Iran and Japan, the swaying identity has arrived

We interviewed Nady, the author of “Can I call you my hometown?”

Born in Iran in 1984. In 1991, she came to Japan with her parents for migrant work and grew up in the suburbs of the Tokyo metropolitan area while staying overstayed. she attended a public school from elementary school and obtained a special residence permit while attending high school to obtain a resident status. After graduating from university, she worked for a company in Tokyo and is now a mother of two.

Nadi came to Japan from Iran at the age of 6 with her family and grew up hitting various walls in an environment with completely different languages and lifestyles. Based on the content of her book “May I call you hometown: My story of becoming an” immigrant “at the age of 6”, she practiced the language acquisition method and established her own identity. We asked her about the movements of her heart that led to this.

A book completed with thought

— I read the book “Can I call you my hometown?” What made you decide to write this book?
When I was in the third year of high school at the age of 19, I was working in an organization called Free the Children Japan (an organization to eliminate child labor for foreign children), and the secretary-general there was at Otsuki Shoten. The reason was that the editor talked about me.
At first, I was thinking of a book that would teach everyone about Iran rather than my roots and life, but it took me a while to get a job or work at a company. The way of thinking changed from the beginning when I got into the story and talked about it as my experience points increased. In the end, I managed to publish it last year.

— During that time, there was a revision of the Immigration Control Act, but was it the publisher’s intention to issue it accordingly?
That’s right. In 2018, in addition to the previous “technical intern training”, a status of residence called “specific skills” was created, and it became news. The publisher had a strategy of publishing a book at that hot timing.
I had a second child and was on maternity leave, but I also wanted to finish it early before returning to work, so I said, “Let’s do it.” For the past five years, I met with the alumnus of “CCS Student Association for Hands-to-Hand with Children in the World” every weekend at Starbucks, and I have been doing the work of talking, transcribing, and writing. Because it was.

— Didn’t you write it by yourself?
I was writing with OB. It’s difficult to write. But I’m pretty good at talking. Somehow I wanted to document this story and try to tell it rather than write it myself. Rather than being not good at writing, I felt that it was very difficult to write something long because the tsuji did not match and the time series and direction changed in the middle.

— I think “speaking” and “listening” are easy to learn, but “reading” and “writing” take a little time. When did you feel that you could read and write in Japanese?
I don’t remember, but I don’t think I had any particular problems. I think I’ve learned more and more since I was taught hiragana by my neighbor’s aunt.

“Speaking quality” important for language acquisition

— When you were in Iran, it was in Persian, but wasn’t it difficult to think about and write a story?
In Iran, I do a lot of thinking and writing stories at school. When it comes to thinking, writing, listening to what the teacher said, and writing, it’s probably more done than in Japan. I also liked books, and I read them enough to memorize them.
Also, even in the first grade, if the score was bad, it was a repeat year and it was quite difficult. Among them, I was in the upper ranks, so it seems that my parents and teachers praised me as “awesome”. However, since I came to Japan, the environment has changed and it took me a long time to read kanji, so I could only read books for first and second graders even though I was in the third grade of elementary school. I was so embarrassed that I stopped reading books, so I didn’t have many opportunities to write. However, when I was in elementary school, I was commended for writing. It was when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade.

— Then, right after you enter elementary school in Japan, right? Wow! I’m currently teaching Japanese to children with foreign roots, but there are quite a few children who can speak but can’t write.
I think that “I can speak but I can’t write” is due to the quality of “I can speak”. In my case, as soon as I became able to speak Japanese, my role as a parent’s interpreter started, and I had to talk about any difficult things, so I think it was quicker to remember.

— What were you talking about with your father and mother? For example, did you read a book and say something like “What do you think?”
There was no such thing at all. Because my parents were busy with work. I was jealous of my friend’s mother reading a picture book.

— Isn’t that the case in Iran?
I’m doing a lot! Most of the mothers in Iran are full-time housewives, so it’s all about studying for children. My mom read a book and asked, “What is this?” “What do you think of this?” But I couldn’t do this because my house was hard to work.

— As you mentioned earlier, the reason why you can’t write and the quality of speaking are important for language acquisition, and you need a language to think about. If you don’t have a solid language that you can think of, it’s difficult to talk deeply or write sentences. Is it possible to talk in Persian as well?
I was able to do it before I came to Japan, and I understood the story of adults even before I came to Japan.

