Journal 5

When we are a tourist, it is very common to only recognise and show our interest towards the glamorous part of that country without understanding the historical aspects. This allows us to keep our faces away and leave out all the significant meanings each places or things are trying to tell us. While many Japanese people have the desire to go on vacation abroad and admire cultures from different countries, it made me wonder how many of us visits a country without being ‘the typical tourist’. The last time I visited America, New York, I felt like I was one of them. I’m very glad I made up my mind to participate in this program months ago, because this time, it helped me see America from a different perspective and gave me a chance to learn as well as think deeper about the history, culture, and issues we face today that we don’t have a chance to discuss in Japan.
A month ago, I didn’t have a specific image towards America. All I had in mind mostly came from the media or from classes at school: the country was enormous, politically and economically influences other countries, takes an important role internationally and is diverse. Also, recently people have had many debates regarding the new president. Now that I am back, while I noticed that most of them were true, I also realised how much I was missing out.
Living in Japan, I had thought that it was difficult to maintain the idea of a diverse society because we are surrounded by people with the same nationality. Yet, going to America helped me understand that diversity is not only about race, ethnicity and religion, but it also applies to other things too such as regional, political, economical and educational aspects. I still remember how fascinated I was when I got to figure out how one thing could be complexly related with another, and that cultural studies wasn’t only about seeking one answer, but to be able to view it from multiple perspectives. Sadly, we cannot do this overnight, we need to have the knowledge to do so and moreover, the key is to observe the situation. This is one of the things I also gained during my stay in America. I often noticed myself looking around trying to spot the difference from Japan. It was interesting to find out the ‘why’ based on the things we learnt and coming up with the possible answers.
While we got to cover many historical parts of American culture that lead to what the country is today, the things that were currently relatable also caught my attention. I had always thought that people in Japan did not to show much interest in politics and are conservative. On the other hand, from what I saw from the media, people in America were the opposite; they had their own voices and seemed like they were always seeking for improvement and didn’t look back. Therefore, I was taken by surprised to hear that so many people were afraid of changes and fear diversity, which turned out to be the result of the election of Trump. I am aware that many people still oppose of him being president, but I felt it ironic that although people are afraid of changes, they still chant for America to be great again while so many issues are getting worse, which causes a gap between expectation and reality.
Sometimes it was difficult to understand every detail we were taught in the lecture due to the lack of background knowledge and cultural difference, but seeing things with my own eyes and interacting with other people really helped me with the process of learning and understanding things. Citizenship and consumption could be seen everywhere, something that is not as usual in Japan. I think we tend to value a smaller scale; which school we go to, what classes, clubs we are in are important and within that small community we try to unite and create a bond together. I also realised how people in America are friendly and how they have their own opinion towards things. Wherever we were, it didn’t seem unusual for people to talk to strangers, while in Japan, it is common for them to mind their own business. Nowadays, even children are told from elementary school not to speak to people they do not know. It is also common for us, especially younger generations, not to have an opinion especially towards past or current events, and even if we did, people hesitate to express it. I think there are several reasons to this such as, people aren’t interested and the education system is all about memorising rather than thinking by yourself. It made me think how it’s a shame not to be able to take part and participate, even though we have our rights to think about the future of our own country.
During my stay, not a moment did I feel bored because it was full of surprises and discoveries. I was amazed how people could discuss academic topics even in a daily conversation, and admired how they all seemed very confident. Looking at them made me think that if I continued to fear making mistakes, I would never get the chance to learn more. Meeting everyone who was eager to listen and know more about us, who had their own dreams, goals and interests motivated me to step out from my comfort zone and challenge myself to do the best I can. Now that I have participated in this program, I can say with confidence that I have a better understanding about America than before, but it would have been interesting to learn about the roles media and social network has played in America both culturally and politically. Although I am back home and can’t stop feeling nostalgic, I want to keep in mind everything that I have learnt this summer, cherish the memories and hopefully see everyone again.

