Homey Feeling in a Foreign Country

As an immigrant in the United States from India, I have had many experiences of culture shock and continue to have them. I was a ‘double foreigner’ in this new country called Japan; I was fortunate enough to have this opportunity due to a grant given from the Japan Foundation and a collaborative effort of professor Armstrong and professor Takahashi. Before going to this trip, I had a very clear image of how the culture in Japan would be. Although the real situation of Japan economy did not resemble the image in my mind, the image in mind of the culture in Japan turned out to be reality in many aspects. While I was in Japan, I felt that the Japanese culture is very close to the Indian culture.

DSCN0869 My first morning in Japan started with very delicious ginger tea, which made my day    and reminded me of chai from India. Eventually, the wending machines were like a gift from heaven to me.  They were very convenient as you are able to get hot drinks and cold drinks from the same machine including beer cans. I believe the invention of these machines must be for efficiency reason and to sustain the cultural test in today’s fast running Japan.

 

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Then we had another great cultural experience in the evening when we went to this very homey restaurant run by a very friendly couple. They both made really decent home-style food and even offered us  free soup. We were very delighted with the food and the hospitality from the couple. That is what I call traditional Japanese hospitality which I have missed at times after leaving India. I also enjoyed drinking soup through the bowl; because I am more used to of not using utensils to eat. Then, the real challenge came when I had to use the chopsticks for every meal. Using chopsticks is a very interesting tradition in Japan but I believe this tradition must be very old and started before the invention off utensils to eat. This truly is cultural sustainability.

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It seemed like that modern westernized clothing took place of the traditional Japanese clothing among the majority of Japanese people. In a huge crowd of Japanese, even in temples, it was hard to find people wearing traditional clothing. It was hard to find a place where you can buy the traditional clothing in reasonable price. This was very different than the situation in India; the traditional Indian cloths are very easy to find anywhere in India. However, the Japanese traditional clothing pattern has not been influence by the modern designs, unlike to Indian designs.

 

 

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