Claudia Chan Wai-yu, 23, a former arts stream student, was a fan of the Japanese comic Slam Dunk in Form Seven. She chose to major in Japanese studies at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) to learn more about the culture. Ms Chan said she was interested in languages and was glad to get grade B in Use of English at the A-levels. She stayed in Osaka for a one- year programme. 'It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 'I lived with a host family and seeing their everyday lives deepened my understanding of the country,' she said. Now doing a master's degree at HKU, Ms Chan hopes to be a Japanese interpreter or translator after graduation. Her classmate, Kevin Shen Lok-hin, 23, started to take Japanese courses in Form Three. A fan of Japanese video games, Mr Shen hoped learning Japanese would help him in playing the games. While trying to decide which programme to study at university, he met two people who supported his interest in Japanese studies. Mr Shen does not regret choosing the course even though his parents objected and wanted him to study a business-related subject. During year two, Mr Shen went to Soka University in Japan and studied at a Japanese institution in the first semester. He spoke Japanese so fluently that he could attend classes with local students. 'Some students really dislike studying the Japanese language. But it is impossible to skip Japanese lessons because the language is used in the materials for other courses. So if they want to choose the programme, they will have to be ready to study a new language,' Mr Shen said. Mr Shen is also doing his master's degree at HKU and his research topic is the translation of a literary classic, The Tale of Genji. He plans to teach at university after finishing his doctorate.