Interviewed & written by Isao Tokuhashi
Mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anastasia Korobtsova (Russia)
University student & international center staff
(She’s been in Japan since 2004)
Spring has come! We met a Russian woman who brought a warm and calm spring wind. Anastasia Korobtsova is studying very hard at a university in Tokyo. And she works at the international center almost everyday to help foreign people in Tokyo. Her smile bloomed nicely during this interview and cherry blossoms also have begun to bloom now in Tokyo.
Coming to Tokyo was my dream
I’m from Vladivostok, the Far East Region of Russia.
I could come here thanks to the relationship between my university in Japan and the university I went to in Vladivostok. I studied the Japanese language and Japanese culture in a Russian university there. I was chosen as a scholarship member so I could come to Tokyo. Coming to Tokyo was my dream.
My major is international politics and international relations between Asian countries. I want to be a professor in those fields in Japan. That’s my dream.
A dreamlike trip
I went to Hakodate, a very beautiful port town in northern Japan, when I was 10. That’s what first triggered my interest in the Japanese language.
It was a very impressive trip. Different culture, different language and food. I knew nothing about Japan until that trip. I learned and tried so many things there. It was really unforgettable. It was like a dream for me, a little Russian girl.
I started to study Japanese when I was 13. I tried to study it little by little.
Japanese language was difficult for me to study because it’s very different from our language especially the grammar. And we have no Chinese characters.
I made Japanese friends and we started free private lessons together. It was really fun and we talked a lot. I did it when I was 19. It’s a really good method of studying foreign languages.
I can eat even natto
The most favorite thing in Japan is Japanese traditional culture.
I like Kabuki, Noh, and Bunraku. My university has so many subjects of Japanese traditional culture, such as traditional music and dance, and calligraphy. Those are very interesting for me. I am really happy with them.
Also I love all of Japanese food like sashimi, sushi, tempura. I can eat even natto, too. I felt It looked strange and its smell was strange, too, when I saw natto for the first time. But I felt it was delicious when I had it for the first time.
Japan is a very clean and health-conscious country. Clean air and clean water. These seem to be small things but very important. In Russia, you can’t drink tap water. It’s so dangerous. You have to boil water before you drink.
I don’t like earthquakes and motorcycle gangs
I have one thing I don’t like. It is the motorcycle gangs. My home is close to a road. They are very noisy in summertime and at night.
Also I was really scared by prediction of a big earthquake. It might happen tomorrow or even right now. So that’s very stressful thing for me.
We don’t have earthquakes in Vladivostok. I experienced an earthquake for the first time when I stayed in Nagoya with my father in 2000.
It happened one night. I heard a strange sound from deep in the earth. I couldn’t understand what it was. “What’s happenening?”. And the next moment, my room shook. I said, “Oh, papa, papa! Let’s go out!” It was really awful.
Be open to people and their culture
If I find a job here, I want to live in Japan because I really like its culture, Japanese people and its climate, too.
If you come to Japan from other countries, you would feel that your culture is different from the Japanese culture. It could be really stressful for you. But, just be open to people and their culture.
So open your heart. Don’t think everybody is against you.
What is Tokyo to you?
Tokyo is my dream that came true! And Tokyo is like a nice, wonderful planet filled with many possibilities and chances. If you see things optimistically, everything will be Okay.