Precious One English School を調布駅前に、自宅マンションから移動し、拡張したときに決めたのは、「大きな本棚」を作りつけることでした。ほぼ6年経ち、1000冊ほどは埋まっていますが、まだ6倍くらいは入る感じで、他のところは書類や封筒などが置いてあります。これを全部埋めることが夢ですが、私のほうがKindle本に替えてしまったことがあり、なかなか単行本や文庫本を買わないようになってしまっています。とはいえ、年に20冊くらいと寄贈本があることや、問題集やら対策本があるので、100冊くらいずつは増えていることと思います。
Overall public reception of foreigners in Japan is pretty positive. There are political issues between China, Korea, and Japan that makes Japanese resent these other Asian nationalities, but treatment of them is still decent. Japanese people are an outwardly polite group, and they tend to avoid trouble.
However, when there is some sort of crime or legal issue, many problems will come up to the surface, becoming clearly visible.
Because the foreign population is so low, crime by foreigners is actually very rare. However, if there does happen to be a crime committed by a foreigner, the incident will get a lot of media coverage. This happens all over the world with different socio-racial groups, and Japan is no different. Unfortunately, the National Police Agency has over the years manufactured a sort of illusional “foreign crime wave” through particularly heavy coverage and negative portrayal of foreigners who have been involved in a crime. Most foreigners will not commit crime, but the portrayal on the news of foreigners as law breakers has produced some racial bias and hatred of foreign populations.
Another thing to note is that in a dispute, whether physical or verbal, the police will almost always side with the Japanese citizen. It doesn’t matter who started the fight and it does not matter who is actually right, and if there is a language barrier the situation tends to become even more complicated and misunderstood. So, in the event that you as a foreigner do somehow find yourself in a situation where the police become involved, it is best to stay calm and rational. Providing evidence and answering questions when asked is the sure way to avoid a fine, jail time, or even deportation in extreme cases.
Japanese people are nice, but they are not always fair. This can be clearly seen by foreigners looking to rent an apartment or house in Japan. There are unfortunately no laws that prohibit discrimination between potential renters based on age, sex, or ethnicity. A landlord has the final say in who they rent their property to, and it doesn’t even matter if you have the money. Renting is a really frustrating process in Japan. It feels like searching for apartments that allow pets, with you being the pet. And everyone who has searched for an apartment to move into with their beloved 4 legged family members knows how much the search results decrease after that option for “pets allowed” is selected.
So foreigners, whether looking for a few nights of fun on a trip or a place to stay long term, beware of the biases you might face.
Erik Eriksonの発達段階は、PiajeやFreudとは違っている点として、「ヒトの生涯における長さ」で心理的発達を追求しています。その中でも幼児初期１歳から３歳までに「意志」を育てることを学びます。何により意志を育てるか？というのがポイントですが、「自分のことを自分で徐々にできるようになるプロセス」の中の、Trial & Errorの中で、これでもか！という失敗やうれしい成功を繰り返し、自分が自分を支えることができる！と確信していくわけです。トイレットトレーニング・食事・着替え・荷物を揃えたり並べたり整理・速く正確にやる、などなど、誰かに助けてもらっていることに気づかぬまま、どんどん自分でできるようになっていく中、「こうしたい、ああしたい」をどんどん連ねていき、それらを成功させることにより、意志は育ちます。
It is amazing to me that adoption in Japan is so rare, even though there are plenty of very young Japanese children needing adoptive parents, and plenty of young to middle-aged couples without children. My Japanese wife and I adopted our Japanese daughter in 1973.
During the early 1970s I was on U.S. Navy sea duty incessantly, spending at least two-thirds of the time away from our Yokosuka Navy Base, Japan homeport. My wife felt like the opportunity to have children was slipping away, because of her age. So we decided to pursue adoption.
