Happy Birthday, Jin!で、赤西仁くんの誕生日をお祝いしましたが、昨日はアメリカ独立記念日Independence Dayでもありました。The Fourth of Julyを祝って、10 Reasons Why I Love USAを、英語のブログにアップしました。
I'm celebrating the Fourth of July here in Japan, writing this post and remembering the fireworks that I watched on San Francisco Bay. I can sing the Star-Spangled Burner without even listening to it. I wish I were American. When I was a child, I always wanted to go to the United States of America. That dream was realized and I'm still in love with you, USA.
This post is based on my own experiences and observations of people I met in the U.S. and Japan. Here are 10 reasons why I love the land of the free:
1. People praise each other a lot. They try to find positive aspects of people and things. In Japan, we are likely to criticize, focusing on downside and what's missing. Americans are less judgmental and more positive than Japanese.
2. People express their feelings with words. In Japan, many people tend to rely on nonverbal communication called "ishindenshin." I don't think that's enough. We have to say it out loud to let the other person know how we feel about him/her. We Japanese need to use more expressions like "Thank you," "Good job" and "I love you."
3. People are encouraged to try new things. What matters is to challenge yourself. Japanese tend to follow precedent, trying not to be new or different from the majority. In Japan, we feel pressure from the society to play expected roles, depending on our age and gender. You should not meet others' expectations but follow your heart because it's your life. In the U.S., I care less about my age, gender, and weight(oops!), which makes me happy.
4. People have their own opinions and are being specific. In Japan, when people are asked, "What do you think about it? " or "What do you want?" many of them simply answer, "I don't know." Being different means being original in the U.S., while many Japanese try to fit the the social norms. That is not exciting.
5. Americans strongly believe that they can make a difference to change the world. People, maybe not the government, have the power to solve problems, such as poverty and human rights violations. They discuss and work together to deal with the problems within and outside the U.S.
6. Houses are more spacious and streets are wider than those in Japan. Japan is overpopulated with a population of around 127 million in roughly the size of California. Almost everywhere is crowded in the cities. It's so stressful and I need more space!
7. I heard American business practices are 10 years ahead of Japan's. Japanese women still face glass ceiling and the situation is worse than in the U.S. According to The New York Times, "in 2005, women held 10.1 percent of managerial jobs, though Japan’s 27 million working women made up nearly half of its work force. By contrast, women held 42.5 percent of managerial jobs in the United States in 2005."
8. I love Hollywood. About 90% of movies and TV programs I currently watch are distributed from Hollywood. Japanese movies and TV shows are boring to me. Beverly Hills 90210 brought me to Los Angeles, seriously. I'm into HEROES now.
9. You guys have Abercrombie. Fortunately, I'm small as opposed to many Americans thanks to genes and healthy Japanese food. Abercrombie kids' XL is the just right size for me. Kids are less expensive and I can save $20 for a sweatshirt.
10. Americans don't have to spend a large amount of money and time for learning English. For an 1-hour-private lesson at an English conversation school, a Japanese student pay $80 or so. My college education and housing in the U.S. cost about a Mercedes and a Lexus. You are born to speak the world's standard language except those who immigrate to the U.S. and learn English as a second language.
No matter how difficult and frustrating it often gets when I speak English, to live in the U.S. is much happier for me than to live in my own country. Dear Americans, I just want to tell you that you are one of the most fortunate people in the world. You should be proud to be American. I'm so jealous of you guys!