I am waiting from April 2020 to get into my university as a self-financed student. April intake was postponed because of the corona situation. Then I was able to register for the September intake. However, because of COE delays, I couldn’t get in during the time Japan was open for students. My research is already on hold since I cannot perform the experiments needed for data acquisition. Because of this uncertainty, I now have to consider a Ph.D. topic change even after spending 8 months into my research. I left my previous job in 2019 January thinking I’ll be able to get in by April. Because I don’t know when Japan will start accepting students, I can’t apply for any other job positions either. There is a minimum contract period that I must complete before quitting all most all of the jobs. So my life is on hold since January of 2019. It is not an easy task to keep going [especially mentally] when you are already 30 and you have to depend on your parents for food and a roof over your head. At this point, I am prepared to accept any conditions imposed by the Japanese government if it means that I can start my research. Even something like quarantining in a paid embassy designated quarantine location in my home country before I come to Japan. So, total of one month quarantining is a possible action for me now at this point. That’s how desperate I am at the moment, and I know it would be same for many students who dreamt of studying in Japan. Another long delay will force me to drop my research dream and focus on a different path for the sake of my mental health alone.
35, United States
What is your education level?
What is your current (or most recent) job?
When did you apply to come to Japan originally?
Why does studying Japanese in Japan mean so much to you?
Without the chance to live and study in Japan I do not believe that my ability to truly learn the culture and language will ever be possible. There are so many things about a language that cannot be taught by a book and cannot be learned by watching videos. There are nearly endless lessons I could learn just by waking up and living in Japan and when you combine it with the opportunity to exchange cultures, make meaningful bonds, and study there truly is no alternative choice to studying Japanese anywhere else in the world.
How do you think that as a student in Japan that you will add benefit to Japan society?
In my free time I enjoy giving back to society, volunteering, and interactive with people in my neighborhood. This is a practice and lifestyle I greatly look forward to continuing in Japan. I have been incredibly fortunate to have had a wonderful career, full of experiences and I would very much like to give back some of those experience by trainings, teaching, and mentoring student who potentially want to live/work in the United States one day. While waiting to start my own studies in Japan I took the opportunity to also obtain a TEFL certificate and I’d like to volunteer my time to train people in the English language in my free time. Additionally, as a business executive I have unique skillsets that I would like share with other junior student to help them on their career journey. As much as I look forward to gaining valuable life experience during my time in Japan, I want to equally look for opportunities to give back and help others.
What will it mean to you if there is another delay for students to be able to come to Japan?
It would be beyond heartbreaking, on an emotional level. We have all sacrificed so much over the past year and seen so much of the World as a whole shift to an unfamiliar landscape that it often feels like there has yet to be a single point of optimism in far too long. I cannot believe that I am alone in saying that if student are allowed entry into Japan there is essentially no limit to how far I am willing to go to ensure my travel and entry is both safe and smartly executed. Whether that be multiple PCR tests at all entry/exit points, extended quarantine, detailed tracking, limited excursions, or reduced social gathering – none of these obstacles compare to the importance and immense benefit of allowing students to begin their long term studies in Japan versus online. Furthermore, the choice to come to Japan is not one any of us has made lightly. To uproot your life, sell your belongings, move from your home, say goodbye to your family, leave your job… it is probably more than most ever do. That being said, all of the prospective students have made that sacrifice already and now we are being asked to figure out how to endure, some living out of suitcases, without work, without permanent housing, just waiting for a single shred of good news that would let us know we can travel. I fully understand and respect the competent decisions the government is making to safeguard the country, but for those of us who want to enter Japan as long term residents, delaying us entry does not truly prevent anything. If we are smart, safe, respectful, and diligent in our approach to border crossing, there is little to no risk of the (relative) small volume of April entry students to make a negative impact on the pandemic. However, as mentioned before, we are all prepared, anxious, and excited to contribute positively in every aspect, at any opportunity.
I have been studying Japanese for seven years. I spent the last year stuck at University, keeping paying taxes even if I finished all the exams in Winter 2020 just waiting for Japan to open and let me in, since I am trying to write my MA thesis regarding women contemporary literature in Japan.
Studying in Japan has always been part of my dream. I wish to pursue not only studying and becoming fluent in Japanese, but to be able to build a life in Japan. I have visited many times and made many Japanese friends. Each visit has had a profound effect on my life, and I wish to be able to communicate fluently, in order to become a contributing member of Japanese society.