the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Regional Culture Reflection

As some of you know, I used to joke that coming from Iowa, California
was a different country. A few weeks ago at my brother's wedding, I met
a couple of people from NorCal who said SoCal is a different country! I
guess it's all relative. This post is me trying to think outloud.

At least in my experience in the last two weeks, people in the Nagoya
area seem to be much more outspoken than people were in Aomori. I find
that I don't have to be nearly as shy or reserved, or take pauses in the
middle of my conversations when talking. I find I don't have to fain
dependence or lack of interest nearly as much either - with people from
all age groups. This makes be wonder if it's the group of people I'm in
contact with here (but even my random students from throughout the area
seem to be this way) or maybe it's the fact that I speak Japanese better
now than when I first lived in Aomori. I don't know. One of my
Japanese guy friends in LA warned me that Nagoya would be "new people
and new experiences", and so far I think that that has been true.

Also, there's a Japanese Self-Defense air force base in the area so
there are many people working contracts for Kawasaki (engines,
fuselages, etc.) and Boeing. There are also many Chinese and Brazilian
immigrants living here who I'm told work in the factories, so I feel
that people are more used to seeing foreign people. Even though this is
a somewhat suburban/rural area, I have very few people stare at me when
I go out in public the way they did in Aomori. I used to be able to go
to a restaurant and count on nearly all the heads awkwardly glancing at
me in surprise. I only catch a few children doing that here - which is
understandable.

There's also a little more noticeable littering that goes on on the
railroad tracks and the side of the road. There's still less littering
than in America, but more than there was in Aomori. But maybe that's
because of the increased population density here - and the lack of
garbage cans and nearby stations or convenience stores. This still
isn't Tokyo either.

Finally, this city is famous for growing carrots - like Aomori was
famous for apples. The dirt in the fields is dark and rich. It reminds
me of the spring fields in Iowa. Also, looking at the industrial side
of Tokyo on my bus ride here, it was obviously much wider and taller
than anything I ever saw in Long Beach. Not that Long Beach is the
industrial center of America, but it makes me wonder just how many of
our production jobs are going overseas. And I know these factories are
nothing compared to those of India and China. I have not yet seen the
factories in this area, but I've heard about them.

There's a lot to think about and observe. I was not expecting things to
be so different!! Maybe it's just because I'm new here. What does all
this mean? I don't know. But either way, so far I'm happily surprised!

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