I have been to Hawaii when I was 2 years old, but I don’t remember it. So effectively this short term study is my first trip to foreign countries.
In my trip, I was surprised at everything such as “I don’t know how to use this shower,” “Cars really go right side on the road,” “Why are American dishes so big and expensive,” “Signals are different from ones of Japan.” In this program, I saw many things that I didn’t know.
I have two topics that I was surprised most. First, intimacy of American people. For example, when I went to the fast food restaurant, the casher told me “How are you?” I was confused because I was never told such a thing in Japan. Here is another example of it. When I saw PA and CI talk each other, PA used friendly words such as “Gotcha.” That sounds strange for me because when Japanese people talk to others who are senior to themselves, they use respectful words in some case that they are lovers. In the presentations of focus groups, a group showed “small talk.” This can explain why the casher told me friendly, but I think it is hard for this to explain the conversation of PAs and CIs because they had known each other and never considered the others as enemy. So I think there is another factor that makes the difference between America and Japan, however I can’t figure out what it is.
Second, the differences of restaurants. What made me confused most was the tip. At first time, I didn’t know when I should pay it, with the charge or separating from. Also that the waiter recommended the sides as it was free made me confused. I couldn’t recognize whether what they told me was about the side or option of the meal I chose because of my poor listening ability. I think that American meals are more expensive than Japan. People hesitate to pay $11 (is equal to about \1100) for a hamburger in Japan.
Before I went to America, I thought that American people were inhospitable to and not interested in others. But actually, they are friendly and kind. For example, the waiter explained how to order very politely and waiters refilled my grass of water without me asking him/her. Also PAs and CIs were very kind even when I mistyped their name! I was grateful for their kindness. Kindness of American people made my trip more enjoyable.
Nowadays MEXT, Japanese ministry of education, are focusing on speaking English. The examination for national universities will change in 2020 to measure candidates’ speaking abilities. But I think this policy is not good by the experiment in America. In my opinion, Japanese student should learn more about listening to English. In America, I had difficulties listening to it when talking with waitress or PAs. Of course, it is difficult to speak English, but by PAs’ help and dictionary, I could tell American people what I want to say. If we don’t have abilities of speaking, we can write down our opinion and thought on notes. But when we don’t have ones of listening, we cannot start even conversation. Before visiting America, I thought speaking is most important, however this short-term study change my opinion.
By using what I learned in America, I want to help Japanese people know American culture and be able to speaking English by teaching English, participating in international fairs and so on.