Japanese Culture in Foreign Countries

“What is a Geisha?” “Have you ever seen Ninjas?” “Have you ever met Samurais?”

These are what people ask me when I say I’m from Japan. In the foreign countries I lived, most of my friends have asked the same questions. I always had to explain to them what they are.

Actually, I didn’t really know much about Japanese culture. I spent most of my life in foreign countries, and only lived in Japan when I was little. Yet, I always had to answer the questions about Japan. One of the questions that really made me annoyed was like what is it like in Japan? I had to pretend like I had lived in Japan for most of my life and knew a lot about Japanese culture.

In the United States, surprisingly, many of my friends were interested in Japanese culture. I even felt that they know Japan more than I do. I didn’t really care about my own country when I was little, but my life in foreign countries changed my attitude toward my country.

My friends knew every little thing about Japan. They loved Japanese foods, especially sushi. They also watched many Japanese movies. They even knew all the names for the tools that ninjas had.  They sometimes explained to me about what ninjas do.

In my social studies class, we had a project that we had to research one country. Fortunately, I was assigned Japan. My group members were counting on me because I am Japanese, and I was also sure that I could help them. We believed that we could give a good presentation. However, when I researched about Japan on the Internet, there were too many things that I didn’t really know. My group members were often asking me questions. These experiences made me feel embarrassed.

From that time, I started to practice how to fold origami because I thought it was popular and easy to do. I got a book about origami, and I also asked my mom to show me how to do it. Eventually, I became interested in Japanese culture, and I found it fun to know about Japan. After I learned origami, I taught my friends. As a result, more people in my class also became interested in Japan. I was glad that everyone loves my own country.

I live in Japan now. I still love Japanese culture. When I don’t have anything to do, I even visit shrines and temples in Kyoto. I guess not many young people visit there these days, but I think they are one of the beautiful places in Japan. Now, I even think that I know more about Japanese culture than the people who were born in and grew up in Japan. If I hadn’t lived in foreign countries, I would have never realized how important Japan is to me.


About yukik69

I used to live in Finland, Germany and the USA. My hobby is shopping and watching movies!
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