My name is Luna. I was born in 1995 in a little-known village in Zhumadian City, Henan Province. Ten years ago, I dropped out of junior high school and became a part-time girl working on a factory assembly line. Now, ten years later, I am a Chinese student at a Japanese university. I can earn tens of thousands a month by part-time work, and plan to support myself until I graduate with a master’s degree.
In June of this year, I took pictures on the streets of Tokyo, and I haven’t returned to China for a year because of the epidemic.
My family is a typical low-level rural family. Both parents are farmers. My mother has never been to school for a day and is diligent and kind. My father dropped out of school until he was about to graduate from junior high school. The family’s conditions have not improved, and the annual income is only 20,000 to 30,000 yuan.
More than ten acres of their parents are firmly tied to their hometown. When the farming is slack, they have to find other ways to make money. My father would go to a nearby construction site as a small laborer, and my mother would always ride a tricycle to the town to sell eggs to earn some change. The income is limited, but there are many children in the family. After I was born, my parents gave birth to a girl and two boys. The cost of clothing, meals and schooling for the four children alone is about to overwhelm the family.
In 2013, I was pictured with my three younger siblings. As the eldest, I often have to help my parents take care of them.
When I was in the sixth grade of primary school, most of the people in the village moved to the town. Since I could not afford or borrow more than ten or two hundred thousand yuan to buy a house, my family could only rent a house. It became an open joke in the town, and almost no one looked us in the eye. At that time, my biggest extravagant hope was to own a house that truly belongs to my own family in the town one day.
Poverty not only makes people feel inferior, but also directly caused me to encounter a school violence that had a profound impact in junior high school. After the evening self-study on the second day of junior high school, I was walking home alone when I suddenly heard a girl behind me say to the people around her: “Her family is very poor, her pants are all torn, if you don’t believe me, let her turn around. Come and have a look.” Then I shouted my name.
My daily wear at that time, the whole clothes added up to no more than 100 yuan, and now it looks a little dirty.
The girl’s parents are in the real estate business, and the family is powerful and powerful in the local area. Because she is pretty good-looking, many people follow her in the school. I don’t want to cause trouble and continue to keep my head down. She may have felt that she was saved by my silence, and she came forward and gave me a sudden slap, shouting, “Why are you pretending not to hear?”
Facing the naked provocation of the other party, I suddenly became angry, and I instinctively fought back and scuffled with her. Seeing that the situation was not good, her companions came to cheer one after another. A group of people kicked, slapped, and pulled my hair. I was quickly beaten and beaten.
When I got home, I cried and told my parents what happened. When my father heard it, he immediately got dressed and prepared for her theory. Who knew that before we went out, the girl brought her family to come to ask the guilt aggressively. Without saying a word, her parents slapped my father indiscriminately. In this way, our two families scuffled together. It was an extremely chaotic night, and it was not until the people from the police station came to mediate that the atmosphere calmed down.
In the photo of my students in junior high school, I was 16 years old in the second year of junior high school because of the late school day. I looked mature, but I still couldn’t avoid being bullied.
When I arrived at the school the next day, I found that all the classmates in the school started to “stay away” from me, and I became a “plague” like place. I was miserable but couldn’t do anything. When I put my last hope in the teacher, the teacher asked me back in front of the whole class: “Luna, why are others targeting you and not others? Is it your own problem?” This became overwhelming. My last straw. So, I chose to drop out.
After learning that I had dropped out of school, my mother slapped me hard. But when I cried and said to her “what can I do, everyone in the school is isolating me”, the slap she raised again fell weakly. Living at the bottom is what it is, you feel unfair, but you have to accept it.
Dropping out of junior high school, for me, who was born in a rural area, the next step is to see the end of the road – working, getting married, and having children. But at a young age, his mind was full of escaping the current predicament as quickly as possible. So, in 2011, when I was 16 years old, I went to Dongguan without hesitation, trying to find a job that didn’t pay attention to academic qualifications.
In 2011, when I first entered the society, I dyed my hair and wore high heels.
