Q’s オーストラリアレポート

Careers in Australia

Having lived in both countries, the type and spread of jobs and careers in Australia and Japan doesn’t seem so different to me. Perhaps the most notable variation is that there are more jobs involved with manufacturing and heavy industry in Japan, and more jobs involved with agriculture and natural resources in Australia.

Jobs1

According to the most recent government data, the most common careers in Australia fall into the following three categories: Professionals (22.2%), Clerical and Administrative Workers (13.6%) Technicians and Trades Workers (13.5%).

‘Professionals’ includes qualified workers in areas areas such as arts, science, business and engineering. The percentage of the Australian workforce employed as professionals is increasing (up by 10.5% between 2012 and 2017).

Jobs2

‘Clerical and Administrative Workers’ are roughly what most people think of as office workers. While a lot of the Australian workforce is employed in clerical and administrative work, the total number is slowly decreasing (down by 2.3% between 2012 and 2017).

‘Technicians and Trades Workers’ includes occupations like carpenter, auto mechanic and plumber. The percentage of the Australian workforce employed as technicians and trades workers is slowly increasing (up by 1.6% between 2012 and 2017). Interestingly, the highest paid job in this category is electrician, and tradespeople are 99% male.

Jobs3

In terms of educational background, the most common occupations for people with a bachelor degree or above are registered nurses and primary and secondary school teachers. Men with a bachelor degree or above were more likely to be accountants or software applications programmers, whereas women were more likely to be registered nurses or primary school teachers.

For those with other non-school qualifications, the most common occupations were sales assistants, electricians and child carers. Men with other qualifications were more likely to be electricians or carpenters and joiners, whereas women were more likely to be child carers or sales assistants.

jobs4

My personal impression is that a lot more women work in different roles in Australia compared to Japan, and that jobs are not as polarised by gender. However, the data above shows that at least the same types of jobs are still dominated by the same genders in each country.

Bendigo – My home town

Bendigo1

I’ve lived in so many places, but Bendigo is the place I think of as my home town. I went to high school and university there. No one in my family lives there anymore, but I went back to have a look around a few weeks ago and felt very nostalgic.

Centreal Deborah Gold Mine.

Centreal Deborah Gold Mine.

While it’s not so popular with teens and young adults who usually wish they lived in a big city or on the coast, people from most other age groups like it there. It has all the facilities of a city, but very little of the noise and traffic.

Bendigo is a famous tourist location and was an early gold rush town. It’s most famous mine is the Central Deborah Gold Mine. It operated as a commercial gold mine from 1939-1954, but is still open today for tourists – offering authentic underground mining tours. It is also at one end of the popular Bendigo Talking Tram line.

Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Sacred Heart Cathedral.

As a result of the wealth generated from the gold rush (starting around 1850), Bendigo has some of Victoria’s oldest and most beautiful buildings. They aren’t very old by Japanese standards though, only around 150 years old. One example is The Sacred Heart Cathedral. It’s much smaller than the famous cathedrals in Europe, but it is still an impressive structure.

The Shamrock Hotel

The Shamrock Hotel

The Shamrock Hotel is another famous landmark, and due to it’s Irish heritage, it is a very popular drinking venue on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Australians on Vacation

Holidays! Simply hearing the word makes me feel happy and relaxed.

I think people in every country feel the same way. However, different people have their own ideas about what is a good holiday.

Many people in Japan enjoy traveling around Japan during the holidays. Australians are the same way. They enjoy traveling around Australia and it’s easy to see why. Australia has many different terrains, including beautiful beaches, off-coast islands, interesting deserts for camping or stargazing, rivers, mountains, and stylish cities.

Bali

Some Australians like to go overseas for holidays. Bali is a top tourist destination because it is not far away from Australia. It is only a few hours by plane. Also, as anyone who has been to Bali knows, Indonesia excels in hospitality and tourism, as they are some of its main industries. As a result, Balinese hotels, tourist sites, food, etc. are all crafted to fit Western tastes, so vacationing there is very comfortable for Australian people.

USA

The next most popular place to visit is the USA. America is certainly not convenient to travel to from Australia—it takes a minimum of 21 hours in transit to get there! But the country is vast and diverse enough that there is “something for everyone.” If you like nature and the outdoors, you could visit Big Sur or Yellowstone National Park. If you like cool cities, try San Francisco, Las Vegas, or New York. Some people love road trips—renting a car with friends and driving across America. America is also comfortable to visit, because Americans and Australians share many cultural values and speak the same language.

