Before I visited the US, I thought most people were unfriendly and I could not walk around by myself because of unsafety. When I was a freshman of Keio university, I learned colored people have been discriminated until now. Also I am female so I thought I would be discriminated because of sex. After I came to the US, I found discrimination surely existed. For example, Dr. Mel Ely said African-American or native American people have been discriminated. Moreover, they have been separated because of their poverty. Also, Dr. Liz Losh talked about digital feminism. Machines cannot classify black women as a female. It is true that colored people, especially colored women, suffer from discrimination in the US. While I stayed at Washington, I met some beggars. All of them were old, black people. As Dr. Mel Ely said, black people suffer from poverty. Though various social movements have caused and people have changed their thoughts of race, discrimination are still existing. Most Japanese people think there is no racism in Japan. Moreover, many people avoid talking about political or social issues. Thanks to this exchange program, I found racism is concerned with Japanese people. I have to consider racial discrimination close to me. But people who I met at supermarkets, cafeterias, or bus stops were so nice and friendly. And both Williamsburg and Washington were so safety that I could take a walk by myself. So unfriendliness or unsafety was preoccupation. I found that it was not enough to study foreign culture with books or Internet. To meet foreigners directly is so meaningful, I think.
I learned American culture in Smithsonian Museum let alone framework lectures or dialogue class. An exhibition most I was impressed was THE PRICE OF FREEDOM. It showed scars left from wars which happened in the US. In particular I was interested in the Civil War and WW2. I was impressed when I saw an original of the Emancipation Proclamation. I didn’t know Lincoln didn’t acknowledge the right of women, and native American. And I was interested in posters which were made during WW2. Some of them told people that Japanese people were mean. Besides some pictures criticized Japanese government. I was surprised at seeing them because I have not seen such things in Japan. These days many Japanese people discuss the right to express because some people made stop an exhibition. In this exhibition, you could see a statue of a “comfort woman” or pictures concerning with emperor. Some Japanese people argue that they don’t want to see them because they are too extreme and political. Political posters and pictures were uncommon for me, so that’s why I was astonished. Thanks to visiting this museum, I found the importance of the right to express and seeing Japanese history from different aspects. Needless to say, I should study today’s discrimination and prejudice, and I should study anti-Japanese feelings too. That’s why I am appreciate this program because it gave me an opportunity visiting Washington.
After I visited the US, I found the importance of removing preoccupation about foreign countries, and reconsidering Japan from different aspects, and I MUST study hard. I was interested in framework lectures and exhibitions in museums, but I didn’t have enough knowledge about these topics. So I didn’t completely understand what they told, and I regretted lacking of studying. Though I didn’t always participate in discussion, I could get a chance to be outgoing. I want to learn American history or culture, let alone English, much harder. Thank you for everything.