No.24Original text is in Japanese
A Strong Desire to Learn More about the World and Its People: Ms. Mamiko Hayashida’s Encounter with Two Supportive Individuals in Her Pursuit of a Long-Cherished Dream
Ms. Mamiko Hayashida, who formerly worked at a television company as a journalist, became a researcher to conduct an in-depth study on media and communication.
Since her college days, Ms. Hayashida has had a wish to study abroad; however, she never had the opportunity. As Ms. Hayashida remarks, “I want young people to go out and experience the world, but I am not very persuasive since I haven’t taken that step myself. I thought I should go abroad, meet all sorts of people, and advance my research. I took action, applied for the Fulbright Program, when I made this decision.”
Ms. Hayashida chose Los Angeles as her study area because of a particular research advisor, Professor Sandra Ball-Rokeach, an expert who specializes in the area, and that the community research project resides there. In Los Angeles, diverse ethnicities and cultures coexist, and the city’s social dynamics continue to change even during periods of global recession and gentrification. Ms. Hayashida recalls, “Professor Sandra Ball-Rokeach has been conducting ongoing field surveys in the region for over 20 years to understand the transformations in the relationships among ethnic communities. I was also interested in those research activities, so I asked her whether I could participate in them and further my own research topic.
Ms. Ann Kerr, the Fulbright Program enrichment activity coordinator in Los Angeles, helped Ms. Hayashida connect with the people of diverse ethnicities. Ms. Hayashida recalls, “Ann was extremely supportive. She took us to all sorts of places, such as the newsroom of a newspaper company and a police station. There were more than 100 Fulbrighters coming to Southern California from all over the world, and Ann invited us to attend her class in UCLA as guest speakers to talk about our experiences. I was able to discuss various aspects of America with people whose ethnicity, culture, and points of view were different. Both guest speakers and students participated in the discussions.”
Unlike in Japan, people from diverse backgrounds live together in Los Angeles. Ms. Hayashida sometimes experienced difficulty in having people understand her. Initially, she felt lonely; however, soon, she assumed the more calm and easygoing attitude of people from other cultures. Ms. Hayashida opines, “English is not my strong point, but I think what really helped me was my genuine interest in learning about other people and the world.” Through her encounter with people from diverse backgrounds during her Fulbright year, Ms. Hayashida felt that the world is consisted of various cultures, and different cultures are interconnected to each other.