Making an Impact

“I came to Japan to get a chance to be together with my dad. He was always away since I was two years old. He would only come home to Romania for a maximum of six months a year, then he’d be off again to play jazz and classical music in Japan. He’s a violinist. According to him, there’s a market for his kind of music here and there are people who really like listening to him perform as an artist, but that’s why I hated this country when I was little, even though I hardly knew anything about it. Because of Japan, I didn’t really get to spend much time with him while growing up. In my mind, this was a faraway place where my dad would go and leave us. Good thing he always came back home with omiyage (souvenir) and interesting stories about the food, the customs, how people removed their shoes before entering a house, and stuff like that.

“Now I’m attending university in Tokyo. I originally wanted to go to the U.K. but my dad convinced me to come here, instead. It was a big change for me and my mom, especially for her, since she doesn’t really speak that much English. Thankfully, I do, although I had no knowledge of Japanese before.

Plus I felt some pressure to behave more like people here in the beginning because I really wanted to integrate. Then I realized I’ll never be Japanese anyway, so now I just channel all my energy into more productive activities, such as volunteering and political conferences.

“I used to volunteer at NPOs when I was in high school, but the language barrier here had kept me from joining. Thankfully, I found ways to contribute while being an active student. After all, a language barrier is just an excuse. Also, I think young people’s voices can really make an impact, no matter how small the scale is. For example, we talk about global issues, such as human rights violation, climate change, religious violence, etc. Then we send a formal proposal to the Japanese government to raise awareness on young people’s opinions. Hopefully, we can make a dent.”

Futako Tamagawa




【翻訳:Junko Kato Asaumi】

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: Logo

You are commenting using your 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