Welcome to the second in a four part series of entries about my successful application for a Monbusho Research Scholarship. If you haven’t already, I recommend reading the first part (in particular, the disclaimers contained therein). This entry deals with my process for putting my research proposal together.
The Monbusho Research Scholarship appealed to me for a number of reasons when I first heard about it. On a personal level, I love Japan. I had lived there for three years prior to my application for the Monbusho Scholarship, and have a keen interest in the culture, language, art, food and people.
On a professional/academic level, the idea of studying in Japan appealed to me because of its rich history in the realm of comic books. I’ve wanted to be a cartoonist since I was a kid, and have long believed that the medium of comics are just as capable as film or prose of creating powerful work of real artistic value. It is towards this ideal of creating “literary” comics that I aspire, and I felt confident that studying in Japan would help me in that regard.
Add into the mix that a Monbusho Scholarship would allow me to pursue my research without going severely into debt, and that cemented my desire to go for it.
So when I first resolved to apply for the Monbusho Scholarship, that’s where I stood: I had the vague idea that my research would be geared towards improving the quality of my comics, but exactly how I would spend my time was still very much up in the air.
Welcome to the first in a four part series of entries about my experience applying for a Monbusho Research Scholarship (aka the “Monbukagakusho” or “MEXT” Scholarship). If you don’t know what the Monbusho is, I’ve previously written a couple other entries about it which could serve as an introduction of sorts, which can be found here.
I wanted to write about the application process because of the confusion and uncertainty I encountered when I was applying for one. The process is extremely long (about seven months went by from when I turned in my application until I finally found out I had been accepted), and the application guidelines could be maddeningly vague. Countless times I wished I could have access to a couple successful applications, just to give me some idea if I was on the right track on not. But despite tireless internet searches, I could never seem to find anything like that.
So I decided that if I got a Monbusho Scholarship, that I’d write a detailed account of the application process in the hopes that it might be of some use to future Monbusho applicants. I’m pleased to say that I did get it, and so here is my account.
Pictured: My Parents (faces skillfully photoshopped to protect their anonymity)
I probably wouldn’t have started this blog in the first place if I hadn’t thought it would be good way to market my comic books. But that isn’t to say that all these entries are just veiled sales pitches; as best I can, I really try to write about my life and my comics in an honest and unpretentious way.
But since this is a public blog, I’m not as always quite as forthcoming as I might be in a more private forum. I avoided the subject of my ankle injury for several weeks, for one. And up until right now, mention of my living arrangements has also been carefully avoided. Only in one brief sentence of one lone blog entry did I elude to the fact that for the whole of 2007, I lived with my parents, in the basement of their suburban home.
Pictured: A front view of my Screwed-up Right Ankle
Back at the beginning of January, I temporarily halted my weekly updates of this blog with an unceremonious two sentence entry that cited “extenuating circumstances” as the reason for the suspension. When I resumed weekly updates five weeks later, I made no explanation as to why the blog went on hiatus.
Now, I figure most people that would really care about the “extenuating circumstances” probably know me personally, and therefore have already been informed privately about what happened to me. But just in case there’s anyone else out there that’s curious, here’s what happened.
On January third, I slipped on some ice and broke my right leg in three places. Two of the breaks were in the ankle area, and the other higher up on the leg (caused, apparently, by the stress put on the bone by the unnatural angle of the ankle).
The ankle break required surgery to properly align the bones with screws. The pain just before and just after the surgery was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The first half of January was a blur, as I was doped up on pain meds. I couldn’t concentrate on anything for longer than five minutes, and never could get my leg into a comfortable position.