Monami Hibi – Journal Entry 5

I could make this program one of the most valuable experience in my life. I will write about what I learned and what I thought throughout this program.

Firstly, I will compare my first impression of the difference between the US and Japan with what I think about it now. About food, my first impression about it, which is what I wrote in the Journal 1, was that American food is unhealthier, oily and large. I found this is partly true. Japanese people tend to finish all the meals served by a restraint while people in the US do not care if they leave them. Therefore, the amount of served food in the US is big, but they do not eat much food. It is true that everyone does not do so, and someone would eat all. However, the notion that people in the US eat a lot because the served food is big is wrong. This notion comes from Japanese way of thinking because we eat all of the served food. This is because our culture and education. We are told that we should not leave and waste food. One example for this is a Japanese myth that seven gods live in every grain of rice. Also, in the most Japanese elementary school do not permit students to leave their lunch. Sometimes, and often in the past, they cannot leave the seat until they finish their lunch. Otherwise, I heard why a lot of food is served in the US. That is in order to satisfy customers. When a restaurant has to raise the price of a meal, customers do not want to pay much money for the small amount. Therefore, the amount of a meal that restaurants serve became larger in order to make customer buy a expensive meal.

Another subject I was interested in and I wrote in the Journal 1 is about their characteristic. For their statements, I did not observe statements by American people because we do not have a lot of time to see the conversation between American people. I will do this next time. For their fashion, my perception was little changed. Before this program, I thought people in the US do not care about other people’s fashion, and different people wear different clothes while what Japanese people wear tends to be similar. However, it was not true. What people in the US wear seemed to be easy to wear while moving and working compared to that of Japanese, but they looked like very similar. Many people wear just a T-shirt and a pant. It can be said people in the US give priority to whether their fashion is comfortable rather than what other people think about their fashion, which is stereotypical American culture. However, it cannot be explained as stereotypical images that their fashion was similar.

Secondly, I have two important things I learned through this program. One is English speaking skills. I learned how to answer when someone is talking and how to describe difficult things to explain. About the former, I was not good at telling a speaker my expression by a short term. I got some idioms during this program. I was happy to know them because they make the conversation with foreigners smooth. About the latter, I could not sometimes tell what I wanted to tell or understand what a speaker wanted to tell. We often had to speak again in another way. I learned how to do it. The useful terms were “like~” and “I mean ~.” It was good that at the last of this program, we talked in English without dictionary or Google Translate. Another important thing I learned was African American culture. Actually, I like that culture before visiting the US, because my favorite author often writes about them. Therefore, I am glad I could learn deeply about it and the back ground. The story about segregation was impressive. I had known the outline, but this was the first time for me to hear the details. Also, it was exciting to see the exhibitions in African American museum. I came to like their culture more.

Finally, what I want to learn more is segregation both in Japan and in the US. I heard about segregation many times in the US, but I could give no examples about segregation in Japan. Therefore, I want to learn about the cases in Japan more and then learn about the cases in the US more deeply.

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