Journal 4

 I went to Washington, D.C. on August 15.  I have been interested in Washington, D.C. because there are a lot of historical museums about the various types from the past till now.  At the first night, we walked around the hotel.  Then, we were spoken to stranger suddenly.  Girls who came with me were so scared.  I noticed that it is easier than in America that woman can walk alone in Japan.

I learned the three American’s transportation cultures.  One is the uber.  We used the system of uber which can transport what we want to go.  The driver was kind so we can talk about a lot of the American culture.  I was surprised at this system in that they came across the street right away.  Second is train system.  Although some people were getting off the train, the train didn’t wait for us.  We are confused about that because in Japan, the train wait for us when we get on the train safely.  Third is the system of bike.  There are many bike stations in the city.  So, we can transfer to the destination easily.  I thought that what a nice system!!  The city of Washington, D.C. is so big. These bikes help us to look around the city.

On August 17, I went to The United States Capitol.   I was overwhelmed by the size.  I should have research more about the roles of this place.  On the way to congress, we encountered a squirrel.  They were everywhere and they were very pretty.  Next, I went to the natural history museum. I thought that this museum was like a zoo.  There were a lot of notable exhibitions.  Among them, I was interested in the origin of human.  From the development of language to adaptation to the environment, we can learn a lot of things which over text in my school.  In the afternoon, our dialogue class went to national mall.  I reconsider the recognition of the Vietnam War.  Wall with many victims made me feel the transience of life.

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Journal 4

I would like to write about what I was surprised the most when I came to WashingtonD.C. I am very surprised that there are a lot of “street homeless”. In Japan, I don’t look at homeless on the street. But in Washington, I looked at them on the street. When I walked in Washington to eat dinner, I looked at homeless a lot of time. I think that the number of homeless in Washington is more than Tokyo. And I noticed that the most homeless are black people like African Americans. I am very interested in these things and I think that it is very serious problem in the world so I researched about homeless of America and Japan.
There are a lot of homeless in wealth and money and power cities. And most of homeless are men. America has the largest number of homeless people in the world. And now, Washington has over 4000 homeless. On the other hand, the number of homeless in Japan is decreasing. Why is these a difference in the number of homeless people in America and Japan? I think because there are three differences. First, the definition of “homeless” differs from country to country. In America, we define “homeless” as people who does not have residence at night and who is temporality staying at the hotel. On the other hand, In Japan, we define “homeless” as a people daily living in urban parks and river beds. So America has a broader definition of “homeless”. Secondary, the causing of being homeless is different from America and Japan. In America, the main cause of becoming homeless is alcoholism and burg addiction, mental disorders. On the other hand, in Japan, it is multiple debt. There are a lot of alcoholism in Japan, but Japan is more expensive the cost of alcohol than in America. Finally, it is a policy difference to the homeless. In America, they need a lot of procedures to receive welfare protection. So only a limited number of people can get the money. On the other hand, In Japan, public assistance systems and housing benefit etc. are applied to a wide range of poor people including homeless and road dwellers.
After examining it, I found even more serious problems. In America, “children homeless” is on the increase. They become adults without receiving sufficient education, it is very difficult for them to get a job. Because I think that people have the right to receive equal education, I was shocked by the fact that children who are not in such a situation are in the developed countries. Now, in America, it is difficult to define homeless, so the exist number of “children homeless” is not known. Therefore, the state governments have not be able to successfully use subsidies from the federal government. It is a serious problem. So I want them to become the power of children who need help as soon as possible.

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Journal 4

My first impression of Washington D.C. is a great one. When I woke up in the bus, I was surprised at the view of many traditional and dignified buildings. From inside of bus, I could see Washington Monument. It was very tall and symbolic. At the night, when we arrived D.C., we walked to see the White House. There are police officers to pay attention to danger, and they were a little different from Japanese police officers because they had a big gun. I realized that the United States is a society under gun control. Also, there were some out speakers who told visitors their thoughts against the U.S. government in front of the White House. I thought that if the Trump administration makes some big decision, an amount of such speakers’ groups will get increased and the situation will be confusing or worse.

On the next day, we had a wonderful experience of visiting the Embassy of Japan. As we entered the Embassy, I felt as if I had come back to Japan because I have been missing Japan. After Wako presented our program in William and Mary, there was an opportunity to talk with two Japanese diplomats. The speech told by both diplomats was very impressive. They not only are intelligent but also have a good manner and many insights. I respect them for having done many important missions for Japanese people. Mr.Seto taught me that he have made a lot of mistakes and the mistakes gave him a chance to progress. Those words have a great meaning to me. I learned that whatever I work for, it is necessary to have an ability of being kind and smart and taking care of others. Though I was at a loss deciding what I should do when I returned Japan, I was encouraged to be active through this event.

