Hi, I am C.T. from Japan, who is one of TOMODACHI this time. I write here what we TOMODACHI have done, and my personal reflection to it.
In the morning we all come to American Councils, and met each other. Then the Welcome Orientation Program was held, and every TOMODACHI got to know each other. After getting some information about our schedule, we all went to the city exploration by bus; we saw many famous spots in Washington, D.C., and beyond the Anacostia River, we went to Southeast Washington, too. Coming back to American Councils, the welcome orientation was resumed, and Japanese TOMODACHI learned how to know the other culture. After that, we danced! Satisfied with dance, each of us went home.
When I first saw all the TOMODACHIS faces, I was a little surprised; because only one of them was white. I had imagined that white and colored are fifty-fifty or something like that. The most impressive thing in the orientation program was that asking is very important. In fact one morning my host father told me “Help yourself.” Also he told me to open the refrigerator and eat what I want to eat. However, I had felt hesitation to open the refrigerator because it is rude to open the other’s refrigerator as it is a privacy of them. After this orientation, I asked him about this difference, and told them how I felt that morning. Then my host father also told me how he was thinking that morning. Since then I feel no hesitation or embarrassment to “help myself.” I think I could find a cultural difference which is in the depth.
Keio Shonan Fujisawa High School