NZ

The third most popular place for Australians to travel for holidays is New Zealand. New Zealand has all the convenience of domestic travel- only a 3.5 hours plane ride from Melbourne! But the population is a fraction of Australia so it is peaceful and relaxing. In addition, New Zealand has some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. There are plants, animals and terrains that do not exist in Australia, so in spite of being convenient for travel, vacationing in New Zealand feels like an escape to another world!

Do you think you’d like to go to any of these countries? Why or why not?

Austrlia’s National Flower

Wattle1

Recently, most of my Japanese friends have been talking about how it’s Cherry Blossom in Japan. Some of them have naturally asked me about Australian flowers.

Wattle2

The Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) is Australia’s national flower. The Golden Wattle blooms in spring, – beginning September – in Australia, with large fluffy, yellow, sweet smelling flower heads. Each Golden Wattle flower head is a bunch of many tiny flowers. Acacias are popularly called Wattle.
The Golden Wattle tree, is a shrub of about 4-8 metres.

CommonHeath1

I’m living back in the state of Victoria now, which is where I have lived the largest part of my life. So, I identify with it as ‘my home state’. The pink form of Common Heath, Epacris impressa, was proclaimed the floral emblem of Victoria on 11 November 1958. Victoria was the first Australian State to give official recognition to such an emblem. Go Victoria!

CommonHeath2

I wonder if Aichi has a provincial flower?

The Signs of Autumn in Australia

Autumn is here!

Autumn in Australia actually starts on March 1st, so it’s been Autumn here for more than 2 weeks already. Like all our seasons, it lines up neatly with the start of the month. This is different from most countries in the Northern Hemisphere e.g. Japan and America, which have their seasons starting between the 20-23rd of the same months.

Autumn1

Unlike Japan, most Australian forests are made up of evergreen trees, which means their leaves don’t change colour like the leaves of deciduous trees. So, the signs of autumn arriving are not as obvious. There are some places where the change is similar though. There are many vineyards here, and the leaves of grapevines change colour and can be very beautiful.

Autumn2

There is a very different sign of Autumn in Australia that is perhaps more noticeable in everyday life – the approach of Easter and the change in the supermarkets. At Easter time, we eat chocolate Easter eggs and Easter bunnies (rabbits), and in preparation for this, the supermarkets all dedicate a lot of shelf space to the sale of brightly wrapped Easter chocolates.

Autumn3

What do you associate with the arrival of autumn? How about of spring? Does it seem strange to you to imagine Autumn in March?

High School Entrance Exams in Australia?

exams1

While I lived in Japan I’d see junior high school students studying furiously every year to pass exams to get into their preferred high schools. This was unusual to me, as in Australia, students generally don’t do that at all. Mostly, they just go to the high school nearest their house. Quite often, junior and senior high schools are the same place so students don’t have to change schools at all.

exams2

There are some exceptions. Some parents choose to send their children to private schools, which are more expensive than state schools. Also, a growing number of students are home schooled.

When it comes to high school students studying to get into university however, things are much more like they are in Japan. High school students are much more stressed about their future. One difference is that students’ scores from the internal tests and assignments of their high school classes are used to rank their eligibility to enter universities. Generally, each university doesn’t have its own tests like many do in Japan. Another difference is that the most important final tests for Australian high school students are in November.

La Trobe University, Bendigo - My mother and I both went here.

La Trobe University Bendigo – My mother and I both went here.

One final thing of note: It is quite common for people to attend university later in life in Australia. For example, after high school, some may forego university and instead take up a trade, travel the world, or start a family. Then when they are in their 30s or 40s, go back to university and complete their degree. These are called “non-traditional students” or “mature-age students” in Australia, but they are common. I rarely heard of this happening in Japan. Around 40% of Australian tertiary students are between 25-64 years old. As a matter of fact, my mother went to back to university in her late 30s to study to be a high school teacher!

Valentine’s Day Down Under

What do you imagine when you hear the word “romantic”?

Valentine 1

For English speakers, the word “romantic” carries the image of a happy couple, enjoying a date in a beautiful location. Maybe there is wine, good food, laughing and light-hearted flirting. February 14, Valentine’s Day, is one of the most romantic days of the year! It is a day that celebrates romantic love. Restaurants, parks, and movie theaters in Australia will be crowded with couples on that day.

Valentine 2

In Japan, people celebrate Valentine’s Day by giving presents or chocolate to all their favoured coworkers and friends. But Valentine’s Day in Australia is mostly just for partners in a romantic relationship. In addition to romantic dinners, couples in love in Australia might give each other chocolates, roses, bottles of wine, or cards. (If you give chocolates to every girl you know for Valentine’s Day, you may find yourself in a bit of trouble J )

Valentine 3

Of course, not everyone is in a romantic relationship. Many people are single, windowed, divorced, or uninterested in romantic relationships (And everyone deserves a day especially for eating chocolate!). So, some people decide to celebrate other types of love on Valentine’s day, such as love for friends and family. In addition to couples at restaurants, you may see groups of young women out, dressed up in their most beautiful clothes, having a “Gal*-entines Day” celebration. They might even buy each other cards, roses, champagne and desserts in order to say “I am thankful to have you as my friend.”