On yesterday’ night, we cycled around the Washington city by bicycles watching the Washington Monument. It was very refreshing. And today, we had a night trip watching around memorials. We saw the Washington Monument, World War 2 Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial and Martin Luther King Monument. What I was most impressed is World War 2 Memorial because there were a hundred stars displayed which stand for the number of the people who had sacrificed by World War 2. It was incredible number for me. As walking around, I came to want to learn more about American history. I felt knowing events which relate only to Japanese history is not enough. This experience motivated me to increase my insights.

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Journal 4

In this journal, I’d like to talk about our visit to church and religion in Japan. Our group went to the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalist Church. Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion characterized by a free and responsible search for truth and meaning. It doesn’t have a particular creed, but has seven Principles, which they hold as strong values and moral guides. The seven Principles include respect for every person, acceptance of one another, and spiritual growth. Therefore, Unitarian Universalists welcome everyone, regardless of belief, religion, race, ethnicity, gender, age, and the like. It was formed in 1961, which is relatively new, and serves churches mostly in the United States.

When we visited the church, the first thing we noticed is a rainbow flag, which means they accept LGBTQ people. As this shows, there is a bathroom, where all gender can use, in addition to normal bathrooms. People there are all very welcoming and friendly, and interested in us, so we enjoyed talking with them. The guest speaker was a person who is a passionate observer of the natural world and rooted in Buddhism, and gave us a speech about three monkeys, “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”, and finding a tree which you can talk to and rest under anytime so that no hatred or evil occurs in your mind. I was impressed by these stories and a bit surprised that they are not limited to one specific religion but universal. Then we all meditated following the instruction such as listening to your inner self and bringing those who you care about and love to mind. I felt there was a moment when all of us come together and moved by the magic of meditation.

In Japan, most people are considered to be atheists, though they usually turn to rituals in birth, marriage and death, and take part in spiritual festivals throughout the year. Religion in Japan mainly consists of Buddhism and Shintoism, but they are only frameworks of tradition and ceremony, rather than actual belief systems. Thus few people make it a point to visit the church or shrine in their daily lives, but I’ve come to realize that it is very essential to have habits of reaffirming some creed or belief. Visiting the church made me realize the importance of always having compassion and good thoughts in mind. After coming back to Japan, I’d like to visit the shrine or church, and think about the relationship between myself and spiritual belief.

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Journal 4

I’m just relieved now because I finished my biggest job in this program in the Embassy of Japan. I want to thank everyone for giving me the special opportunity. This experience will definitely be my treasure for the rest of my life. I could see all PAs, CIs, and program members smiling and nodding at me while I’m presenting. That made me calm and I was able to do my presentation with confidence.
I felt sad at the last day in Williamsburg because we spent most of the time there and I have lots of memories such as dialogue class and focus group presentations. Most heart warming event was the group photo. I could see people getting close to each other in this program. I’m so happy to see that moment.

After presenting in the Japanese embassy, I went around the Washington DC with Koto and Ryoko. We used subway for the transportation, which is our first experience. Surprisingly, the subway was cleaner than I thought. In the train, one lady said to me, “l like your shoes!” I was surprised because in Japan, people don’t usually talk to the strangers. Train is the place where people sit quietly or sleep in Japan.
We walked to the national postal museum near the national union station. I learned how mailing system works and history of the postcard. Now, we communicate others with email and it’s rare for us to write letters to communicate. But I learned that letter was very important for early people because it was the only way for them to say hello and make sure they are doing well. I don’t know in what occasion American write letter. If there is any traditional letter culture in America. In Japan, we have less people writing letter these days. We write new year card called “nengajyou” in Japan and this is something that we celebrate new year and thank people using the postcard. However, situation is changing. They just type “Happy New Year!” and send it by email. Post office company in Japan want Japanese to buy postcard and send new year card because they can earn lot of money during that period. Therefore, they use popular Japanese actors for its commercial. I love writing letters and also having letters from others. So I always write letter or some message notes to say thank you and congratulation. I wonder whether America’s post office also have same issue like Japan.
We have only one day left in this program. It was my first experience studying abroad, and it is definitely the best program ever.

