Journal 5

Through the CCC program, I found some cultural differences between American and Japanese, but I was surprised that there were a lot of similarities between them. Before I went to America, I thought that American lives are completely different from Japanese, and that we cannot find the differences in detail without going to America. When I go to a restaurant, how I order? When I want to buy a drink from a vending machine, can I buy it? This is my first time to go to foreign countries, so I don’t know anything. I could only imagine about the foreigner’s life. However, I could buy something in America as same way as I buy anything in Japan. This is just a example, but I found some cultural similarities between American and Japanese.
We focus on Individualism and Collectivism in our focus group presentation, and I think most Japanese young people tend to adjust themselves to major culture. However, this tendency is just a part of Japanese young people’s culture, and I do not think all Japanese people tend to do like that. Actually, some Japanese people want to have their unique identities and to show them. For example, some young Japanese girls like musicians who are not popular. They like listening to music written by unpopular musician, and this preference is a part of their identities. They are called “Sub-culture girls/boys” in Japan, and I guess they would like to live in Individualism society. In other words, they keep their identities based on their consumption. They want to be cultural minorities so they buy any unpopular musician’s CDs. Yet I am not sure that this is correct example which expresses that there are some Individualism aspects in Japan because I do not know they buy same CDs in Individualism society. They might want to escape from excessive Collectivism society, but I do not know they want to live in Individualism society. Even though this is not a correct example, the existence of Sub-culture girls/boys may express the fact that some Japanese people want to have a unique identity. Also, American think about their identities definitely. This is a similarity between some Japanese and American. However, there is a difference of thinking about identity. American know about their identities and their own histories. In Japan, we sometimes talk about our identities or our histories or our social class, but American talk about them in their everyday life. Through talking with American students in this program, I felt this difference.
In the lectures and Dialogue Class, I learned about the struggle for getting civil rights a lot. We saw this problem from some perspectives (Racism, Gender and Sexuality, Politics, Religion, Citizenship, and so on). When I studied about them, I learned about the root of American thinking. They put importance to individual, and generally, they do not force someone to anything. In Japanese collectivism, I feel that we are always forced to adjust ourselves to majority by someone. Even when we chose free day activity from some choices, I remember that Japanese students talked with each other and decided. So it was natural that almost all of students chose one choice (Yorktown Beach). However, American students was surprised that this result (because they live in Individualism society). I think this is a part of cultural differences.
Personally, I prefer American Individualism society than Japanese one because I think there is a freedom. I guess there are also some difficulties to choose their own way when they live in the society, but I would like to live in freedom. I would like to study more about Individualism and Collectivism, and to learn American ideas about that.

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