Asami Fujimoto’s life in three different countries


Photo Credit: Maya Yienger

Asami Fujimoto is in New York, posing with her tea. She spent her early life in England and Japan and now living in Glen Rock.

by Nah Lee, staff writer

Asami Fujimoto is in New York, posing with her tea. She spent her early life in England and Japan and now living in Glen Rock.

Asami Fujimoto who used to be a shy girl became stronger by learning how to adapt to the new environment after experiencing movements to the three different countries: England, Japan, and America.

Fujimoto, a junior, was born in Tokyo, Japan. When she was 3 years old, she moved to London. After hearing that she would be moving to England, Fujimoto felt excited because her family had lived in England before she was born.

In England, Fujimoto attended a public school called Moss Hall Junior School. Because of the school’s popularity, students had to apply in order to get accepted. The school also required at least one instrument for students to play.

“In England, almost everyone does lots of activities outside of the school and also inside of school,” Fujimoto said. Everyday, she had different after school activities to do such as swimming,art club, ballet, tennis, playing piano and cello.

Besides giving good memories to Fujimoto, life in England also helped her to speak English fluently, which was her second language. Since not everyone has that special opportunity, she was glad to have it in her life.

After living in England for five years and six months, she moved back to Japan. Even though Japanese was her first language, because Fujimoto grew accustomed to speaking English, going back to speaking Japanese fluently was challenging for her.

When she first moved to America, Fujimoto suffered a language barrier problem again. After living in Japan for another seven years, she had gotten used to speaking Japanese again so she needed time before she was able to speak English fluently again. Also since she had learned English with a British accent, understanding English without a British accent was challenging for her.

“Probably the most challenging thing was to speak English,” said Maria Smuteloveicova, another junior who moved from Slovakia. Like Fujimoto, Smuteloveicova also suffered through a language barrier problem when she first moved to America. Language barrier problems are one of the most challenging things for people who move to other countries to overcome.

When Fujimoto first moved to Glen Rock, she was able to distinguish differences between schools in Japan and in America. In Japan high school students stay in their homeroom for the entire duration of the school day. Since they spend lots of times in one room, students who share a homeroom usually become close friends.

Education systems in Japan are also different than their American counterparts. Japanese students are graded on a curve. If an average score of the students is low because of difficulty of the test, students can get A on their final grade even their actual score belongs to B.

“American schools give the students more opportunity to earn credits,” Fujimoto said. In Japan, she had three midterm exams and three final exams which made up most of her grade. It was not easy for her to recover and improve her grade when she got a bad score on one of the big exams.

For Fujimoto, there were advantages and disadvantages of moving so frequently.

Saying goodbye to people whom she had already become closer with and adapting into new environments several times were difficulties that she endured.

However moving to different countries also gave her the opportunity to meet many new friends and people from different countries, which is a unique experience to have in a person’s life.

Moving to America was a big challenge for Fujimoto. When her parents gave her the choice of staying in Japan or moving to America, she first felt torn because she already knew that moving to another country was not an easy thing to do. However, since not only she wanted to experience school life in America but also wanted to keep using and learning English, Fujimoto decided to challenge herself. She didn’t want to forget speaking English which was the main thing she had learned from her childhood in England.

As a child, Fujimoto was a shy girl. She used to not like being in new environments but moving to different countries taught her how to adapt to new places and how to get along with new people.

“I believe that I became a lot stronger,” Fujimoto said.