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journal4

After we arrived at Washington DC three days ago, we walked around hotel. Unlike Williamsburg, where we had stayed for about one week, washington DC is a very big city and there are a lot of shops. The town is very exciting!! Compared with Tokyo, which is the capital of Japan, there are various kinds of people in Washington DC. In Tokyo, most people are Japanese and speak Japanese.

Next, I’ll talk about the experience of the Japanese Embassy. It was first time for me to visit the Japanese Embassy, so I had been looking forward to going there. The first impression of the Japanese Embassy was rigid. We were not able to enter without checking our passports and bagage. After we entered, we listened to Wako’s presentation about this
program and I remembered what happend during the program. And we fortunately have the opportunity to listen to two intellectual officials. One was Mr.Seto, who was from Ministry of Education. He talked about his career that take part in education administration and it was really exciting and interesting for me, because I majored in politics at Keio and I am especially interested in education administration. In every day life, there are almost no chance to meet and listen to person who are actually working at a field that I am interested in now, so today’s experience was really valuable for me. And he did not only describe his career but listened to us. Every student talk about what they want to do in the future and he advised them. His advice was based on his experience and they were really helpful for me, when I think about my future. And I was also inspired, when I listened to other motitated students. Every student has their own opinion very definetly and say it clearly. And the other man also told us his career. He graduated from Keio long time years ago, so he is our senior and I had an affinity with him. He is a diplomatic agent and had many perspectives. His story was very intellectual and interesting for me.

Today, I went to Union station with my friends. The station was very huge and its atmosphere was very solemon, like Tokyo station in Japan. We go there by bike that can be lent at the street. The weather was very fine, so the cycling was so fun! It was very good exercise for me, because I seldom exercise in my daily life.

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Journal 4

I enjoyed the days of Williamsburg, but we moved to Washington D.C, which is the capital of the U.S. I have never been there so far, so this is my first experience. In my first impression about Washington D.C. is that it is similar to the area around Tokyo station because there are many buildings, office workers and cars, and then there are not houses. However, there are some differences between Washington D.C. and Japan. What I was most impressed was that it has large spaces and time passed so slowly. Tokyo, which is the capital of the Japan, is famous to be very busy city and in practice, people walked speedy and there is always road congestion. In Washington D.C, there are many monuments about the U.S. This is not common in Japan and there are not any monuments in Tokyo. I wonder why there are not any monument in Tokyo. I asked this question to Chris and he said Japan has already had many old buildings to remember and respect old times such as the Imperial Palace, shrines and temples, so it is not necessary to construct new buildings about old times. On the other hand, in my opinion, these monuments are symbol of nationalism of the U.S. The nationalism of the U.S. was made by its history such as the Civil War. The U.S. has large land and there are many kinds of people because of ethnic diversity. Therefore, American try to separate many times in the long history. In order not to divide, the U.S. try to express their nationalism by making the monument. Meanwhile, Japanese do not have the nationalism because Japan is an island country and Japanese not to try to divide. I think this makes the differences of the characteristic between Tokyo and Washington D.C.

Also, I went to the Union Station by bike today. I was impressed that it has beautiful design. Especially, I like the stained glasses that shine by the sun light.  It was very beautiful. I think the Union Station looks like the Tokyo Station. However, it does not have the stained glass and the inside of it is very dark.

Washington D.C and Tokyo have something in common. On the other hand, there are many differences in the same time.

 

 

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We Have Incredible Time Eminently (Journal 4)

White and tall monument told me that I’m finally in Washington DC. On my first night in DC, I went to a Belgian restaurant serving dishes with mussels near the hotel we stay. When I walked streets, I soon found that DC, a capital city of this country, is quite different from Williamsburg or Richmond. This city is very clean, organized still somehow comfortable, maybe because it is not clouded with people like Tokyo. Buildings are not too tall and colorful which makes me fall in love with this city.

 

Visit to Japanese embassy is one of the special event I could experience in this program. Not just because it is not easy to get into the embassy but also I have some interest in a job of diplomat. Two Japanese diplomats we met told us what kind of work they do at the embassy or how they became diplomats. I haven’t decided what I want to do after graduation from university but I want to use English in my future job. If I have negotiation or connection with America in the future as a part of my future job, what I learned about American culture in this program will certainly help me a lot. The way students of both Keio and William and Mary think of their future paths inspire me a lot too. Some have big dream, some make effort to realize what they want to do. Finding what I want to do in the rest of my life as a job is not easy. (Most of Japanese people don’t change their job once they get one after graduation.) I need to do a lot of research to get different ideas and ask myself what I’m interested in the most which takes time. I will start doing those things when I go back to Japan.

