Journal 5

Through this program, I learned a lot of things, and my perspective and I myself changed.  Originally, the first impression I had before is that American make the most of argument even in informal conversation, and it did not change until the end.  It is natural that each one has own idea and tries to express it.  So it is important if I talk or not while Japanese communication style is more implicit and I do not need to talk a lot.  Also communication style is more explicit in the US than that in Japan.  American are more open to express their emotion when laughing, surprising or so.  For example, they do not put their hands on their mouth when laughing.

By exposing myself to the American culture, I considered there are three points that make American life be distinguished from Japanese one.  First, typical American diet contains a lot of some kind of fat and oil while typical Japanese diet has low fat ingredients such as vegetables or rice although climate in both places is very similar.  This fact affects the health, which turned out that the number of not thin people in the United States is larger than that in Japan.  Second, People in the US is emotionally open and friendly while Japanese are indifferent to other people.  I was spoken to several times even while walking on the street.  In particular, conversation at the shop or at the restaurant is totally different.  In the US I was asked like “How are you going?”, and I responded to her “I’m fine, thank you. And you?” while in Japan salesclerks just say “Irassyaimase”, which means like “welcome”.  Also, while eating at the restaurant, the waiter often asks us how the food is.  It is said that the service is the better in Japan than any other countries but communication is made the most of in the US.  Third, there are various kind of entertainments outside the house such as bowling, watching baseball, park or adventure park in the US and has close relationship with their lifestyle, which is not seen in Japan.  In Japan the way to spend weekends is limited because of geographical reason or trend but in the US it depends on each one’s will.  They can do something whatever they want to do with some money or time.  I think American has curiosity about enjoyable things.  And it makes them be independent and decisive with the fact of that there are a lot of chances to choose what they do.

However, the most important thing I learned in this program is the awareness of lack of English skills as well as consideration of American culture.  The thing learning in the English class and when preparing for entrance examination of university is partly useless in informal conversation.  However, when I tried to speak English, American people tried to listen to what I mean despite I cannot speak fluently, so I hope that I can translate what I want to say into correct English words unconsciously and immediately in the near future.  Also, it is hard for me to catch the beginning of the sentence, so I will need to try to improve listening skill, too.

After taking part in this program, I became more interested in America and like to learn its culture or history more eagerly than before.  I was able to study the topic which is historically important in this time without missing the relationship with culture.  Now I like to learn especially about the detailed history of African American or Native American and the identity of them in the aspect of nation and each ethnic group, about which I write essays during this program in Japan.  Compared to Japan, there are a lot of ethnic groups in America, whose situation is called “Salad Bowl”, so it is important to understand the race to avoid discrimination again and live together.  Also, I would like to examine the topic that I researched on the focus group to make sure that female singer in both Japan and the US reflects the ideal woman in society by implementing questionnaire by SNS or reading several material by taking much time.

In addition, the perception of US that I had before changed totally.  At first, I thought that history of American is academic and unconsciously it is separated from culture, but I found that both have close relationship such as the relationship of “rock and roll” and African American or so.

Moreover, I myself changed at following four points.  First, I came to think it is not so difficult to have a conversation if I have the strong will to understand what they say in spite of difference of language or culture.  And after overcoming the obstacle of language, I want to live in the US someday.  Second, American communication in the informal conversation or the formal such as during the lecture is speaker-oriented and based on the “call and response” while that of Japan is listener-oriented.  Before I just listen to the class and think about the content during and after the class, but by having the opportunities to ask each professor after the class, I became skeptical in a good meaning and my brain worked fully.  Third, at first I was afraid of countering culture shock but while living in the US, but I leaped beyond the first wall.  I become a little more educated by learning the American history and its culture and came to have curiosity and wide perspective about culture.  Forth, I found the good of Japan, too by living a life in the US and learning American culture.  After I left Japan, I missed Japanese culture that I feel every day in Japan.

I am grateful to all the people who have been involved with me.  Thank you.

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What I learned from this program

Keio University and the collage of William and Mary cultural collaboration program let me know not only American culture but also history, art and communication. I study communication especially relationships between technology and human, and think about the meaning of “communication” from various aspects such as different culture, language and people in Keio. This program helped me to understand cross-cultural communication.

