Friday, September 27, 2013

The Air in Kochi is Beautiful

   We recently visited Akiko Matsuyama’s house in a rising residential area of Kochi City. Akiko is an immigrant originally from Shandong Province, China who lives with her husband and three children.

What was the reason you came to Kochi?
   My older sister married in Kochi. At a celebration banquet after she gave birth to her child, my husband to be was there. My sister introduced us but 20 years ago it was difficult for me to go to Japan, so he made his way to Shanghai to see me.
   After we decided to wed, it took over a year and a half to get the proper residence qualifications for Japan.

What was your first impression of Kochi?
   In February of 1994, I took a boat and plane to get to Kochi. My husband came over to China to pick me up. We arrived at Kochi Airport at night so I couldn’t really get a grasp of my surroundings. I remember the blue sky and beautiful air when I went outside the next morning.

Could you speak Japanese when you arrived in Kochi?
   I couldn’t even read or write Hiragana. My sister lived here though so that was reassuring.
   I went to Japanese classes that were run at the time for about half a year. When I couldn’t think of the right words I used gestures to communicate. For example, when I took my child to the hospital for a cold, I made a “cough, cough” sound and gestured that I was coughing. I often used communication tools other than language.

How is it living here?
   Kochi is very green and the air is beautiful. The roads here have also improved a lot since I came. I can even watch Chinese TV over satellite.
   About 8 years ago I almost left for where my younger sister lives in Tokyo. I took my 3 children and moved but my husband couldn’t move because of work. I also had difficulty finding work, and rent was expensive. Within a month I had moved back to Kochi. It’s not that Tokyo was inconvenient, but I had felt at the time that I had gotten used to living in Kochi and felt that it would be easier to live here.
 
Please make a comment about immigrating to Kochi.
   I think immigrants to Kochi will increase if there are jobs. I felt that the Governor of Kochi is working hard to increase jobs in the prefecture when I saw him and an actress previously on a TV show.
   I think the people in Kochi are really nice. Compared to China, government officials in particular are very polite. I also think social welfare is very developed. When raising children some things are free, and when they’re not often an allowance is provided to assist people.
At Wanpark Kochi
 

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