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Journal 5

Considered the change of my perception of the United States, most influential part of this program is framework lectures and dialogue classes. Listening to various kinds of cultural topic every day and thinking about it to realize it clearly was very precious and hot. Before I came to U.S. for the first time, I had imagined that the United States is huge but not so much deep. I mean since U.S. declared the independence later than other foreign countries, U.S. has a little content originally. Also, I saw U.S. like having strong power and liberty. I had expected that I could be surprised at the big scale of America and I guess that most of Japanese who have not been to the United States have this suggestion. However, my experience is something different from my image actually. Thanks to this program and all of smart professors and CIs, I could learn the core part of U.S. which I would never have touched if I had not participated this program. They taught me that the United States is structured by unique and deep contents, for instance, race, gender or religious. Now I look U.S. not only simply strong but also complicated. My perception has been changed into the perception looked by inside of U.S. instead of just foreigner’s one. Moreover, our focus group study influenced me after having arrived at the William and Mary university. Our presentation goal has changed into more logical one. Our presentation is about food service, and we had already compared cultural difference between the U.S. and Japan while preparing it in Japan, but we came to find that the cultural difference had “context” meaning. This finding was great and memorable.

I learned lots of things about the United States. Among all those wonderful studies, I was especially impressed by slavery history and modern gender problem.Though I used to wonder that the way people regard their social group by the difference of skin color is a strange and silly thing, that is the most simple and rational way to distinguish people from people and that is sociology. Slavery is not simple issue that white people are evil. I found that this was my stereotype of slavery and I did not have so much knowledge on each topic. Field trip to slave trail was very helpful. About gender problem, I basically accept that a person has a right to live as they want to behave. But, to keep country in good order, people have to act in a certain form. New lifestyle or new life frame can bring a cause of social uncertainty. I learned that it is necessary to regulate some levels of rule as we permit LGBTQ. Since I like to understand humanity, I see racial or sexual topic valuable to investigate. In this point, the United States is best because there is a great diversity. America is rich in researching people itself.

One thing I would still like to learn about U.S. is a gender topic because, from the point of Japanese view, U.S. is more developed and complicated about sexuality and genderism than Japan. Even if Japanese perspective of sexuality has changed better, women’s work has less impact than men and there are many women who have a problem to balance both business and private life. In addition, I consider that Gender is worth thinking deeply to make coming future better. This is modern problem. I always feel women have strong social power. Women should be active in society in both U.S. and Japan. I think Japan should respect for American free or open thought about women, and then we should find how to realize sexual freedom according to Japanese society. So, at first, I will read the book which Ravynn gave me and understand American sexuality. Since I imagine that in the future, I might get a job in the United States, I want to study about American society by reading many articles about it. Another thing I would still like to learn about U.S. is terrorist group such as KKK. I did not know the existence of KKK. I need to search more about people who act against society because whenever we live, anti-social accident will be continued. U.S. has most huge power all over the world and Japan relies on its army, so I am interested in some movement occurred by those who are racially poor.

During the days in Williamsburg, I leaned about American culture scholarly. And I stayed in sub-urban town. Moving to Washington D.C., I experienced an actual American life. The capital of the United States was just a city. Living in two kinds of lifestyle in one time is very precious. If I have simply been to the U.S., I could not have these experiences. The embassy visit, it was a special time. Communicating with Japanese people who are working in the U.S. is one of the thing that I wanted to do in America. It emphasized me to learn hard and see a lot of things all over the world. I come to have more kind of selections how to act in the society as one Japanese person. In addition, I feel good toward the idea that American people have like they accept any opinions. They made me tell my own opinion even if I think my opinion is tiny and narrow. I thought that America has kinder atmosphere to speak than Japan. Though I found many comparison between U.S. and Japan, the most attractive one is diversity of America. Next time I visit the U.S., I will bring my individual life goal.

