International Hachinohe #3 民泊で一期一会

Welcome to the third post of International Hachinohe! This series will be focusing on people who are involved in Hachinohe’s international scene, whether they are employees and volunteers for Hachinohe International Relations Association and more!


This time, I interviewed Ms. Takahashi, a volunteer with the Hachinohe International Relations Association. She’s one of the kindest and friendliest people that I’ve met in Hachinohe so far (and that means a lot because there are a lot of friendly people here). I hope you enjoy her stories!

今回は、八戸国際交流協会 交流促進部会長 の 高橋 薫さんにインタビューをしました!高橋さんは、私がこれまで八戸で出会った人の中でも、最も優しくてフレンドリーな方の1人です(八戸にはフレンドリーな人達が本当にたくさんいるんです!)。それでは、高橋さんのインターナショナルなストーリーをお楽しみください♪



A: First, please tell us a little bit about yourself!

T: Hello, my name is Kaoru Takahashi, and I’m the section leader for the Cultural Exchange Promotions Section of the Hachinohe International Relations Association. I am also an instructor for the NPO Michinoku International Japanese Education Center (MIJEC), a tour guide for Hachinohe’s Portal Museum Hacchi, and my husband and I run a guesthouse in our home.

A: はじめに簡単な自己紹介をお願いします!

T: 八戸国際交流協会 交流促進部会 部会長の高橋 薫です。NPO法人 みちのく国際日本語教育センター(MIJEC)の日本語講師と、八戸ポータルミュージアム「はっち」のガイドもしていて、自宅では夫と民泊をやっています。

A: I know you’ve already mentioned a few, but what kind of international cultural exchange events are you currently involved in?

T: With the Cultural Exchange Promotions Section, we plan various events such as the annual Halloween Tour, Japan Day in Hachinohe, but my favorite event is the cultural cooking classes where we learn about the food and cultures of different countries.

A: 現在、どんな国際交流活動をしていますか?


With MIJEC, there are a lot of opportunities to be involved in cultural activities with my students. Twice a week (on Tuesday and Wednesday) at the Fukushi Community Center, I teach Japanese class to foreigners who are currently living in Hachinohe. During school hours, I also teach Japanese lessons to foreign residents who are attending elementary and middle schools in Hachinohe City. Sometimes I invite my students to my house for gatherings, and in those instances, it’s always interesting to see how everyone is from a different country but the common language is Japanese!


My husband and I have also frequently have visitors come live in our guesthouse, and it’s almost as if we are one big family; we eat together, chat together, laugh and cry together and have fun learning about each other’s cultures. We never know when we will have the chance to meet again, so each encounter is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. It is in these moments when I realize that our cultures and languages are different, but we are all the same humans. This must be the foundation towards building world peace, little by little.


世界各国の人と出会い、一緒に笑ったり泣いたり・・・ 文化や言葉が違っても、同じ人間なのだなといつも感じます。こういう交流こそが、世界平和への一番の近道なのかもしれませんね。

A: When and how did you first start being interested in cultural exchange and foreign cultures?

T: I went on my first trip overseas to Australia when I was around 40 years old. During that trip, I experienced the spaciousness and the grandness of Australia, and I saw so many different buildings, animals, and types of people that I’d never seen before. That was when I truly realized that the world is such a big place.

A: 国際交流や海外の文化に興味を持ったきっかけは何でしたか?

T: 40歳の時に初めて海外旅行をしました。その時、オーストラリアの雄大さや、見たことのない建物、動物、人々を目の当たりにして、世界は広いなぁと感動したことがきっかけです。

A: So then after your trip to Australia up until now, what has been your favorite part about being involved in international cultural exchange?

T: My favorite thing has to be that I get to experience different cultures and different types of people that I would never get to encounter in a normal Japanese daily life.

A: 国際交流活動の魅力は何ですか?

T: 何といっても、日本にいては考えもつかないこと(文化や人々)に触れられる点だと思います。

A: Why do you think it’s important for people to be interested in other cultures, in general? Or why would you encourage someone to get involved?

T: When I meet people from other countries, I find that the curiosity in other cultures is reciprocal and that many people are fascinated by Japanese culture as well. If we are able to build friendships with people from all around the world and develop deeper understanding, then I think we wouldn’t view them as “foreign” or “strange”. And then we would be a lot happier. I hope everyone will be able to experience this.

A: 国際交流はどうして必要だと思いますか?皆さんに参加して欲しい理由は何ですか?

T: 様々な交流をする中で、私だけでなく、海外の方も同じように日本にすごく興味を持ってくれているということに気付きました。同じ地球市民として仲良くして、相互の理解を深めていくと、とても他人(?)とは思えなくなります。そして嬉しくなります。皆さんにもそれを体験し感じて欲しいです。

A: What’s one important thing that you learned from experiencing international cultures?

