Date and Time: Saturday, May 29, 3:00 p.m.– 5:00 p.m.
Spot: On-line Discussion via Zoom
Participants: 15 people, four Salvadoran, three Chinese, one each of Chilean, Pakistani, German and Vietnamese including one each of JICA participant, former tutee working at a Japanese company, KSGG language instructor and tutee’s family
Attendants: 10 KSGG members
For the first one hour, the participants were divided into two groups and talked freely.
Their main topics were about something strange in your life in Japan, any inconvenience, some good points of life in Japan and any questions to the Japanese. Then they introduced their own countries and even compared prices for their country’s fruit. For the second half of the meeting, they were divided into four groups. They used English during the conversation, so they could share their own feelings without hesitation. They greatly appreciated the KSGG members because they had had no chance to communicate with other people due to COVID-19. Most of them pointed out, “Japanese people do not answer my question when I ask something in English.” “Many people do not sit next to me, even though the train is so crowded with people.” On the other hand, some of them said, “Such kind of attitude is not racial discrimination. Just because many Japanese people have difficulty speaking English.” “Most of them are shy and they are not used to get in touch with strangers, especially people from North Eastern region in Japan are not.” Also, some participants wondered, “Why are Japanese people so quiet? Why don’t Japanese people hug each other? “. About this kind of question, a German lady who has been living in Japan for a long time advised. “Japanese people often respect interpersonal distance. They greet by bowing to one another. They neither refuse nor avoid you.” In spite of the short meeting, the purpose of this event to promote international friendship seems fulfilled, because both the participants and the KSGG members could exchange their own opinions about Japan and its people.