In the first place, the reason why I joined the program is to brush up my English skills and do everything that I cannot do in Japan. Before I went to the U.S., one of my friends told me that I could do what I wanted to do in the U.S. because there was a lot of information on the Internet. However, I think even if information technology has developed, there are many things in the U.S. that I cannot learn in Japan. For example, we can take English class in Keio, but there are few opportunities to speak English especially those who do not take English class but other language classes have no such opportunities.

There are three points that I learned from this program.

First, American history was deeper and more complex than I had expected. I studied American history as one of the world histories in high school, but it was superficial. For example, the teacher said, “the North and the South had competed because they had different opinions about slavery. The Civil War was one of the worst wars in the world, and it made Americans change their thinking about slavery. However, the discrimination between white and black Americans has existed until modern age such as The Civil Rights Movements.” Actually, I was interested in history in foreign countries such as America and European countries because the information was what I had not known and these opinions have related to ones until today. The U.S. has various races from all around the world and experienced discrimination and slavery, so the U.S. has multi-culture and many people can discover new things even if they are American. On the other hand, Japan is “homogeneous nation” because only Ainu and Ryukyu people have existed throughout Japanese history, so Japan has few experiences (or fogotten) of discrimination. From the history, Japanese people may think that they do not need to consider discrimination and living with other races or foreigners. This is my opinion, but I could not notice the difference of thinking about histories between Japan and the U.S. without studying in the U.S.

Second, discussions in dialogue class made me changed the way of expression. In Keio, there are opportunities to discuss issues with members in groups in order to submit homework such as reports. On the other hand, students in William and Mary especially PAs said something when professors asked question. Also, in the dialogue class, some students have knowledge and asked question or express their opinions. As someone said that what we have no answers means we are not interested in your speech or lecture. This proverb changed my thought and made me tell people my opinion even if I could not hit upon an idea. By saying something in my words, I can hear others’ opinions and they let me know a new viewpoint.

Finally, I could get elements for my dream. My dream is to research how people are attracted by advertisements, and I want to make use of the results and to introduce Japanese culture to foreigners who do not know much Japan. Recently, Japanese culture has been focused, but I think it is a part of Japan. In order to let them know Japan, I should not study on the Internet but walk to places and take note of local opinion and discover new aspects of Japan. To listen to local people’s opinions, I need “communication” which means understanding each other and keep in touch to collect each information.

Thanks to the program, I could change my viewpoint.

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Journal 5

This cross cultural program will be one of the most impressive and exciting experiences in my campus life. That was the first time for me in the point of visiting the U.S. and staying abroad for more than a couple of weeks. First of all, in Japan, I thought it was hard for me to share a room and to act as a group for such a long time. However, the members of both Keio and W&M are so fun, kind and brilliant that I could spend whole times without almost any stressful situations. I didn’t have painful events except which I could not eat Japanese foods for a while and the cost for eating out was a little more expensive than in Japan. I also enjoyed lectures, discussion and preparation for presentation. Every moment in the program is unforgettable memory.

Before the program, I only thought the U.S. had strong ties to Japan in economic and political areas, and I didn’t think it was a close country to Japan mentally because I don’t listen to American music and watch American dramas or movies. However, my perception of the U.S. quite changed through this program. I learned that the history of the U.S. is shorter than that of Japan, but it contains a lot of things we, Japanese people, have to study in order to realize equal and peaceful society. Also, because I made many American friends of W&M and spent a long time with them, I feel the U.S. is one of the closest country now, though I still don’t have interest in American music, dramas and movies. Moreover, through this program, I learned the other most important thing: that is the importance of studying English. Actually I don’t like studying English because my effort doesn’t tend to pay off, so I am not good at it. In the U.S., however, I could not only state my opinion but also understand other people’s opinions during the dialogue class. That was disappointing me because I like discussion. I found that I have to study English in order to exchange opinions with foreign people as well as Japanese people. So I am going to study English hard from the autumn semester. In addition, I especially studied the colonial history and the civil war in Williamsburg. Then I also got interested in the economy of the U.S. I want to understand comprehensive the United States.

