Akane Ishii journal5

I’m going to write about cultural observation of life in America.

During my stay in America, I noticed some cultural differences between America and Japan.

First, the custom of washing hands and gargle. In Japan, people wash our hands and gargle when we come home so hotels in Japan usually have a cup for gargle in the lavatory. But in American hotels I stayed, there weren’t any cups. Also, Japanese have the custom of washing our hands or wiping off our hands before we eat something. We usually get wet towels in cafes and restaurants in Japan. But American cafes and restaurants didn’t have. I think there are cultural differences of attitude toward hygiene between America and Japan.

Second, difference of the size. American size of food, drink and many kinds of things were bigger than Japan. In almost all restaurants or cafes I went, the volume of food was too much for me to eat everything. I often brought the rest of the food back to the hotel, ate it for breakfast on next day. Also, buildings, people, clothes and so on were big. This is the big cultural differences.

Third, I felt the differences of the consideration for ecology between America and Japan. American cafes and restaurants use paper straw. In Japan, there is a movement to abolish plastic straw and use plastic straw. But in fact, most cafes and restaurants still use plastic straw. I think Japan should use paper straw like America. Furthermore, in America, we can use boxes to bring rest of food in the restaurants. I was impressed to know this culture. In Japan, most restaurants don’t have boxes so we have to throw away the rest. This is not ecological. But on the other hand, people don’t separate their trash in America. In Japan, we divide trash into burnable trash, plastic, paper trash, pet bottle, can, and so on. For example, when I throw away a pet bottle at home, I divide it into a bottle, a label, and a cap of it. Japanese have to separate our trash finely. And in America, the temperature of rooms is lower than Japan. I think Japan and America try different approaches for the global warming.

Forth, the difference of transportation. In Washington D.C., there were many people who ride on a scooter. In Japan, only children ride on a scooter. We say Kick Board in Japanese. But in America, Adults ride on a scooter so I was surprised to see them. And during my stay in America, I often use a car as transportation because it was difficult to go to the college, cafes, shops, and a church on foot. Also, the number of stations, bus stops was less than Japan. I felt American public transportation was less developed than that of Japan.

In addition, I was interested in the difference of the food. I had breakfast at restaurants of the hotel every day in Virginia. I enjoyed viking in the restaurant. There were bananas, oranges, cupcakes, serial, waffles, and so on. I was able to eat many kinds of food but there weren’t any vegetables. Japanese restaurants usually have salad or vegetables for the breakfast. I think American like sweet food rather than healthy food. It was good experiences for me to feel American culture. I had a great time.

Next, I’m going to write about most important things I learned. I learned that it is difficult to communicate with foreign people in English. I have studied English for 8 years and I’m good at writing and reading English in the paper test. But in America, I was not able to express my feeling in English. In the cafes, it was very hard for me to order what I want. I noticed that in the junior high school and high school, I just studied writing and reading English, and the best way to improve my speaking is talking with people in English. In the first week in America, I was a little nervous to talk with American people because my English is not good. I was not able to talk actively. But I learned that the most important thing is not to speak English well but to try to communicate with others. Even if I can only speak words, Americans try to understand my feeling. Since then, I talked to Americans as much as possible. It was hard for me but  it was big progress for me.


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