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journal5

Though I learned a lot of things during the program, the most important thing I learned was communicating with various kinds of people is really wonderful and useful. Through the program, I have many opportunities to talk with PAs, CIs and other Keio students. First of all, my PA Kate who was a very kind and intellectual person was the same age as me, so I had an affinity with her. As soon as we met, we kicked it and talked a lot from silly to serious. Although we are in the same generation and go to university as a sophomore, how to spend a campus life is completely different between her (American students) and me (Japanese students). Most of Japanese sophomore students including me took about ten classes in one semester. Actually I took 11 classes in the spring semester. And most of the classes are graded by an exam or a paper that was imposed at the end of the semester, so we need to review the content of the lecture just before the exam or paper. The number of classes imposing regular quiz or attendance on students are very small. On the other hand, in the U.S., according to Kate, students generally take about four classes in one semester. It is very small compared with Japan. But almost all classes impose every-time reading task that students should read before a class, saying their own opinion in a class, writing several papers and several exams on students, so students have to study hard all the time during the class in order to take a credit. According to Kate, though she took five classes in last semester, it was very hard to deal with task of all classes, so she decided to take less classes next semester. When I listened to her, I was so surprised to know how hard-working American students are. And at the same time I felt how lazy Japanese students are. Thanks to her, I was very inspired to study hard and decided to study harder next semester. And we also talked about more informal things. Our focus group did a presentation about how different between Japanese Christmas day and American St. Valentine’s Day. We compared the two because both are a day when people spend with their significant others. When we made our presentation, we talked about mutual love situation. Though in our campus life in Japan, talking about love is most got livened up topic, that was the same even in other culture. We enjoyed listening to and speaking our love situation. And I felt that even though we live in different cultures, we can share and live up the same topic. This motivated me to talk to other William&Mary students and improve my English by talking about pleasant topic. In addition, CIs were also very intellectual and gave us very helpful lecture. Luckily, I had a lot of time speaking with my CI Leah. Thanks to her, I was able to get to be active and try to speak something in my dialogue class. And I could also meet and make friends with other Keio students who joined the program. They were all very kind and hard-working and really inspired me. After I came back to Japan, I will definitely reunite and continue to inspire each other.

There are a lot of things I’d still like to learn about the U.S. The lecture which was most inspired me to learn more was the lecture about racism, so I especially want to learn it deeply. In most Japanese universities including Keio university, we students have almost no opportunity to learn or discuss racism. I think that would be because in Japan, unlike in the U.S., most of the population are Japanese and we have few opportunities to feel racism in our daily life. On the other hand, in America, racism is one of the most serious problem through its history. As we can know from the fact that Obama was elected the prime minister of the United States, which is the country where only 10% of the population is black, racism is now declining in that country. However, regrettably, professor said that racism is still one of the most serious problem in America and it won’t completely disappear even in the future. Actually during our stay in the U.S., there was a clash between a white supremacism organization and an opposition faction in Virginia. And I also saw many homeless black people sleep in the park when I went to Washington D.C. Those were experiences that I really felt racism in the U.S. By the time I felt racism by myself in America, I had ever heard about it but I actually came to feel it I was shocked. And at the same time, I hoped that racism would disappear in the future. Though it is difficult that racism disappear completely, I think that there are several ways to promote a declining discrimination sense. One of the ways that our dialogue class though was education. I think that education is very important for people, because education makes core of people, so high-quality education should be delivered to all people. But today, unfortunately, not all people can receive enough education. To overcome such a serious situation, I would like to study more about discrimination including racism happening all over the world and education public administration. And in the future, I would like to provide as many people as possible with opportunities to receive high-quality education.

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Journal4

I finally came Washington D.C 14th August.Here is a busy city and I was so exited.
Then I walked around our hotel, I thought here was like Marunouchi in Tokyo because also there is a lot of buildings and important city for politics.For dinner i ate Mediterranean cuisin at restaurant. I also experienced “restaurant week”. This is good for employees but it was so crowded and I couldn’t stay there longer.In Japan, there is a Hanakin which means Friday night. Restaurant sometimes has special menu and happy hour.
when I traveled in America, I always ate typical American food like hamburger got tired of eating them and so missed Japanese food. but during this program, I ate so many kind of food. I realize that American-Chinese food and American-Japanese food are also American culture.

