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@@   Interview with Milica Milenkovic
Milica Milenkovic

Can you tell me your name, where you are from and the schools that you teach at in Kanoya?
Ifm Milica, people call me Miru, Miru-chan or Mil for short. Ifm from Auckland, New Zealand. I teach at one high school in Kanoya (Joshikou) and 4 elementary schools (Nishihara, Nishiharadai, Tasaki and Minami).

What was your major when you were at University?
Bachelor of Commerce - Major in Marketing and Management, Minor in Italian.

Have you ever lived overseas before?
Yes I have, I was born and grew up in the former YugoslaviI then moved to New Zealand when I was 11 years old. I also lived in Italy a few years ago for almost a year.

Tell us about your impressions of Kanoya.
I was pretty freaked out when I first arrived. I didn't really know what to think, I remember on the drive from the airport going through Kirishima and seeing only mountains and forest and I thought, gGOD where am I?h. Also I was scared because I didnft speak any Japanese so I didnft know if I would have any friends and be able to cope. BUT I decided to get right into the culture and do some sports and be really active and even though my Japanese is still very bad I interact with people, the culture and travel a lot around KanoyI consider myself to be lucky in so many ways because it is a BEAUTIFUL place.

Is there anything that really surprised you about Kanoya?
The language!!!! Speaking, reading, communicating, but that takes a lot of patience and perseverance. I am teaching myself slowly

What do you miss most about New Zealand?
My family, some of the culture as it is very familiar to me, some friends and being able to communicate with people

I know that you have been learning Japanese drumming (Taiko) since you have been here, can you tell us a little bit about that?
I have actually JUST managed to learn a whole song, so itfs taken 7 months! BUT I love it, I just like beating on the drum, doing it with a group of very talented and VERY patient Japanese women who have let Alex and I join their group. I canft wait to perform!

Is there any other aspect of Japanese culture you would like to learn about while you are here?
The language!!!! Speaking, reading, communicating, but that takes a lot of patience and perseverance. I am teaching myself slowly.

I also know that you already speak 3 languages, how are you finding the Japanese language?
Hahaha as per the above, quite hard! It is unlike the other 3 languages I speak; English, Serbo-Croatian and Italian. I feel as if the more I learn, the more underlying meanings there are and new things to learn that are not easy.

What is your favorite shop/ restaurant/ place/ area in Kanoya?
I like cafe culture and good food with friends. I also like live music. So Ifd have to say for that reason I REALLY adore Juri Cafe in Kotobuki and Gokkenfs bar. On the last Thursday of every month they play AWESOME old school tunes there :-)

What are your thoughts on Japanese food?
DAI SKI!!! Too much in fact. Ifve gained 5kgs since being here. I mean the sweets are to DIE for!!

I had an interesting conversation with you the other night about gender equality in Japan. Can you tell us a little bit about your observations as a foreign woman in Japan?
Well I think itfs always easier when you are an outsider looking in to be able to make observations and look at things possibly in a different light. I think that Japan is still very much a traditional society in the way that they view women and women's roles. Also what is very normal in regard to attitudes such as acting cute (kawai) in Japan is not so common in Western countries.

For example New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to vote. It has had 2 female Prime Ministers running the country from the 1997 - 2008 period and has numerous prominent female business leaders and entrepreneurs. Therefore women tend to take on very assertive roles a lot of the time and thus need to show leadership skills and be confident. I haven't really observed that type of character here. Ifve mostly seen women doing really traditional roles even when in the office, getting the tea ready, answering the phone and so on, even though this isn't necessarily their job.

Nathanfs Comments:
Milica is definitely one of the most active ALTs we have had here in Kanoya and she is always trying to get involved more in the community, travel and learn more about Japan and Japanese culture. She was also the one who came to me with the idea of doing the eKanoya International Charity Nightf. Thanks to her, this event was one of the most successful events I have done as a CIR here in Kanoya and at the same time we were able to help people overseas who were in need.
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