T: I realized that every country has its own history, imperial culture, food, religion, and many more things that are different from Japan, and I learned that it’s important to acknowledge and recognize these differences.

A: 国際交流活動を通して、学んだことは何ですか?

T: それぞれの国の歴史、皇室、食べ物、宗教など、日本との違いに気付きますが、それらを認め合うことが大切なのだなぁ、ということを学びました。

A: That’ very true! We need to be able to respect our differences. What do you think is the most difficult part about being interested in international cultures, or internationalization in Japan?

T: In Japan’s current situation, I think it is necessary for people to get used to living with foreigners, especially those who work in the labor intensive industries. And we would be remiss if we did not learn how to cooperate and collaborate with the foreigners who come from Asian countries. Up until now, I think Japanese people generally associate “foreigner” with blonde hair and blue eyes, which has meant that our curiosity for the foreign world has also revolved around America and Europe. But now that the times are changing, this is definitely a topic that will naturally become increasingly important.

A: 日本で、国際交流への関心を高めるのが難しいのはなぜだと思いますか?

T: それは少し前までのことで、今は良くも悪くも(労働力としても)外国人との共存は必須だと思います。特にアジアの人たちとの協力は欠かせません。

A: This is a very important point. Especially in Hachinohe, the largest population of foreign residents are Chinese people, and that most likely goes unnoticed because they are not noticeably foreign from outward appearances! I’m curious about how your own life and way of thinking has changed since being involved in international exchange activities. Could you share?

T: Through my involvement in various activities, my deepest impression or realization has been that I want share my experiences with other people, so that they can experience it as well. I also hope to give back the kindness that I have received, even if it’s not directly back to that person but to someone, somewhere, someday.

A: これからは、多文化共生がますます大事になってきますよね。ちなみに八戸在住外国人の中で最も大きな割合を占めるのは中国人ですが、見た目が似ているので、なかなか気が付かないかもしれません。

T: 交流を通して気づいたこと、あるいは受けた感動などは誰かに話したりして追体験をしてもらい、受けた親切はその人にじゃなくてもどこかの誰かに返す、という心構えができました。

A: You are so kind! What kind of cultural exchange activities would you like to do with people in Hachinohe?

T: For now, I am interested in learning about what kind of foreigners are living in Hachinohe (occupation, reason for coming, etc.) and invite them to participate in pulling a festival float for Hachinohe’s Sansha Taisai Festival, learn each other’s languages, and cook together.

A: 素敵ですね!八戸でこれからどんな国際交流活動をしてみたいですか?

T: とりあえずはどんな人たちがいるかを知りたいし、その人たちと八戸のお祭り(三社大祭)の山車を引っ張ったり、言葉の教え合いや、料理の交流などをしてみたいですね。

A: That sounds really fun. Is there anything you’d like to tell people who are interested in cultural exchange?

T: I believe that human nature is fundamentally good, so even if it’s at the Asaichi Morning Market, try to break the barriers and say hello to someone! It definitely takes a bit of courage, but because we are in Japan, I think using Japanese would be ok.

A: 面白そうですね~!国際交流や異文化交流に興味のある方々に伝えたいことは何ですか?

T: 私は性善説を信じていますが、周りを見渡して、朝市などでもとりあえず声をかけてみてはいかがでしょうか?ちょっと勇気がいりますが、ここは日本なので、日本語で大丈夫だと思います。

A: Yes! I think that takes so much courage, but I think creating those opportunities for yourself will always lead to interesting experiences. Since I’m in my 20’s, I’m curious about one word of advice that you would give your 20 year old self?

T: My twenties was a period of time when I was frantically working at my job, and then I got married and had children, so there was not much time to relax. My advice would be to be more flexible and take time to slow down and notice your surroundings.

A: とても勇気がいることですが、その一歩が、面白い経験に繋がるはずですね!

T: ちょっと想像がつかないです。仕事で必死だったし、結婚して、子供も生まれて、全然余裕のない20代でした。アドバイスするとしたら、もっと余裕をもって、周りを見渡してみて、ぐらいかな。


A: Takahashi-san and her husband work together to make the Guesthouse a fun and lively place to be. They kindly invited me to visit one day, and you can tell that they really enjoy talking with and learning about other people. There’s no doubt that their curious and friendly spirit is able to break language and cultural barriers. While talking with them, they also mentioned that the only way to achieve something close to world peace is to really get to know people from different cultures. It’s easy to have an impression or stereotype of people from other countries, until you get to meet them and talk with them, and then understand that we are all the same human beings that just happen to speak different languages and have different ways of living in this world.


→ More photos on our Instagram “Hachinoheworld

→ 高橋さんの民泊について知りたい方はこちら
Ms. Takahashi’s Guest House: “KAORU

★ 国際交流活動に興味のある方は 国際交流ボランティア にご登録ください^^

Follow me!