Japan: Japan and Group Leader Essay

Submitted By nexonms
Words: 429
Pages: 2

There is a distinct difference between reading about a culture in a textbook and experiencing it in person. Despite having amassed nearly four years of Japanese instruction in high school, nothing could have properly prepared me for the cultural shock I experienced when I arrived in Japan. If it were not for my wonderful group leader constantly chiming in with helpful cultural notes like how the Japanese are usually quiet on public transportation (as opposed to New York City subways, of which I am very familiar with), and how the Japanese rarely exchange money hand-to-hand and instead use trays, I would have probably offended one Japanese person too many. However, by the time I arrived back to the States, I was once again subjected to another cultural shock—I had actually become so immersed in Japanese culture that I was unaccustomed to American culture by the time I returned! Learning to follow and respect the social customs of Japanese society has instilled within me a deeper appreciation and understanding of cultures other than my own. In addition to my group leader, my group members were truly the backbone of this life-changing experience. Not only were we teenagers who shared the common struggle of being immersed in a foreign culture, we were also teenagers who were ecstatic about being in a country whose culture and people we loved (many since childhood!) We would constantly muse on and on about how we were extremely excited to soak in all the sights, smells, and tastes of Japan (and of course, those serendipitous gusts of winds during the infamous hot and humid Japanese summer!) My favorite part of this experience was, by far, the…