When it comes to cultural observations of life in the U.S., I was surprised at a couple of situations mainly. First, there was not vegetable in breakfast of both the dorm and the hotels. Ideal breakfast of Japan always have vegetables. I wonder that vegetables are a little precious in the U.S. Second, when we went to The Diamond, I found the style of watching baseball games was quite different from Japan. There were few supporters who wore the uniforms of the teams. Also no one played the trumpet or the drum as I had known. I am a fan of baseball and I like to cheer as a group with the performance of instruments like Japanese style, but I think it is easier to visit stadiums for people who don’t have interest in baseball a lot and don’t know how to cheer in American style than Japanese one. However, there were fewer differences in daily life between the U.S. and Japan than I had expected. That may be because the term was too short, so I want to stay for longer time when I go to the U.S. Finally, I want to thank all staffs of the cross cultural program.

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Journal 5

    Almost three weeks have passed since I came back to Japan. Time flies very fast! I was able to study abroad in this summer that I have always wanted to do since I entered the university. Although I have been studying English at school and to attend an English conversation school, it was my first visit to the United States and it was also first time that I boarded the airplane for such a long time, so I was worried whether I could endure this situation or not.

     However what I worried most was about meals. Before going to the US, I thought somewhere in my heart that Japan and the US are completely different country. Thus I thought that the eating habits were totally different, and I worried that I might eat a hamburger everyday. Yet it was not. I was able to eat various kinds of food, for instance, Spanish food, Chinese food, Indian Food and so on. One of the best meals that I tried in this program was Chinese food that I ate at restaurant in China town. It was so good.

     While I was in the United States, I and other Keio students were taken care of by CIs and PAs very much. They helped us a lot and they devised this program that we could enjoy. They showed us the campus, postponed the deadline of Journal, and took us to the baseball ground to see baseball match. Also took us to bowling alley and Japanese embassy. We really enjoyed it, and had a great time. Thank you for everything.

     As for this studying abroad, I wanted to improve my English skill to speak English and communicate with friends. But I could also learn American history, politics, culture trough lectures, field trips, discussion, and research, so I was able to gain new sense of value from there. Also there are much more things that I have been able to grow up. For example I was able to make friends with college of William & Mary students and I was also able to talk with a wide range of people from different backgrounds, so this leaded to a widening of viewpoint. Because of this, I keenly realized that there are a lot of things that we do not know without practical experience, even if intending to comprehend things that I did not know by reading books and watching TV. That was exactly “A picture is worth a thousand words”. I was able to learn many aspects of the United States in this program. It was a great experience for me.

  In addition, if there is an opportunity, I would like to go to the United States once again. And I would like to study the relationship between United States and Japan in a more academic way. I hope I will come back the United States in the near future because I am planning to study abroad for years.

      Anyway, I just appreciate to everyone who involved this Keio University/College of William & Mary cross−cultural collaboration program. I look forward to being able to meet in October again. Thank you very much!

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Journal #5

I was really having a fulfilling days during this program, so I felt that time went by so fast. There were a lot of fun things like Free Day activities and party, but I didn’t always enjoy this program. There were a large number of difficult things. For example, the focus group work was hard because it was difficult for me to read a data in English and make a presentation in front of audience. When I took frame work lectures in English, I couldn’t catch them at all. I realized that even if I want to tell someone about something, I don’t know what I have to say, and it was so frustrating not to be able to express myself well in English.

