Experiences in Japan and its influence

Experiences in Japan and its influence

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I find myself having to be more flexible and also be more humble to ask for help in ways I never would have to if I were back home in Hawaii. So I think, more than anything, it’s been that area. And I notice when I go back to Hawaii that I’m much more aware and sensitive to people who are traveling from abroad than maybe I ever was before because I know what it’s like to need help. So I think that’s one of the main areas I’ve noticed change in my own life.

Sometimes it’s really hard, you know, to be able to do that. For example, I was passing out these brochures one day and I went to this one mansion and I didn’t see this sign that said you weren’t allowed to be doing things like that here without permission. And this man who was the proprietor – he was taking care of the building. He came up to me and he goes, “What are you doing?” And I said, “Oh, I’m just passing these things into the mailbox.” He goes, “You can’t do that here.” And then he points to this sign and I told him, “Oh, I’m sorry. I’m a foreigner. I can’t really read that sign.” And he said, “You live in Japan. You should be able to read that.” You know, “How can you live here?” And I thought, “That’s true.” That was so humbling. I thought, “Better study harder.” I mean it’s part of daily life here, you know.

Date: November 4, 2003
Location: Hyogo, Japan
Interviewer: Art Nomura
Contributed by: Art Nomura, Finding Home.

FindingHome identity language migration

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