Apr 9

Re: Cultural Identity

Via AJET Chair Kay Makishi. Posted by blogger and podcaster Jon Dao (Toyama-ken, 2009-12)

[Kay’s Note: This is a really good article that adds more to the dialogue concerning how we determine identity– written by a Fukuoka JET. Check it out!]


For many of us who work in the high school system, I’m sure you had a tearful, reflective experience at your recent graduation ceremony. At my school in the tiny suburb of Jojima, I watched each newly-minted adult stand up when their name was called in a moment of recognition, and then they were folded back into the crowd. It made me think about the class as a unit, about how they grew and learned together and how now they were shedding their safe identities as students of this school. I also couldn’t help thinking how each of them had probably never left this town for more than a week. It was likely that they had never even left Fukuoka at all. Giving all this up was a turning point in their lives, and they would all think back and recognize the significance someday in the future.

I couldn’t concentrate.

I was thinking anxiously back to my own days as a high school student, about the people I met and the things I did. By the time I was their age, I had lived in at least ten different houses in almost as many towns. This meant different schools, different classmates, and unorthodox methods of education. I never had an actual ceremony. So I was a little jealous. The concept of a hometown, which I could feel so strongly in that room, is somewhat foreign to me. I never felt an affiliation to any particular institution, yet at home, the question I still hear the most as an adult is:

Read the rest here.

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