the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Excerpts from a letter to my Mom

March is one of the seasons here when all the foreigners are deciding if
they will stay or not. Everyone here is already talking about it. My
Japanese teacher actually asked me - in depth - about staying or not and
why. But she is 60 years old, and has lived in Hirosaki her whole life.
With my limited language ability and how different our lives are, it was
hard to express what I was really thinking. But at least she really cares.

M-san. talked about wanting to keep a balance between teaching her kids
Christianity, and having them appreciate/understand their cultural
background - that's a line that's harder to walk than it sounds. I'm
sure she can ask her family, but I'd be willing to help out anyway I can
from here. What I thought of later but didn't say was, probably the best
way to get her kids to get interested in Japanese things is to be an
example use/enjoy them herself. Not that I know anything about
cross-cultural parenting.

One thing I noticed when I got back was that I still love Japan, even
with all it's faults. And there are many - no one experiences that
better than a foreigner. Many people here (at church, at school,
restaurants) seem to want me to stay here for a while. But no one really
stays here because it's just hard. The government makes it hard to stay,
and I'm not sure you'd really want to stay here anyway.

This weekend C-chan and I when to a party hosted by some foreign
teachers I know. The next day we went to karaoke and the arcade with
some Japanese friends. Even though we can both pretty much go either
way, I think we were more at ease with the Japanese friends. It's an odd
feeling, but it's true.

...Those are the things that have been going through my head recently.

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