My name is Ms. Nirada Promarad. I am Thai. The day I got an letter from Rotary Foundation that I had been selected to serve as a scholar for Japan Ambassadorial Scholarship Year 2005-2006, I was very glad to get to hear that news. Japan Ambassadorial Scholarship is the fund for students or people in foreign countries to study Japanese language & culture in Japan for 1 year. The fund is donated by Rotarian in Japan. Finally, I studied Japanese language at Tokai University, KANAGAWA KEN.
As a scholar, I had to attend a lot of Rotary activities organized by host district in Japan. Before departure to Japan, I was not able to speak Japanese language at all. I spent only 2 months to study Japanese language before leaving for Japan. It was very hard for me to understand and learn this language in just short time. Anyway, my dream came true. I felt I must go there to get the experiences as much as I can even I can not speak Japanese in the host country. However, I like to share you all my experiences in Japan in two things; my impression and my culture shock.
My impression in Japan
The first time
My impression of Japan was Japanese people’s ways. I had experienced many times on losing the way even when the first day I arrived at the Narita airport. The first date I arrived at Japan, I had asked a young lady in the train the direction how to get to Hiratsuka station, the place I had made an appointment with my counselor. After talking about the direction, we also exchanged the information about my country and Japan. She can speak English language a little bit. We tried to understand each others. Finally, we became a new friend.
During stay in Japan, I also always kept asking Japanese people at the train station the direction although my Japanese was poor, but all of them paid attention to my questions. They are all very kindness indeed. This made me very appreciated to Japanese so much. Based on my opinion, Japanese people were pleased to help foreigners as much as they can. They also respect others privacy which also made me great impression.
Besides people, I like the weather in Japan. They are four seasons especially spring season. It is very different from Thailand. It seems to me that Thailand has only 1 season that is hot. Furthermore, Japan has high security and good public transportation, no traffic jam, but taxi is very expensive.
My culture shock
When Japanese people used any services in public; example, bank, train, ATM, supermarket, they always stay in line. It is very good manner. But in Thailand, it is totally different. Besides, inside the train, they provided a seat for old person and handicap person. It is very good.
When we rent an apartment, we can not directly contact with the owner. We have to rent an apartment through a company. We also have to pay for the deposit, apartment owner to thank them and the company. Even you have a lot of money, but it is not easy to rent an apartment in Japan and you must have some Japanese person to sign for guarantee. I realized that living in Japan is very difficult not only in terms of cost of living, but also communication.
Finally, when the program was finished, as the Rotary Ambassadorial scholarship, I realized that understanding others countries in terms of cultlure & language are the most important to make the world peace.