Interview: Nastya

Q. Please tell us about your life before you came to Japan.

Before I came to Japan, I worked for the same company I work for now and lived with my mother and two cats. My mother and relatives are still in Ukraine and I still keep in touch with them often.

I started studying Japanese when I was a university student in Ukraine. Since I was a junior high school student, I became interested in Japanese things and culture through watching anime, and I decided to study Japanese after participating in a Japanese festival in Ukraine. I love studying Japanese.

Q.  What made you apply for Pathways Japan’s program?

Since the beginning of the war between Russia and Ukraine, there have been many programs for displaced people. A good friend told me about the Pathways Japan program. I applied for this program after careful consideration. 

I did not have any special feelings because of the short period of time between when I applied for the program, had the interview, and got accepted. Once I decided to go to Japan, I started making special preparations, but with all the procedures and things to do, I didn’t have time to feel anything.

But, when I arrived in Kyoto, I finally felt relieved and I fully understood I was in Japan. I felt really blessed and grateful.

Q. What kind of life do you usually lead?

I study at school during the day. After returning home from school, I work. I am a full-time employee, so I work before and after school. In my spare time, I like going out with my friends.When I have some extra time free, I like making sweets or bread.

I enjoy studying at school very much. The teachers are kind and explain things to us wholeheartedly, and we talk about daily  things if we have the chance. My classmates are also very interesting people. Aside from studying together, we also have a lot of fun. Atmosphere in the class is absolutely great, and I adore studying here. Relationships between school staff and students are really warm and family-like, so it is very easy to study in Kyoto Minsai.

Studying with students from different countries, I realized that although we have different cultures, we are all the same human beings. This is very important, and I am glad I got to know this. I believe that exchanging cultures and different opinions is rather valuable, and it helped me to broaden my horizons a lot. 

I enjoy every day. When I am feeling gloomy, I remember that I live in the country I love deeply, and I feel really happy. I admire not only the Japanese language but also Japanese culture, so I like visiting buddhist temples and shinto shrines with long history, and being there I feel like my spirit and soul become clear and refreshed.

Q. What is your dream?

First of all, I pray that the whole world will be at peace. And I hope that all my family are safe. And then, my dream is to open my own shop or a small pastry school while living in Japan. In my store, I would like to sell Ukrainian-style bread and both Ukrainian and Japanese sweets, and I would like to make things that Japanese people would find delicious. Also, when I have more time, I would like to travel to various historical places in Japan.

  • Click here to view the full-length video produced as an introduction of the organizations supported by LUSH’s charity product “Charity Pot”
  • Click here to read other interviews with students with backgrounds of refugees and displaced persons as well as Japanese language school.