Whether you have a new crush on* someone at school, are in love with your spouse of many years, or just thankful for the love of your best friends, make sure to tell your loved ones “Happy Valentine’s Day” today!

*Gal- slang word for girl.

*To have a crush on- when you like or are attracted to someone you know

Australia Day!

Australia Day1

Last Friday was Australia Day, forming the Australia Day long weekend.
There were all kinds of celebrations, parades and community events. Australia Day itself was a pleasant 28 degrees but two days later on Sunday it go up to 38 degrees – so hot!

From left to right: meat pie, fairy bread and lamingtons.

From left to right: meat pie, fairy bread and lamingtons.

Some people have a tradition of eating Australian foods on Australia day. I had some friends visiting from America so I found a bakery and had them try some Lamingtons. They are cubes of sponge cake layered with jam, dipped in a chocolate sauce and covered with coconut. They were well received but I can’t vouch* for their healthiness.

Australia Day 3

Not everyone was light hearted and happy though. There were some big marches and protests by the Australian Aboriginal people and those sympathetic to their cause. They took to the streets to raise awareness of racism and native land rights.

*to vouch for – to guarantee something or someone, to assert that it is true based on personal experience

New Year’s Eve in Australia

For many countries, New Year’s Eve is the most important holiday. It represents a new start, a chance to reflect on our lives at the end of a trip around the sun, before beginning another. Australians love celebrating the New Year just as much as everyone else!

New Year

In almost every area in Australia, whether it is a city or a rural town, there is an exciting way nearby to celebrate the New Year. If you are an Australian who lives in a rural place, chances are you will meet up with a few of your friends on New Year’s Eve for a barbecue, bring some beer, and stay up until midnight. When the clock strikes “12:00” you’ll just make a lot of noise — bang on pots and pans, sound alarms, sing song, or run around your neighbourhood to welcome the New Year. Fireworks are illegal for individual use in Australia. Even so, you might still see a few rebels lighting them up in parks or anywhere far from buildings.

New Year1

In the cities, there are always exciting New Year’s Eve events to attend. If in Sydney, be sure to catch the sparkling fireworks display by the Opera House. On the Gold Coast, there are more than 30,000 fireworks set off in time with music during the annual lights display. Melbourne’s fireworks festival is held on the banks of the Yarra River and has a “carnival theme” — rides, musicians, and entertainers of all sorts are there for the celebration of the new year. All the way over in Western Australia, Perth has a yearly street party, where thousands of families gather to enjoy watching street performers, outdoor movies, and the best indie and rock bands. No matter the city, everyone is excited to eat and celebrate with loved ones as they welcome the New Year!

Christmas Lights in Australia

Lights 1

December 25 is an exciting day around the world. But 24 hours goes by pretty quickly! In order to extend the excitement many countries, including Australia, begin to create a Christmas feel several weeks before Christmas Day. In English, we call this “getting into the Christmas spirit.” It can be done by baking Christmas treats, reading traditional Christmas stories with family, listening to Christmas music, putting up the Christmas tree, and decorating houses inside and outside.

Sometimes, entire cities will “get into the Christmas spirit” and adorn government buildings, schools, churches, and entire neighbourhoods in lights. In Australia during Christmas season, families and friends like to drive around in the evening to look at these displays of lights. They can be very impressive!

Lights

As you might expect, many Christmas lights displays are in the shape of Santa, snowmen, the nativity, reindeer, or snowflakes. But these may not feel quite right to Australians, who have Christmas during the hottest time of the year! So we make sure to include some crocodiles, kangaroos, or other very Australian things.

In my city of Melbourne, the town hall is decked out* in Christmas lights. Other cities decorate their most iconic buildings or areas too, as you can see in this picture of the Sydney opera house.

Lights 2

A recent problem Australians have encountered with Christmas illuminations is that they use a LOT of energy. As with other nations in the world, Australia is experiencing an energy crisis, and many families are trying to find ways to cut their energy usage. So what is a Christmas-loving family to do? Use solar panels, of course! Warm, sunny southern-hemisphere summers bring lots of light with them. Many families use solar panels instead of traditional electricity. But if you do not have solar panels installed at your house, not to worry. It’s pretty easy to buy solar-charged Christmas lights. Place them outside your house during the daytime, and they will be ready to use by night!

**To be decked out = fully, impressively decorated.