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[YRP Students' Essays] The Difference between You and Me

Parents can choose from two choices when they go to other countries. The first is to put their child in the local school, and the other is to send him or her to a Japanese school. I was put into the local school when I went to America. My sister thanks our parents for putting her in the local school. However, I think about what would have happened in my life if I did not go to America but instead lived in Tokyo. I would not have had such a hard time learning English had I not gone to America. I would not have had to be separated from my Tokyo friends. I knew that I would go back to Japan someday. For that reason, I did not want to make a best friend in America. Even if I made a best friend, I knew there would come a day I would have to say good-bye to that friend forever. There was no plan for me to go back to America again, and I thought I would never be able to see an American best friend again after I returned to Japan, so to save myself the pain of separation, I did not make one.

There are many people in the world, and they all learn many matters by experience. My sister and I went to the same country and the same elementary school for four years. Yet, the days we experienced and thought were completely different.

I wonder why people who have lived in America for a long time have the same feeling about them. Most Japanese children who go to other countries for their fathers' job will have to come back to Japan someday. Many children have a hard time getting used to school when they come back to Japan. One girl I knew in the U.S. was Japanese but born in America. I met her when I was in the first grade. She loved America, and her personality was like that of an American. She was one of the people who had hard time when she came back. Her family thought that they would live in America forever, but their plan changed. She could not understand why students in Japan do not say their opinion during class. States of affairs that are normal in America are not always good in Japan. A few weeks after starting school, she was teased by some girls in her class. My friend said all the thoughts that came into her mind, but that was not accepted by the Japanese students. School became a place that was not fun for her. If her family knew that they were going to come back, her school life in Japan might have been easier. She would have studied Japanese harder, and then she would not have had such a hard time. My family knew that we would not live in America forever, so I went to cram school to keep up my Japanese education. For her, learning English was not a hardship, but for me it was. Coming back to Japan and going to school here was not a hardship for me, but it was for her. Our differences were simply a result of knowing whether we were coming back to Japan or not.

Becoming completely American can be good if you stay in America forever. It is hard for people who went to other countries of their fathers' job. When I look at people around me in my school, there are many people who say, "I wanted to live in America forever." When I become a mother, I have to consider carefully how to raise my child if we live in other counties.


Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Yuki Umehara, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.
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