DENTON, N.C. — Carson Ellison is a not a straight A student. He is not the star quarterback on the football team either. In fact, Ellison is also not class President, captain of the of the debate team or number one chair in the school band.
Earlier this school year Ellison even got in a little bit of trouble during his business and finance class, “We were watching a video and I was tired, so I fell asleep in 1st period.” said a half smiling and laughing Ellison.
A freshman at South Davidson High School, he would get in some trouble with his parents over that one, but they would soon discover there was something else going on with their son, “I had no idea until I talked with his teacher,” said his father Greg Ellison.
Ellison had been keeping a secret from his parents, teachers and most of his friends, “I never thought to make big deal about it,” said Ellison.
This secret was about two years in the making, spawned during his time in 7th grade, “I started to really like history, what first got me into history was learning about the American revolution,” said Ellison. That curiosity became a passion for all kinds of history but specifically Japanese history.
Only Ellison knows how long he would have kept the secret going had it not been for his mom noticing something in his room earlier this year, “I walked by his room and notice Japanese writings on (the screen) his x-box and I was like what this,” said Missy Ellison.
When asked why he had Japanese words on his screen, Carson didn’t make a big deal about it telling his mom in a non-cholent way that he could speak Japanese and would often talk in Japanese with friends he plays X-box with online, “I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t even learn Spanish well, so I’m not sure how great I’d be at learning Japanese,” said Missy Ellison.
Ellison had become fascinated with the Japanese culture. He studied the history, the people, as much as he could find about the country. His fascination didn’t stop there, on his own, Ellison taught himself the language, “The strictness of culture is the main thing I like about the culture,” said Ellison.
Using online websites that show and pronounce the word along with YouTube videos and talking with his online gaming friends in Japan Ellison has learned to not only speak Japanese, he can write it, “I can hold a conversation and I know what the different forms of Japanese are,” said Ellison.
There are three systems of writing Japanese, Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji, “The sound of the language is amazing,” said Ellison.
While many parents are trying to steer their kids away from video games or watching videos on YouTube, Ellison has turned it into a place of enjoyment and enlightenment. He often spends hours and hours watching Japanese videos and is not shy about telling of his marathon video game sessions with his friends in Japan, “We usually speak in English but will sometimes speak Japanese,” said Ellison.
As for the one thing about this story that even Ellison has to kind of chuckle about when telling, “I’ve never met a Japanese person, in person, in my life, it’s kind of odd,
The freshman hopes to visit the country someday and enjoy the sights, language and culture first hand, but until then he has his videos, friends and X-box to keep him going.