I contacted the Chaplain’s Office at the Navy Base, and they referred us to a non-profit social services organization located in Tokyo near Tokyo Tower. That organization, after completing our screening for qualifying as adoptive parents, then worked closely with the Japanese Government’s Child Welfare Agency. After further screening by the Child Welfare Agency and the passage of time, we were introduced to a two-year old Japanese baby girl who was living at and being cared for by the Nursery of the Japanese Red Cross Medical Center in Hiro, Tokyo.
We began regular visits to the Nursery to see the little girl. In fact my wife travelled every day for months from Yokosuka to Tokyo to see the little girl. I was only the second man the little girl had ever had interaction with; the other man was the Japanese doctor in charge of the Nursery.
The Head Nurse at the Nursery eventually registered the opinion that I was not a good choice to become the little girl’s father, based, she said, on the little girl’s shyness toward me. No one else supported the Head Nurse’s opinion. Finally the Child Welfare Agency and the Head Doctor at the Nursery suggested my wife and I might take the little girl home for a trial period. Reluctantly, the Head Nurse agreed. The little girl never went back to the Nursery…
To my pleasant surprise, my Mother, who still lived in my native state Texas in the USA, announced she would visit us in Japan for the little girl’s home coming! It was her first and only international trip. In my ignorance I did not realize how important the grandmother is in the arrival of a new child in the family. Technically, the adoption would not be complete and legal until a full year passed, but to us the little girl had become our daughter!
We continued to live at Yokosuka Naval Base for four more years, during which our daughter became bilingual and started going to school. I was still on sea duty, but the war in Vietnam was over, so I spent more time making ship visits to Japanese ports and working with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF). My wife and daughter regularly “sea-gulled” (traveled to Japan ports where my ship was visiting). We particularly enjoyed Bepu on Kyushu and Otaru on Hokkaido.
At the end of my sea duty as ship’s company, we moved to the USA. In San Diego our daughter started a long “career” as a soccer (football) player. In Fairfax County, Virginia (on the south bank of the Potomac River opposite to Washington, DC) she added being in her High School Marching Band. At Pearl Harbor, Hawaii our daughter flourished in band and soccer, made many Japanese-American friends, and became a naturalized U.S. Citizen. On the other hand, my wife remained a Japanese citizen forever (I am very sad to say she recently died).
Our daughter attended college in Austin, Texas, as I had done years ago. She majored in Computer Science and took a job as Computer Programmer for IBM upon graduation. She has since moved to Vancouver, BC, Canada where she still plays soccer and works as a Software Engineer.
We have all heard of the famous drinking parties that Japanese salarymen and women have after a hard day’s work, and much information out there seems to point out that it is impossible to refuse an invitation for such events.
While these nomikai are undoubdetly an important aspect of Japanese social culture, they are not 100% mandatory. It is alright to decline them, but there can be missed out opportunities. At a nomikai (lit. “drinking event”), you can talk to co-workers and seniors at work not just about work, but about casual conversation topics not related to the job that will ultimately strengthen social ties.
So while one is perfectly free to decline in most cases, it would almost be considered social suicide to do so.
There is also another misconception that people are forced to drink alcohol against their will. While the long standing tradition of refilling your neighbors cup still hold today, it is not exactly necessary to drink the cup you have been given. There are 2 main types of drinks served at restaurants. There is the more Western individual drink, like beers, whiskey highballs, cocktails, and sours. Then there is the more Japanese style “sake”, which is usually served in a small glass or ceramic bottle (called a “tokkuri”) along with some small sake cups (“choco”). It is when drinking Japanese sake that people follow the unspoken rule of filling one another’s cups and making a unanimous “cheers” just before drinking each round.
You can simply avoid participating in each round by not drinking the glass that has been filled for you previously. No one will force you to drink. At the very most, people will simply actively make sure the cup is not empty. After several rounds, people are usually too drunk to notice how much their company is actually drinking.
Some people love nomikai while others dislike the practice. While it does indeed take away time from family, there should be no problem so long as you know the drinking customs and little tricks to protect yourself from drinking too much, and it can also provide valuable opportunities to improve work relations.