My first impression was that there were more things America has in common with Japan than I had expected. When I arrived at the airport and came to Williamsburg by bus, I saw many cars from the window. There were so many Toyota’s and Honda’s. They were the same cars as Japan. And at Target, I found several things that Japanese supermarkets also sell. For example, chocolate snacks or cookies like Oreo.
Because both of two countries are developed and the world is globalizing today, cars or foods or etc. can move easily and be sold in different country. But it’s not the same exactly.
In the supermarkets, goods are more colourful and bigger than Japanese because they are sold better than less colourful or smaller ones. But when I saw the colourful snacks, I thought they looked like poisonous and didn’t want to buy them. And moreover, when I saw big-sized snacks, I thought I would be unable to eat them up, so I didn’t want to buy them either. This is one of the cultural differences. Because many Americans think it’s more attractive when it’s bigger and more colourful. But I think many Japanese don’t feel like that. Americans like more colourful thing, more different colour or characteristics. I think it’s related with the idea that have importance on diversity. Meanwhile, Japanese don’t like stand out. The same colour, the same attitude, same shapes are liked,
In the first lecture, I thought it is difficult to define what culture is because the subjects of culture are changing. Culture is made not only by one nation or society, but also by the entire world. Dr. Knight also said that. Today, many people move around the world, so it’s hard for them to say “I’m the local of one certain district.” Someday, we will say “we are locals of the earth,” like SF movies.
At first, this was difficult to understand for me because I was born and brought up in Tokyo and have never lived in anywhere else. So, if someone ask me where is my local, I can say obviously it’s Tokyo.
I think Japanese move less like me than Americans do because Japan has the lifetime employment system. Once we get jobs, most of us don’t need move. It’s a big difference between America and Japan. I wonder why Americans change jobs and move. I think one of the reasons is because America has the merit system. Under that system, people seek improvement of their ability and when it improved, they change their jobs for more payment. Meanwhile, Japanese are conservative and want stable life.
During this program, I want to observe carefully, as Dr. Kitamura said, and find more differences or what we have in common. I think this will help me to understand culture not only of America but also Japan.