By Kenny Nguyen
Being in Japanese Plus has given me more exposure, not only to the culture of Japan but also the way I thought of Japan as a country. Prior to being in the program, my reason for interest in Japan was mainly through the lens of anime. I had this idea that Japan was a happy country and the food was amazing, just like seen through anime. But throughout the program we learned about honne and tattemae which in my idea essentially meant characteristics of Japanese people. Tattemae meant to hide your true feelings about someone in order to cause them no inconvenience, and honne meant that when you’re drinking you are able to let your true feelings out and express your thoughts to the person, because you are drunk.
This idea of interaction between people at first was startling. Because being in America, where people always express their own feelings and intentions, differed from the interaction between Japanese people as they wish to withhold their own emotions in order to prevent any negative emotions among their fellow companions. This also affected how they interacted in group work. If someone was to stray behind and not put as much effort into the project as the other member, the person behind would be obliged to start lifting their own workload because of the way Japan standards are that they don’t inconvenience their fellow work members. Whereas in the U.S., people who stray behind in work projects tend to continue to let other people carry the work as they are too lazy to put up as much effort. This really gave me the idea that Japan, culturally, has put up standards that their citizens tend to follow. These standards are so rooted in their culture, from centuries and centuries of being respectable in the eyes of society, that nowadays people still uphold these moral standards.
Through this program I have seen how Japan is a major country that is intertwined with their cultural influences that affects their everyday lives. This changed the way I thought of the world and the idea of traveling. Not every country is like America and its people, and this makes me want to learn more about the world and the different countries and how everyone interacts with each other.