Finding true kindness in a different culture

By Kori Johnson

With the help of Globalize DC, I had the opportunity to experience Japanese culture in January in downtown Washington by attending a New Year’s festival, sponsored by the Japan Commerce Association of Washington, DC (JCAW). I had a wonderful day with my friends and had the opportunity to converse with people who aren’t originally from Washington, DC. The retail area was my favorite part of the whole visit.

I had the opportunity to see numerous Japanese toys, refreshments, and play mini games for rewards. I enjoyed two games available at the venue – fishing and hitting the targets! In the end, even if you didn’t hit any goals, the games still provided you candy since they give you the possibility to win sweets and adorable small toys that you can play with or give to your family. The snacks I could buy and consume from the kiosk were incredible; they had so many unique flavors and textures that weren’t present in the foods I often eat in Washington, DC. 

Sadly, I was unable to afford a sushi making kit I wanted to get after seeing it. However, this genuinely kind worker offered to buy it for me, which came as a huge shock to me because not many people treat me with such kindness. This opened my eyes. demonstrating how even initiating small talk can result in amazing outcomes. I only talked with the lady for a few moments and she had offered to pay for something I couldn’t afford. It really shows how those who partake in a different culture than you can be genuinely kind and giving when you first meet them.   

The event was amazing, and this program has given me many opportunities to do amazing things. I’d love to attend another festival like this one and play games, eat, and converse with people from Japan, and generally just enjoy myself with my  friends once more.

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