I would like to begin by saying that my stay in Japan was not very long and I have not experienced enough, so some of my opinions could be wrong. But I would like to attempt to tell you what I came to know while staying in Japan.
I experienced a lot of things in Japan – living with Japanese families, the Japanese school life, Japan’s infrastructure, natural disasters, the way Japanese people think and the way the Japanese society functions.
The Japanese school life seems very difficult at a glance, yet it is very interesting. Most of the students join at least one club and I came to know that everyone has an opportunity to devote themselves to something other than their studies. Secondly, I learned a very important lesson from my life with Japanese families: even small children are given some tasks and obligations at home. Then, all family members eat together, sometimes go to festivals, and I felt that Japanese families are tied firmly by strong family bonds. I was also deeply impressed with the Japanese infrastructure: trains always arrive on time and there are various explanations at stations, which even foreigners can understand easily. I also experienced typhoons and small earthquakes during my stay in Japan. In such times the media always broadcasted precise and very detailed information.
The way Japanese and Europeans think is very different and I found that interesting. For instance, when Europeans are given orders by their superiors at work, the first thing they would do is to complain, but in Japan, the answer is always “YES” no matter what. This observation made me think that either extremeness is not good - I felt that it is very important to have everything well balanced.
In Japan I experienced so many things that writing it all here is impossible. I experienced riding bullet trains, tasted various Japanese dishes, explored my city Hamamatsu by bicycle, went to different types of festivals, wore a traditional kimono, played shamisen and koto and visited many old buildings. Through all of these experiences I thought that Japanese people are very kind and polite.
I am very happy that I had the chance to also experience the Japanese traditional culture and good old manners. For these 10 months, I learned Japanese, I learned about different ways of thinking, I learned about the food culture, as well as how to play the shamisen and koto. But most importantly, throughout this experience I came to learn a very important lesson – that looking at a thing from a single point of view, believing that it is the only one, is wrong. From now on, I believe that it is important for me to look at things from various points of view.