Thursday, July 15, 2010

A little Japan Info.

Differences between Japan and America

When entering a house or sometimes even a classroom one has to take off ones shoes and place them either next to the door or, if in school, a cubby. 
Here in Ishigaki, many kids ride bikes.  They ride them to school, to friends houses, to the store, anywhere.  Most teenagers have bikes and that is their mode of transportation.  No cars for them.  But hey, biking helps you get into shape!  After biking for about 6 weeks I think my legs have gotten stronger! :D

Well, driving, here in Japan, they drive on the opposite side of the road.  I get confused while biking because in America I look left-right-left, but forget about having to do the visversa and almost getting hit by a car...haha xD But yeah, instead of a left turn being hard it's now the right turn that is abunai! (dangerous) haha.  I still haven't gotten the hang of it.  Oh! and because they drive on the opposite side of the road, the drivers seat is on the right of the car, not the left.  And, here in Ishigaki, only the two people up front have to wear seatbelts.  Everyone else is free to be seat-buckle less...yes I know abunai!

Here in Japan there are karaoke!  Yes, karaoke! :D  You and some friends go to the karaoke bar place and reserve a karaoke room.  There you can sing to any song you want whether it be; j-pop, american, korean, etc.  You can order food and get fat while singing.  It's great! Why doesn't America have this??

Money...Yen! yay! So American money is ugly compared to Japanese yen.  The yen are colorful and pretty and have awesome pictures of Mt. Fuji-san!  Awesome I know!  So for yen there's the 1 yen, 10 yen, 50 yen, 100 yen, and 500 yen (all in coins).  In the "dollars" there's 1,000 yen, 5,000 yen, and 10,000 yen.   To convert yen into dollars you just take away two zeros.  So 1,000 yen equals about $10.  100 yen equals about $1 and so on an so forth.  Who knew that an equavilant to a five dollar bill could just roll away from you...haha! xD

So in school like I've said before, sometimes you have to take off your shoes before a class and place them in a cubby.  It's very nice actually to be able to walk around in your socks! :D

So before everyclass there is a sort of ritual.  One person in the class says these words in japanese.  Everyone stands up and says "onegaishimasu" which means "please", bows and then sits down.  I think that they are saying "please teach us" to the teacher.  After the class is over the same person says something in japanese and the students respond with something about thank you for teaching us...I'll edit this post once I remember...sorry! xD This process happens every time. :]

I've noticed that in my school not that much homework is given. I never see my host siblings slaving away on homework for hours.  They're lucky haha.  All I usually see them do is study for tests...yuck!

In school the students are given a lot of indapence.  For example in gym class one time the gym teacher went somewhere so two kids decided to be in charge.  They "taught" the rest of the class for the remainder of the period.  And students weren't being rude they were listening to what their fellow classmates were saying.  In America there'd be bon-fires being light and people throwing spit balls everywhere...-_- ahh...

Actual classes are mostly lectures.  Not that much discussion.   But the teacher are very nice and very supportive of their students.  Sometimes the teachers do have conversations with their class about random things like the World Cup Soccer Tournament, or their kids.  It's not stict death lectures where students can't make a peep.  Students can talk to each other and talk to their teachers about other material.  It's nice.  Here in Japan the teacher is looked upon very highly.  Sometimes if the student got in trouble the teacher would be notified first instead of the student's actual parents.  If a teacher scolded a student the parents wouldn't freak and call the cops and sue the teacher, they'd be like "what did you do?" yeah.. Teachers are awesome! :D

Here in Ishigaki the temperature can go up into the mid 30 C.  Which translates to the mid 90's in F.  Sometimes the rooms don't have proper air conditioning (a.k.a. fans) so sometimes the classrooms change.  Sometimes if the students have been waiting in a hot classroom before their teacher arrives they can convince their teacher to change to a cooler room.  It's really nice when that happens haha!  Go student power! Whoot!

