Wilhelm anime-ted for Japan trip

March 15, 2018

Grand plans: Wilhelm Bourke, 16, is aiming contribute to the $6000 needed to pay for his journey to Japan next year.

Mooroopna’s Wilhelm Bourke is your typical high school-aged student.

He likes watching television after a long day, playing computer games with his friends and spending time outdoors on weekends.

Only difference is, 16-year-old Wilhelm can speak fluent Japanese and has high functioning autism.

‘‘I began learning Japanese about three years ago, I usually revise online,’’ he said.

His interest in Japan led to a further interest in Japanese cartoons, more specifically anime.

Next year, Wilhelm plans to head over to Japan on a Notre Dame study tour, living with a Japanese host family for a period before experiencing all the country has to offer.

‘‘I’d love to have a look at different places in Japan and get to know more about their culture,’’ he said.

But first, he wants to help contribute to the $6000 his parents owe for the once-in-a-lifetime overseas experience.

Because landing a part-time job has been difficult for Wilhelm, he has come up with an alternative.

He spent the past few weeks drawing anime, making succulent pot plants and collecting tin cans — with the end goal of selling his wares at the St Mary’s Primary School fete.

‘‘Wilhelm wants to do it all himself and I think it’ll help to teach him about the mainstream world,’’ mum Maryan Bourke said.

While raising $6000 might just be out of his grasp, Wilhelm said ‘‘every cent counts’’ and he would be aiming to raise as much as possible.

‘‘I’m quite hyped about going to Japan, I can’t wait,’’ he said.

Mrs Bourke admitted Wilhelm had ‘‘his good days and his bad days’’, but said encouraging him to use his special talents helped him do well.

‘‘We’re very proud of him. I tell my kids to do what you’re good at and chase your dreams,’’ Mrs Bourke said.

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