I’ll keep the introduction as brief as possible. We’ll move away from fandoms for a bit, but not too far. I’ll let Ana Maria Ursu speak about Gackt’s music and about the Romanian-Japanese Association Himawari, so if you love Japanese culture, I’m certain you’ll enjoy reading this interview. Why did I choose that particular title? Because Romanian Love for Gackt is the name of Ana’s blog, one dedicated to this artist’s work. I highly recommend it. Let us know what you think of Japan and everything it has to offer. Enjoy!
Say you’d have to write your story in just a couple of lines. What would they be?
Ana Maria: Talking about me is a bit hard. The way I see myself is quite different from how others see me. I always get this feeling whenever I meet somebody new. When you would look at me for the first time, you could think that I am just another random person, but all I need is a chance to show you who am I.
I am a friendly person, although it may be a bit hard at the beginning to start talking, as I am a pretty shy person too. I am a person you can rely on, as I have been in many situations and I know what it means to need someone who won’t judge you, whatever you do.
I consider myself a lucky to have the family I have, and the friends around me. Of course, talking about me in a few lines can’t show you all that I represent. All I can say is that I am a person that has been molded by the thoughts of those around me and I am grateful to them. And all I want is to meet all kinds of people and know their way of thinking and working.
How did you discover Asociația Româno-Japoneză Himawari (Romanian-Japanese Association Himawari)? Tell us about the Association and about your experience there.
Ana Maria: I am a member of the Romanian-Japanese Association Himawari. This association promotes the Japanese culture in Romania, trying to show people what kind of country Japan is, what its customs are, and to make people visit Japan and fall in love with it. We are trying to combine traditional Japan with the modern one.
I have been a member of Himawari since 2010, but I took a break for two years, and got back in 2012. Somehow, it drew me back. I am mostly focused on origami, as Himawari is a non-profit association and everything we are working on, we are selling at the festivals we are organizing, so we can make other projects. I love doing origami because it trains my mind and I can be proud of the final piece. I usually do 3D origami, but I am always trying something new, as there are different types of people and they wish to see something else from time to time. Besides, many people either call me crazy or a very patient person for being able to do such a thing.
I entered Himawari after I went to a shamisen concert organized by the association. And, as I started taking the Japanese classes that the same association was holding, I began meeting people who love Japan as I do.
What drew you to the Japanese culture?
Ana Maria: What drew me the most to the Japanese culture was the language. This is where everything began. Because I realized that if I didn’t know the language, I couldn’t find out more about Japan. Yes, you can search on the internet and read all kinds of books, but it is nicer to be able to talk with a Japanese person. When you hear someone talking about what Japan means to him, you can feel his feelings, his thoughts, his soul. Talking with people can draw you more and more to a thing, by seeing their passion. Yes, you may be able to talk with someone in other language, but, studying Japanese, I figured that there are many words that don’t have a translation in any other language. You would have to change what you wanted to say because the other person doesn’t understand.
Ana Maria: The Romanian culture is a rich one, but sadly nowadays there are other things that are being promoted in my country. Japanese culture is being preserved. Even if Japan seems to get modern day by day, they keep in touch with what has been left from the people before them. Romania seems to forget about traditions and every day there are less people left to carry out what they’ve received. This is one of the reasons I admire Japan.
I know that you love Gackt’s music, just like I do, and that you’ve got a blog dedicated to his work. Where can it be found? What do you usually post there?
Ana Maria: Actually, I have to say that what made me want to find out more about Japan was GACKT-san. Stumbling upon him by mistake, I wanted to see what kind of singer he was. And it was a bit strange at the beginning because I have never seen such an artist, dedicated to his work and fans and not thinking about being famous or making profit. All the singers I have seen until then couldn’t be compared to GACKT-san.
Wanting to know what his songs were about, because it is a different thing when you just listen to a song and when you are listening to a song you actually understand, I started taking Japanese classes.
Yes, I have a blog dedicated to his work. I started it because I was annoyed by the fact that whenever I searched something about him, I could find sites written in English, in French, German, Spanish and even in Russian! And there was so much information about GACKT-san, and I couldn’t understand a thing, as I didn’t know the language. So I thought “What if there are others like me who don’t know any other language besides Romanian?” And I started this blog.
Initially, it was on a Google blog and it was public, but because of technical reasons, it became private and now you can only see it if you’ve got a Google account. But because there are people who don’t have a Google account, and wanting to be open to the public, I moved it on a Tumblr account. Of course, there is a Facebook page for it too.
I post translations of GACKT-san’s blog posts, but I post his old and new interviews too, his projects, articles, information about his albums, singles, even subtitles for the shows he appears on… mostly whatever I can find. I am still learning Japanese, so I check most of it with an English translation, to make sure I don’t write things wrong.
When did you discover Gackt’s songs? What drew you to them?
Ana Maria: I found out about GACKT-san when I was 15 years old. It was by mistake, searching for a random song. I found a fan made video of GACKT-san. Of course, I didn’t know who he was. But I liked how he looked and somehow he had that Asiatic atmosphere around him, something new for me. Seeing his name in the description of the video, I searched for a song of his. A random song. And I heard Last Song.
Of course, there was no way for me to understand what he was singing about, but… his voce, powerful and manly, putting his soul into the words… and the melody matched his voice perfectly. I just stood there listening. After the song finished, I realized that I was crying. Searching and listening to other songs of GACKT-san, I saw that they were changing my mood. That was the moment when I knew that I found my favorite singer. A singer to whom I will listen no matter what.
Why would you recommend them to someone who wants to listen to something a bit different?
Ana Maria: I would recommend listening to GACKT-san because his songs aren’t about… how shall I say it. He doesn’t make a song just to be made. He wants that song to mean something. And he doesn’t stick to just one music genre. You may like only a few songs of his. Of course, I can only show others the path, but I won’t make them listen to GACKT-san’s songs by force. It has to come from them. If you give it a try, I will be happy. But you can’t force people to like something you like, right?
Ana Maria: I can say that this really influenced my life and way of thinking a lot. I met people whom it would have been impossible for me to meet any other way, I had experiences that I would have never thought would happen. I appreciate the things I have around me more, I am more considerate about the people around me, I dedicate myself more to what I do. I think I can’t really show how much it changed me unless you knew me before I got into the Japanese culture. But I am the one to see the changes and I think this counts the most.
by Elena Atudosiei