Friday, August 17, 2012

Give me a green card!

"Hey the US government,
I'm an important person for the US!"

About a year ago, I started preparing my green card application. I wrote my job description, collected many kinds of certifications and six recommendation letters from famous scientists to prove how I'm a great scientist who is required for the US. I filed about 1000 pages of documents for the application. It took six months to prepare the submission. I paid $5000 for my lawyer and about $2000 in government filing fees. You know, it's costly and tough work.

Yesterday, about six months after submission, my application was approved! Yay!
But, there is a problem... The number of green cards which can be issued in my category is limited, so I'm on the waiting list. No one cannot tell how long it'll take, but I might have to wait for a few years. Until a couple of month ago, cases in my category didn't have such a problem. I'm unlucky. Sigh...

Anyway, now I can stay and work here legally without a visa. I will just have to wait.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A woman's Place

Women are in a position of inferiority in Japan. The proper roles for a woman are liable to manage family and support men. Today, the movement to change this gender inequality has arisen and Japanese life-style has changed, more and more women come to have roles outside the house. However, Japanese women who pursue power, prestige or material success in their own right, still face a problem with their achievement.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, men and women were treated unequally, and women were in a marked inferiority position.  People believed that women had to do housework and take care of their children, while men work outside. The important role for women beside the house work was only respecting for men. These gender inequalities were common all over the world.

However, the equality between men and women has improved by the women's right movement lately, although the movement is not perfect in Japan. The first movement happened in the United States, so that the women's right has made rapid progress in the United States. This movement in the United States has also had impact in Japan. Because of the characteristic of the Japanese to accept foreign ideas and fashions, a Western-style women's movement arises in Japan. This movement is tiny, fragmented and slavishly imitative of the women's movement in the United State, although this women's movement surely will have more power in the future.

Another important reason for progress the gender equality in Japan is from their life-style changes. As advance of globalization, Japanese life-style has been Americanized.  For example, nuclear family patterns have spread widely and household appliances have proliferated, resulting in reducing the amount of the time that a Japanese woman must spend on housework. Therefore, Japanese women come to have both ability and freedom to do something besides managing their family. This life-style change has also caused the problem with shortage of money for their life. Indeed, only one wage earner to support their life has been difficult, because the standard of their desired life have been higher than before, and they need more money for achievement the life. Those sifts in Japanese life-style have given more desire for women to work outside.

Although the movement and shift have improved the gender equality, Japanese women still face a problem with their achievement outside the home. In fact, more and more Japanese women hold jobs every year.  However, unlike in the United States, women still play only the most peripheral part, so that the salary of the average woman is lower than the average man. Despite this inequality, career-minded women are increasing. Indeed, younger women who go to college or university are increasingly common, and they are better educated than their mothers. Those educated women want to achieve outside the house. Furthermore, most Japanese women believed that women who have the desire and ability should be allowed to enter the fields previously considered reserved for men. However, the Japanese industrial and financial institutions are still likely to refuse to hire women except for menial or clerical jobs.

As a resulting of the women's movement, the minds of young Japanese men have also changed and the number of men who help with the children and the housework are increasing. However, many Japanese men still oppose the idea of equality for women. Even if men agree with the idea of equality, most Japanese women still lead restricted lives, particularly during the years when they have small children because of the lack of child care systems in Japan.

Consequently, Japan still has a problem with inequality between men and women. The movement to demand women's rights and the change of their life-style have reduced inequality, but women still have difficulty achieving important roles outside their house. Due to these important changes, woman might gain a position more equally in the future.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My teacher is gone...

I had been tutored in English for more than three years. She was a good teacher. She was a little strict and got angrywith me when I did not study hard. So sometimes I felt it tough for me. But if I did not meet her, I would not be the way I am now. It does not only mean she helped me with English. She impacted on my life.

When I met her for the first time, I did not have friends in the US. I was afraid to talk to people because I was very bad at English. On top of that, I am originally shy. It was not much fun living here. I just worked, went back home late, sleptand went to work...

At first, my teacher told me to join English conversation circles which are groups with a native speaker andinternational students. So I did. But at the beginning, I could not speak at all at the meeting. I was so discouraged that I was crying on my way  back from the meeting. I told her I wanted to quit the conversation circle, but sheencouraged me to continue it. She said that I would enjoy it someday. I could not believe her words, but I have keptjoining conversation circles since then. Aside from the conversation circles, my teacher also suggested that joined moreclubs/activity groups and attend events so that I would have more opportunity to interact with people. So I join volunteer workand dance club. I have many friends from the circles and other activities. Sadly, many of them left here though.

Now, I enjoy those social activities. I enjoy my life here. Yes, her words were correct.

I still struggle with English but I feel more comfortable now. At the last meeting, my teacher said iIn such a way English is getting better now. She was happy.

...and said "keep working hard". :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"spicy underwear"

Do you know the card game called "Apples to Apples"? I guess it is a famous game in the US. I played it in a conversation group with native speakers and international students. The rules are pretty simple. There are two types of cards, one has with an adjective and another has with a noun. Players chose a noun card from the seven cards in their hand which they think is the best match to the adjective on the card given for all players.

It looks very easy, but actually it was very difficult for me! I had no idea which noun was suitable match for the adjective. I think it is because I do not know the connotation of the words even if I know the rough meanings of them. So I mostly chose my cards randomly and it made everyone laugh (lol) Once I chose "underwear" from my cards for "spicy". Everyone laughed and remembered me as the person who made the word "spicy underwear". I am happy everyone remembers me...maybe?

Please tell me how to make a suitable match for this game??