Lives of the Nikkei scholarship 'Dream Come True Project' students ～ Elisa Amo
Why did you decide to study in Japan?
Because the Bolivian educational system, especially in the area of fashion design, is not very good, I decided to come to Japan, a country recognized as one of the fashion capitals worldwide. When I discovered about Bunka Fashion College, I realized that the knowledge I would gain in that school would be incomparably greater than what I could gain in Bolivia, and such knowledge will open the door to my future. This is how I started to have my strong desire to come to Japan to study. Apart from this, I wanted to know more deeply about Japanese culture, one of the cultures that I carry in my blood because my mother is Japanese.
How is your life in Japan?
In the past one year, I felt that my life changed a lot in many ways. First of all, I encountered various cultural differences between Bolivia and Japan. Customs, food, public transport, language, everything is different. Besides, this is the first time that I have to live alone. There were many times when I felt lonely, since Tokyo is a very big and busy city. There are so many things to learn but time passes very fast, however, thanks to the staff of the NFSA I feel that I was able to overcome the obstacles and challenges that I faced in the first year of the scholarship. Life in Japan has given me the opportunity to learn more about the history of my mother’s family as well as the migration from Japan to the American continent. I am very anxious to continue learning things in the following years.
Tell us about your present study or research.
This year I studied at SNG (Shinjuku Nihongo Gakko). I devoted myself to studying Japanese language as well as the customs of Japan. I feel that since my arrival in Japan my Japanese level has improved. Now I feel more confident to live on my own in Japan. Through studying at SNG, I was able to make friends with people from different countries and cultures. In the last level, my classmates were mostly international students from Asian countries, which made the class even more interesting. Since I do not come from a country that uses kanji, I was forced to study kanji even more seriously so that I could level myself with other students coming from countries that use kanji in their mother tongue.
Did your consciousness as a Nikkei change in any way through studying in Japan?
I feel that the value I used to have about Nikkei community and what it means to be a Nikkei changed completely. This happened through various activities carried out by the Nikkei Scholarship such as the training programs in spring, summer and winter, the Youth Kaigi, the speech contest and so on. Being able to exchange opinions, ideas and dreams with Nikkeis coming from other countries was a unique experience. I would definitely like to contribute to the growth of the Nikkei community in the future.
What is your dream for the future?
My dream is to create my brand someday which is the mixture of Japanese and Bolivian culture. I want to acquire knowledge about fashion industry at Bunka Fashion College and bring that knowledge back to my country. Along with this, I would also like to help the growth of the fashion industry in Bolivia. Finally, through this project, we can mix not only Bolivian and Japanese culture but also cultures of many other countries, so that people can look at their own countries and their customs with fresh eyes.
Please give a message to students who are considering studying in Japan.
My only advice is not to be afraid to pursue your dreams with confidence, no matter how big your dream may be. Study at Bunka Fashion College seemed to be an impossible dream because the school is among the first places in the ranking of the best fashion design institutions worldwide, but this month I am starting to study at Bunka Fashion College. If you have a will and be persistent to make efforts in an organized manner, your dreams can be fulfilled. Finally, remember that you are not the only one who leaves your home countries to pursue your dreams. Don’t be afraid and go for it! At first you may go through hardship, but all the sweats and tears are worth it.