I just watched an interesting documentary on NHK World-Japan about a young boy, Asuka Umeda, who spent seven years writing in notebooks about events and subjects he was reading about in newspapers, commenting them and researching them further in what was for him a self-learning adventures. I first thought that he was an Hikikomori (ひきこもり) or suffering from a slight form of autism, but no, he was a normal boy, going to school and was just particularly shy and socially awkward — like many otakus (just a look at his bedroom and you instantly know that he’s a great anime & manga fan, doing lots of gunpla [ガンプラ]). He was certainly not shy about talking about his notebooks to teachers and museum directors, and won many awards for his writings and essays. One of those essays is about his self-learning experience and this documentary is illustrating it with cute animations and interviews.

Apparently, this type of self-learning (独学 / dokugaku / autodidacticism) is common in Japan. Elementary students are writing essays and compiling scrapbooks as homework assignments and some push it further as they make it an extracurricular activity. Asuka just pushed it even further, becoming obsessed with it to the point where he didn’t participated to any after-school club activities and stopped seeing friends to dedicate his time to writing in is notebooks. He is pursuing this interest even in high-school. He will probably become a good writer and journalist.

It made me realized that I was exactly like that as a child: curious but shy and socially awkward, spending lots of time reading, making scrapbooks and writing in my notebooks (thirty-seven so far) about ideas, places, books and movies that I have seen. Life has always been about the pursuit of knowledge for me. And I continue to do so, I just call it blogging now!

I recommend you see this documentary, My Notebooks: Seven Years of Tiny Great Adventures, which will remain available for streaming on NHK World website until the end of May. At he same time, you could have a look on another documentary about the animation studio Production I.G., which has created many of my favourite anime (like Ghost in the shell or Blood: The Last Vampire) — available for streaming until November 13, 2022.

[ Traduire ]

Cogitationes me: Thought of the day (for myself) [002.021.324]

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