presented by Kelly Orazi
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Seikaiha. Sorry for not giving you my real name here. Seikaiha is my online nickname. Using a real name online makes me uncomfortable. If you happen to be taking An Introduction to Anglo-Saxon class this semester, you can find me, only one Japanese student I think, in the participants.
I grew up in Japan reading manga and watching robot/scifi anime and samurai shows on tv from a very early age. I also loved drawing and reading fairytales, and wanted to be an artist or a storyteller.
English is not my native language, but since I got into modern fantasy, I always wished I could read in English. That took a very long, and sometimes a wrong, way, and for a while I had even given up learning English at all. Then, several years ago, Amazon Kindle came, and it got me back to reading in English again.
How did you first get into Tolkien?
Actually I was, and still am, a Narnia fan calling myself a Narnian. Then, my highschool friend lend me a copy of The Lord of the Rings, in translation, saying “if you like C.S. Lewis and Narnia, you should like this. Did you know they were friends? The translator is the same, too!” And it was also like, if you like fantasy, you can’t live without reading Tolkien.
I don’t know why, but I wasn’t able to enjoy the Middle-earth that much at that time. After the Breaking of the Fellowship I only read the Frodo and Gollum storyline and only a few fragments of the others.
I got a bit resented by Tolkien’s remarks about Lewis, too. But I also remember admiring Tolkien’s creation and his discipline as a writer, and because I was a wannabe writer, I envied him so much.
How did you come to know Mythgard?
After I started reading books in English and decided to teach myself English again several years ago, I was looking for interesting materials to improve my English listening comprehension, and came across the Tolkien Professor Podcast. It was difficult for me then, but it convicted me to read Tolkien in English anyway.
Do you audit or take classes for credit, and what do you like about it?
I’m taking them as an auditor. I’m happy enough with it, but I hope to do more in the future. I wish I had more time for the forum discussions.
My first Mythgard Institute course was Lewis & Tolkien last fall. Can you imagine how I excited? I just couldn’t pass it up. I worried about the reading but somehow I got through it, some re-reading, and the classes. And it was truly rewarding. I reconciled a bit with Tolkien, and also a bit with Lewis’ Christianity.
Even before the class started, I got so obsessed with Mythgard that I started to thinking about how I possibly can study there as a MA student. Unfortunately I have no experience abroad or learning English literature. My undergraduate major so long ago was Japanese literature. I don’t know so many things that students in English-speaking countries should already know. Besides, my reading is still way too slow. I’m hoping to apply as a MA student in several years.
I registered a few more courses after that: Beowulf through Tolkien, Lovecraft, and Tolkien’s Poetry. I wanted to get relaxed and do some reading at least for a while, but irresistible courses are always coming. Sometimes I almost suspect some people are conspiring to kill me. Sadly I got really busy earlier this year with some family issues, so I couldn’t have enough time for the classes. I hope to catch up with the recordings later. And now I’m taking Introduction to Anglo-Saxon! I don’t know what to do with it, but hope I can make through.
Watch for other Many Meetings interviews with Mythgard students in upcoming months!