I would join the theatre community,” she said. She added that her biggest accomplishment was the role of Mrs. Pennywise in Urinetown: The Musical, which was produced in April 2008.
Her passion for Japan continued to grow during a year studying at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaki, Japan. During her stay she lived with two host families, one followed the modern culture and one the traditional, providing Rollins the opportunity to experience firsthand the changes taking place in the country.
Following graduation, Rollins will head home to California for the summer, but she will return to Japan in the fall. She will work for the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme teaching English. She hopes to serve as coordinator for international relations where she will translate documents from Japanese to English and serve as an English interpreter of Keigo, high-level Japanese that is extremely polite, formal.
“My ultimate goal is to return to California and create my own stories.”
- Written by Phyllis Eberts '00
- Photo by Robbie Gantt