Nagao Junior High School – Lecture on 24th October 2019
I had the opportunity to accompany my boss, Mizu-san, to Nagao Junior High School. The Fukuoka City government assigned Mizu-san to do a lecture about multiculturalism and the advantage of learning about other cultures. Another lecturer was also there to talk about equal job opportunities for women and men.
This is my first time to see and experience a Japanese school, its culture and students. I’ve only seen it in Mangas and Animes before. It was very exciting for me to be in a school with students wearing typical Japanese school uniforms. I am very thankful to Mizu-san that I had this opportunity. I am sure that as a normal tourist I couldn’t have simply entered a Japanese school.
The students were all well behaved. They entered the Dojo training hall, sat down, arranged their shoes neatly in a line on the same side and quietly listened to the lecture. I am sure that many things were new for them, especially information about LGBT culture. Mizu-san also talked about her company, her work experience with foreigners and what foreign tourists want to experience in Japan.
My tasks were very simple: I had to make photos of the lecture and assist Mizu-san in role plays. Some students were selected to greet me by shaking hands and saying, “Nice to meet you”. The purpose was to show the students the proper way of greeting in western style. Japanese are usually shy and avoid making eye contacts while shaking hands. Many students were hesitating, but they shook my hand and were bold enough to look me in the eyes. For the next role play, Mizu-san told the students to thank and hug each other (boys with boys and girls with girls). I was pleasantly surprised when some of the female students, encouraged by Mizu-san, were willing to step forward to thank and hug me, a stranger!
I understood that physical and face-to-face contact is a big deal for Japanese people and that there is a lot to do in educating them about other cultures and global orientation. But I believe that the younger generation of Japan will be much more motivated and willing to learn about the outside world.