A sense of crisis hastened language acquisition

— When it comes to interpreting for parents, abstract words such as human rights and politics must come in. Didn’t you know that in Persian?
Even with interpreters, there were many stories related to daily life, such as “I can’t afford the rent.” Among them, there were talks such as “If you see the police, you can’t do it” or “Oh, I was caught in the Immigration Bureau. The police will be deported soon.” After I entered school, I used to look up the number of strokes in the letters written in the letter in the Kanji dictionary and use the Japanese dictionary.

— I think that understanding the Japanese dictionary is a task that requires a fairly high level of recognition.
However, the Japanese dictionary is written in a fairly easy-to-understand manner. If there is a kanji that I don’t understand in the Japanese dictionary, I moved to the kanji dictionary, and if I didn’t understand the kanji in the explanation, I searched for it. I thought it was written in relatively simple words.

— The ability to explain words in words develops from the third and fourth grades, but in the case of Mr. Nadi, even though he has not read or written at all, the development is very fast.
That is a sense of crisis. It’s a great sense of crisis that you can’t stay in Japan without doing it. Anything is fine, so I had to do it for the time being. That’s the pattern I’m addicted to studying.

Voluntarily create an environment that maintains language skills

— When you first came to Japan, you didn’t understand the words, so you bowed and smiled. Do you remember when you started to understand the words?
My parents say I remembered it in about half a year. And there was a park in front of my house. It shouldn’t stand out, but you can’t have three children in a room of four and a half mats. If it’s a park when there are no people, I thought it wouldn’t be noticeable, so I went to play. But in the morning, two-year-old or three-year-old children and moms came, and gradually they started to bring us snacks and so on. When I first entered the apartment, the Iranians who had moved in earlier had an attitude like “Why did you come, you stand out?”, But I was happy that the people in the park were welcome. I was out. If I had a cold face over there, I would probably have stayed home.
Also, the Iranians in my neighborhood are gradually taking care of us. In addition to that, the son of the landlord of the apartment was very close to the Iranians and was of the same age. That person also loves us, and the Iranians tell us that they say this at times like this.

— You learned the words in that process.
Also, about three months after I moved into the apartment, the TV came and I learned quickly from there. I remember leaving it on all the time. Nursery teachers often told me that the way they spoke was very beautiful. Since I watched only NHK, it seems that I imitated the way of speaking and learned it.

— By the way, how much do you recognize Persian now?
There was a lecture at the University of Tehran in Iran last summer, and I can talk there. We are a so-called Persian people, but there is Azerbaijani, and it seems that the Persian language with a torque accent of mothers comes out.

— How about reading and writing?
Just a little. I can’t read handwritten characters, and I feel like I can read them if I write them without difficulty. However, the written and spoken languages are completely different, so even if I can read them, I often cannot understand them.
I learned the alphabet in the first grade of elementary school, and at the beginning I used to exchange letters with my relatives, but after learning Japanese, that was more fun. My parents were very happy that I could speak Japanese, so that was the main thing. I started to speak Persian after I became a high school student and got a visa and returned to Iran.

— By the way, what language do you think about?
Japanese if you are in Japan. If you go to Iran, it’s Persian.

— That’s a switch. When did you come up with the consciousness of switching words, such as that Japanese and Persian are completely different, or that Persian is a torque accent?
I quickly realized that Narita Airport was different from Japanese and Persian. I was surprised that it was another language that was neither Persian nor Torque. However, switching is not controlled here, so it may be switched due to the influence of the environment. If I don’t use the language, I forget it, so I try to use Persian with my parents.

No one will help me so I’ll do it myself

— How did you study kanji?
After entering school, use a kanji drill. I didn’t know the kanji that I learned in the 1st and 2nd grades when I entered the 3rd grade, so I felt like I was learning while doing it.

— How did you catch up with your studies during that time?
I also caught up in the 5th and 6th grades. When I was in the 3rd and 4th grade, I didn’t know if I had a test, so when I was done, my friends came and read aloud to understand.

— Maybe you have a very strong ability to think.
If I think about it now, I might have memorized it rather than the ability to think. These days, I often feel that I have no thinking ability.

— Are you the type who can enjoy various things?
I’m poor when I come from Iran, my parents make money to pay off my debt when I come to Japan, I do my house. That’s why interpreting is also my job. Even when I came from Iran, my aunts told me, “I’ll take care of my younger brothers, I’ll do my house.” I thought that I would return to Iran in a few years even if I came to Japan, so I really wanted to learn something in order to get a job that makes use of Japanese.

— You’re not crushed, even though you’re a child.
If there is someone else doing something like me, I think I don’t have to do this now, but at that time, “No, if you go back to Iran and get unemployed, will you give me a meal?” I was thinking like “?” In fact, no one helped us, so we had to do it ourselves.