The strong sun, hot air, and long lasting roads. They welcomed me when I got out of the Dulles airport. I have studied English for years and watched some American TV shows and movies but this is officially my first time coming to the States. I was excited but not nervous so much. One of my biggest goals in this program is speaking a lot of people here to brush up and check my English skill, simply because I rarely have time to be surrounded by English speaking people in Japan. Being active is necessary to achieve it. So far, I’m satisfied with how I act here. sometimes I hesitate to be active but this time I decided not to hesitate at all and be active with my whole energy which is less hard for me when I speak in English somehow (compared to when I speak in Japanese). Only a few days have passed and I really enjoy my life here because I do my best to achieve my goal. I will keep trying for the rest of my days here.
I found out something makes me feel shocked, the fact that I certainly had some kind of stereotype in the States and people here. Since most of the things I learned about them are things I perceived from pop culture(TV shows, movies, etc), Japanese mass media or writings and lectures from Japanese. They capture some of the facts, still, they cannot tell the reality of this country completely. For example, I was surprised that how the diversity of people here affects everything. I assumed the diversity is so natural that people do not pay attention to it. However, it seems that actually, people care the diversity in their daily life. When one introduces himself or herself, they always mention their roots, where they are from, their parents or grand parents are from and how they lived, which Japanese people including myself do not do because there is (mainly) one race in Japan. This natural and unnatural (for me) behavior tells me how big diversity this country has and the fact that people face the diversity seriously. This is a new finding for me which will help me a lot when I think about American culture generally because the diversity and many aspects of American culture have a strong connection.
The word that makes me think deeper is “un-American”. Dr.Knight used the word to represent the act people in Williamsburg did, specifically the act of putting things back to the Coronial era. Usually Americans put things forward, not going back. That is why he said the action is unlike American. I can see that from comparison with Japanese. We have a TV drama based on historic people which is popular in Japan. However Ameriacans do not make such kind of dramas so often. Even if they do, they have some dramatic plot against reality. I can say that the un-American can be seen from this example too.