I have never challenged anything it seems risky before. I chose my high school and university which I didn’t need to study hard to enter. To enter ACE class was one of my hardest challenge, but entering the class didn’t take any risk. I was helped by many friends who are really kind and mature, and they helped me to survive in the life filled with English. I’m always helped by my friends, teachers and family, and I didn’t like to do something big alone. I was afraid of failures. Now it’s different. I don’t know why, but I feel like I can do whatever I want to do by myself. Maybe, my friends and teachers’ attitudes influenced me. They all are positive, and they aren’t afraid of going outside. The change make me really positive, and I have a lot of dreams now. I don’t finish only to have dreams. I look for the information about them. For example, I wanted to be a CIA agent and checked the official web site. Unfortunately, I cannot be a CIA agent since I don’t have an American citizenship and any knowledge. Then I realized that I can do nothing. My English skill might be improved, but I don’t know anything particular to talk about in English. The biggest one, I’m really looking forward in 2014, is to learn particular things. First, I need to get down to basics. The subjects I gave up, Science and Productional Education, will be first to learn. I hope that I can find something new which I want to learn more. In that case, I’m worried if I would give up soon. I hope that I will find something interesting in the near future and keep learning about it for a long time!

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The Christmas party

On December26, I have a Christmas party with my friends and Calligraphy teacher at the Calligraphy class. There were four adults, three university students, and two high school students. We decided who would bring what. I made a cheesecake, and others brought juices, alcohol, snacks, sweets, chickens from KFC, breads, and homemade soup. I started practicing Calligraphy nearly 15 years ago, so my teacher was surprised that she drank with me. We just enjoyed normal conversation and did nothing special. But the time with them was really special to me! Our teacher and friends there have known me since I was a little. I can be honest to them, and I can relax there. Since my writing is still poor, I will keep practicing Calligraphy. I hope that I can be the person whom they can be honest and rely on too!

Part-time jobs

During winter vacation, I work at a Japanese sweets shop almost everyday. I have worked there for 2 years, and there is only two women who work longer than me. Since some people quited the job, two new workers started working there. Both of them are middle-aged women, and I had a few opportunities to work with them. One of them told me that the dream will come true if I say or write the dream. She mentioned a few examples; her friends wrote a few hopes, and all of them became real. Actually I don’t believe in Gods or some kinds of magical power, but I realized that it’s important to try to do something for what I want to be. I always did what I could do easily, and I didn’t try anything hard. 2014 will not be like this. I decide not to be afraid of failures. Thanks to talking with her, my attitude might be changed! It could be sometimes important to talk with people who are not around our ages. I will not miss any information from those people if have chances to talk with them!

The beginning of 2014

 

The New Year’s Day starts from my grandfather reciting Buddhist scriptures. After we are free from that, we start eating Osechi which is special food for New Year with festival chopsticks. The chopsticks are used for three days without washing with the detergent, and we wash with tea or water and wipe them with a tissue paper in our case. The chopsticks will be burnt with ornaments for New Year in the middle of January, and the ashes will be put in front of  our house. After finishing eating breakfast, we leave for praying at shrines. That’s our family’s beginning of the New Year’s Day. I’d never had a question for our habit, but I realized one interesting thing this year. My family pray to Buddha in the early morning, and then we pray to God on the same day. It sounds something strange a little, but I hope that both of them have broad minds and help our family when we are in danger!

The meaning of our casual words

     Some Japanese people feel that Japanese people don’t love the country as Yurika and Hana mentioned earlier. It could be true for some people, and to recognize their love might be difficult. I would argue that the feelings do not always assert themselves, and they are sometimes hidden people’s words. Most Japanese people say; Japan is a beautiful country because there are four seasons in the country. Actually some other countries also have four seasons, and Japan is not the only country that the people enjoy the natural features. Some people also say; Japan is a peaceful and comfortable country. It’s difficult to say if Japan is a peaceful and comfortable country or not. It’s possible to say that for some people, but not all. On TV, people sometimes watch the news about people who die of hunger, who kill themselves because of their works or relationships between somebody, who are discriminated by other people, and who don’t have their properties at all. Even though there are some problems in the country like other countries, some people tend to say as if Japan is the only country who has the situation or environment. Though some people may not realize that they are proud of Japan and love the country, those words show their love for their country, I guess.

