Emmanuel Jesuyon Dansu is a Mathematics Biology doctoral student at the Tohoko University, Sendai, Japan. He is from Badagry, Lagos State. He is also the Secretary-General, African Association of Miyagi (AFAM) in Sendai. He speaks to Daily Trust Saturday, about how life has been for him since he arrived the Asian country, two years ago.
Daily Trust: How long have you been in Japan and for what purpose?
Emmanuel Jesuyon Dansu: I came to Japan on the 4th of April, 2017. I came for a PhD programme from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State where I was Assistant Lecturer. I am on study leave. I should be done by September next year. I came on the Japanese Government MEXT post-graduate scholarship and I am studying Applied Mathematical Biology.
DT: What have been your difficulties when you arrived Japan?
Dansu: When I first came, I couldn’t read signposts, because everything is in Japanese Kanji. But for the first six months, I had to go through an intensive Japanese training programme. Right now, I can find my way around, although I am still not very fluent. However, I can carry out conversations.
DT: Since you arrived, have you visited home, and what have you missed?
Dansu: Since I came, I haven’t visited Nigeria. I really like teaching a lot and I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to teach here. I am married and I have my family here, and maybe because of that I am a little bit comfortable.
DT: What about the food here?
Dansu: I like fruits and vegetables and you get a lot of them here and get it easily and I really like that. I really enjoy some Japanese food, some not so much. One of the things I discovered when I came here was a shop owned by a Bangladeshi where I could get palm oil and it was a relief for me. Most times, at home, we eat Nigerian food. Eba, Poundo yam, and fufu, among others.
Nigerian condiments are expensive but the fact that you are getting things like that in a foreign country like Japan, most of the times, we don’t even care about that cost. That I get it here is exciting enough.
DT: What would you say is a major observation you’ve had in your academic sojourn?
Dansu: I’m tempted to think that most times, Nigerians in Diaspora tend to care more about Nigeria than Nigerians in Nigeria. But that’s probably because we have more access to internet facilities and get to follow all the channels. I think right now the message from Nigeria is not encouraging. I see a lot of division, a lot of tribal issues. I think we are better than this. Imagine that in 1993, there was a presidential election in which the two candidates are of the same religion and also candidate and running mate of the other party are of the same religion and it was not an issue. I think we have drifted from that and I think it is not encouraging at all. Sometimes, it can be scary, thinking you are going back to that place.
DT: How many Nigerians are living in your immediate vicinity?
Dansu: Right now, in Tohoku University, there are about six Nigerians, studying at post-graduate level.