Spanish and Japanese personal statement

Japanese language and culture captivated me when my interest was sparked by exposure to manga and anime. That interest has become a deep fascination, motivating my study of all things Japanese for several years now. Their medieval history, traditional arts and the spirituality and superstitious bent of the culture have absorbed me particularly. I love the similarities to British/Celtic culture that run through Japan (e.g. the island-based mentality, the long tradition of supernatural tales), and the dissimilarities that speak only of the orient (e.g. a national psyche imbued with Shintoism and Buddhism). Self-taught in the language, I plan to sit a GCSE in it at the end of this academic year.
Alongside this I have studied Spanish formally and am currently completing my A-level. Spanish study seems laid-back compared to the formality of Japan and the Japanese! As someone who enjoys challenge and needs variety and breadth of learning, I have been perfectly comfortable studying two such contrasting languages and cultures I relish it! My study goal is to translate and interpret fluently in both languages, to a professional level, and with this in mind I am considering linguistics or translating as a side. Attending open days in June 2010 gave me a clear understanding of the structure and teaching methods of language degrees, and convinced me that I am 'fit for purpose' - I am as engaged by the mastery of grammar and nuance as I am by the understanding and appreciation of each country's culture. My studies in history, psychology and sociology have proved to be a good complement to my language studies
Raised by self-employed parents, I have learned how to work effectively, so the self-motivation needed to teach myself Japanese is supported by good time management skills and application of effort. I hold paid employment, office cleaning and weekly babysitting/ child minding around my village; both jobs show that I can fulfill the instructions and expectations of employers and assume a responsible and mature role.
Recent work experience in a florist's gained me skills and experience in sales and service, but also made for a genuinely refreshing change from academia I really enjoyed learning the names of the flowers, how to prepare and arrange them, how to efficiently serve a customer and process payments. Prior work experience in a language school introduced me to the TEFL and JET schemes, both of which interest me as a possible means of maintaining myself. I am now applying for support from the Magnolia Incentive, a scheme run by local business people to mentor sixth formers with particular career aims. Through this I hope to gain insight into translation and interpreting work by making contact with someone working within these professions.
Through Girlguiding UK (twelve years' membership) I earned the Baden Powell award, aimed at developing self-motivation and organisational skills; I am now pursuing the Duke of Edinburgh award at silver level. I look forward especially to its expedition element, as my group is planning to kayak rather than walk - an activity in which I take great pleasure.
Voluntary work has included being part of a well-organised team of runners at the Devon county show, where I really enjoyed responding quickly to what was demanded by the stewards in order to help achieve the smooth running of this big three-day event. Next summer I hope to work on Dartmoor for the CHICKS organization - Country Holidays for Inner City Kids - as I enjoy, and seem to be good at, working with children. I am sure this will be enlightening as well as fun.
To relax I indulge my taste for supernatural fiction of the late 19th and early 20th century; I love sea kayaking; I draw and paint when the mood takes me; I have loved walking and tor climbing on Dartmoor from an early age and bagged a Munro on Mull with my dad; I persist (at my mum's insistence) in learning to cook.

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