Q. What is the impression about Higashikawa, Hokkaido before entering the Japanese course? And also tell us what you think after you actually started living here.
Naruporn: Before I came here to learn, I searched up about Higashikawa on the Internet and YouTube. It is really comfortable for living even though it is in the countryside. I do not feel any inconvenience because there are lots of stores.
I could have chosen the school in the city but Higashikawa has variety of scholarships so I chose this school. Some areas do not have scholarships so it is a financially wise decision.
Azar: After I got accepted into this school, I got information from my brother who was here seven years ago. I was ready for the school because my brother told me about Japan, so I had no problem that Higashikawa is in the countryside. I was not surprise.
Q. Did you get a culture shock here? What surprised you the most?
Naruporn: Higashikawa does not have a large population so I can have a large circle of acquaintance. There are so many events and I run into people when I attend these events. If you live in the city, you do not know anyone but I can in this countryside thanks for the events.
Azar: I was surprised that the convenience stores can be really far from the dorm. In Mongolia, we have a convenience store on the first floors of the building and the apartment right next door has a convenience store too. It was a little bit of a surprise but we can buy drinks from vending machine that is located in the dorm so I do not have a problem.
Q. Do you like Japanese foods? What do you like the most?
Naruporn: I loved Japanese food when I was in Thailand, but ever since I came to Higashikawa and been eating Japanese dishes, I miss Thai food. Especially eating Shabushabu in the cold winter makes my body all warmed up and feels good! I like doing BBQ outside in the hot summer. The udon noodle place “Chiyuki” is really good.
Azar: When I first started living here, I took all the pictures of food and sent them to my friends and had fun. After a month of being here I started missing Mongolian food and I want to eat dishes my mother makes.
Q. What's your plan after finishing the course?
Naruporn: I am thinking about these two choices. First one is going back to Thailand. The other one is getting a further education. I have studied Japanese in Japanese course and graduated so I want to go to the grad school at main land of Japan.
Azar: I am planning on to go to grad school. I want to go to Japanese grad school. If I could not get in and then maybe I will go back to my hometown.
Q. What kind of activities are you attending?
Naruporn: I did not have any Japanese friends so I am attending the “street cafe” held by council of social welfare. It has the place we can talk with Higashikawa citizens over tea and coffee every Mondays and Thursdays. It is fun to have conversations with them and also be able to learn Japanese so I am attending it. It is great that I can attend for free. I am going to the “street cafe” later today! I also attended Vietnamese events. I had fun doing Vietnamese activities and eating food. It is a precious experience to attend to various countries’ events even though I am in Higashikawa. The food was delicious.
I sometimes go to Asahiyama zoo. I took one bus to another to go there in the winter. Also I went to the “street cafe” and I attend all the events held by the school like go, classic Japanese dance, haiku, and tea ceremony. It is held once a month so you can attend various activities.
I also attended the Vietnamese events. It is really fun being able to attend the festivals from other countries once in a couple of months. I like food and I am looking forward to going.
Q. How was the business course? What did you learn?
Naruporn: I joined because I thought I could practice Japanese and lean business Japanese. I think it is better to know business etiquette if I graduate and decide to work at Japanese company. I am learning Japanese etiquette and unique business structure.
Azar: I joined because my friend invited me out. My major was financial management (finance) and I learned management in college, so I am learning how to describe terminology in Japanese. It is a great opportunity to learn Japanese culture, manners and Japanese management.
These classes told me that there is the other way that I can work at the Japanese company not only going to grad school. I want to think about the possibilities for working at Japanese companies through classes. I am taking classes just in case I can work in Japan.
Q. Do you have a part time job?
Azar: I am working at spa hotel in Higashikawa as a bartender. It is really busy but I am having fun working here using English and Japanese.
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