This trip to Japan was an amazing and unforgettable experience. I learned so much about Japanese culture a gained a new perspective of the world. As a Japanese American, I found the Japanese Overseas Immigration Museum to be very interesting. At the museum I was able to get a glimpse of what my ancestors had to go through when they moved to Hawai’i. I learned that they worked hard and sacrificed a lot to allow me to live the life I have today. At the museum, I learned that the Japanese people contributed greatly to the communities where ever they went. I learned that in Hawai’i the Japanese people stood up for their rights and the rights of others, when the plantation owners were treating the workers unfairly. I now think that it is important for me, a Japanese American, to learn about the sacrifices and contributions the Japanese immigrants made. I would like to live my life as they did. I want to work hard and contribute to my community.
Although I am of Japanese descent I do not know too much about Japanese language and culture. This trip was a great experience for me to learn more about my ethnicity. This trip also helped me make new friends. I really enjoyed talking with the students from Kyushu University. I got to ask the students questions, and find out what life is like for Japanese college students. I also think it is pretty cool that we added each other on Facebook so we can stay connected with each other even after leaving Japan.
At the National Museum of Japanese History we learned about the suffering that everyone, including the Japanese people faced during WW2. To me this emphasized the importance of making connections with those from other countries and cultures. To prevent war, I believe we need to learn about each other’s cultures so we can understand each other and continue to be friends.
One really memorable moment was when it started to hail at the Daizaifu Tenman-gu shrine. I have never seen hail before and it was crazy to see ice falling from the sky! What a cool experience.
An interesting cultural difference that I discovered was that Japanese people stand on the left side of escalators to let fast people pass on the right. In Hawaii, no one walks up the escalators and everyone blocks the way. This showed me that Japanese people are extremely polite and are always thinking about others. Japanese people seem to be very aware of their effect on others while Americans usually seem to only worry about themselves.
Another cool cultural difference was that the Japanese people always waved at us whenever we left on the bus. They kept waving until we could not see them!
This trip was an amazing experience for me. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to travel to Japan. I want to thank everyone who made this KAKEHASHI TOMODACHI INOUYE Scholars program possible. I have made memories that will never forget and made amazing friendships.I not only learned so much about Japanese culture and history but I also feel like I have personally grown. Thank you so much!