I went to Japanese embassy yesterday.
We had a opportunity to talk with Mr.Seto who was graduated from faculty of literature same as me. He talked to us “you must try hard, and you can learn from failure” It was so great time and opportunity. And then I went to George Town by using uber. I heard about them in Japan, but first time to use uber. It was so useful and convenient because uber came just where we were and driver was so nice. I took a picture with him! I’m worry about whether taxi driver’s income will be decreasing. In Japan, there are a lot of taxi drivers so Japanese government would not adopt uber services. On the other hand, in America, people can have opportunity to change their job and earn money.

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Journal 4

First I would talk about the experience at the Japanese embassy. When we went to the Japanese Embassy we had a chance to have a conversation with the embassy’s staff. We talked with two staffs, Mr. Nemoto and Mr. Seto. The conversation stimulated me a lot.

First, my group talked with Mr. Seto. He introduced himself briefly and then, we took turns talking about what we want to do in the future. Most of us, including me, said we haven’t decided what to do after graduating university. Then Mr. Seto told us that the Japanese society is starting to be rather more acceptable of changing their jobs. Since most companies in Japan have the lifetime employee system, it used to be more common to continue to work for the same company until you retire and would be very hard to change jobs. But recently more people are changing their jobs. Also when we talked to Mr. Nemoto, he talked about his rare career. He first studied Japanese literature in Keio University, but he changed his major to law. In Japan most people decide their major before entering university and do not change their major. By talking with these two people, it made me more relaxing to think about the future and I thought it is important to try to do what I want to do because we have chances to change the directions if we make wrong decisions. It was such a wonderful time at the Japanese embassy.

Next, I would talk about my impressions of Washington D.C. as the capitol city. Before going to Washington D.C., I was wondering why there are so many important buildings in the same place. I thought it is making Washington D.C. more dangerous because if there is somebody trying to attack America, Washington D.C. would be a perfect place to attack. However, when I went to see the memorials and other places like the White House, I understood why they took the risk to have those buildings close to each other. Through visiting the monuments, I felt the whole history of America because there were many monuments related to various parts of the history, not just one part. For example, there was the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial next to the Lincoln Memorial. All of them are related to the history from different period of time. By visiting these monuments we would think about each history that has relation with the monument. In Japan, there is no such place like Washington D.C. so we have to go to different places to see each memorial. And if we go to the place we think only about one period of the history. I think Washington D.C. stimulates people’s identity as an American. Also, by having many important buildings in Washington D.C., it reminds people that the capitol city is Washington D.C. and how important it is.

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Journal 4

After about 2.5h driving from Williamsburg, we arrived Washington DC. It’s the capital of the U.S, and we will spend last 3days here.
In the first free day, I chose to visit National Gallery and International Spy Museum after lunch. I ‘m truly surprised by the huge museum for art. The museum is separated to west building and east tower. They totally have collections. I spent about 2 hours there. And what really impressed me was a painting by Vangogh which is called “Roses”. It is a quite weird painting I think. There are many white roses in a vase and the background is painted in green. White roses means elegant and pure. And white is always the color for angles. But in the picture, some of these roses are actually withered. And the green background, actually is green with white, it is not a kind of warm color. So both of background and rose gave me a negative impression. In my opinion, Vangogh’s paintings always give me that image and he was not a positive person, since even his self painting has a blue background. And blue always means sad and upset. In fact, I think most of Vangogh’s paintings give me negative feelings and I can’t watch them for a long time.
Washington has lots of museums to visit, and it is also suitable to go shopping. On the red metro line, here is a stop called Pentagon City and it has a fashion center which has near 400 shops. I spent my second free day there. But unfortunately, most brands there I thought were not my style and at last I only bought a pair of short pants and a bag. Since Urara felt not well, we called Qiaoyue and Lilin to help us to find a CI who could drive her back to hotel. And then Brain came to pick us up and we went back to hotel at about 3 p.m. Well, even I didn’t do so much shopping in Pentagon City, I still really like there. Since I found a milk tea shop there and it was really nice, sincerely.
And in the evening, we did a memorial trip in national mall with dialogue class. We saw the Washington Monument, Lincoln Monument, WWII Memorial and memorials for Korean War and Vietnam War. What I felt mostly is it’s too hard and tired to walk for 3 hours without finishing dinner! However, I have to walk for a quite long time tomorrow since we will go to museums and stay there for 7 hours.
I don’t think it will be fine for me to walk tomorrow, but I have to. What I can do it’s just hope that museums must be fun.

