This program was so exciting and I learned and experienced a lot of things, but the most important experience is that I touched cultures and histories of the United States. The purpose I joined this Cross-Cultural Collaboration Program is to understand other cultures and its background. I think everything has its own background and history. For example, todays American race problem is deeply involved with history of the United States. By understanding culture of other people, we can also understand their history. In the lectures, I learned many American cultures and its histories, so I was so excited. I also had many valuable experiences.
When I went to York River, I got lost and realized the largeness of the United States. It was very vast wetland so I learned that Virginia has wet climate. There were so many crabs and beautiful nature. I wondered that there are so many natural areas in Virginia because before the trip I thought that eastern coast of the United States has long history so it has been developed completely.
In another free day, I went to art museum. It was so big museum and there were so many pictures and statures. I surprised that there were art of all over the world and all periods. It is amazing that one state has so many valuable art. In Japan, one prefecture has art far less than that of Virginia. I am jealous because museums in the United States are so fulfilling.
Walking tour of Colonial Williamsburg was interesting. I saw many historical buildings in there. Last day I went to Kyoto for trip and I saw many Japanese traditional architectures such as shrines or temples, so it was interesting to compare old buildings of each countries. One big difference between the United States and Japan is that in the United States, whole town is preserved as old condition but in Japan only sacred place or historically important building are maintained as old style, and almost all of buildings in the city are rebuilt as modern style. This awareness may be not clear because I have seen only Williamsburg and Washington D.C., but I think there are some reasons. Firstly, most American historical buildings are made of stones, so it is easy to preserve whereas Japanese counterparts are made of woods so sometimes lost by fires or earthquakes. Also there may be difference of the consciousness of protection of cultural properties. I want to know someday.
Smithsonian museums were so exciting for me because I like nature and history. The most impressive museum was National Museum of the American Indian. I saw the exhibition about history, culture, and current life of native Americans. I understood their interesting traditions and painful history. I think the movement that tell people about not only brilliant history of the United States but also people who struggled in it is admirable. Japanese government should learn from this.
In this program, I learned and experienced a lot and interacted with many people. I will not forget this summer. I would like to show my appreciation to everyone who joined this program.