I’ve been to America several times. Whenever I go there, I can find new things about culture, people’s way of thinking, custom and so on. I think it’s a one thing that makes me excited. I have felt the differences between the US and Japan many times. And during this program, I could find a lot of new things. There are 5 things.
First, I was surprised at eating habits. As for the size, in the US, all things are very big. For example, a large size drink in Japan is smaller than a medium size drink in America. American people hardly eat vegetable. In Japan, I usually eat vegetable every meal. But when I was in America, I didn’t eat it in the morning. For the first a couple of days, I almost never ate it. In lieu of it, I ate a lot of fruit in the morning. And I was amazed to look at sweets, especially cake. Cake butter was red and whipped cream was green. As I just described, Japanese food and American food are quite different. That’s why some people said that they missed Japanese food in America, and they brought Japanese food like miso soup, rice and so on. But when I in the US, I didn’t miss Japanese food. It is not that I was not tired of eating American food like hamburgers and sandwiches every day. However, when I came back to Japan and ate Japanese food, I thought it is the best after all. Unlike American food, Japanese food is very healthy and light seasoning. I thought that it suits my taste perfectly.
Second, I found that the difference of climate. I think the climate of America is better than that of Japan. Because it is nice and cool in America while it is hot and humid all the time in Japan. When I arrived in Japan, it was so hot that I thought I was almost melting in this whether. On the other hand, in the US, even if it was hot in the daytime, it was cool and comfortable in the shade.
Third, I have to have own opinion and convey my thought accurately. In Japan, people have a tendency to align themselves with the opinions of those around. And they feel concerned about having different opinions from others. Also if he or she is extremely self-assertive, they are thought to be selfish and in some cases, they get on their bad side. But since I went to the US, I thought that I have to have opinions and express it to other person. When I take lectures, I have to do it positively, not passively.
Forth, when a speaker and a listener cannot share information, in Japan, people tend to consider that a listener is accountable for sharing information because he or she doesn’t listen carefully. On the other hand, in the US, people think that a speaker has to explain it to a listener in a way that he or she will understand, and a speaker is responsible for it all.
Fifth, I didn’t know the difference in way of thinking about overworking. In Japan, it is normal that people work extra hours. My father comes back home in the middle of the night every day. On the other hand, in the US, it is natural that people leave at the fixed time. If he or she works overtime, they are considered to be incompetent.
As I already mentioned, there are a variety of differences between the US and Japan. Also there are a variety of differences in the US because it is a huge country. Of course, in Japan, there are differences between city and countryside. But the US is more diverse. For example, both New York and Washington D.C are city towns, but I think the scenery of both cities is completely different. I think it’s interesting to find different things like this. That’s why I want to go to not only Washington D.C and Williamsburg but also different parts of America.

At the end, I cannot improve my English skill in a short period of time. Of course I had a lot of chances to speak in English for the duration of this program, but I spoke in Japanese in many cases because there were a lot of Japanese people in this program. However, by taking part in a new community, I could get to know people who have opinions different from acquaintance by now and who have sharp sense of improving their English skill. And so it gave me an impetus to study. I thought that my English is poor and I have to study English harder once again. Having a rich vocabulary and phrases of English is different from knowing how to handle them. I know little of daily life conversation in English because I have studied grammar at school. By exposing me to tough environment, I can improve myself. I want to keep trying new things and to improve myself now and forever. I think this is the start, not the end and I want to try my hardest. Taking part in this program was a good experience for me. I’d like to thank everyone involved with me.

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Journal4

In August, 13, Thu, we went to Washington D.C.

The way to go Washington D.C is very long. So, I wrote Journal3 in this way.

After that, I checked in Beacon Hotel and went to sight seeing with friends.

For example, White House, The state of Lincoln and so on.

I was very surprised by the large of White House and many people around the White House.

The state of Lincoln is far from other sites. So, I was very tired.

However, I was moved by the large of that state and the scene from that place.

And, I had dinner at McDonald’s.

All foods of American McDonald’s are bigger than the ones of Japanese McDonald’s.

In August, 14, Fri, We went to Japanese embassy in the morning.

I ‘m glad to hear precious lecture of Japanese ambassador to the U.S.

In the afternoon, we took Dialogue class about Washington D.C and American government.

I was very sad because I thought that this Dialogue class is the last.

After that, We, in the Focus Group, went to Super Market and had dinner together.

I felt very happy at this time and thought that this Focus Group is great group.

In, August,15, Sat, I went to the church near by the White House in the morning and prayed for Jesus Christ.

I thought that American mass resembles Japanese one.

And, I felt that many stand glasses in the church is very beautiful.

In the afternoon, I went to the George Town and enjoyed shopping.

I was very happy. That is because there are many shops and goods of these shops are very cheaper than the ones of Japanese shops.

After that, we had Farewell dinner and Talent show. These party were in full swing and I was very happy.

