While having various values and cultural backgrounds, there are many people who live as a resident and people who are striving to actively acquire Japanese culture, customs, lifestyle, language, and are active in the community as a member of society.
Among the foreign residents that will be introduced this time, we talked to two people who are from China after Brazil and are actively interacting with local communities.
First, we will interview Sun san who was a graduate student at Mie University and a representative of a Chinese international student group “Gakuyu-kai”, about international exchange and experience participating in activities that are ongoing in the area.
Interview – Sun – Nicchu Gakuyū-kai
A: This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Japan – China Friendship Peace Treaty, we participated in the event called “Chiji to Hanasou”, aiming to communicate with the governor, with the support of the Japan – China Friendship Association, the Mie Prefectural Government Office and our group.
Three Japanese students and three Chinese students of Mie University interacted with the Mie Prefectural Governor and talked about their thoughts on Mie Prefecture. Finally, we students ambassadors, international students and Japanese students proposed to continue peaceful and friendly relations in a youth oriented independent way.
There is also the “Wai Wai Gaya Gaya Festa” held every year in Tsu city. Everyone can show off their own national culture. This year was held on November 11th, there was pop-up booth in the village. We brought out delicious items and art items of our own country. We participate every year. There was also opera and folk dance etc.
In another activity, we have cleaned the beach every year from our school and most of the Chinese international students are participating. After cleaning, we receive fish etc from local fishermen.
Q: What is important for Mie Prefecture to become a more multicultural symbiosis society?
A: I am teaching Chinese at the Japan – China Friendship Association’s foreign language classroom. One of my students will participate in a Chinese speech contest, which is a tournament of speeches spoken in Chinese. The content is about multicultural symbiosis.
One Japanese student heard that a Chinese girl will move into class, but she was not interested at first because she thought that they would not be friends. However, after the transfer student came, they became good friends. The first belief that it would be difficult to get along with a foreigner was not right. The student learned about the importance of wearing a colored glass so as not to see foreigners differently.
If you are building a better diverse society, the main point is to actually listen, watch and experience. It is important to interact with foreigners. By doing so, people in different countries can gain an understanding with each other.
Next, we interviewed Sai who lives in Mie prefecture for 20 years, since she graduated from Mie University. She talked about the local events that she participated so far and about the relationship with the school.
Interview – Mrs. Sai
A: Our children are participating in local children’s associations. All the parents are also in order, planning and participating in activities.
Every year, there are welcome parties for new students, collection of scraps in spring and autumn, family accompanying travel in summer, and bowling competitions are held in winter.
Through the activities, our children had more communication with children of different backgrounds and the relationships deepened. Since parents also have activities, we can also enjoy while the childrens are having a good time. There is a big event in sports competition every year in our area. Our children are actively participating. If they are chosen as players, they do their best and work hard with team members.
And another thing is, there is a system called PTA which the school teacher and parents cooperate with each other. Parents can go to school and participate in school educational activities.
I was lucky to participate in this activity. I also served as a member of the PTA headquarters and joined the activities with other child’s parents. It is a better way to understand the structure of the school, know how your child is doing at school, and have a good exchange with the teacher. So, it was a very good thing for me. I got a good opportunity to blend into society (by participating in PTA).
Q: Do you have opportunities to interact with Japanese people other than kids activities and PTA? Also, how do you interact?
A: I have a lot. I interact with other fellow moms. We go out to dinner together, talk about the situation of the children and talk about the situation of the school. Also, I invite other moms to the house, we make our own special dishes together and interact. It’s very fun.
Then, the relationship with the neighbors is also very good. My neighbors often share the delicious things they made, and I also give them delicious things I made.
We have a music school at home. Besides exchanging music, we hold an annual new year’s party and parties such as cherry-blossom viewing, barbecue every year and enjoying exchanges.
Especially in 2011, we held a charity concert several times after the Great East Japan Earthquake. After that, continuing for about 2 to 3 years, I brought the money earned by the charity concert and the collected donation to the affected areas of Tohoku by myself. We conducted concerts at local temporary houses and public halls. Through this activity, I think that it was very meaningful for us to be able to communicate in a wide range, not the narrow range of the neighborhood where I live.
It is very important for us to realize a multicultural symbiosis society by knowing the difference between each other and the importance of communication by communicating with the local communities. Increasing exchanges within the communities leads to the creation of a climate in which Japanese residents and foreign residents can sympathize with different values and opinions and respect diversity.
Give the people opportunities to actively interact with the locals for people with different backgrounds to build society together as local residents.