留学生インタビュー

Why did you study in Japan?

I was born and raised in Shanghai. Before coming to Japan, I had never been on an airplane and to other places, knowing only my home city. However, I always dreamed of visiting different countries to see the world from different angles and to broaden the perspectives in my life. At the age of 35 when I was seeking for the way of my life, one day I had a chance to meet the president of a Japanese electric power company who introduced me to a Japanese professor. Although the United States of America is well known of its programs in psychology, my major, I decided to go to Japan, because I had met a Japanese professor who can help me search a university in Japan.

How was your life in Japan?

I arrived in Japan in 1991 and entered Kurume University in Kyushu. On my first year I was a research student, and the year after, I became a regular scholar. As I was a privately financed student, I needed to work on a part-time basis to earn money for my schooling and to support my daily expenses. At first, I worked in a Japanese-style restaurant, where I learned how to cook Japanese dishes little by little. Even now I cook some Japanese foods for my friends and guests. Thereafter, I worked at a major television station in Kyusyu as a cameraman's assistant for about three years and a half. I learned numerous things in this job. Firstly, I became fluent in Japanese as the job required proficiency in the language. During my job as assistant, I tried to study and learn more than what I had to do by observing how other employees perform their routine. Because of such efforts, I gradually learned the techniques in video shooting, manipulating video cameras effectively, and film editing. In addition, I was able to visit many places and experience different climates of Kyushu. During typhoons, I went out in the heavy winds and rains, in rubber boots, to report the phenomena brought by typhoons. Though soaked to my pants, I just had to grin and bear with the situation because this was a call of duty. Occasionally, I even worked as an interpreter when illegal immigrants were detected. Because of these, this part-time job was not only a breadwinning job but also a pleasant and an enriching experience for me. I learned not only the rules on news reporting, but also what the Japanese veteran reporters do to cover stories effectively, and how Japanese crews perform their work efficiently. All because of these, I consider this work to be a very precious and treasured experience I obtained, in addition to what I learned in the classes at university.

Did your various experiences in that television station in Kyushu lead you to your current work?

Yes, indeed. Upon my return to my country, I decided to work for the Japan-China collaborative TV program, making use of my experiences and learning in Japan. One of the numerous programs that our team had conceptualized and gained so much popularity in China is the ten- minute documentary of a story of a Japanese lady called "Maki-Sensei" ("Sensei" means teacher in Japanese). "Maki Sensei" is a Japanese volunteer who taught Japanese language to junior high school students in Shanghai. From her own resources, she set an environment in her house for teaching and learning Japanese to the students. She not only taught Japanese language but also cooked rice balls and Japanese curry with her students so that they can experience Japanese atmosphere in China. Likewise, "Maki-Sensei" also introduced Japanese way of thinking to her students. This is the most interesting part of this documentary. In China, everything is a competitive race. Therefore, for Chinese, the system of 'turn of duty' is quite strange, as well as to be told, "Today's your duty is to clean the floor" or "Your duty for today is to wash the dishes". To be given jobs equally and to swap them around might be a common system in Japan but quite odd to the Chinese people. After this documentary was broadcasted, it generated positive feedback from all over China, saying, "I can not believe such teacher exists. She gave up her life in Japan and voluntary teaching Japanese in Shanghai!" Because of this documentary, a blackboard was donated to "Maki-Sensei", and the Shanghai government commended her for this effort. Like this success, I hope that the Chinese people would understand further about Japan and its people through these documentary programs.

Thank you very much for your interesting stories. Lastly, do you have any advice for students studying or wanting to study in Japan?

The most valuable thing I got from studying in Japan is my way of thinking. Aside from my major, psychology, I studied philosophy and many other subjects in Japan. And through this, I gained ability to think in broader views and make decisions on my own. Therefore if you have a chance to study in Japan, don't miss it because it might bring some changes into your life.

Uploaded on 28th January 2004