Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I have some of the most interesting people in my classes. Like interesting in a good way. It is very much a global type of event.

I am actually surprised with the number of Japanese students that are in my anthro classes. In both of them, I would say that nearly three fourths of the students are Japanese. Most of the classes taught in English are in building 11, but there are a ton of Japanese students that enroll in them too. Its really insightful to have their point of view, especially since we are learning about culture, identity, and Japanese society. We just had a reading yesterday that was focused on the fad of Japanese women marrying foreign men. The online discussion board was so personal and interesing. Japanese guys commenting on the criticism of Japanese male behavior and Japanese girls writing about the "fetish" or lack there of that is felt toward foreigners. Really, really good topic and thoughts from everyone.

The background of other foreign exchange students really impresses me. There is a guy from Taiwan in my Japanese class who is really good at speaking. He pauses at the right times, emphasizes the correct part of the sentences, and has a really good accent for someone who isn't Japanese. I complemented him today. He totally sounds like a Japanese person. He said that his grandmother and grandfather speak Japanese because they were educated at a time when Japan was occupying Taiwan. You never realize how much politics and international relations impact people till you hear stuff like this...

Jocelyn and I were talking yesterday about how hard it would be to take classes in your second language. Especially English. We both said that we were happy to be native speakers. What amazes me the most are the people who study here and whose native language is not English. Like I know most of them get around by speaking English (which is already their second language) in Japan who at certain times is English-friendly (but at other times is not). I have a hard enough time and I grew up speaking English. I cannot even imagine what they go through. Like reading in English, speaking in English on an everyday basis. Most have accents too, so it is even harder for them to communicate with Japanese people who sometimes can barely understand the American-style version.

A girl from Switzerland said very plainly, "I wish I could just get rid of my German accent." Some of the friends of a French guy in my dorm tease him because his English isn't that great. So crazy to think though that all these students are able to get by in class, living situations, and everything already using a second language because they don't know enough Japanese. I really don't know how they do it. But I give them props.

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