A Life of Learning

“I like being an African woman so much, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. I like being in Japan but for the first year I had culture shock. My first year, I couldn’t eat Japanese food, but after all that, my life in Japan began to have meaning.

Being an African woman, sometimes people don’t know what to think about me. I got a lot of questions like ‘do you have school in Africa?’ or ‘do you ride elephants to school?’ or ‘do you go to school and meet lions on the way?’ I always told them ‘I saw lions in the zoo just like you’. Japanese people don’t know much about Africa, except East Africa. They assume that East African culture is how the whole of Africa is, which is not true. Africa is so big and they have so many different cultures and cities and villages.

“Living in Japan, I got very used to answering questions about Africa and I’m always happy to answer and give them whatever information I have about it. One day, I was talking with a long time Japanese friend of mine at church, I talked about my job and my students. She said ‘what? Are you a teacher? I thought you were a refugee’. I said ‘well, I’m a teacher, I also studied in Japan that’s why I can speak with you’, she said ‘oh, you studied in Japan, wow’. I was uncomfortable about being an African woman in Japan at first, but now I have totally embraced it and I don’t mind the questions.”





Interviewer: Tac Aquino and Mark Horbury
【翻訳:Kaci Lewis】

At the African American and Caribbean cultural event in Shinjuku during Golden Week

Published by


Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s