Running Around The World

Sophomore adjusts to a new environment by finding his passion


Landon Chen, Staff Reporter

Traveling to places like Belgium and Japan is a dream for many students, but for sophomore Sohji Matsuda, it was his real life, and it wasn’t always good. Matsuda moved seven times because of his father’s work in an investing company. Matsuda lived all across the globe from the Middle East in Doha, Qatar, Europe in Brussels, Belgium, Asia in Tokyo, Japan, and the USA with Westchester, N.Y., and of course St. Louis, Mo.

I don’t like moving because I miss my friends and that’s sad, but I also like it because I get to go to a new environment, learn new things and meet new people,¨ Matsuda said. “When I first moved to Belgium I was very nervous because it was my first time moving to another country and living there. I had some struggles with language and I had a hard time making friends.”

Living in different countries caused Matsuda to experience a multitude of different education systems in comparison to America’s system. 

“Here, every student has different classes, and in Japan, we have one class and move around to different subjects together,” Matsuda said. “The rules in Japan are more strict than in America: no computers, and we are not allowed to bring our phones either.” 

Matsuda also finds differences culturally between the two countries, from food to fashion to how people interact. 

“People in Japan don’t hug each other unless you have a very close relationship and in Japan instead of shaking hands you bow. There are also many shrines and temples in Japan despite many people being atheists,” Matsuda said.

Living in many different countries, Matsuda experienced various cuisines, yet he likes certain cuisines better than others. 

“One thing I remember distinctly liking is Belgian chocolate and the waffles. In terms of the type of food, Japanese foods are my favorite, especially sushi,” Matsuda said. 

Despite the struggle that moving in the middle of the year brings, Matsuda already insulated himself in the PCH community by being a part of the track, cross country, and robotics teams. Although Matsuda runs competitively, he started by accident. 

“When I was in seventh grade I played basketball and tennis so, in the spring season, I didn’t have anything to do. So I just randomly picked track because that’s what all my friends were doing, and then I had fun, so I kept on running,” Matsuda said. 

Although Matsuda learned to be more extroverted through moving, he remains partially introverted 

“I think one side of my personality is friendly and sociable because I have been to many different places due to moving but on the other hand I think I am shy and I do not want to be the center of attention,” Matsuda said. 

Even though his personality is quiet, Matsuda has big dreams and aspirations. 

“My favorite music is rock music, there is a Japanese rock band called the Blue Hearts that I have been listening to since I was 10, I have been practicing electric guitar and I hope to be in a rock band,” Matsuda said. 

Overall, in his short time in the Parkway Central community, Matsuda made a big impact on those around him

“Sohji is a great person and a big support in track, I am so glad to have him in my Ac Lab and as a friend,” said fellow sophomore, teammate, and friend Hayes Ruckstaetter.