About six months have passed since I came to America after leaving Japan
where I was born and raised for 24 years. I was riddled with worry, but I believed in intangible possibilities and the future, and days filled with new encounters and fun episodes were waiting for me.
Not knowing right from left and starting from zero was discouraging, but now after living here I believe that America is a wonderful place. Just like a small child, everything is new to me. I still make lots of new discoveries and realizations. Every day is exciting.
In this post, I want to share some of the things I feel are good about America. That said, America is a big place, so this is just how I perceive the area I’m living in.
First, I like the people.
There are a variety of people living in every country, and this is especially true of America, the melting pot. I like that there are so many different races living in America.
Take, for example, how staff at shops treat you. They are nothing if not friendly! And good humored. At supermarkets and restaurants, conversations always start with an easy, “Hi! How’re you?” They really are good at casual conversation. It’s usually something like “Is it cold out today?” “Is it raining?” Or they look at what you bought and say, “Oh, I love that, too!” “Good choice!” Sometimes, they praise you saying, “Your clothes are (makeup is) great!”
We exchange smiles over just a few minutes of conversation.
In Japan, we think that the customer is superior to the employee, but here they are almost equals. For me, that means I can feel comfortable without being on edge. I also love the parting words, “Have a good day!”
I think it’s amazing to be able to have an enjoyable conversation with a smile on my face even with a stranger I’ve just met. I feel that as a Japanese person I tend to choose to have formal or innocuous conversations with someone I’ve met for the first time.
This doesn’t just happen in shops, but also when, for example, I meet a stranger in the neighborhood and say, “Hi! How’re you?” or exchange a smile when our eyes meet. I’m still not used to it, so when strangers suddenly speak to me, I’m always surprised. All the same, it’s not a deep conversation, so it just makes me feel good.
Also, you don’t have to worry about the people around you—in a good way. People have freedom.
I often see staff at shops drinking a cola or chewing gum even when helping customers. Americans don’t care at all about the appearance of others, no matter what kind of clothes they are wearing. For instance, even if they’re wearing clothing characteristic of a religion, people don’t stare at them. Everyone is free to wear what they like. (Of course, that’s within the bounds of common sense.) Even if I’m not dressed up, I can walk around outside without any worries. How can I explain it? I can just be myself. Also, no one remarks on it.
Next, more than anything else, I like the abundance of nature.
More than America, I think it differs a lot depending on where you live, but there is truly a lot of nature around where I live.
The sky is big, there’s a lot of greenery, and the air is clean. Every morning and night, I look forward to seeing a different sky. Since it’s different each day, I’m impressed every time. I can also see a sky full of stars at night. Nighttime landscapes viewed from tall buildings and lit up with lights are beautiful, but they can’t compete with nature.
Living life while experiencing nature gives me peace of mind. I become relaxed.
I keenly feel that having a sense of the earth and living harmoniously with nature is important for humans.
Next, I like the many food choices.
My first post was on the many food choices available. As expected from a country of immigrants, there is a wealth of foods. Supermarkets are very big, so much so that at first I thought it’d take hours to shop. They have everything, so people who are vegetarians, vegans, or have allergies are not likely to encounter any problems. If you’d like to make or eat dishes from around the world, it’s easily done. Since coming to America, my interest in foods has grown.
Finally, I like the environment that lets you start again no matter your age.
Whether you succeed or not is a separate issue, but in America if you have something you want to do, then you can take up the challenge. Without worrying about what others think, you can achieve what you want to do. That’s the kind of thinking of American society, so I feel that there are many who are always planning their careers. That makes you believe that, instead of always fearing failure, you should “give it a try.” As an example, when looking for a job, Americans don’t write their age, sex, or marital status on their résumé, and university students are not just people in their teens and 20s. You can take your chances just as you are with your natural talents.
I now think I understand the meaning of the words, “American dream.”
It is precisely the excitement that is the spice that makes life even better. There’s no such thing as a late start. What is important is not what people may say or think of you, but what you want to do and what you think of yourself.
In this post, I shared some of the things I like about America, but they are only what I feel. Of course, I’m not comparing what is good between Japan and America. I love both countries.
All countries have good and bad sides, and I don’t think that’s bad. It’d be nice if every country valued their own culture while flexibly adopting good aspects to become even better countries.
I’ve lived for about half a year in America. I’m happy now and am confident that making the choice to come here was not a mistake. I’m grateful to my family and friends who are always warmly watching over me, and for this site that allows me to share these thoughts with you.