I was moved by the slide show in Talent show. nostalgic memories came rushing back to my mind.

In August, 16, sun, we left Washington D.C and went to the airport. Goodbye to many people made me very sad.

And, I appropriated them that they helped us to live in comfortable situation. 

 

 

I’m very sorry to a lot of delay of submission.

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Journal 5

   Someone said, “Americans like politics. But you had better avoid of talking about a topic of politics because of a long talk.” I suspected his words before arriving at United States. I believed that many people were not interested in politics in our generation. For example, a voter turnout was low in Japan. In the Japanese national election of 2014, a voter turnout is about 50%. I thought that United States had same kind of circumstance as Japan. But I found out his words is true when I arrived at College of William & Mary. In other words, I realized almost all Americans liked to talking politics and made noting of long discussion of it. In fact I met with many Americans who insisted their own opinions during this program. Why are many Americans interested in politics? Why do many Americans have their own opinion of contemporary issues? In order to answer this question, I will discuss some example which I have experienced during this trip. I will deal with protest against a particular issue in front of the White House, a Sunday service and students of W & M.

     I went to the White House just after arriving at Washington D.C. This is because I watched TV drama West Wing which focused on president and his staffs so I wanted to look Oval Office. Actually I was more surprised at many people who protested and insisted a particular issue in front of the White House than at the White House itself. A man protested nuclear weapon and lived in a tent. Some Catholic group criticized gay marriage and insisted importance of pro-life. I went to the White House four time during staying Washington D.C., and I looked these people each time I visited it. I am interested in the fact that many people insist on their own opinion daily.

    I found out politics in a church. I participated in Sunday service twice during this trip. In Williamsburg I visited evangelical Lutheran church. I heard that a pastor criticized a politician seeking the nomination of the Republican Party. In Washington D.C., I visited an episcopal church and listened to an insistence of free speech. Both churches dealt with not only religion but also politics. This is American relationship between politics and religion.

    In addition to Activist and pastor, students have their own political views. Discussing with W&M students is extremely valuable for me. I talked with a student who majored in governance. He told me a problem of republican debate. I anticipated people who studied politics were interested contemporary issues, but I did not anticipate people who studied international relations or American culture had own opinions of politics. For example, I discussed a problem of Obama Care and an insurance system with a student during sightseeing in Washington D.C. In addition, I and another student talked about disputable issues when we visited Smithsonian museums. She talked about gay marriage, abortion and multiculturalism. All student who discussed with me had their own views of politics and had courage to insist on their opinions. I was impressed with them. At the same time, I wonder why many Americans can do it?

   Many Americans like a history and study hard it. I guess they derive solutions to contemporary issues from a history. For example, I rode taxi in Washington D.C. and taxi driver spoke to me friendly. When taxi driver talked about modern politics, he referred to Daniel Webster. In contrast to American, little Japanese associate today’s politics with past. Of course, I do not think all American have a correct historical view and derive solutions to present issues from it. But it is important for democracy that each citizens show their opinions for improving their government. Abraham Lincoln emphasized “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Some elitist seem to call Lincoln’s this phrase as “mobocracy” or “mob rule” because they think democracy is principle of mass and destroys order. But it is important for maintenance of democracy that each citizens show their opinions even if these opinions are not good. Many American tend to express their own view while Japanese do not. I think Japanese should study a history and have courage to insist on their own opinions. This is my conclusion from this program.

“Voter turnout in Japan: 1946 – 2014,” http://www.soumu.go.jp/senkyo/senkyo_s/news/sonota/ritu/index.html, Ministry of International Affairs and Communications, accessed 20 August 2015. “Voter turnout always drops off for midterm elections, but why?” http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/07/24/voter-turnout-always-drops-off-for-midterm-elections-but-why/, accessed 20 August 2015. “Gettysburg Address,” http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/gettysburg.htm, accessed 20 August 2015.

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journal 4

What impressed me most in Washington D.C. was World War Ⅱ because it made me think a lot about how such a memorial monuments should be and be thought by people.

