Interviewed & written by Isao Tokuhashi
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This interview series celebrates each national day in the world through an interview.
The fourth episode is brought to you from Belarus, which celebrates the independence of the country from the USSR on July 3. In commemoration of the day, we bring you a life history of a Belarusian homemaker who lives in Tokyo.
Photo provided by Alesya Nakagawa
My sister brought me to Japan
I came to Japan from Belarus 10 years ago. My younger sister was already here at that time. She’s been in Osaka for 15 years.
I heard Japanese fairy tales like “Momotaro (The Peach Boy)” when I was a child. Also we used Japanese products. But I was not interested in Japan very much.
I majored in English at university because I was interested in the language. As I learned it, I wanted to go to the UK or the USA. But my sister told me about Japan a lot. She showed me some videos and photos of Japan, then I was attracted to Japan. I left my country right after I graduated university.
I came to Osaka first to see my sister. And fortunately I found my future husband there. My sister introduced me to him and I got married. Then I came to Tokyo because he was from here.
Starting to pursue my dream now
I felt Japan was convenient. I didn’t feel odd here thanks to my sister. Also child-raising is not so difficult in Japan because kindergarten staff and elementary school teachers take care of children very well. Some parents of children in kindergarten were also from foreign countries such as China, Indonesia and the Philippines. And there are so many kids who have roots in foreign countries in elementary school.
But, on the other hand, it’s difficult for foreigners to find a job. I tried to be an English instructor for kids, but I couldn’t because they want to have a native speaker of English.
Also we have to learn kanji (漢字, Chinese characters) in order to get a job here. I’m learning Japanese at a language school. I’m studying kanji so hard. Also I often see the online media called “Hiragana Net” to learn the language. It’s written in hiragana and it has hiragana printed beside each kanji.
I’ve concentrated on raising my child. She’s grown up, so I started to look for a job again. I’m interested in modeling and acting now.