by Andrea Gardner
With exceptional talent in hip hop, break dancing and Japanese rap, junior international student Shuu Maruyama has all the ingredients necessary to steal the spotlight here at ULV.
Though he may appear to be shy and quiet, Maruyama becomes an instant entertainer at the sound of a rap beat, with dancing or rapping in his native tongue.
“You can’t understand what he says, but it’s cool,” said freshman Ordell Williams, of Maruyama’s exotic talent.
Maruyama is humble when asked about his talents and simply said, “I can do many skills.”
From Sapporo, Japan, Maruyama began dancing and rapping several years ago, learning on his own from videos and tapes at a time when rap was unpopular in his native country. For him, rap represented a challenge, but in only a few months, he had picked it up fairly well.
“I needed something new to spend time on,” Maruyama said, explaining his desire to learn rap.
Some of his favorite rap groups are the Notorious B.I.G., Ice Cube and Scha Dara Parr, a Japanese group.
Though he does not understand many of the words in American rap, he likes the American beat. He also does not rap any of this music, as he prefers to create his own rhymes.
“I rap what comes to mind,” said Maruyama.
He recently learned a form of rap called “Human Beat Box,” which he has practically mastered in only three weeks. The technique involves a handful of basic sounds that can be put together in different combinations or variations, to give the impression of a synthesized beat.
Maruyama also shines in hip hop and break dancing, which he started four years ago. His dancing has attracted crowds at parties, as he can do stunts such as flips, jumps and walking on his hands.
“His dancing is very urban. He’s got moves. He does lots of stunts—that’s pretty cool. I wish I had rhythm like him,” said sophomore Dan Lougheed, who saw Maruyama dancing at a party at the International House.
Sophomore Julie Eklund agreed. “He didn’t hold back,” she said. “He got totally into the music and was unaware of the audience.”
Another student, senior Christina Tejeda said, “I was really surprised when I saw him dance, because he has so much energy and he’s so talented. He makes me want to dance.”
When Maruyama speaks of future goals, he is unsure, though he said, “If I got the chance, I would become a dancer.”
Though he only arrived in the United States at the end of August, Maruyama has already adapted to the American lifestyle. He wanted to come to the United States because he liked American movies, music, fashion and style, and because ULV is a sister school with Maruyama’s university in Japan, Hakusei Gakuen University, he is now able to study here, as a Management major. His hope is to make as many friends as possible.
When asked about America, he said, “I like American society. I would like to live here.”