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[YRP Students' Essays] My Experience Being a Bicultural Person

To be exact, I am not a bicultural person. I spent a lot of time in a Japanese school abroad and live with only Japanese now, except for the English lessons in my school. I am Japanese and have only one culture. However, I am a returnee student, so some people I have met mistook and thought I am a bicultural person.

Bicultural people are special in any case. They experience happy and sad events different entirely from other people. I will write this kind of events I experienced as a bicultural person.

I am not good at speaking English, but bicultural people who speak two languages easily are objects of admiration for me. However, some people misunderstand and think that bicultural people are just strange.

I came back to Japan and transferred to a public elementary school. I expected to have an enjoyable time in that school, but it was a fugitive hope.

On the day I transferred to the new school, my new homeroom teacher introduced me as a returnee student to my classmates. She said, "Miss Takeshima came from foreign country. She does not know Japanese life. Therefore, please teach her a lot of things about Japan." She told the truth, and I thought that I did not have to hide the fact that I am a returnee student. Besides that, there was a relief in me too, because I thought everyone would overlook my acts that were not well-balanced in Japan. However, shortly after that, I regretted many times that I did not hush the teacher. Every classmate misunderstood that I was a bicultural person.

The first situation worried me was an introduction between the classmates. A company transfer is rare, so everyone assailed me with questions. My father was transferred often, and I was used to those kinds of questions a little. However, it was the first time I changed schools as the returnee student, so I was very surprised at this request. My classmates asked me to speak in English. It verges on impossible for me to speak English, and I am not so clever at handling the requests of people who had never met before. I had no alternative but to tell the truth. With a ridiculous look, I told them, "I cannot speak English at all." Everyone's reaction was divided in two. There was a group who thought, "Miss Takeshima is not so great after all." and a group who thought, "Miss Takeshima is a boring person." I honestly cannot speak English, so both groups' thoughts were wrong. This request continued to be repeated to me for about one week and annoyed me very much.

The second situation that worried me was an inconsiderate rumor that I was a cruel person. Maybe I did something that made my classmates displeased. However, I had not the slightest idea about it, and no one told me anything. Nevertheless, there was a movement to exclude me from the class. Stated quite simply, I was bullied a little. The days in that school were very hard for me.

I stayed in the school only one month, but if I had stayed longer, I would probably have lost my hair from stress or dashed a pail of water on the classmates' heads because of too much anger.

Some of my friends made in Doshisha International School said they underwent that kind of experience, too. Therefore I noticed that bicultural people have to encounter a lot of difficulties, and realized that we have to think carefully about how to come in contact with people who cannot accept foreign objects.

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