I felt that my progress just, stopped.

When I went to America again in fifth grade, I felt that all of the progCaress I’d made through Japanese just stopped. I’d start progressing in English again from there, and there was a gap between the two. For example, in science class we learned the word “volcano.” I knew this word in English but not Japanese. When I temporarily returned to Japan and took a test on Japanese history, there was material didn’t know and kanji I couldn’t read. I was shocked.

So you can speak Japanese? And you’re “going back” to America?

On top of that, I hated when my classmates would say, “What? So you can speak Japanese?” or “Say something in English.” I was embarrassed, and still stunned that I couldn’t do as well as everyone else. The school I’d returned to was the same place I’d been at until fourth grade, and I thought oh, I was only away for two years, and this is how they treat me. I’d heard about “how returnees are treated,” but it was different experiencing it.

Even when I first returned to Japan when I was five, I didn’t have any problems with language, but still felt some discomfort. When I said I was moving to America in fourth grade, they said, “Oh you’re going back to the States,” and I remember thinking, am I “going back?” Am I really?