Oakland high school students share impressions of Japan

Posted Jul 14 2007

The following are responses to an interview from Japan by some of my students at Oakland Unity High School in California. They were asked to reflect on points that they could relate to or found interesting as the interview covered a range of topics, including immigration and the status of women. Note that this was just one assignment and students were exposed to a variety of perspectives. For example, after reading this interview many felt that Japan was a great place for immigrants. However, they later had readings by non-Japanese who had less than pleasant things to say about their stay in Japan. Some of the facts are incorrect, yet these comments capture a moment, as well as give some insight into the thoughts of Oakland youth on similarities and differences between two seemingly disparate countries and cultures.

One thing that I took away from this assignment was a reminder of how influenced people can be by so little. This was one interview, with one person, yet many of the students based their whole impression of Japan off of it. It’s a good reminder of the power of adults and teachers and why we have to be so aware of what information we use and how we use it.

This interview helped me learn about Japan. One thing that caught my attention was that in Japan people tend to help each other more than people do here. Here in the United States a lot of Americans expect people that come over to speak English but never tend to help them learn it. Americans usually pressure immigrants and this might be the reason why they don't help immigrants in any way, even though Americans know that immigrants come to the United States to have a better life.

Students in Japan and California drop out cause of the frustration they have in school. These students that drop out start to hang in the streets and become gang members and criminals. This relates to me in a way that here, where I live, lots of students do the same and drop out. Another thing is that kids don't have as much communication as there used to back in the days. Back then, there were no video games or cell phones but now days there are more things that distract people.-Marisol C.

This interview made me think differently about Japan. When I didn't know anything about Japan it made me think that nobody from another country would go visit or go and live there. By reading this interview, it made me realize that there are immigrants everywhere, no matter what country it is. Something that I learned was that there are more Brazilians in the past 10 years. These immigrants work mostly on the line with textiles, cell phones, semi conductors companies. The Brazilians work here because hardly, well actually nobody, from Japan will like to work in there ‘cause they will pay them a low wage. So the Brazilians are able to work for that wage because they want money and they came for a better life than what they lived before.

Another point that caught my attention was that they treat the immigrants nice. Here in the United States they don't really want them. Right now they’re trying to get them out of the United States because they say that immigrants are taking their jobs away. What will be nice is if the United States would treat the immigrants nice and try to help to get a better life. It will be nice for the reason that they will do jobs that someone that has papers won’t do for a low wage. That's good that Japan helps immigrants for the reason that they are trying to have a better life than in their country.

A last point that caught my attention was when they said about the schools with immigrant youths. It’s hard for them to learn a lot and especially if you are an immigrant. Here it’s similar because youth right now are dropping out. Some of the reasons that teens or youth drop out of school is because they have to work to help their parents, they are in gangs, drugs, or just for the reason that they get a job and see that they are getting money.-Tania D.

What caught my attention in the interview was that they have Brazilians in Japan. It’s very awkward that a South American country would have civilians living in Japan. But I get why they live there, because they’re in poverty right now and they make lots of money in Japan.                                                                                         

Another thing that caught my attention was problems that faced youth. What was funny is that they mention texting as an issue because it’s a popular thing, even over here in the United States. It’s popular. But what they worry about is that they’re losing vocabulary from texting all the time.                                                                                        

The last thing that caught my attention was there were laws in place to protect women and that they’re the same as the laws in the United States but in Japan if something happens to a women it its to hard to prove.-Henry O.

The three main points that caught my attention were gender, immigration, and youth. The problem about gender is that women are not treated equal as the men are. The men are heard for everything and the women are not. When a woman wants to share an idea in her job she gets ignored. Women also have great ideas that need to be heard.

Immigrating to another country is hard because to proceed in life there you have to learn the language. When many immigrate to Japan have it hard because they have to learn the three alphabets (writing systems) and that's hard.

Youth are facing many problems in Japan. The guys are not concentrating in school. They are most likely concentrating on their games or hair. Most of the youth can not afford a good education because of the parent's budget. Especially if they’re divorced and only have one parent to help them proceed in life.-Leticia M.

One point that caught my attention was that there are a lot of Brazilian immigrants in Japan. I would have never thought that Japan had a lot of Brazilians. It is strange to see how the government helps the Brazilian immigrants. In the U.S the immigrants are seen as something bad by the government. They do not get treated well.

Another point that caught my attention was that schools are based on how smart the students are. I think there is a lot of stress among students to get accepted to the smarter schools. The rich families have an advantage to getting the scholarships. I would have thought that the poor families would not have the advantage, since they do not have a lot of money.

The last thing that caught my attention was how women are not treated equal as men. She said that she was scared to give her opinion because she thought it would get ignored. She also mentioned that it is easier for a male to get a promotion than a female. Sexism is all over the world but there are places that have more sexism than others.- Mario G.

 One of the problems that she talks about and caught my attention was when she talked about how the youth are affected and how children are losing opportunities. Her opinion is that kids are not reaching their potential because their opportunities are limited by their family budget. Phones are being part of the problem because kids don't know how to express themselves face to face but they feel more comfortable. She says that kids’ social skill are going down and there grammar is not getting any better either.

Another topic that caught my attention was when she talks about women and how they get discriminated against because of their gender. Women get discriminated against on their opinion and they some don't say anything. They feel it is normal. This problem is also happening in the U.S. Women are getting paid less money for doing the same job as a man. She has a quote that is interesting that say that if a woman does everything she is supposed to do she does not get a place in history. When I heard this I was amazed.

The final topic that was interesting was when she talked about how rich kids get better opportunities on getting a scholarship than somebody who doesn't have that much money. This is interesting because if you are rich then you don't need money to borrow but if you are a person who does not have a good job how can you get to college? I think that they should make it the other way around make it harder for rich kids to get a scholarship
because I don't think is fair to somebody that really wants to study and doesn't have enough money. Leopoldo Z.


1. Emmanuel said at June 13, 2008 5:46 pm:

all of this articals sound verry intresting, I like the fukt that all of our students had so muche to say and at their aige they all sound very weal inform and inteligent

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