Yoshinao Itakura – Journal Entry 5

                 In this final journal, I am explaining mainly three points. One is most important things I have learned, and second is how my perception of the United States changed before and after the Keio U/W&M CCC. Third is the cultural observations of life in US, especially about food.

                 Firstly, what is most important for me is “Have courage (and be kind)” As you know, this phrase appears in the Disney film, Cinderella, which is my favorite word. If you encourage yourself, and are confident in yourself, you can try something new, and leave your comfort zone. Through this program, I tried many things. The biggest challenge for me is that I decided to take part in this program half a year ago. I sometimes felt sorry for my parents about costing much money, and I was wondering what if my parents would stop me from participating. But I enjoyed myself very much, and learned a lot. So now I would like to go back in time to tell myself thanks. I had two other scenes where I needed to encourage myself. One is when I was going to Maymont, which I do not forget absolutely. I needed bravery to fight for inviting other students. I was very happy that the number of Keio students going to Maymont changed from 1 to 6 people. Another is that when I decided to do “Otagei”, a kind of Japanese anime culture, at the talent show of the farewell party. When I packed my luggage before the departure, I needed to choose between the leather shoes and penlights, because of the lack of free space. Of course I decided to bring the latter. But at the time I did not practice anything, and was wondering if I would really do. I had done only once before that, and I felt a little ashamed. But it was great to be able to gather students and do our talent show. So, when you decide something regardless of the importance, you need your courage, but you will have a great experience.

                 Secondly, I have changed my perceptions about American Society through this program. Before visiting America, I felt that the nation, the United States, is a multiracial society, and cooperative to support and activate. But I took lessons about American history and hashtags, I found that there are still many segregations and discriminations against the Indians, black people, and women.  This is very difficult to understand for me living in a racially homogeneous nation. But I do not just feel this in Japan, and other people may feel. In fact, there are full of words in the news, 〇〇- hara, such as sexual harassment, and power harassment. I have looking for the difference between US and Japan, and I feel that the minority groups have stronger power in US than in Japan. American people can raise the loud and insist, and in contrast Japanese people are likely to swallow and put up with hardship. This is both a good side and a bad side of Japan. But in essence, both of them have the same problems in human relationships.

                 Thirdly, I would like to say that American foods are very harmful and dangerous. During this program, I ate too much amount of foods, for example, hamburgers, sandwiches, pancakes, and pizza. They all are made of wheat, which includes gluten. My college friend have studied it, and gave a presentation about whether foods free of gluten are valuable in Japanese markets. Gluten is a kind of proteins, and is sometimes bad for people’s health. A tennis player, Novak Djokovic, is famous for eating gluten-free food. In Japan, gluten-free foods just like healthy cookies are a little expensive. If Japanese people eat something gluten-free, they will be good for their health. And now they are not needed very much, but in the future, it will become more necessary. On the other hand, I have understand instinctively that American people should decrease the amount of food having gluten. One of the reasons why many American people are fat in comparison with Japanese people is eating too much foods composed of wheat. In American markets, gluten-free foods are worthy of buying right now. If American people do not have gluten-free foods, they will be very bad for their health. So you should have healthy foods such as vegetables, and fruits, and you do not need gluten. Surprisingly and ironically, after arriving at Japan, I measured my body weight, and I have lost about two kilograms. Yeah, I do not need to get hard exercises.

                 Finally what I would still like to learn about is American music. I want to broaden my minds on music, but I know little. Is there any recommendation? I listened to Ariana Grande’ songs. They are so nice.

                 Therefore, through this wonderful program, I have learned that bravery is sometimes necessary, and there are almost same problems about human relationships, and gluten-free food is better in US. I really appreciate all students and teachers, and WM!

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