At that time, many factories in Dongguan posted recruitment advertisements at the door. If job seekers were interested, they could just call and ask. This is how I got my first job. It was a Japanese company, if I remember correctly, it was called “Yisheng Electronics Factory”, with a monthly salary of 2,800 yuan. The procedures for entering the factory are very simple – fill in the form, interview, check up, take a few training courses, and then you can go to work.
The training courses are not complicated, and they are nothing more than familiarity with the work content and Japanese corporate culture. One of the things that impressed me was a basic Japanese class. At that time, we were two college girls majoring in Japanese. After so many years, I can’t remember their looks, but their high-spirited expressions during their lectures touched me very much. What I envy the most is that they don’t have to go to the assembly line to boil time, and they can make money just by standing there and moving their mouths.
On the assembly line, my job is to put electronic parts made by others on a plate. This job is very simple, but you can’t stop in the middle. Once the movement is a little slower, there will be a lot of backlog in front of you. To be honest, work can’t be said to be tiring, it’s just that when I bury my head in repeating the same action day after day from 8 am to 8 pm, I feel more and more boring and exhausted, and I start to miss school. come to life.
Outside of work, when other workers are sleeping, shopping, and enjoying their rare leisure time, I pick up the books again, and from time to time, I recite the texts with the Chinese textbooks of the third year of junior high school. However, when I carry it on my back, I feel a little tired, and I don’t know what the meaning of endorsement is.
During my part-time job in the assembly line, I often went to the library to read books.
When I was confused, I remembered what the two Japanese girls said, “Although you can’t go to university, you can go to a training class to learn Japanese.” I paid tuition fees for Japanese language classes.
I met a lot of people in the training class, and most of them came to study Japanese in order to study in Japan. Because of them, I have a vague desire: maybe one day in the future, I can also go to Japan to go to university?
In 2011, I started to learn Japanese, which was a practice of “godoku syllables” on manuscript paper at the time.
Slowly, this desire turned into my biggest life goal. I started to study Japanese hard, and I often stayed in the factory to work overtime, earning 8-10 yuan/hour for overtime. The factory included room and board, and the monthly salary was less than 4,000 yuan. I could save 3,500 yuan, sometimes even 3,700 yuan. All of this is just to save the first tuition fee for studying abroad as soon as possible.
However, when I finally saved up 30,000 yuan and thought I could go to Japan with joy, I realized that I had neglected the most important condition for studying in Japan—the 12-year education experience in China must be met. This news was like a bolt from the blue for me, who dropped out of the second year of junior high school. I had no choice but to resign and pack my bags and go back to my hometown. I found a secondary school in my hometown, and it took me another three years to study.
Those classmates in the secondary school period, almost all of them were not interested in studying, and they stumbled in class, chatting, sleeping… Some teachers also slack off, being late from time to time, and often talk about a lot of things that have nothing to do with their studies when they come to the classroom. After Gu Zi finished speaking, let us study by ourselves. After a few days in the secondary school, I realized that I couldn’t learn anything at all, so I started to teach myself about computers, read books randomly, and seldom went to the classroom.
In 2013, I was wearing the clothes of the Japanese anime character Inuyasha in my junior high school dormitory. At that time, I was already interested in getting in touch with Japanese culture.
Before high school, I almost never had access to computers. The first time I went to an Internet cafe with my secondary school classmates, I didn’t even know where to turn it on. I am very envious of white-collar workers who sit in the office and work on the computer, so when other students go to the Internet cafe to watch dramas, play games, or chat online, I never follow the trend, but hide in the corner and teach myself the office software Word, PPT and Excel. I bought some books when I was not on the Internet, starting with the simplest travel notes.
Influenced by the book, except for me, who was full of loneliness and bravery, I gradually had a strong urge to go out and see the world. At the age of 18, I started the first poor tour in my life, with 1,000 yuan in my pocket. Then set foot on the road to Jiangxi.