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journal 4

I got to Washington DC on fourteenth August. This is my first visit to there. When I realized that DC is the short of “District of Columbia” and Columbia is named after Christopher Columbus, it completely makes sense. I think it is adequate for the capital of the U.S., because the organization of the government such as the Congress or the Supreme court and so on is collectively in the DC. I thought the major organization of Japan is so collectively, too, but those of the U.S. is closer than those of Japan. When I took Uber, I realize it. The experience of taking Uber taught me various things. The very first taking an Uber is so embarrassing because we took mistake about the driver. We got in the wrong car and asked him to take a picture with us. When we realized he was the wrong driver, we were upset. Uber is not popular in Japan and even opposed by the Japanese government and taxi companies in Japan. After I got to the mall, I am so surprised at that it is so useful. I am really sorry that we do not have Uber in Japan. Moreover, it is so cheap that I think Japanese taxi is too expensive, so I hesitate to use it. and I can realize that taxi companies oppose the introducing Uber in Japan. When I got to the mall in pentagon city, I was surprised at the arbitrary price of products such as jeans, shirts, and shoes. I think the base price of the products in the U.S. is too expensive and It should be much cheaper. If the product isn’t bought, the base price in Japan is getting lower before the sale.

We went to the embassy, I had a good experience. it was rain so I struggled with walking in the rain to the embassy. This was my first time to walk in the such heavy rain in the U.S. it took about thirty minutes, so it was really annoying for me. One of the officer of the embassy, Mr. Nomoto explain to us about the work of embassy. I am interested in the arrangement for Japanese newspaper company.

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Journal 4 Taiga Koen

We left Williamsburg in August 14 and went to Washington, D.C.  Williamsburg is peaceful and comfortable place and the hotel in Williamsburg was also comfortable that was because the premise of the hotel was very large and the hotel had some amusement facilities such as the pool and the golf course and so on. Thus, I miss Williamsburg.
Yesterday, soon after discussion in the embassy was finished, we ate Ethiopian food in lunch time with Laura, Daniel and “three Yuki” and Hayato. There are not Ethiopian food restaurants near my house, so I was glad to eat it! After lunch, we went to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City to go shopping and visited the United States Department of Defense and the national congress. Then, we ate dinner in China town and came back to the hotel. On the way to the hotel, I felt that the atmosphere in Washington, D.C. was dramatically changed from the daytime to the night. There were many homeless and many police were deployed everywhere. Also, I often heard the siren of a police car especially during night. This situation make clear that the bad public peace in Washington, D.C., and I heard Washington, D.C. is one of the worst public peace city in the USA. I also learned in discussion that the government got donation from the British people, named James Smithson. And by using this donation, the government built some museums to change the image of Washington, D.C. from just the political city to the prosperous city where more people visit or live.
On the other hand, Tokyo is also capital city in Japan, but is usually safe and is the most prosperous city in Japan . The number of homeless in Tokyo is much smaller than that in Washington, D.C. Probably, this situation is caused by difference of welfare and unemployment insurance between Japan and the USA. In addition, Tokyo have also many buildings, however, unlike Washington, D.C., there are few buildings of stone. That is because Japan has a lot of earthquakes and buildings of stone have risk to collapse.
Also, I found the difference between Japan and the USA when I took the train in August 16. When the train was delayed, there was no announcement and no apology for our waiting. This may be usual in the USA, but in Japan, this is unusual. In Japan, even if the train is delayed for only five minutes, the station attendant will apologize for our waiting. It is not rare that Japanese apologize for the trivial mistakes which they (Japanese) don’ t make by themselves.

