The Jesuits have a saying, "Give me the child for the first seven years and I'll give you the man."
And what does one get after a middle-aged woman goes to graduate school? An older, wiser, humbler women, I would say.
My coursework is finished and it is all in the hands of the examiners now. There are papers scattered all over my dining room table here in Osaka. The files on my computer are a mess. Books are stacked in a huge pile next to my chair. My head is aching and my hands hurt from all that typing. It was a full-time job and now I feel as though I've been laid off. A friend is taking me walking tomorrow. It will be good to see sunlight.
The very best part of this experience was the fieldwork. Since I was working toward a degree in International Migration and I just happened to be living part-time in Japan I chose to study native English speakers living in Japan. I had no idea what I was going to find but 20+ years living outside of my home country gave me a good idea of what questions to ask. I prepared a survey (Native English Speakers Living in Japan), published it, and over 600 people responded. From there I was able to do 31 interviews with people from all over Japan. I am so grateful to all the people who answered the survey and those who gave me an hour or so of their time to talk about their lives in Japan. It was an incredible experience.
The survey results have been sent to the participants who wanted them. I will not publish them here but I will tell you a few things I learned from the data that I found interesting.
Native English speaker: When I hear that term, it brings to mind a Canadian or an American or a British. And, yes, those nationalities were in the top 10. However, Singapore, France, Germany and Japan also made the top 10. There were also respondents originally from Zimbabwe, India, and Mexico among many others. Native English speakers in Japan come from all over the world.
Second citizenships: The number one second citizenship was the UK, followed closely by the US and Australia.
Naturalized Japanese citizens: The top 3 former citizenships of naturalized Japanese citizens were: US, Canada, and the UK. It's not just Americans renouncing.
Home ownership: 60% of those who answered this question did not own their own home in Japan and 40% do own a home here. That is the exact opposite of the Japanese: 60% of them do own their own homes in Japan.
Mobility: 61% of those who answered the question about mobility said that yes, they came to Japan, left and then came back. The top 10 countries they visited, lived in or went back to were: US, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, France, Germany, South Korea, and Thailand. This a group that travelled and it showed that their move to Japan was not always an aller-simple.
Gender balance: 57.5% were men, 41.6% were women and .8% were transgender/transgay.
Older: Over half the respondents were over 40 years of age.
Year of arrival: 66% of those who answered this question came to Japan between 1980 and 2000.
Married: 68% of those who answered the question about relationship status were married. Another 9.2 were not married but were in a long-term relationship. Less than 20% were single. And this one really surprised me.
Missionaries: Religious activities was 7th in the top 10 reasons for initially coming to Japan. Yes, missionaries still come here. It was a small percentage compared to the first reason (work) but it's still interesting to me.
There were 26 questions in the survey and these are just highlights from a few of them. Fascinating stuff. I hope that this information will be of use to the participants - that it will give them a context for understanding their own experiences in Japan.
And it shows how even an old lady like me can learn a lot if she puts her mind to it and listens. Those Jesuits really need to update that saying....