In order to save the transportation cost, I wrote the words “seeking a ride” on my schoolbag; in order to save the tickets, I got up at 3 am to climb Mount Lu; in order to save the accommodation fee, I stayed in the house of a girl I just met, the girl My mother was worried that I would not be safe alone, and forced me to write a letter of guarantee to “go home the next day”…
In 2013, inspired by the book “Ride to Berlin”, I chose to “ride” all the way to Jiangxi, and wrote the word “ride” on my school bag.
Qiaoyou may sound hard, but at the time I enjoyed it too much. This was a world I had never been exposed to, and everything made me feel new and excited. Whenever the savings are exhausted, I work part-time for a period of time, such as working in a fast food restaurant, earning 10 yuan per hour. After earning enough money, I will set off again, and the footprint is no longer limited to Jiangxi, the earliest destination.
I experienced ceramic culture in Jingdezhen, experienced the ancient city of Misty Rain in Fenghuang, rode horses in Lijiang, drank a cup of mellow sweet tea for a few cents in Lhasa, and later went to Changsha, Zhuhai, Xi’an, Qinghai, Nanjing, Shanghai… those three years I have been to many places, met many people, and heard many stories. I know, I never want to go back to the factory again.
In 2015, I took the 318 National Highway from Kunming by car and successfully arrived in Tibet.
In June 2016, I got my secondary school diploma as scheduled. But due to wandering around in those three years, he had no money left. In order to save enough for the first tuition fee for studying abroad again, I began to think about ways to make money faster.
On the way from Kunming to Tibet, I once knew a boy who also “ride” to Tibet. He graduated with an undergraduate degree and is engaged in new media work. It is said that he can get a monthly salary of at least 8,000 yuan. Inspired by him, the first thing I did after getting my secondary school diploma was to supplement my knowledge of new media. Under the introduction of this boy, I got a new media job with an internship salary of 2,500 yuan.
From the registration and use of the official account to the writing of 10w+ explosive articles, it took me only 3 months. The salary also rose from 2,500 yuan at the beginning to 8,000 yuan after tax. This time, in just one year, I saved enough 30,000 yuan.
When I was working in new media in 2017, I often sat on the side of the road with my computer in my arms and changed articles.
Just when I thought everything was finally ready, my family became my biggest obstacle. When I learned that I was going to study in Japan, my parents strongly opposed it, especially my father, who let me cry, make trouble and hang myself at home, and he would not let go. Later, it was my mother who persuaded him, “Look at Nana like this, you really don’t let her go, she may be going crazy.” After hearing this, my father gave in slightly, but made a request: the study abroad agency must be Write a letter of guarantee that I can return to China safely after I go to Japan.
Before that, I always thought my parents didn’t love me enough. When I was a kid, they ran for a living, leaving me at home to watch my three younger siblings, so that I didn’t have any time for myself. After I joined the factory, I could only get 4,000 salary for working overtime every month, but my father took it for granted and asked me to hand over the salary to my family. In order to realize my dream of studying abroad, I can only lie that I have spent all the money, and secretly keep the money with a cousin.
So in those years, I spent most of the time wandering outside and didn’t want to go back home. Even if I came home for the New Year, I would stay for three or four days at most and leave, because home is like a bottomless pit that needs to be filled constantly. But this time, I suddenly realized: how could my parents not love me? They are just poor and unable to express themselves.
In order to give my father complete peace of mind, I took him to a study abroad agency in Shenyang. We first went to Zhengzhou by car, and then flew from Zhengzhou to Shenyang. The flight was the next morning. In order to save me money, my father couldn’t hold on to the hotel, so he stayed in a chair at the airport all night.
When it comes to intermediary companies, people are naturally reluctant to sign such guarantees. I had no choice but to negotiate with the agency privately, and promised to sign another letter of guarantee with them to prove that my father’s copy was invalid. Any problems I had in the future would have nothing to do with the agency, and the other party reluctantly agreed.
