I can’t say I’m living in an unknown society. I can’t say it’s new to me. What I can say is that now that I am older, I understand it differently. Before I start I would like to explain to you my background. Although I was born in the United States, I was swiftly flown away with my mother and brother to live with our family in Singapore. My father was a military man who had a small temper and lived on a small island country, too. This was the country of Japan.
I am not new to travel, to change, and to differences in communities. I lived every 3 years of my life in a new community and every year of my life in a new home. The constant shuffling kept me on my feet. After I finished University I decided to return to Japan with a job as an Assistant Language Teacher. There have been ups and downs of inexplicable happenstances, but all and all it was an average life.
Being a teacher, I can see how Japanese people are at a younger age. High School is a ripe age for shaping and molding. I watched the destruction of individuality, creativity, and freedom. Teachers would complain about students who had hobbies that weren’t the same as other students. After that, they would bully these students into feeling that there was something wrong with that.
As you know, Japan is known as a large gaming industry and huge in media pop culture, such as ANIME! However, it is not an accepted hobby in Japan. I understand that as teachers they believe their students should only study and not fool around, however… I’ve seen true bullying from these teachers to students who happen to like video games.
The moment the student walks away, all you hear in the office is, “That student is so strange. He likes to play a LOT of video games AND he has online friends. He shouldn’t waste his time on video games, he should play a sport.”
Being a gamer myself, I felt sorry for this kid, as a teacher and simply a person who understands people have different interests. I decided that I would reach out to him. He has a brilliant mind that enjoys puzzles, problem solving, and action. These traits are perfect for video gaming and he even wants to study programming and design in order to create his own game some day.
So what did I do? I told him behind the teacher’s backs to play all the games he wants. Learn why he loves them, learn what makes them special and use that for his future. If he wants to be a professional game designer or even a professional gamer, I wish him the best.
All in all this was about how I felt about other people crushing the dreams of people who are just interested different things. Watching it made me feel helpless, so I decided to act instead. Despite me living in a culture where I do not believe in their social and community structure, I believe we should help these kids be more flexible than the previous generations.