I am an outsider.
In middle school it was something different. A constant effort to rebel, to find something different, to march to the beat of my own drum. But here in Japan I am a different kind of outsider.
I was born and raised in the US, a country made up of immigrants who came from all over the world in order to start over. My grandmother came over from Italy and my grandfather from Poland.
It was after my first trip to Japan that I decided to become an immigrant too. Two years later I realized my dream and I am still living in Japan today. I can speak Japanese and since I have four years of experience living here I can navigate the culture and I understand what’s expected of me but many foreigners do not.
They come to Japan without an understanding of the culture and feel unwelcome or discriminated against. I think Japan can make foreigners feel more welcomed with a few small adjustments:
- More English support at major businesses
- Offer Japanese lessons to tourists and immigrants
- A cultural boot camp for new employees especially those in the service industry
- More experience with other cultures in school (field trips, class exchange, etc)
- English only channels on the radio and television
- more English movies subtitled in Japanese, maybe during certain times during the day.
- More native English teachers in school
- Less reliance on translation houses for work/ encourage more employees to take English classes
If more people feel welcomed in Japan, more people will want to call Japan home. They need more people here to solve the aging population problem anyways 😉