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Journal 4

I think Washington, D.C. is a city of the diversity.
Japan is one of the diversity too, but in Washington, D.C., more various cultures exist. And in Washington D.C. there are a lot of the most advanced things.
I will introduce the differences between Japan and America from three points of view.

First, there are many kind of restaurants. For example, Mexican, Belgian, Ethiopian, Greek…. I wonder that the reason why many different country’s restaurants exist. In my opinion,
a lot of people want their home country’s food. So naturally, there are these many restaurants.

In Japan, of course we can see the various kinds of restaurants. For example, Indian, Korean, Mexican, Hawaiian…. But, they are special things. And, by the trend these restaurants are rise and fall. So without searching the restaurant we want to go, we can’t find that.
However, in Washington D.C. those exists.

Second, today we use “uber” for the first time. I think this system can be a new transportation system. And “uber” is suitable to this city.
The best things of “uber” is that We can use “uber” only by a smartphone. In both of Washington, D.C. and Japan, everyone has smartphone, so in my opinion, ”uber” is the most advanced transportation system. But, “uber” has a lot of problems. There are many crimes like clip joints and frauds.

Meanwhile, in Japan intaking “uber” is difficult. It is because we can forecast taxi drivers might lose their jobs.
In NY, yellow taxi is main stream for tourists. So, we can see many taxi in this city. But In Washington D.C., I didn’t see taxi very much, So “uber” is becoming new main stream.

Third, I went to the White House. The White House is tourist attractions in Washington D.C., and a symbol of politics not only America but also all over the world.

Therefore, Tokyo is also “big” city, but Washington D.C. have more diversity.

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Journal 4

Regarding the final Dialogue class about the Capital city of America was helpful for me, because this is the first time to go abroad and I really do not know about the Washington D.C. First, Raven told us that the structure of the government of the US. Interestingly, unlike the Japanese Prime Minister, American President has a strong power of deciding a lot of things, but the President, Congress and Legal keep their balances by Checks and Balances. Moreover, since the President Trump started to become President, the structure seems to be changing and the main issue is the improvement of tax and health care for individuals.

On August 15th, through visiting Japanese Embassy, I learned what the main job of the Embassy. Their main jobs are negotiation and they have to be able to communicate with a lot of and various people. This is most difficult job because they seem to be struggling from many differences like thoughts, languages. What I was most surprised is that they have to ask cooperation with American army, if the Japanese Prime Minister comes to America. I never thought that. Moreover, the officer who talked with us was also interesting for me. They have some goals or achievements and realize the tasks against them, and they also learn about a lot of things like American people how to think about their cultures or politics through negotiation.

As the monuments of the US, the Obelisk is most interesting. Interestingly, the color of tower is not the same at all layers. This is because the building was repeated to making and stopping. Actually, I got lost the way to go back hotel, but thanks to the Obelisk, I could find the way to go back the beacon hotel, so I really appreciated the Obelisk. And next, we went to the Supreme Court, the Congress, and its library. They have beautiful and powerful statues or monuments. From them, I learned that the ancient American people made great effort to establish the great country, America, and they are still continuing to make them country as the United States of America. Especially, the Supreme Court is so impressive for me. There are many exhibitions and marvelous buildings. They told me that American people were enthusiastic to make a lot of discussion and a big decision about many cases in Judge. When I go back to Japan, I want to visit the Supreme Court and review the history about it.

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