Friday, May 17, 2013

A Volunteer’s Opinion

 Hi, I am Jisoo, a volunteer of APFS. I have started to participate in activities in APFS since end of April. Today was the second time I participated.

 I came to Japan last March to attend a university in Japan. I was studying Japanese for quite a while in Korea before I came so I did not think I would struggle much in Japan. But in contrary to my expectations, there were some unexpected problems I had to deal with once I arrived here. For example, I could not rent a room that I liked because I was not Japanese and I was not yet 20 years old. When I was looking for a job, I was not given the opportunity for an interview because I was not Japanese. Also, there were many expressions used among Japanese people that I have never studied in Korea, and I struggled and agonized over the language barrier in Japan. Some of my friends could not cope with the difficult situation in Japan and decided to return to their mother countries.

 From my experiences mentioned above, I became interested in helping people from foreign origins, like myself, live comfortably in Japan. I want to help people from foreign origins who work in Japan fit well in a new environment called “foreign country,” and bring their abilities into full play. From a vision of a good relationship not only between an employer and an employee, but also between Japan and the employee’s mother country, I wish to study policies that would build these relationships.

 Fortunately, with help from generous friends and people around me, I was able to adapt well to a life in Japan, and now, I greatly enjoy my stay in Japan. But there must be many people of foreign origins in Japan who need a hand to fit in a new environment called “Japan.”

 Before I start my studies in policies to help them, I came to believe that I should do what I can do right now. I want to learn from nearby incidents how policies actually affect those working in Japan and what kinds of problems might arise from them. I began to participate in activities in APFS as a volunteer, and last Monday, I went to the 9th trial of Mr. Suraj’s case for state compensation. Before the court hearing, I did a research beforehand on my own and I was able to understand the system of Special Permission to Stay in Japan.

 What I am doing right now does not directly help people of foreign origins in the state’s level, neither does it help them in a legal level as what lawyers do but I am doing as much as I can do right now from my wish from the bottom of my heart to help them. There are many things I do not know, and the path to my dream is long and not yet concrete. Still, I want to accumulate experiences little by little, and in the future, I hope those experiences will be the backbone of my studies in policies that will actually help people of foreign origins working in Japan.