I’ve been officially educated by an Otaku, an educated anime, manga and Japanese pop culture addict. After a 45 minute conversation I was rather more versed than I ever expected to be about Japanese pop culture.
Nineteen year old Jacob Foster is a creatively minded individual with an unshakable thirst for fantasy in all forms that are intimately interwoven throughout his creative experiments and indulgences.
From playing RPG’s like Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time to currently watching 33 anime’s at once, writing and drawing it’s a wonder he manages to do so well at university, he admits at times the hobbies have to be put on the backburner when the assignments start rolling in.
It was during primary school that Jacob first discovered his “passion for reading”, when teachers encouraged him to increase his reading skills which has led onto what he hopes to be a lifelong love affair with fictional and fantasy based literature.
As his interests evolved and his love of reading developed it soon turned to creative outlets by the time he reached high school where Jacob discovered his second wave of interests, a love of all things manga and anime, and that he had a talent for drawing anime.
As a jack of all creative trades Jacob is a tea drinking, anime watching and drawing, fiction reading, fan-fiction writing, violin playing, poetry dabbling university student who still manages to get out in the yard and do the manual labour that comes with living away from main towns.
For Jacob it was an inbuilt talent, “I think it’s a family thing, we’re all a little bit creative, my Mum’s a painter, and she’s taught me a thing or two”. Although at times being an artist does come with it its share of exasperations as Jacob said, “Art for me is pleasurable, but it is painful, it is aggravating and it just tries my patience”.
Living on 2 acres in Far Meadow, a small town near Berry, and a massive 1 ½ hours by public transport to the University of Wollongong where he is doing a degree in Media and Communication, the distance between him and anything to do with his interests can be a little exhausting.
“Having no one around who had similar interests made it hard to socialise with like-minded people in high school”
The discovery of online fan-communities was a blessing, “I write a lot of Japanese pop culture fan fiction online”.
The geographical distance between Jacob and his friends and having such a variety of interests has encouraged him to spend his time focusing on studies and creative pursuits, which have afforded him some success in recent years completing a diploma with Distinctions at Wollongong TAFE also in Media and Communication.
With a desire to do his best at everything he does Jacob doesn’t do things by halves. At TAFE he was struck with a dilemma that may have changed the course of his future.
“I was at an impasse at one point, I was three weeks into the course at TAFE when the Graphic Design faculty called me about a spot that had opened up, but I decided to stick with it, which led me to uni.”
Work experience at the South Coast Register in Nowra honed the desire to get into journalism.
“I want to be a journalist when I graduate” I really want to go into anime journalism, but it may not be a route that’s possible for me. You need to know how to speak Japanese.”
Jacob’s investigated his options further by looking into the possibility of studying a degree which focuses on digital media in Asia.