Oddly enough, on Friday, Jan. 4, I was watching NHK (a Japanese-based news broadcasting company, which is aired on PBS daily from 4-4:30 p.m.) and the topic was the aging Japanese population, which the government is fully aware of and has been taking steps to address for several years. One issue they focused on was how to integrate the many immigrants who have come into their country. They found that the immigrants and their children often felt isolated. So, the government has opened cultural/learning centers in each prefecture to work with children and adults to help them learn Japanese from highly trained Japanese teachers. In addition, the children/adults learn about Japanese culture, food, and traditions to mitigate the impact of those newly immigrated, as well as the children of parents who had immigrated previously and were recently encouraged to bring their families to Japan. They are provided with nice housing and other support—far more than many immigrants who have ventured to our shores.
The commentator stated that it was important that the immigrants in their country feel welcome and appreciated. It was obvious that the government went to great trouble to ensure this. This is happening in Germany as well. Meanwhile, some immigrants in the United States end up homeless and scorned.
My family came to the U.S. in 1954 from Latin American, although we were from Europe originally. I was 7 years old and spoke only Spanish—I was just learning English in school. Within a short period of time, I spoke/read English better than most of the children in my class. I was getting A’s and looking for challenges. The teachers agreed that I should be promoted to catch up with my peers. The principal did not want to because my family and I were “dirty, stupid” immigrants. The teachers and my family prevailed, and I kept getting A’s just to prove to the principal that I was not what she thought. This is still going on today.
For those who are interested, every weeknight starting at 3:30 p.m. in English on PBS is a French news broadcast that provides accurate news that we don’t often get here, including news from the Middle East. At 4 p.m. is NHK, at 4:30 p.m. is DW from Germany. All of these programs are well-researched, provide financial insight, and are entertaining and enlightening.
Ganka Brown, Laguna Beach