During a conversation I’ve had recently we came to the contents of my creative CV. I have named my CV that way after I shaped it with my creativity so it won’t come across as a boring text-only CV spread over two pages. My CV contains photos of my activities which I do in my free time –the so called side activities- and what I have done as a communications advisor.
But after days and hours of busting yourself silly for a CV like that, you sometimes don’t see what you could do better or what might be misplaced. In that case it’s very useful to have your CV looked over by someone who’s daily job involves applications and advising about what a CV should look like contents wise. And so I had an appointment with two people. They had pointed out a few points to improve and I neatly noted these in my notebook.
After that the conversation was about Japan, and what caused my interest in this to be so enormous. “She probably had a Japanese boyfriend!”, one of the conversation partners said. I immediately corrected her by telling her that this has never been the case.
“You know 10 times more about Japan than I do, so I will label you an expert now.”
After telling my story about how my interest in Japan came to be as a quick overview we landed on the point if I call myself an expert on the subject of Japan. I denied being an expert in Japan. One of my conversation partners immediately replied with “You know 10 times more about Japan than I do, so I will label you an expert now.” I looked at her and quickly started thinking. She’s actually quite right!
Still, I took her conclusion rather hesitant. She continued her conclusion by giving me some advice: “Name a few points of Japan which you know a lot about and try to promote yourself that way, so eventually you’ll be in the list of RTL Late Night’s Humberto Tan, if something happens in Japan. Then he can call you immediately if you can tell something about it in his TV show.” Point being, once you get on that list you’ve made it.
I understand, if Humberto Tan or another host of a news program calls you because something happened in Japan that requires attention on Dutch television, you’ve been acknowledged as an expert (of a certain subject in connection to Japan). And to be honest, that has it’s own charm.
In regards to the Japanese music I don’t dare to call myself an expert even now, even though I have been allowed to give a lecture at a convention (which had labeled me as expert) and I write about various releases of Japanese music and I organize a concert here or there in The Netherlands for a Japanese musician or band. If that makes me an expert on the area of Japanese music or not is something I don’t dare to say. That modesty is something I won’t get rid of anytime soon, because I am someone who would rather walk in their shoes instead of next to them, like we say in The Netherlands. That is one of the reasons why I am so hesitant to call myself Japan Expert.
Because when will you be an expert? Actually that is when you name yourself one. It’s not like someone will knight you as the expert of a certain subject. And after you’ve bombarded yourself as an expert, you have to keep up to date on that knowledge. That seems like a pretty big job to me!
Right now I do that pretty much automatically, because I have to keep my own site up to date, but even that is quite the job already! That mainly has to do with the fact that my interest in Japan is very wide. I think the history of Japan is super interesting and want to know more about that, but I frequently dive into the history of Japanese music as well. Aside from that I’m not married to a certain music genre, sometimes to great annoyance of readers who would love to see more Visual Kei on my site, and I can really enjoy many anime- and mangaseries. I can enjoy certain Japanese dishes, from Japanese curry to takoyaki, but I still fail when I want to prepare AVO’s mascot (=onigiri) in food. What I still want to improve is the Japanese language, so I don’t have to do so much effort to read certain articles or can follow videos better.
But if I want to be an expert, I’d have to specialize in a few topics and continue onwards with those, so I will eventually be known as “Fran, expert of Japan”.