I had a precious experience at the College of William and Mary this summer. I found many things about the culture of Williamsburg and Washington D.C. by seeing it my own eyes. I was not surprised by the cultural differences between Japan and the U.S. because I used to live in New York when I was a high school student. But still I was impressed by the size of everything in the U.S. as I got used to the Japanese one after a while. I loved how they satisfied me whatever I ordered because they were so big and tasted good. I kind of regret that I should have bought more snacks at Trader Joe’s and CVS even though my luggage was pretty full. The two weeks in the U.S. made me love the food life of American people again, and I wish there were Chipotle, Panera Bread and Buffalo Wild Wings in Japan.
Also, I learnt a lot of things about American culture and history through the lectures and I think that now I understand more about the U.S. One thing that I was surprised during the stay in Virginia was that there were many colored people than I expected. All the people in the Zion Baptist Church that I visited were black and it was the scene that I had never seen. Moreover, most people in the Richmond Library where I took the lecture of American racism were black, and the teacher asked us what percentage the black people account for in the U.S. I was very surprised by the answer that they account for only 12%, as I was expecting it was something like 30-40%. In the place called Westchester where I used to live in New York, there were many white people, so I felt that the race in the U.S. depends on the region.
Beside the lecture, another thing I learnt was that people in Williamsburg were kind and amiable. What I thought about people in New York was that they were busy and hurrying. Also in Tokyo where I live now, there are a lot of people to the extremely tiny area. So it’s always crowded in the cities and especially the train during the commuting hours is exhausting. People only communicate to a minimum in the store, and sometimes they don’t even make eye contact with staff. But in Williamsburg, I enjoyed talking with the local people. There were a lot of families with babies and old people, so I felt that the place was warm and happy. I could forget about the bad things of the urban life during the stay in Williamsburg.
Overall, I realized that I really do like the U.S. and thought someday I would like to live somewhere in the U.S. again. I did not feel very thankful and how lucky I was when I lived in New York as I moved to the U.S. because my father was transferred for his job. But after coming back to Japan, I started missing the life in the U.S. Then I found this program and asked my parents for permission by myself, and I had a wonderful time in Williamsburg and Washington D.C. In the future, I want to become a woman that can work all around the world and come to the U.S. for job and live there. As I am a junior student at the university, I was worried about staying in the foreign country this summer because I needed to do the job searching. But I am very happy to be part of this program because this experience made me think about myself and what I want to do in the future. I am already missing Williamsburg and all the people I met, but I would like to use this experience and keep thinking about my identity and job in the future.