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Previous MIFA Activities

1. Hints for Living in Meguro
2. Disaster Awareness Workshop for Foreign Residents
3. Meeting to Listen to Foreigners' Opinions
4. Field Research by Foreign Students about Multilingual Information

1. Hints for Living in Meguro

Welcome to Japan !
You may have following problems after having started living in Japan: which brand of milk you should buy in a supermarket;
which supermarkets have discounts; how you could cook fish and so forth.
MIFAs program HINTS FOR LIVING IN MEGURO will provide you with useful information on daily life.
You also may have chances to find friends of your country there. Non-Japanese speakers are welcome.
Joining the HINTS FOR LIVING IN MEGURO will make your life full of convenience.

Let's visit a hospital (Report)
Held on October 7(Tue), 2008, 13:00-15:00
We visited the Japanese Red Cross Medical Center service of which is available to English.

A tour to a supermarket Visit to an English-speaking hospital Visit to a one-coin shop

2. Disaster Awareness Workshop for Foreign Residents

* "Disaster awareness workshop for foreign residents (conducted in English)"
Date & Time: Jan. 17(Sat),2009 10:00-12:00
Meet at 09:40 at Gakugei-daigaku station (Tokyu Toyoko Line)
Place: Earthquake Learning Center (1-9-7, Chuo-cho)
Contents: Earthquake experience, first aid activity, use of fire extinguisher, etc.
Report: 14 foreign residents from 7 countries participated in the workshop.
They also were given a "Disaster Survival Manual" in different languages (English, Chinese, Hangeul, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnam).
Comments of participants:
  • Very good programme. I encourage MIFA to keep giving this programme.
  • Experience smoke and CPR were especially useful.
  • I have learned that it is important to put out fire and turn off the gas.

Experience an earthquake emergency relief activities Inspection of exhibit

3. Meeting to Listen to Foreigners' Opinions
We had a meeting on Feb.10 (Thu) with four foreigners that were invited to the meeting, Meeting to listen to foreigners' opinions

a.Opinions from Resident from Italy
Overall living in in Japan is very difficult. I got experience of living abroad but related to Japan feel different.
Just because I can not speak Japanese, my existence is like a child in Japan.
If I do not depend on Japanese speaking person I can do nothing.

Just because I can not speak Japanese I can not be self dependent.
I could not make friends and was very lonely spending time at home.
(If there is family, there is just family such meaning of loneliness was also there.)

Thus Japanese language classes once in one week for one hour or one and a half hour is not enough.
It should be changed to twice in one week for 2hrs. I intensively feel talking.
I desire my Japanese teaching partner should always be same.

Facing a different culture is mostly embarrassing. What should be the angle of bow?
Occasions like New Year, traditional culture etc. if one does not know about the culture it is disrespectful.
It would be good if there is someone to explain the meaning of the events.
In Japanese there are lots of ways to express sorry. It is necessary to realize that we all are ambassador
to introduce the world our respective cultures.

In daily living:

Cost of living is expensive. Information among foreigners about cheap places is extremely helpful.
One can not differentiate between daily necessary items like milk and drinking yogurt or salt and sugar etc.
it is so hard even to buy a single thing.It is so difficult to explain cuttings of your choice in the beauty saloons.

The toughest place is hospital. First, you will be asked at the reception to write down in JAPANESE your problems
and kept waiting for long. Even in the case of emergency of child, will be asked to write the symptoms
and is made to wait. Doctor can not speak in English. Even if it is a national hospitals or consult a doctor by appointment,
always waiting hours are long. If the child is kept waiting for long, in the meantime he might catch some other disease.
(In such cases in Italy doctor visits home) doctor does not explain about medicine.
Most of the doctors are not satisfactory. (consulting time 3 minutes)
The way to find a good pediatrician might be finding and inquiring to the mothers with child at a park

Conveyance, buses
The destinations are all written in Japanese so only the way to confirm is through bus no. etc.
Once on the Meguro Dori Street I took the bus to go to Tokyo station but it stopped at Meguro station
as its last stoppage.( note: bus no. 98 is bound for Tokyo station south exit and also Meguro station).
Displays on screen about road   directions, road map and traffic jams all are in Japanese language.
The road signals are far from crossings.    

At the Meguro City Office when I went to collect documents for the extension of my residential status
I felt being discriminated when I came to know that even after being the wife of Japanese, in the resident card
I was not mentioned as a member of household.(in the remarks column of resident card can be mentioned)

Smoking in public places while walking is dangerous for children (to become passive smoker).
Rides for children in parks are rusted.

Education As a child of 6 years can only admit in elementary school from April, my child who is May
born has to wait for 11months to get admission in school (almost when he will be of 7 years)
because of such age system of education in government schools. In Italy with the latest changes in system
of education a child of 5 years can also get admission in the school. Since olden days mankind has been
progressing children should admit in the school in early age. There is also the other way I can send my child to
the school is admission in private school but the cost of education is very high.If a foreigner gets pregnant in Japan
she has to go through hard time, especially when one is pregnant just after coming to Japan.
It is not just the problem of language but one also requires mental support.
One of my Pakistanis acquaintances took a lot of pains to find a lady gynecologist because of her religion.

