Traveling to Japan is one of the biggest culture shocks that I have ever experienced. Everything we encountered during our travels was a new and wonderful surprise, and something that I learned a lot from. This trip truly helped me to recognize and understand both American and Japanese culture better, and was a huge learning experience for me. I have so many memories and experiences from the trip that I will continue to look back on and learn from in the future. One of my biggest and best memories from the trip was my five day stay with my host family in Tokyo. My host mother M. and my host sister M. taught me a lot about Japanese culture and life. From simple things such as eating dinner with them at night, or walking around Tokyo with them on the weekend and looking at different shops and restaurants taught me a lot about how Japanese people live and the similarities and differences with that of Americans. As we walked around the city, or sat in their home and watched T.V. together, they often offered many different insights and observations concerning their own culture. As they tried to explain their culture to me I also found them reflecting and trying to understand their culture for themselves. My questions often prompted long conversations between the three of us about different manners and customs from both of our countries and helped us all learn a lot. Their insights on their own culture aided my own quest to better understand the Japanese way of life, and living in their home was, I feel, the best way to see Japanese culture and learn from it.
Traveling to Japan also helped me to see a lot of things that occur in American culture differently. In large cities in America the culture is a lot different, and lacks the idea of social responsibility and accountability that are so present in Tokyo. In America I feel that these qualities are often lost when it comes to big cities, because we see them as organisms that could not run efficiently if focused on these types of moral and cultural ideas. After seeing Tokyo and simple things that occur in the workings of the city such as how train conductors are so apologetic if a train is even two minutes late, or how a six year old girl can ride the train home by herself late at night, I think that a lot of work can be done to make American cities a lot safer and better. Looking at even this small piece of Japanese culture is something that really made me think and reflect on American ideas and culture. This trip was a truly eye opening experience for me and I learned a lot from many different people and places around the country,
School Without Walls