BY Matsunaga Masaoka Leonardo Susumu from Paraguay, Trainee
I was born in Paraguay. Maybe, not many people have heard of this country actually. Geographically, it is located on the West side of Brazil and the North side of Argentina. The area of the whole country is almost the same as Japan and it is located in the center of the South American Continent so I had never seen the ocean until I came to Japan. I was also surprised when I saw the mountain (Hitsuzan) that lies in the center of Kochi city because my home country has few mountains. Of course, there are no tunnels so I was filled with some excitement when I first passed through one. I have to admit I was actually scared at first.
My hometown, La Paz was established by Japanese pioneers. It is located in Southern Paraguay and near the border of Argentina. Most of the people are in farming. Soybean fields stretch as far as the eye can see, making it a laid-back town. People are cheerful and nice. In Paraguay, Japanese pioneers also established about seven other communities. Each town has a Japanese language school and they emphasize studying Japanese more than other societies in South America. I used to study Japanese there, so I am able to speak Japanese now. Besides that, I also had to study Spanish and Guarani as a national language. It was pretty tough for me when I was a child.
Speaking truly, at this moment, writing about my hometown, it brings back some memories so I miss my family and friends, even though it’s been only six months since I came here as a trainee.Recently somebody asked me if I had to settle down in one country forever, which country I would choose? I was not able to make a quick decision, but I chose Paraguay at last. All in all, I like Paraguay.
Taken from vol.22 (February & March, 2008. Forest Environment Tax in Kochi)