Saturday, June 6, 2009

Getting to Know: John Fuller and Kinokuniya Part 1


John Fuller is an American that is slightly younger than those born during the “baby boomer” years but older than those from the “X generation.” Currently, he resides with his wife and two children in Bergen County, New Jersey.

Growing up he lived in several foreign countries, which might explain his “acclimation for foreign languages.” By the way he does speak and understand Japanese. Similar to many of us, John went to school to get an education. He attended and completed public schooling in a Chicago, Illinois suburb, and for college he attended University of Southern California, “originally to study film production.”

As a junior high school student, he had an interest in the field of science and math, but later became more interested in the subject of humanities. During his high school years, John made his own films. “I had interest in a lot of things in the beginning and a great interest in science fiction but my emphasis changed more to literature and film making by the time I graduated.” As a college student, he began as a “general undergraduate but was admitted to USC film school.” Even though he had an interest in filming, after taking a year in Japan, he discovered a new interest. “I changed my major to East Asian Studies.”

So, how many of you guys, other than school, had to work outside of school? What was your first job? John’s first job was being the bus boy for a tennis club near his hometown. “It did not help or contribute to my career but it gave me a lot of respect for workers doing hard physical work.”

Anime and Manga

John’s first encounter to anime or manga was when he was a student in Japan studying Japanese. “Many of my colleagues read manga to augment their study. The nice thing about manga is that in addition to being a graphical representation of the story and therefore easier to follow, in many manga the Japanese kanji characters have the 'furigana' or phonetic characters written next to them which makes them easier to read. I initially stayed away from them because I wanted to force myself to learn reading 'kanji' without help."

Now, you might be wondering, why would John avoid manga if he can study ‘kanji’ from it? The answer is that he did not want to take the easy way out. He wanted to “challenge” himself to read the text “without the 'cheats' in manga that made it easier to read Japanese characters.” Ever since he learned ‘kanji’ without the shortcuts, he has enjoyed a number of manga series. However, since he is the store manager of the Kinokuniya Bookstore located near Bryan Park, his “biggest relationship is professional because manga readers and anime fans are now a growing and very important part of our customer base.”
© 2009 Linda Thai

Stay tune for Part 2!
Photography by Linda Thai and Jason Linetsky.


Bandai1983 said...

Very informative! Gambatte!

Bandai1983 said...

Very informative! Gambatte!