[Original by Airi KAMIYAMA, Intern (July 7, 2022); Translated by E. Miyazaki/A. Taguchi]
Hi! I am Kamiyama, an intern. Today, I would like to introduce Dudu, Moses, and Philip, our local staff in South Africa. We used to hear from the Japanese staff on similar occasions, but we did not have opportunities to hear from the local staff. Because I wanted everyone to know about our local staff, I interviewed these three staff. I will report my interview with these cheerful South African staff in two parts. In the first part, I will introduce their hobbies and the South African culture to you.
Please introduce yourselves!
Philip: I am involved in making vegetable gardens with another local organization as a field assistant. I joined JVC in 2014. I am a father of four children.
Dudu: I have been with JVC since 1998. I supervise all programs as a coordinator. I love to sing.
Moses: My main role is in finance. I joined JVC in 1995. I am also a father of two children.
What are your hobbies?
Moses: I love soccer and I enjoy playing it with children in our local soccer team. I also do gardening in our vegetable garden.
Dudu: I love music and I am participating in several local choirs. I also do gardening and work out at the gym. Since I am getting old, I feel I need to stay fit and healthy (LOL).
Philip: I am like Moses; I like to watch soccer and play it with children. I umpire sometimes, too.
Have you been to Japan before?
Moses: I haven’t. I had an opportunity to travel to Japan to participate in an international conference in 2015, but I didn’t go in the end. I was afraid of traveling by airplane (LOL). But I would like to visit someday!
Dudu:I’ve traveled many times! I have been to the Tokyo office for meetings, and I have stayed for 7 months in 2017, so I have experienced all seasons in Japan.
Kamiyama: What did you like about Japan?
Dudu: (Responding immediately) Onsen is the best! I also love the food. I would like to be able to cook it myself one day. The scenery is also nice. It is not as vast as in South Africa, but I found it fascinating to see some green everywhere. I also rode the bullet train! Even though it may be common in Japan, it is very advanced by South African standards. It’s very hygienic and the time management is also different (LOL).
Philip: I haven’t, but I would like to visit one day and compare the similarities and differences between South Africa and Japan.
Can you speak any languages other than English? I’ve heard there are 11 official languages in South Africa…
Moses: Well, the Venda language is my mother tongue, and I can also speak Tsonga, Zulu, and Sepedi … These are the ones that I often use. I will use other languages, if necessary (LOL).
Dudu: I was born in Zulu, so I speak the Zulu language, Xhosa, Sotho, and Tsonga… My high school was located in a region where Setswana was used, so I can also speak Setswana. I also understand Venda, but I cannot speak it perfectly. I am so-so with the Afrikaans language too.
Philip: Tsonga is my first language, and I can also speak Venda, Zulu, Sepedi, and Tsonga. I can understand the Afrikaans language but can only speak a little.
Kamiyama: How can you learn so many languages?
Philip: I learn different languages at every place I visit to communicate with the locals and familiarize myself with the region. You would only think of Japanese as the language in Japan, but you have different dialects in each region. It is the same here. Education is another way to learn languages. We always learn English at school since we use it in business in the future. Other than that, although it is less taught at school these days, Afrikaans* is commonly used. Local languages are not used at school.
[*Note: The Afrikaans language was created as a combination of Dutch and other languages during the Dutch colonization, and it is said that it had a great influence on the country.]
Moses: Also, you can listen to various languages on TV, so you can learn from there, too.
Kamiyama: This is exactly what you call a multi-cultural society!
What do you like about South Africa?
Dudu: The thoughtfulness of the people. People have the spirit of helping each other even though they do not know the other person. In Japan, it is common to see children staying at home alone, isn’t it? Here, it is common to ask someone, “Can you please look after my child a little?” In such a case, you will not need to go to that person’s house as they will come to your place instead.
Also, family may only mean parents and their children in Japan, but we include everyone who lives under the same roof, such as grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and so on. This is another characteristic of South Africa.
Moses: I can say this also applies to our culture. These days people with different cultures are living together in the same community.
Philip: Talking about strong ties, I like it when everyone unifies while watching sports games.
Dudu: Also, in Japan, people who do not know each other do not greet on the street. Everyone is absorbed in their smartphones. For me, I often have small talks with people I do not know (LOL). One more thing! We cannot sing in public in Japan (LOL). It is normal for me to sing anywhere whenever I want. So, when I sang in public in Japan, the people nearby stared at me (LOL).
Kamiyama: I love the way South Africans sing and dance everywhere! It fills me with joy!
I will end the interview here for this round. In the next blog, I will tell you about what Dudu, Moses, and Philip take care of when interacting with the children they are supporting, and how they feel about working with the Japanese staff.
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