(English version written by the author)
My name is Sang-Won. I was born in Boston, 1991. My father seemed to be a Korean American doctor, and my mother was a Korean immigrant descendent in Japan, who chose to seek higher education in the United States.
I’ve never met my father, though, I still remember my stay in the U.S. with my mom, until 1998.
I lived in many places – Connecticut, Seattle, Hawaii, California ….
My most precious memory is my stay in San Francisco – I still suddenly remind it when I feel lonely.
After that, I was took to Japan by my mom, the country where she had been given birth.
However, my mom had become ill in 2003, so I was placed to local child welfare center, and then entered a public-funded foster care institution, which was located in Kodaira city, midland Tokyo.
At the institution, there were more than 60 children in many ages. 1 unit consists of 9 children, with 4 rooms, so 2 – 3 people per room!
Pocket money was supplied to each person, by the merciful institution. 2000 yens for junior high, and 5000 yens for senior high. Not bad, right? 🙂
All school expenses were paid by the institution, so it was lucky not having to worry about it.
There were so many kinds of kids, and sometimes they fought against each others. Some guys who were lucky to have their parents, were able to meet them in weekends, and even stay temporarily in their home. Everybody envied those guys.
For fairness, kids were not allowed to bring their belongings given by their parents, into the institution. Few people obeyed that rule, though :-s
In summers, we enjoyed vacations traveling around many places. We also had Christmas party, sports festival, farewell party, and so on.
I lived there until the graduation of high school (you have to get out the institution when you graduate the senior high school – or even at the age of 15 if you don’t choose to enter senior high. Only the junior high diploma is required in Japan, while most population seeks further secondary education.)
I had the desire to go to college, as everyone does, however, I had no money….
I abandoned my plan and rather went to independence support home, to get a job and prepare to be self-sufficient.
There was a strict rule, e.g. if you have no motivation to work, get out the Home ; while you’re unemployed, you cannot go out to have fun, rather concentrate on your job hunting! ; support your living cost all by yourself, and don’t forget to pay the room and boards, etc etc…..
I was in charge of patent searches, server computer maintenance, etc in an IT company. The job was so tough that I had to work until even it turns 12 A.M. and the date changes to the next day…. A friend of mine in the Home was more miserable than me, e.g. he comes home at 2 A.M., and soon after that, with lack of sleep, he goes back to work at 4 A.M. X-C I wondered why he’s still alive despite his hard work.
Actually we had to choose the job which let us go home by 10 P.M., the curfew. But almost every company in Japan demands heavy overtime work, so some home-mates had to break the rule.
When you turn 20 y.o., you have to get out of the Home, so now I live in Chiba prefecture (suburb Tokyo ) , alone.
Finally I chose to quit my job, and I’m currently enrolled in public job training course, with unemployment benefit paid.
I haven’t decided what to do next, though, I still dream how nice it would be if I could enter college.
It’ll be nice to recover the connection between me and my home land – America – through this activity.
Well, thanks for reading ;-p