It would be good if all the information is available in city office and one can choose the necessary information.

b. Opinions from
Resident from India(1)
I n 1998, I got married just after my college graduation and came to Japan because of husbands job.
I had never left my town before. First I was staying in Chiba prefecture there was no friend I felt very lonely.
I wanted to make friends in my apartment but because of language barrier could not make any.
It was really shock for me.I made a decision to learn Japanese till I am in Japan. It is difficult to survive
without the knowledge of Japanese. This is Japan and Japanese speaks Japanese language.
I can not expect from Japanese to speak English. As foreigners are in minority
so I think minority should think of its survival.It is necessary to learn basic Japanese for the survival.
It is not necessary to master in kanji or reach to the level of learning newspapers.

I think one should think of oneself. I also thought to learn Japanese to make myself independent
from good Japanese spoken husband.

c. Opinions from Resident from India(2)
It has been a year to me in Japan. As before coming to Japan I already had knowledge of Japanese language
my way of visualizing the things might be different from others.But like others I also felt lonely.
I also felt people are not much frank. Even in hospitals I was not satisfied with the doctors consultancy.

Meguro City is putting its efforts. How would it be to add various articles in Monthly Meguro like important
informations for mothers, housewives like food recipes, children halls, making friends, events of day nursery etc.
If foreigners also participate in such activities they might not feel lonely. It would be good to
make some changes in Monthly Meguro.Most of the Indians are vegetarians but I was surprised to see
in Japan it is difficult to find vegetarian food in restaurants. There should also be information about tofu and
vegetables.For the Indian vegetarians there should be recipe of tofu curry written in Hindi language.
As there are so many Japanese women magazines, can not there be something for foreigners?
There should be such media.People from developing countries can not understand many things of
developed country. Like while crossing the traffic signals, using escalators etc. there should be information
to understand Japan and its people.In Japan there is everything. But the problem is how to reach to the information.
For pregnant ladies necessary documents available in official intuitions, expected mothers class
such type of information from experienced mothers should be there.
Even through internet the information can be given. My daughter started stammering after coming to Japan.
I saw some information in some children hall and could do counseling about it.

There should be some system from where it is easy to get the useful information.

d.Opinions from Resident from Philippines
I have been working as a maid for American family for 5 years. I am working as fulltime worker
so I do not have time to study Japanese language. It was good living here as I had been treated well by Japanese
even after not knowing Japanese. I was strolling with my dog on the slope of Kakinokizaka.
There came a child with a high speed of his bicycle and hit me. Mother who passed by before,
after seeing me fallen down called the policeman. Even before calling an ambulance she called policeman.
Was  it done to me because I am a foreigner and overstay? Then I was helped by my friend and was taken to hospital .
I was treated for 1month but still not cured fully .I still feel numbness from waist till toes.
Luckily my boss is good person and recommended me treatment and paid the cost of treatment.
I discussed this case with Philippine association but defaulter was not interested so the case went to court.
Yesterday only my case was approved and I was paid 160,000 yen. But cost of treatment was more than this amount.
Police says bicycle is also like pedestrian .For me the matter is not money but I want to know who was right.

Japan got lots of bicycle riders there should be law for them. I like Japan and wish to live here for long.
Still somewhere someone must be hit by the bicycles. I am happy to use this opportunity to express myself.

e. Opinions from Resident from Thailand
There display screens showing destinations should be written in bigger letters.Display screens on buses and
trains should be written in hiragana and English.Instructions displayed on traffic signs are too close to where
drivers are actually supped to follow them. They should be noticed well in advance.Cost of the items should be
mentioned in big numbers. Consumption tax should also be included in cost of item.

f. Comments of Japanese residents
AForeigners should be told at Foreign Residents Registration Desk of Meguro City Office to go to MIFA
for the information.
How about to have all the scattered information available in one place i.e. MIFA ?

4. Field Research by Foreign Students about Multilingual Information

When you visit a foreign country, can you get to your destination quickly ?
Do you feel inconvenienced at public facilities or post offices by not knowing a foreign language?

We often hear opinions from foreigners living in Japan that they have a hard time because
they can not read Japanese. There are quite a number of foreign residents who speak Japanese
well but cannot read Japanese Characters.

MIFA conducted a field research of bulletin boards, directions, and signs
in Meguro City and public facilities with the help of foreign students as advisors.
Four foreign students from U.S.A., Canada, Korea and Kyrgyz joined the research.

Areas checked in 2004

1 July 9, 2004 From Nakameguro Station to the Meguro City Office and the 1 Fl. of the City Office
2 September 3, 2004 Area around Nakameguro Station, library, post office, Bicycle parking lot, roads signs
3 November 26, 2004 Area around Komaba-Todai mae Station
4 January 24, 2005 The route from students' houses to the evacuation site

Final report is available in Japanese. Click here.

Nakameguro Station and Meguro City Office The IF of the Meguro City Office Complex
From Nakameguro Station to Meguro City Office and the 1 Fl. of the City Office The 1 Fl. of the Meguro City Office Complex

Neighborhood area  of Nakameguro Station Route from the exchange students's house to the evacuation site
Neighborhood area of Nakameguro Station, library, post office, bicycle parking lot, roads signs Route from the exchange students' houses to the evacuation site

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