On the way back, my father couldn’t help but be excited, and he didn’t forget to show off when chatting with strangers, “My daughter is very good, she is going to study in Japan soon.” At that moment, I burst into tears. It was the first time in my life that I heard him praise me. Realizing that I have become a father’s pride, I have mixed feelings.
On April 5, 2017, I went to Japan alone with two suitcases and two backpacks.
After I came to Japan, I had to go to language school for two years before I could go to university. But at that time, the starting capital was only 30,000 yuan. After paying the tuition for the first half of the language school, I only had 8,000 yuan left in my body, and the tuition for the second half of the year was still unfunded. So, the first day I set foot on Japanese soil, I knew I had to work right away.
The first weekend, I went to interview for an Indian restaurant. The boss is from Beijing, and he kindly gave me a chance to try it out. I know that my Japanese is not good enough, and even daily communication is a problem, so I rush to do tasks that others avoid, such as washing dishes, mopping floors, and cleaning toilets. Even so, I am very happy, even humming a song in my heart, because having a job means that I can finally live on my own while studying in Japan.
This is the house I rented when I was a language school student in Japan, with Mount Fuji in the distance.
Maybe it was my positivity and optimism that moved the boss. He not only let me stay for a long time, but also gave me a salary increase. He even insisted on teaching me a sentence of Japanese every day, starting with the simplest “Welcome”. I stayed in this restaurant for two years, every weekend, 10 hours a day, 20 hours two days, 900 yen (about 60 yuan) an hour.
When I was working part-time in an Indian restaurant, my classmates from the language school came to eat at the restaurant.
After 3 months, my Japanese has reached about N3 level from the N5 level at the beginning. My Japanese got better, and I took another job at a convenience store, 8 hours a week, which combined with my part-time job at an Indian restaurant is exactly 28 hours. Japanese law stipulates that students may not legally work more than 28 hours a week, except for winter and summer vacations, so I had reached the limit of part-time work at that time.
When I was working in a convenience store, the owner’s mother treated me like a daughter.
Despite having two part-time jobs, life is still tight. I live in the cheapest house, wear clothes from second-hand stores, and walk half an hour to school every day to save transportation costs. During the most difficult period, I hardly had any living expenses. The part-time work place could manage a meal, and the restaurant could also pack it by the way. The dinner that day and the breakfast the next day could be solved.
Whenever I come home after 10 hours of work, I will insist on memorizing the words before going to bed; when I don’t have to work, I am the last student left in the library… In this way, after graduating from language school, I passed the language school smoothly. After passing the school’s recommendation test, he officially entered Teikyo University in April 2019. This school is equivalent to an ordinary second university in China, but it is suitable for me and worth reading because I only have a secondary school in China Education, it is the best solution within my ability.
This is my student ID card at Teikyo University.
After entering the university, due to my weak foundation, I have to spend 12 points of effort to learn things that others spend 1 point of effort to learn. But for the scholarship of tens of thousands of yuan per semester, I had to cheer up and try to be as stupid as possible. In the end, it took one year to improve the English score from the third-to-last class to the fourth-positive class.
Today, the scholarship I get every semester is enough to cover the rent. After school, I do some part-time jobs with high Japanese requirements, such as introducing the parents and students who come to visit at the school’s open day activities, and I can get a daily salary of 15,000 yen (1,000 RMB). Just last year, I set up a 30-person study abroad studio, and my income has jumped qualitatively. I gave my mother some money to help my family buy a house in the town. Although the house is not expensive, only about 200,000 yuan, I finally have a home.
At sunset, I was reading on the university campus.
In the future, I plan to take postgraduate studies in cultural anthropology. Someone asked me: Why are you 25 years old and still thinking about taking a postgraduate entrance examination in the future? are not you tired? Tired of course, but more fun. From meeting those two Japanese-major girls in the factory to meeting many college students during the trip, I became more and more determined to be the same as them, or even better than them.
This year is my fourth year in Japan, and I feel like a vacation every day here. As a rural girl who dropped out of school to work in a factory, returning to school is a great blessing in my life. I will keep reading until there are no more books to read.