Andrew Banks

Japanese Studies

Andrew Banks

I’d bought a really interesting book on Japanese culture and when I was selecting which university to go to I realised that one of the lecturers at Oxford Brookes had actually written the book

Andy Banks came to Oxford Brookes as a mature student after working in retail for five years and completing a one year access course.

I decided to get a degree in something I'd enjoy learning about. I choose Japanese because I have been fascinated with Japan since a young age and for a long time have been influenced by their martial arts, technology, anime, manga, movies and culture.

I’d bought a really interesting book on Japanese culture and when I was selecting which university to go to I realised that one of the lecturers at Oxford Brookes had actually written the book. Oxford Brookes also seemed to offer the best combination of other subjects with Japanese and had a fantastic location in a wonderful city so I decided to make it my first choice.

Oxford Brookes has a very high quality academic teaching staff and the lessons are interesting and challenging. The high standard of teaching gives Brookes students the edge over others.

Alexander Jacoby teaches Japanese cinema, anime and manga and has a vast knowledge in this field. He also runs Japanese seminars where guest speakers from other universities come in and talk about Japanese related topics. These seminars are worth attending as they do come in handy while abroad as they give you an edge in some classes as you'll have knowledge that most of the others won't have. They are also really interesting and there is a buffet afterwards.

For my year abroad I chose to study at Aoyama Gakuin University in Shibuya, Tokyo. Aoyama Gakuin was the best university from a cultural capital stand point as well as being ideally located in Shibuya which is near most of the more interesting places in Tokyo. I had visited the university while on holiday in Japan so I had a very good idea of where it was and what it was like.

My year abroad experience has been amazing. I've had fantastic opportunities to go on various trips and activities due to Aoyama Gakuin's excellent Japanese Studies programme. I’ve met many different students from different countries and have made many friends with other Japanese students and exchange students.

I’ve enjoyed every single day; travelling around Japan to the various different cities and enjoying different foods and specialities has been amazing. I've eaten raw chicken, cow heart, horse, pig lips, chicken hearts, intestines and various other foods which are actually very tasty. I encourage you to be open to trying new foods in Japan!

In the future I hope to use my Japanese language degree to find work in Japan or to work as a translator for businesses.