Yup, that’s right you read the title correctly. There aren’t many Blacks or what my family would say ( black folk) in Japan. This is no surprise to me because I know Japan is for the most part a ‘homogenous’ nation. I put homogenous is quotes because, in reality, a nation can’t be completely homogenous. Random, I found a fun fact. There is a large population of Brazilians( not sure how they got there) BUT I can save that for another post. Back to Blacks, yes there aren’t many. I remember in my interview for JET, they asked me how I’d cope with possibly being the only dark-skinned person in my town. My first thought was, hmmm, I cope with it every time I’m at Davidson College, so this should be a piece of cake! Anyways, I decided to do a little research on Black culture in Japan and. as predicted, I didn’t really find much. From my studies and travels, I’ve learned that even if there aren’t large numbers of Blacks in a region, people in the country have some type of idea of what ‘Black culture’ is. ( thanks to the internet, music and so on) So, here is what I’ve found so far on how some Japanese people perceive African American culture.
I received my placement a week ago and I was completely confused. The email said Akita-ken, Kazuno-shi. I read the following paragraphs that gave me a quick break down of what my placement meant and I was all sorts of confused. It explained the ken meant the prefecture and shi was a city BUT not really. After reading the email, I had no idea where I was living , just some where up north.After asking questions and doing a little research here is what I have learned about my “city” and prefecture ( a prefecture is equal to a state in the USA).
“Aki” in Japanese means autumn. Akita-ken is known for its beautiful autumn leaves. This is great because I love the fall and living in colorful areas.
Akita in the Northwestern part of Japan. Kazuno ( my city) is in the Northern part of the prefecture.It’s an extremely cold region and it’s a great place to snow board and ski. I learned that the winters last from January to May (intense!)
Akita is also known for its volcanos and hot springs. Last week, I learned that each prefecture has a mascot. I am sure a few of you automatically thought sports just like I did when I first heard about it, but I was told the mascot is just a tourism thing. They use the mascot to advertise for their city. Here’s my mascot!
Isn’t it precious! Apparently, he’s the Chief PR person (character) for Aktia. There was a ceremony held for him and everything. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to buy a shirt or something with him on it. I’ve also seen many pictures of festivals in Kazuno. Based on the pictures, I think Kazuno will be POPPIN! I am looking forward to making this my home. It definitely will be a huge change from what I am used to in Houston. All I know is, Northface will be my best friend!