 

I went to Capitol, White House and Supreme Court. Among them, White House is most familiar to me because we see it in TV news or TV drama. After looking at the Capitol, it seemed a little small but beautiful with a big garden and white walls. I learned that White House is not just a work place for the president but also a “house” for first family, a place the president invites important people from foreign countries and a place people can claim their opinions(in the garden). It is interesting that American people own White House. First family seems to have nice life in that beautiful white building but actually they live there with a help of American citizens and they hardly have privacy. I want to learn more about American political system to connect what I learned about White House.

I tried to put a key word of this city in the tital and failed in terms of grammer!

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Journal4

When I walked around Washington, D.C. I was surprised that there were many homeless people. In Japan I often see homeless people in Shinjuku so America and Japan are similar in that there are homeless people at the national’s capital. On the other hand I think where they are is different between America and Japan. In Japan many homeless people are at park or near the station, but in Washington, D.C. they are sitting in front of the shop or corner of the street.

In addition I was surprised many museums are free. In Japan there are few free museum. Though the zoo near my house is free only Tokyo Citizen Day, almost every day it costs to enter the zoo.

At Japanese Embassy we talked with two staffs and one staff is sent loan to Embassy from Ministry of Education in Japan. I was surprised that half of Embassy’s staffs are sent loan and their place of work change about every three years.

From one staff I learned that Embassy has some important roles.

One of them is that protection of Japanese who are in the United States. This means to protect both Japanese who travel in America and Japanese who live in America. But this is not the most important role of Embassy so Embassy entrust protection to Consulate Generals. In America there are 14 Consulate Generals and protection is conducted mainly by these Consulate Generals.

The most important role of Embassy is keeping good relationship with America. Now there are some problems such as TPP, North Korea’s missiles and United Nations Framework Convention on climate Change. One staff said that Embassy played important role to solve these problems. For example, about North Korea’s missiles, Embassy contacts both Japan’s Ministry of Defense  and the Self-Defense Forces and then Embassy’s staffs and American staffs are discussing about it. Like this the Embassy plays important role in connecting Japan and the United States.

The Embassy is also conducting public relations activity. For example, making a report about what happen in America, conveying about what Embassy do. Furthermore in order to like Japan for American people, Embassy plans some event like screening of Japanese movies or introduction about Japanese tea or holding anime and manga exhibition.

After I visited Embassy I felt that Embassy was essential to keep a good relationship with America.

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Journal 4

We all moved to Washington D.C. on August 15th. It took 3 hours to come here by bus. I was sleeping almost all the way. When I woke up, I could see highways and the city with many buildings, not forest. Comparing to Williamsburg, the D.C. looks like urban city, of course. But because Washington D.C. is a capital of the United States, I thought it is supposed to be more cityish. Tokyo, which is also a capital, has a lot of skyscrapers and people. Since I was born and brought up in Tokyo, my image of city or capital is Tokyo and because of Tokyo centralization, Tokyo has literally everything in Japan. But in the United States, not all of the important functions are centralized, as we know. Therefore, we can see lots of stuffs that is related to politics such as embassies, government agencies or monuments D.C. in , but not so much shopping streets or something like that. This is my first impression of D.C.

On August 16th, we went to the Japanese embassy to see the people who are working there. We were lucky to have a chance to talk with them. They told us about their career so far and we were able to ask questions. It was worth listening to their stories because I would like to work internationally, too. They are the very people who are working internationally. I could get their advices and realized that not only English skills or world-wide perspectives but also the knowledge related to Japan is very crucial. I’m not so familiar with Japanese history so I’ll start learning it when I go back home.

And I visited the World War Ⅱ memorial. It has a big water fountain at the center and there are many stone monuments around it. I was so shocked to see the monument that has the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt about Pearl Harbor. It says that the incident is so hard to overcome but American people will win through to be absolute victory. It reminded me of the fact that we Japanese and Americans were once enemies during World War Ⅱ. That’s why I think that memorial is so meaningful to me. And, at the same time, I felt so glad that we both became friends again and the good relationships have continued until now. Some people, such as person sitting next me on the train, taxi driver and store stuffs, spoked to me and asked me where I came from. As I answered that I came from Japan, everybody told me that they wanted to go to Japan. I was so happy to hear their saying so. I hope this good relationships between Japan and the U.S. will continue for ever.

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