In the World War Ⅱ memorial, a lot of people, including me, took pictures of monuments or themselves. It is true that the monuments are kind of tourist spot, however, it is not the biggest meaning of the monuments. The most important meaning is to reconsider wars, especially World War Ⅱ there. It is not until people go there think of war and peace that the monuments are made much of. If people died in wars saw many people taking pictures, laughing and making V sign in front of cameras, they would not be happy, but might be disappointed or get angry. Therefore, I do not think that just having fun in such a place is not enough.

However, the existence of such a monuments itself is very important and valuable to me because it remains us of the war. Tough I have to take it into consideration that the United States is the winner and Japan is loser, there are much less monuments about war in Japan than in the United States. In other word, people in the United States have more opportunities to touch and think of war, even if those monuments symbolize the victory of the United States. In Japan, it seems that they are trying to look away the war.

What surprised me was the fact that even though there are more opportunities in the United States, the United States is still have some wars even those days.

Now that in Japan the collective self-defense is one of big issues, all the Japanese people should reconsider war and peace not only summer, when the month of the two atomic bombs and declaration of “lose”, but all the time. Moreover, we should think of them as problem of not only history or past, but also present or future. I believe that the first to do that and lead others are we, who visited such a monument in direct.

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During our stay at Washington DC, I was able to rediscover the fact that the United States is a big country with huge economic power. All government buildings were enormous and not to mention the national mall held a lot of exhibits. However, while I saw how I saw Washington DC is thriving as the capitol city of the United States, I also realized that there are many poor people living in the city and that it had poor public security. We had a lot of time where we could explore the town on our own. At first I felt a bit unsecured, since at Williamsburg we moved in groups during our free time so it was our first time to be on our own, plus Washington DC. seemed to be a place with poor public security. I cannot deny the fact that I had sometimes where I felt danger during the night. And this, I have never experienced in Japan.
They seemed to be many people who had English as their second language. At Williamsburg I did not have much trouble understanding what people had said. However, at Washington DC. many people spoke with different accents which was hard to tell, and I really had a hard time communicating with people.
What most made me interested in Washington DC was its history and how it was founded. I never knew that people living there didn’t have the right to vote until 1961 and also that the constitution said they need to have a Capitol. The lecture done by Mathews about, “no taxation without representation” was complicated but was interesting. I learned that Washington DC lacks congressional representation. In Japan there is a similar kind of issue, where there is gap between the value of individual vote. I think as long as the government is democratic, they have to keep on trying to make these gaps smaller so that each one of the people will be able to have the same amount of right.

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Entry 4

Entry 4

  Among many valuable insights and precious moments in Washington D.C., which I could never have had in Japan, I would pick up a couple to round off the program.

What I discerned most remarkably in D.C. is the distinct roles of city and country from those of Japan. In Japan, cities are generally more popular to live in, because many facilities are centered on metropolises, which seems to be the same in the U.S. Country is less popular in Japan and the population is decreasing. However, the negative influence of polarization is less serious in the U.S., the reason of which I think rich people prefer living in suburbs since the U.S. has much larger area of land and crime rates are lower in suburbs. I realized differences of atmosphere between D.C. and Williamsburg, which was subtly different from those between Tokyo and, for example, Nagano (which is country in Japan). As I see it, Tokyo is superior to Nagano in terms of anything but sightseeing and agriculture. On the other hand, many prestigious colleges are located in suburbs in the U.S., which cannot happen in Japan where overconcentration of everything to Tokyo has been seriously problematic. I felt that D.C. was too crowded and artificial, observing the structure of city and movements of people. Even though Tokyo is crowded and, in some sense, artificial in much the same way as D.C. is, somehow I could hardly say that D.C. is more a place I want to live in rather than Williamsburg in a way that I could say Tokyo is rather than Nagano with relative ease. It is really interesting to think about the reason, but I cannot figure out it now, because the deadline of this journal is in a minute.

In leisure, I enjoyed everything in D.C., which included exploration of Smithsonian Museum, visit to Japanese Embassy, and shopping in Pentagon City. The most memorable scene was any moment of chatting with friends, which was always fun regardless of where we were. They added some additional stuff to my stay, which made it more than a mere trip, more precisely, more than a most valuable experience ever, or I should say which made dreamlike memory I wish lasting.

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