This was my first time to visit the U.S., so before going there I had several stereotypes of The U.S. However, many stereotypes were broken through experiences in this program.
We had lunch and dinner at many restaurants and cafés. Compared with Japan, my image of clerk in The U.S. was blunt and cold because in japan hospitality is regarded as important. However, now this image was changed. Of course, it depends on the person but many clerks I saw in The U.S. were friendly. They said “Hello. How are you?” and “Have a nice day.” I thought this communication is good custom. In many cases in Japan, there is no communication between clerk and customer. I think hospitality should be consistent with communication and people in Japan should more often communicate each other.
Although I ate junk food many times, there were many options of salad in restaurants and stores and hamburger’s size is smaller than I had expected. I was surprised to find that almost all products have calorie labeling. Preventive measures against obesity are taken in various place. Of course, food’s size is bigger than Japan but people in The U.S. bring back food when they couldn’t eat all of it. I was surprised to see it. Differences concerning meal between Japan and The U.S. were interesting for me. I think it would be better that they carry a container because box was too big.
We learned about culture and history about The U.S. We had question time after the lecture. In Japan we are not given much time to think questions. I thought thinking oneself is considered the most important in The U.S. and I think so too. This field such as culture and history doesn’t have a correct answer, so how to think about it is important. To make good question I tried to understand the lecture correctly.
I thought that various perspective is needed when we learn about history and culture. The lecture by Dr. Vineeta Singh was interesting. She talked about “true history”. I thought the history we have ever studied might be one of viewpoints. History is sometimes used as method for social movements, so history depends on who wrote and told to next generation. Considering this fact, learning true history is hard work. I am studying Western History in university, so I will read many documents from now on. It is important to research how to approach historical documents to learn true history. I think to read documents correctly many knowledges and critical thinking are needed. It is also important to connect history with people now. There are many museums and monuments in Washington D.C. and I visited some of them. I felt a spirit of patriotism there. I also felt that people in The U.S. regard own history as important. By visiting the public facilities I learned how The U.S. think of own history. How people see own history has influence on what history is. This program gave me an opportunity to think over what history is.
One of purpose of this program was to improve my English. Actually I couldn’t “talk” in English. I could respond to a question in some degree but in many cases conversation didn’t continue. Conversation include listening, understanding, thinking and speaking English. I’m able to do them separately but It was hard to do them at same time. I didn’t come up with words that express what I wanted to say. I was sometimes scared of talking in English because of lack of my English skill but I tried to talk with PAs as possible as I can. I became used to talk in simple English thanks to PA and CI’s kindness. I’ll try to improve my English from now on. I had precious experience in this program. I can’t thank everyone enough too much.