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Fukushima through the eyes of a foreigner! Interview Vol.5


We asked foreign residents of Fukushima prefecture about their unique perspective of Fukushima as a foreigner. For today’s interview, we spoke with Ms. Samantha Ruby Burnett.

We’ll hear from Samantha and how she feels about Fukushima!

Let’s get started! ( ..)φ (scribbling…)

Before we begin, we asked Samantha to tell us a little bit about what kind of person she is for our readers who may be interested.

[Where are you from?]
I’m from Wollongong, Australia. It’s located south of Sydney and has a similar sized population to Fukushima City. It has many residential areas. There is also a large university.

[What do you do for a living?]
I am a CIR at Fukushima City Hall. I do translating, interpreting, English classes, and more.

[What do you teach in your English classes?]
I teach two English classes a month. In one, we study simple English, learning grammar and vocabulary that can be used on holiday or in everyday conversations. In the other, I run an English free talk session, leading group discussions with some of the ALTs.

[Tell us about your hobbies.]
I like playing video games, watching anime, and travelling.

[What kind of video games do you play?]
I play online games. I like to play an online game called League of Legends.

[What kind of anime do you like?]
I often watch shonen anime. My favourite is an anime called Code Geass!

[What places have you traveled to since you came to Japan?]
Recently I went to Kyoto. I’ve been to places like Mt. Fuji and even went to the Tokyo Game Show. I am looking forward to visiting the Sapporo Snow Festival.


Thank you for sharing a bit about yourself!

Now let's get down to business!
We’ll now hear about Fukushima from Samantha's point of view!

[What brought you to Japan?]
I had lived in Australia all my life until I turned 21. When I was a university student, I was supposed to study at a university in Tokyo, but due to the coronavirus, I was unable to come to Japan. At that time, I was studying online at a university in Kansai.
I was worried about what to do after graduating from university in Australia, but since I was unable to study in Japan, I applied for a CIR (Coordinator for International Relations) position that would allow me to work in Japan!

[How did you end up coming to Fukushima?]
I was hired as a CIR (Coordinator for International Relations) and was placed in Fukushima. I didn't know much about Fukushima, but I like the fact that it has good access to urban areas (Tokyo and Sendai) and there are no crowds. I feel glad now that my assignment was in Fukushima, and I would choose Fukushima again next time!

[What is the best thing about living in Fukushima?]
The fact that people in Fukushima City are very kind. At first, I was very anxious and stressed about moving from Australia to Japan to live here. In reality, everyone is very kind to me, so I feel safe and comfortable living here. Other than that, my favorite thing about living here is that even though we are close to the cities, there is so much nature! It almost never snows in Australia, so recently I often find myself looking at the beautiful scenery of the snowy mountains.

[What do you find inconvenient about living in Fukushima?]
I feel that public transportation is inconvenient. There aren’t many buses or trains, so if you don’t have a car I think the places you can go are a bit limited. Also, the dialect is difficult. I have been studying Japanese for 10 years, but when talking to people I realize there are many words I have never heard before, and still many I don't understand. I want to learn more Japanese so that I can better understand what they are saying!

[Has your view of Fukushima changed since you moved here?]
Overseas, Fukushima is known only for the nuclear power plant accident caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake. That’s all I knew about Fukushima, so I was anxious when it was decided I’d be moving here. When it was decided that my placement was Fukushima, I did a lot of research about Fukushima. I learned that the food in Fukushima is actually safer than in other countries. I wouldn’t have known this if I had not had the opportunity to come to Fukushima. I am grateful for the opportunity to know that Fukushima is a safe place. I think the efforts of the people of Fukushima to recover from the disaster are truly amazing.

Thank you, Samantha, for taking the time to answer our questions in this interview.

Samantha answered our questions calmly and politely from start to finish.
We found that we had similar interests, and I would love to talk to her more if I had the chance!
I hope you all have a chance to talk to her about many things!

Well, see you next time!

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