Theo Greiff

School: Washington Latin Public Charter School

Grade: 10th Grade


When I have free time, I usually spend it doing one of three things: watching anime, watching YouTube, or playing video games with my friends. This is general and standard but, as I rarely have a set plan for the day, this has become common. Aside from these three activities, I play recreational soccer but physical activity has never really been my thing. Instead, I would consider myself to be rather nerdy and so my weekends are filled with Dungeons and Dragons,  in which I am the DM, movie or TV marathons with friends, and whatever other activity holds my interest at the time. When alone and tired of anime, however, I rarely feel like doing anything at all and so I have begun to value the varied thoughts that comes from boredom.

Academic/Career interests:

I have never really been sure what I want to do with my life, a problem I think stems from too many interests. I have always been very strong academically and tend to fully absorb myself in whatever it is I am learning, but as a result most things interest me equally. Despite this, I think I have been able to narrow the fields which I am most interested in, those being physics, language, politics, philosophy, law, and history, so I suppose my career will reflect one, if not more, of these subjects.

Personal Statement:

My journey towards learning Japanese began in a fairly normal way, with anime. In the 6th grade, after seeing a friend watching it, it took little time for me to pick it up as well and I found it to be far more enjoyable to other cartoons I was watching at the time, likely due to how different it was. This difference became even stronger when I moved on to watching in Japanese with subtitles when I couldn’t find episodes in English. Once I began watching like this, I didn’t stop, and from there I was listening to Japanese constantly. My life continued like this for a while until 9th grade when, during a school conference for study abroad opportunities, I heard the word “Tomodachi.” The moment I heard it, I realized I knew what it meant, as I had just heard it the night before and had heard it enough to recognize it. The discovery that I could and indeed had learned Japanese through exposure was a trigger for me as I immediately began searching for an opportunity to learn it in a formal setting. This interest, it seems, was noticed as the proctor of my anime club soon pointed me towards the Japanese Plus program which, though it was already too late that year, I signed up for. Now, I am excited for the chance to further my understanding of a culture and language which I have held great investment in for so many years.