I am full Korean who speaks three languages, Korean as my first language, Japanese as my second and English as my third language. Being bilingual allowed me to realize my different attitude and register between speaking those three languages. when I speak Japanese I tend to be more formal and respectful. For example, in normal conversation between my friends and family, who they can speak Japanese, I tend to code-switch to Japanese when I ask a favor or say an apology, as it has more polite tone. Therefore, knowing three different languages means more than just able to communicate in different languages, as it teaches me different culture as well.
When I came back to Japan in grade 6, it was my job to communicate with local people when I go outside with my mother and sister, as I was able to speak Japanese. I was able to communicate with people at shops and restaurants. At shops, I asked the workers whether they sell a certain product when I couldn’t find it. At restaurants, I ordered the food for my family as a representative and helped my parents when they were paying for the food by translating between Japanese and Korean. When I talk to local people, since Japan is a culture that values manner, I talk to the people in formal words, regardless of their age, as I met them for the first time.
From these experience, I learned how it is important to pay attention and show affection towards peoples from a different country and value their culture to communicate and construct a good relationship with people from different countries.
I always feel management is the most difficult part and the most important element in my life. As a student who involves in several activities, it is difficult to manage all the project, events and activities.
From grade 8 to grade 10, I was part of student council and it was big things to me. It required a lot of responsibility as I volunteer to take a role that is in the decision making of the big events. Such events, back to school concert, dance parties and studentaiment which big events in our school, and while I was a member of a student council I was involved in the planning of all of the events regardless head of the team or supporter. The regular student council meeting is relatively short, an hour per week, compared to the amount of work we need to accomplish. It was important to make a commitment and finish given works by the due date. As a solution to this, the team I was involved in, always had documents which keep all the track of dates and stuff we need to do. In the first meeting for the specific event, we always discussed what needs to be done by what date to able to finish the events successfully. Then we discuss with team members to see who can take which role to be able to meet due dates. For example, back to school concert, which is the first school events of new grade year and happens in the first week back from the break, it is really important to keep good management. To complete the diagram below, it almost only took 3 weeks to finalize, and able to run the event successfully. The only reason I can manage all this as a team and myself is that I have an organized system of planning ahead. When I was in head position for specific events, it found out it is useful to set a reminder for myself to able to keep everything flows smoothly. I’m a person who remembers all the schedules rather than writes it on the planner/calendar. However, to lead a team, it was efficient to use some devices to share all the dates and to-do list to remind everyone; since it is important to function as a team.
From those past experience, I learned how to manage my time efficiently and able to adjust depending on who and what I’m working on.
One of the service groups I joined pat 2 years was the GIN Chiku group. The group works towards helping the homeless community in Japan. We visite the Chiku center regularly to provide lunch for homeless people in the area and aim to raise an awareness for the homelessness in Japan to a wider community. For example, we invited a guest speaker, who is a leader of Chiku center, to assembly and talk about how our service group is involved and how can we help so the audience can learn about eh homeless. We also held sports event to get donations and raise an awareness to both player and audiences, by making an announcement and inform what GIN Chiku group are doing and state the purpose of the events.
I believe that participating in this service group helped to raise awareness of the homelessness in Japan. As we explained why there are homeless in Japan and what kind of life they are living, I think audiences gained a better understanding. I wanted wider community in our school know that there are many reasons behind a person who become homeless, such as In Japan a huge decrease in employment due to the collapse of the economy, and also reduce negative stereotypes towards them. My participation also helped the homeless people directly as I helped with the meal provision for them at the Chiku center nearby school, in both morning and lunchtime, which allowed the homeless people to have healthy meals. There were also homeless people around while we were preparing the food in the morning time. I was able to talk to them and listen to their story while preparation for meal provision. As I am able to speak Japanese, this strength helped me in understanding their stories and understand the homeless in Japan better, also translating their stories to our group members who do not speak Japanse to understand those the homeless people live.
Furthermore, in Chiku center, there were many volunteer workers from other organizations. I was able to learn about their experience and activity they were doing, such as how often they come visit Chiku center and what kind of activity they do to raise awareness to people around them.
As I joined this service group, I learned the background of the homeless people in Japan, and able to lost negative stereotypes towards them. I also belives that how my small action can lead to positive outcomes, which was reflected through several events held by service group, such as Onigiri making, how our promotion brought in lot of volunteer outside of service group came to help us out.