You might not know Neo Sora ’14, who currently serves as the president of Eclectic, unless you’re a regular there. That’s because Sora, quiet and thoughtful behind wire-framed glasses, doesn’t spread himself too thin. Instead, he commits himself fully to projects about which he is truly passionate. The film and philosophy double major spoke with The Argus about his presidential duties, the Ainu, and a film thesis so complicated it transcends explanation.
The Argus: What stuff are you involved with on campus?
Neo Sora: I guess I’m involved in a lot of film-related things, and I’m in Eclectic. This year, that’s about it.
A: What about in the past years?
NS: In the past years, I was involved in some music stuff, a little bit, and that’s about it.
A: Are you a film major?
NS: Yeah. I’m a film and philosophy major.
A: Cool. How’d you decide on that?
NS: I don’t know. I sort of came into Wesleyan thinking I was going to be an anthro major, and I took a philosophy class and I really, really enjoyed it freshman year. Then, in freshman year, I also took a film class. I did not expect I would be a film major at all, but I loved it, so I decided to be a film major.
A: What film projects did you work on this year?
NS: This year, mostly my thesis.
A: What is your thesis?
NS: It was a black and white 16-millimeter film; it’s hard to describe what it is. I just suggest you come to the screening on May 10. I’m not going to try to explain it to you.
A: What are some film things you’ve worked on in the past?
NS: Last year, I DP-ed [director of photography] other people’s theses. I was the cinematographer. Last year, I worked on four theses. Aside from that, I’ve been doing this very weird 48-hour festival thing every year. We have to make a movie in 48 hours. And what else? This other personal project on the side.
A: What made you want to be in Eclectic?
NS: I don’t know. I didn’t really want to be in Eclectic freshman year, but my friend convinced me to, and I joined it. At first, I didn’t really enjoy it. I sort of was around; I didn’t really get myself involved. But then, after my semester off, I came back, and I lived in Eclectic for a semester, and that changed a lot of things. I got to know a lot of my friends now. It just made me like Eclectic a lot.
A: Were you involved in the music scene at Eclectic?
NS: Not really. It’s hard to say. I’m the president right now, so that’s about it.
A: What does that entail?
NS: Meetings. Dealing with the administration, which is a hassle. It’s really annoying.
A: Do you know what you’re going to do after you graduate?
NS: Kind of. I’m enrolled in a summer course at Columbia. I’m going to Japan for a month right after I graduate. And I’m also going to be an apprentice with a translator, translating from Japanese to English. Hopefully, my future will involve lots of translating jobs, so I can, like, carry my laptop and go anywhere I want and work and feed myself. Nothing’s for sure, but hopefully it all comes together.
A: Do you think you’re going to live in New York after you graduate?
NS: Definitely not. I mean, maybe for a little bit just to orient myself and figure out what I’m going to do. But I was born in New York, so I’m a little bit tired of it.
A: Where do you think you would want to go?
NS: Anywhere, anywhere. I’m planning on being in Japan for the entirety of next year to film a documentary with my friends.
A: What’s the documentary about?
NS: It’s about this indigenous group in Northern Japan called the Ainu, and their culture and art and music, basically everything about them. It’s really fascinating. I’ve also made new friends who are equally fascinated with them, so I guess it will be good.
A: How did you learn about that group of people?
NS: The Ainu? Just listened to their music on CDs and stuff like that. They make music together. It’s really cool. The women just mostly get into groups and do kind of an a cappella thing but more rhythmic, and they add little taps and a hand-clapping beat to it. It’s actually really funky. I got really, really into that. It’s just really interesting.
A: Are you generally interested in Japanese culture?
NS: Yeah, to an extent, since I am Japanese, and I lived in Japan for a few years as well, so I’m definitely interested. I love anime and Japanese art and all that stuff. The Japanese art scene in the past is also really cool.
A: You lived there while you were growing up?
NS: I lived there when I was six to nine, I guess. And I go back every year.
A: How was living in Japan?
NS: It was fun. I went to an international school, so it wasn’t completely Japanese. It was like, half international students, half Japanese kids. I really, really liked it, but after a certain amount of time, my parents got fed up with being in Japan and we moved back to New York.
A: What’s been your best memory at Wesleyan?
NS: Every year, Chana has been very fun.
A: How was this year’s?
NS: Very fun. I had to manage it a little bit more this year since I was organizing it, but still, it was very fun.
A: What’s organizing that like?
NS: A lot of paperwork, a lot of making sure people aren’t doing dumb shit, just a lot of annoying things.
A: How do you feel like you’ve changed over the course of your time at Wesleyan?
NS: I feel like I’ve changed a lot, actually. A lot of the philosophy classes I’ve taken have kind of changed the way I look at things. Especially [those taught by] this one professor named Elise Springer. She teaches ethics and other FGSS-related classes. I’ve taken a class per semester [with her].
A: What class of hers did you like the most?
NS: Most notably, Feminist Philosophy [and Moral Theory] was a big deal. It really changed the way I looked at people around me, society, all those good things. Over the years, I think I’ve become more calm.
A: What advice would you give to your freshman self?
NS: To stop being annoying. I feel like I was a little annoying and really antisocial. I’m still antisocial, actually, but I was very antisocial freshman year and wasn’t willing to meet new people that often. I was just a hermit in my own room in the Butts. Definitely to meet more people, I suppose.
A: Is there certain stuff that you want to do before you graduate?
NS: Not much. Just hang out with my friends while I’m up here. I’m a super-senior, so I should have graduated last year, so all my friends graduated last year. All my friends from 2013 graduated last year and I lost the bulk of my friend group. But now, basically all my friends are in Eclectic and I just want to hang out with them a lot before I graduate.