DC Day 3: July 24, 2013

Hi, I’m I.Y., a Japanese participant for the 2013 US-Japan Youth Exchange DC program. I’m 17 years old and I have spent all the days in Japan. Therefore, this is my first visit to US, as well as having a life in US. I have been having really exciting and fascinating time in here, so I would like to share one of those in this blog today.

On the 3rd day of our program, we first had two noble guests, Mr. Terry Shima and Ms. Saki Takasu to gave us the story about their Japanese American experiences. Their stories really made me think about one’s loyalty and identity. Before today, I just thought that being Japanese American is advantageous to their lives for they can have both qualities at the same time and they can enjoy two worlds, cultures at the same time in their lives. However, having their stories, I indirectly faced to the reality about being a Japanese American and I noticed that I was really biased. It was also thoughtful for me when I heard about what Japanese did to the Americans during the WWII. It was a great opportunity for me to learn the “dark side” of Japan especially from Mr. Terry Shima’s own experience because I could hardly find those facts from our Japanese textbooks.

After that, we visited to the Capitol Hill. We met with Mr. Mike Honda, a Japanese American U.S. representative for California, and had some talk on the hallway. Though he was such a busy man, he had managed his time for us. One of his words: “no one is neutral. You can’t be neutral. Everyone must be standing either side,” gave me something really to think of. It was again the thoughtful quotes for me.  Then we enjoyed a lunch in Longworth Cafeteria and had a Capitol tour. We also visited to the Japanese Memorial and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum after that. I was glad to see the Japanese Memorial because I thought people hardly forget horrible things happened in the past if we have this kind of memorial.

It was such a nice-thoughtful day for me today.

Keio Shonan Fujisawa High School