The number of foreigners residing in Mie Prefecture has been increasing in over five years. According to the data, there are 50,612 foreigners from over 100 countries that lives in Mie Prefecture as of the end of December 2018
In this video, we will introduce foreign residents who have different values and cultural backgrounds but are active in the local community to create a multicultural society.
This time, we talked to people from Vietnam and Indonesia who have been increasing in recent years.
First, we interviewed Mr. Usaha, an Indonesian citizen, who lives in Kuwana City. Mr. Usaha is married to a Japanese and has lived in Japan for over 20 years.
Mr. Usaha has an active relationship with the community where he lives and participates in various activities. In addition to his work, He is also active as a volunteer interpreter.
Interview Mr. Usaha
Q: Do you have interactions with Japanese people or the local communities?
I’ve been living with Japanese people. Even at work (my acquaintances) almost all are Japanese. My wife has a store in the area where I live. The customers are mostly Japanese. I sometimes help, the customers know me, and I think it is important that I can interact with them.
People in this area know me because I participate in various activities such as evacuation drills (done in our region), festivals and weddings. Being trusted by people is the most important thing.
Q: Please tell us about your experience as a volunteer at the Ise-Shima Summit.
There was this time when an Indonesian interviewer came (to the booth where I was). He didn’t know that I am Indonesian, but when I looked at his ID tag and found out that he was an interviewer from Indonesia, I asked: “Are you Indonesian?” Then he answered: “Yes, I am Indonesian.” and then our exchange started. It was a really good experience (participating in volunteer work), including such a great (accidental) encounter.
I took a picture with the prefectural governor. It was such a good experience. I also received a letter of appreciation. For me, it is a very important treasure.
Next is Maekawa Hong Nhung from Vietnam who lives in Ise City. She is married to a Japanese and now works as an interpreter in a technical internship accepting organization. She lived in Japan for 15 years and have been assisting fellow Vietnamese in various situations as an interpreter. She talks about her experiences.
Interview Maekawa Hong Nhung ①
There are many Vietnamese trainees coming to Japan. The technical trainees study Japanese in Vietnam, but it is still not enough. Before assigning the trainees to work, I work as an instructor to help them get used to Japanese life, teach them Japanese, Japanese customs, law, and garbage separation.
Maekawa gave a message to foreigners living in Mie Prefecture.
Interview Maekawa Hong Nhung ②
There are a lot of Japanese language classes and volunteers. I also studied Japanese in such classroom. If you want to study Japanese, volunteers are willing to teach you enthusiastically. I don’t want foreigners to give up and think it is difficult, just study and work hard every day.
Finally, we interviewed a Vietnamese woman who lives in Tsu City. She also works as an interpreter / translator to help her fellow foreigners. We asked her about her experiences in learning Japanese.
Interview Vietnamese Citizen ①
When I first came to Japan, I had a hard time because I couldn’t understand the language. I couldn’t express what I wanted to say. I was very sad because I could only speak like baby words. At that time, I realized that words have an important role in connecting minds. I was often misunderstood or regretful because I can’t speak the language or my Japanese was not enough. Also, because it is a different culture, the way people interact with each other and the way they think are different, so there are times when I still have trouble interacting with Japanese people.
Q: In your terms, how is Japan to you now?
Participating in workshops, study groups, exchange meetings, etc., interacting with Japanese people, learning about the Japanese way of thinking and culture and knowing what they know, this foreign country has become a second home to me.
She gave us her opinion on what is important for Mie to become a multicultural society.
Interview Vietnamese Citizen ③
In order to realize a multicultural society, both foreign residents and local residents must recognize the importance of a multicultural coexistence. However, even if you hold lectures and events on multicultural coexistence, some are not able to participate. I think that it is important to exchange information just like this interview.
There are also people who are actively working to support foreign residents while studying Japanese at their own will and valuing their relationships with the local communities.
The first step in realizing a society where Japanese residents and foreign residents can live together in harmony is by overcoming language and cultural barriers by getting to know each other well. If you have an opportunity to get acquainted with each other, such as an event or volunteer activity, please participate. By meeting new people with different cultures and values, it will surely expand your world.