Friday, September 21, 2007

A Strange Sort of Feeling

Amy and I have noticed something about Japan while we've been here. Nearly everywhere you look, you can find English words. They're on buildings, advertisements, magazines, product packaging, and corporate names. Sometimes the English is good; other times it's not. It is very weird to be half way around the world and still have so much familiar stuff from your own culture all around you.

Amy mentioned it the other day in the context of coming home. The way it feels right now is that we never even left America. We seriously feel like we're in a very large Japanese version of Chinatown. It's like being in an unfamiliar place that still feels recognizably like home.

I wonder what this feeling means about us as Americans. To see the adoration and accommodations that the wonderful people of Japan have and make for Americans is somewhat embarrassing. I would never expect to see a foreign language used in America the way that English is thrown around here. In fact, I even remember (shamefully) seeing signs in America that were entirely in Spanish and thinking, "Why couldn't they just learn English and put their signs up in that?!?!?!" Whereas here, people see the signs in the foreign language (English) and actually slow down to try and read it. They love it. This has really opened my eyes to the fact that this is a ridiculously small planet which we all share.


Doug & Sheelah said...

Hi Fox & Amy,

What a great experience you two are having!

I lived in Scotland for a year, and had a wonderful time. All the buildings were made of granite. The people were very friendly. When I wasn’t working offshore, I spent time traveling around Scotland and England. I drove around the Scottish countryside exploring castles and lakes. In some of the smaller towns the accents were so thick I couldn’t understand what some people were saying! Other times I would take the train to London. I went sight seeing, riding the tube, black taxies, big red double-decker buses, or just walking around and exploring.

After a few months I really started to miss America. What I missed most was the diversity. Being from California, I missed the different people, lifestyles, attitudes, foods etc.

Abrazos, Doug