Sometimes the teacher just doesn't show up to class..HAHA. Yes. So sometimes they leave nothing to do so the students have a free period to do whatever they want.  It's awesome!  Sometimes the teacher leaves some work to be done and the students do it.  Unlike in America where again there'd be bon-fires and spit balls flying all over the place.  Probably if a teacher just didn't show up the kids would be like "see ya later brothah" and just peace out...haaa Americans...  One time we waited for about 15 minutes for our teacher to arrive to our class but he never showed up.  I asked my host sister where he was.  Her reply was: "He's probably busy doing something else"..HAHA.  That would NEVER happen in America! lol.  The teacher would get fired ASAP. lol! Yay Ishigaki! :D

Here in Ishigaki it gets very hot and in school there's really no air conditioned room.  Just fanned rooms.  So it gets very hot and when that happens the body perspires giving off a bad smell... well, I've noticed that here most girls and/or boys don't use deodarant.  They usually just spray this can of "i don't even know" which smells good.  (Maybe it's just sweet smelling water haha) but alas that does not take the place of deodarant. T-T so it can get very smelly some times!  Also, it appears that most girls don't shave their legs regularly.  haha. I've seen some very hairy legs. 

Here in Yayeama the students are very skilled at flipping their pens/pencils with their hands.  I alas cannot but most of them can.  It's just like an average skill.  haha, I suck!

Here in Ishigaki the most popular writing tools are a mechanical pencil or a pen which is able to change colors.  No regular pencil in sight.  Everyone has a mechanical pencil and a multi-color pen.  It's awesome!  :D

Most students are right handed.  Someone told me that they were probably forced to be right handed when they were littler, BUT I do know some left handers.  It's nice to know that youi're unique! :D

In school, the guys are with the guys and the girls are with the girls...if a girl is spotted with the guys "HEAVEN FORBIDE!" haha.  no, it's not that dramatic; it's just rare to see someone mingle with the opposite gender.  I acutally like it that way xD haha!  Even if you're dating one of them you still don't hang on their shoulder every minute.  Usually I only see a couple together once in a blue moon, haha xD  But when I do it's SO cute! :D (Oh, the average dating time here in Ishigaki is about 1 year. yeah I know.  In America it's probably about 1 month.  HAHA) The guys here are all just cute. haha.  xD  BUT they are all still taller than me ^-^ yay for being short! :D

Here in Ishigaki there's P.E. and that involves changing out of ones uniform into ones gym uniform.  But alas there are no changing rooms designated for that sole purpose soooo they just use their classrooms. HAHA.  So I've had to walk into my homeroom class just with my host sister, two girls, who are amoung like 20 guys shirtless just changing like no ones business.  >_< haha.  How embarrassing! So whenever that would happen I'd just grab my swiming gear and run out as fast as my little legs could carry me. haha! 

Oh yes, there are uniforms that students HAVE to wear.  They're so cute!  They're sailor uniforms! <3 I love them, but unfortunately I don't have one T-T I wish I did....oh well....:P

And the rate at which a class goes can be very very fast.  In my host sisters math class about 2 weeks ago we were studying things I learned two years ago and this week we learned about something that I had just finished learning before I left to come to Japan.  0_0 yeah I know.  I would be dead if I was them! xD

Home life
When one leaves the house they say "itekimasu" which means; I'm leaving.  The people who are still in the house reply "iterashi" which means; okay bye bye.  When someone comes back home they say "tadaima" which means; I'm home.  The people who are already in the house reply "okaire" which means; welcome back.  :] 


Amanda said...

That's really interesting. I would love walking around in my socks, but the fact that the girls don't shave is... odd? Yes, let's go with that. It would be nice to not have so many lovey-dovey couples in our hallways, wouldn't it? If you guys actually had to change classrooms, you would get there A LOT quicker, hahaha!!!!

julie zuck said...

Very Interesting post, Em. Now you have to think about what these differences say about our respective cultures. Why is female body hair a problem in the US and not in Japan? Who decided that being hairy was unfeminine when obviously it's the natural state of affairs? Do Americans think women should look like little girls -- smooth skinned? That's .... creepy!
BTW, during the 70s feminist movement, not shaving was a huge statement because it was so taboo to be hairy! Personally I was all for not shaving because I was always cutting myself to ribbons on my legs!

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