Who are Japanese?

     In my previous post, I mentioned that my image of Japaneseness was different from what I had before through taking this class. After that, I had an opportunity to talk about whatever I want to share with the students and teacher for 2 minutes in a general class. I didn’t imagine that I was chosen, and then what in my mind was about what I learned in the class. I shared what I was learning in the class, especially about Japaneseness. Later one student asked me “Then who can be Japanese in your opinion?” At first, I said I had no answer for that yet, but the teacher also asked the question to me and insisted me to answer that. I was pressured, and the words fell from my lips. “In my opinion, people who recognize themselves as Japanese are Japanese” The teacher looked unhappy to hear the answer, and it might be because I used the example; If the child whose parents are Chinese regard him or her as Japanese, the child can be Japanese. The words made even myself surprised. I didn’t know that I thought so. I didn’t answer like that before taking the classes. The answer may change through taking more classes, listening to other opinions and reading more books. I’d like to see how it will change, and I may see it in the near future.

Transcultural restaurants in Japan

 

     Indian curry restaurants came up to my mind when I heard the word transcultural spaces. It might not be rare to see other countries’ food restaurant lately, and I see more Indian restaurants than any other restaurant. In these restaurants, people can usually eat curry and nan which is a baked bread or thin rice. Some people feel that the curry is too spicy for them or that the rice is too dried. However, most of the curry are mixed for Japanese people, and they are not original taste. Some Indian chefs mix the original flavor with some spices for Japanese. That’s why most of the people can eat the curry though they might feel it’s really spicy.In Indian restaurants, some servers are not good at speaking Japanese. In those cases, they usually speak English or their mother tongues between themselves. However, they use simple Japanese and gestures to talk with customers. The languages are also mixed, and almost all of the people in the restaurants can make themselves understood by each other somehow. There are a lot of transcultural places in Japan, however, the most common place for me is the Indian restaurant.

The dialect in Okinawa

 

     I remembered that I didn’t understand what people in Okinawa spoke each other when I’ve been to Okinawa. It might be because I was a little, but the dialect they spoke sounds foreign language to me then. After a few years, my teacher taught us that each island in Okinawa has different dialects. Even they all “belong” to Okinawa, people from each island don’t understand what others speak, my teacher mentioned. He gave us some quizes from the dialects, but we couldn’t guess the answers at all. They sounded compretely different from Kansai dialect and Kanto dialect though the grammar looked like as same as them. I don’t hear about the reason why their dialects have so many original words and phrases from my teacher then, but one of the reasons would be because the islands were surrounded by sea and isolated. The situation might help to keep their dialects live. That’s what I know about Okinawa, the pretty and unique dialects.

My day

A morning comes

Remembering only good memories

My precious day starts

     I try to forget something bad when I made mistakes, when I might hurt my friends with my careless words, when I felt bad with someone’s behavior or words, and when I had a lot to do. To keep having bad feelings doesn’t help me. In my opinion, it’s better to forget them and go for next than to be nervous.

How the classes affect my image of being Japanese

 

     Before I learned at the university, my image of Japan was similar to Taro Aso’s one in fact. I believed that almost all of people who lived in Japan were “Japanese”, and I’d never thought about people who have lived in Hokkaido and Okinawa. I didn’t know that thinking about Japanese was really difficult like this. If I asked a question about what Japanese people are, I might have answered “People whose parents are Japanese and who speak Japanese and live in Japan” The answer is pointless and doesn’t answer the question. Speaking of current me, I cannot answer the question. Even if I spent a whole day to think about it, I wouldn’t find the answer. I might be still caught up in a stereotype though Writing classes help me change my image. I realized that it’s difficult not to conform to fit the stereotype. My idea of being Japanese was made by people surrounded me, Japanese media, and stuff in Japan. How was I able to avoid them? It might be impossible for most people who were born and live in Japan. Thus, I really appreciate what my teacher taught us. The classes give me an opportunity to doubt what I believed. I hope that I will find the new answer to the question what Japanese people are in the near future.

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