Welcome to Fujita's Lab!

〒305-8572 茨城県つくば市天王台1-1-1 筑波大学人間系

Just Mumbling around Career Education

Episode 65: September 24, 2022

  • Episode 65: The First Update of a New Start (September 24, 2022)

    Teruyuki Fujita (University of Tsukuba)

    It has been a while since the posting of "Episode 64" at the end of December last year, the updates have been overdue for more than nine months. I apologize for any concern this may have caused you.

    Since the beginning of the year 2022, I have experienced several things around me that I have not experienced very often in the past. Most of them are trivial. However, the passing of my father was a major occurrence for me.

    In late February, he collapsed at home and underwent emergency surgery. After that, he temporarily was able to lead an everyday life, but he passed away this summer. He had been told that he had little time left to live, and he and his family, including myself, were prepared for this, nevertheless, his death was a heartbreaking moment for us all.

    Perhaps it was due to my father's consideration, but immediately after his funeral, I had to go on a series of overseas business trips. Upon returning to Japan, I had to deal with the official formalities related to my father's death and prepare for the memorial services, and then I left for overseas again and proceeded to hold the memorial service immediately after returning to Japan. I did not have the physical time or the psychological space to fully confront the death of my father, and I did not face so-called "grief-stricken" situations.

    However, when I suddenly recall the image of my father in life, I am shocked at the fact of his eternal absence in this real world. My adolescence began early, and the so-called rebellious phase continued for quite some time, lacking the opportunity to talk intimately with my father or enjoy our shared interests. After starting a family and a job, I only saw him at the Bon Festival in the summer, and during the New Year's holidays, and I never felt that this was a serious problem. As such, I have many things to reflect on in my behavior toward my father, but what I regret most now is that I did not take him on a trip to a hot spring when he was temporarily recovered.

    Seeing my father lead a normal life, despite being diagnosed with a life expectancy of only a few months in February, I optimistically thought, "Contrary to predictions, he may be able to keep on living well," and made concrete plans to go on a hot spring spa resort in the summer. However, by the time summer came around, he was no longer in a condition to go on a trip. Come to think of it, the last time I took a bath with my father was probably when I was in kindergarten. I really wish I could have soaked in the outdoor bath with him in the spring breeze, washed his back, and sipped beer with him afterward.

    I am sorry. This was not important at all to everyone reading this article. Besides, it makes you feel down having to read this kind of story. Please forgive me.

    What I meant to tell you was that, although a lot has happened, I am now back to my normal daily routine. I will try to update "Just Mumbling around Career Education" once every month or two, as I used to do. My best regards to all of you and I look forward to your continued visits.

    Since this is the first update of a memorable new start, please allow me to share two cheerful stories I came across on the Internet. I will try to keep it as short as possible and do my best to curb my usual "lengthy and verbose" writing habits.

    First, I would like to introduce a blog post dated September 9 by Marriene (I assume this is her pen name), who lives in India, titled "I was Supposed to Support Education in Indian Slums, but My Heart was Broken at the First Step. (in Japanese)"

    When Marriene visited a public primary school in a slum in India, she found that the school's library, computer lab, and science lab were all locked, and "the rooms were covered in dust, and it was obvious that they had not been used for a long time" as she described. Later, when she learned the background of the situation, she was confronted with the reality that her efforts to improve literacy rates and lower dropout rates through supporting primary education were not effective enough in the face of India's unique social structures and cultural conventions. Thus, Marriene's heart was "broken at the first step," but from the words given to her by Natsuko Shiraki, a leading ethical business expert in Japan, she realized.........

    This is a wonderful episode. When you are about to do something, dozens or hundreds of reasons why you can't do it or you shouldn't do it immediately come to your mind. But those who have found something that they still think they should do are blessed. Very painful, but very fortunate.

    I myself am tempted to run away from many things because of my age, but I have come to think that I should try a bit harder. Thank you, Marriene!

    Next, in connection with the previous episode (#64), I would like to share with you "The Supreme Answers to Children's Questions 'Even if I study this kind of stuff, I won't use it in the future.'" This was written by writer Mieko Takatani on August 30 in Japanese.

    Here, examples of the "supreme answers" are presented in three categories: "Model Answers," "Presentation of Benefits," and "Reconsideration of the Concept of Studying." Personally, I thought the points she made in "Reconsideration of the Concept of Studying" were interesting that attempted to open the horizon of discussion to the "difference between studying and learning/academics/knowledge". In any case, I believe schools should sincerely respond to the voices of children who say, "Even if I study this kind of stuff, I won't use it in the future," and deliver a cordial message to them. The time has come for classes that only focus on forcing students to do the hard work merely necessary for passing entrance exams to advanced schools by saying, "if you have time to point out such nonsense, go ahead with your work in front of you," to be recognized as outdated "fossils."

    Once again, I am amazed that the Internet is such an extraordinary mechanism. It is totally different from the way we used to encounter information back in the days when paper media was the main source. If it were not for the Internet, I probably would not have come across Marriene's and Takatani's writings.

    In closing, I would like to introduce a case that made me realize how our literacy is always sharply challenged. Yesterday (September 23), a part of a text reportedly written by a comedian who moved to a big city in the United States and has been posting information on the Internet was released on several websites. In the article, he wrote about the high cost of living in the country. In the mids, there was the following statement:

    I had always wondered why there were certain areas in the U.S. that were not safe, but now I know.
    It was a difference in the level of education.
    Each area has its own level of education from 1 to 10. For example, a school in an area labeled as "Level 8" offers Math, English, Science, and Social Studies, but a school in a "Level 2" area only teaches two of those subjects.
    In other words, academic achievement depends on the area you live in.

    Certainly, economic disparity by region is a reality in the United States. It is also true that there is a correlation between the economic status of a region or family and their educational attainment. However, the remarks quoted above are factually incorrect. I am one of the researchers who consider education in the U.S. as an important subject of study, and I can assure you that there is no such fact.

    I was born and raised in the same prefecture as this comedian, so even though I am not so much a fan of his, I always thought, "Good luck with your American life!" However, I cannot support his statement above at all. He needs to take into account his influence as a comedian well known throughout Japan and should disseminate information based on evidence. At the same time, we also need to always keep in mind the reality that such information is mingled on the Internet.

    (Translated and uploaded on September 25, 2022)




TEL 029-853-4598(事務室)