December 18, 2005 02:47

Ione's Farewell Party


I’m just back from Ione, my friend’s farewell party. She is from Basque, and she is going back to her country. After she visits her country and Europe, she will come to Japan to study. I met her through Take, my friend from old school in Weed, and today was the last time get-together for her. There were so many people from everywhere, because her friends were all international. I don’t know how many nationalities of people were there, but it was so international anyway…

Every one was having good time, and it was such a nice atmosphere. I really felt that I was in “US”, where all kinds of people from all over the world get together.
It’s kind of funny, because even I’m in this area, Long Beach, for like three and a half months so far, I really didn’t put myself into international place like tonight. I mean, I have friends from my classes and organizations that I am in, but most of the time, they tend to be one nationality, like only Whites, Hispanics, Blacks, Japanese, Chinese, etc… It’s kind of hard to find a place, where “all” kinds of people get together, and everyone knows each other well, and everyone feels like they are family. Yeah, they feel at home when they get together. It’s such a nice atmosphere.

I only know Ione through Take, and we met, what? like 4 times only at most? And we just met on campus, just saying “hi” and stuff. But she treated me like a best friend from the beginning, and I was invited to today’s farewell party for her.
I went there, and of course I didn’t know anybody, but everyone was so nice, introducing themselves from them to me, and at the end of party, I got bunch of new friends, nice friends, hahaha.

I realized, that I was missing something very important, something which you can get only when you are in US. It’s so easy to hang out with people from same nationality where you are from. For example, because I am Japanese, it’s easy to hang out with Japanese people. Yeah, it’s easy, and it’s easy to make Japanese friends, because we are from same culture and we don’t have to talk about our customs when we meet at first time, because we are from same culture! But, when you meet someone from other cultures, you have to know their cultures too, because there are lots of differences between your culture and their cultures. One of the reasons why it’s so easy to get along with Asian people is because their cultures are so similar to ours, so that we don’t talk about it that much, in another words, we can get along without any further ado because we are almost from the same culture. But it’s a totally different story when you talk to someone from totally different countries, like from Middle East. Well, actually they have lots of similarities and it was easy to get along with them though, haha. I guess maybe it more depends on their background and personalities.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, that it is so easy to stay in one same community, where you feel comfortable to be with, because you don’t have to explore yourself in there. You don’t need to challenge yourself, trying to talk to them from you, try to find a same topic that you can talk with them, and trying to break a boundary between you and them.
Now, I got used to do this, because I’ve been putting myself in this kind of situation a lot, where you have to explore yourself otherwise you get no one to talk to. This is kind of off the topic, but most important thing when you try to get along with somebody is, not to “talk”, but to “feel”
it. Hahaha, like some kind of movie, huh? But actually it is true. Because we try to “talk”, we don’t realize the same “atmosphere” that we have between us and them, so that we tend to talk something stupid or something doesn’t make sense, and we lose the flow in our conversation. But if we try to “feel” something between us and them, there are always something between us which is similar or common to both of us, and you realize it and you can get along with them. In extreme, you don’t have to say a word. You just look into their eyes, and you can tell them what you want to say, and they feel it.

Wait a minute! I just came up with one idea! Probably, the reason why Japanese people are not good at communicating with people from other cultures is because we don’t look at their eyes, maybe? We are taught to not gaze at person’s eyes you are talking to, because doing so means disrespectful to them, but actually it is against the common sense in universe. Without looking into their eyes, we cannot fully understand what they are really feeling. Maybe because of our culture, we are not good at reading someone’s mind, and that’s why we are not good at getting along with people from other cultures. Well, there are always exceptions, and I basically tend to look into their eyes, so I don’t have any problem with that though.

Anyway, the most important thing is, to “feel” the person, and that’s the best way to become good friends with anybody. Ione, she is so good at these. Like I said, even though we have met only few times, she just exposes herself so open, and because of her self disclosure, I feel it’s easy to disclose myself too. That’s why we become good friend already, and now she is going to stay at my place in Japan because I found out that she is coming to Narita on January 20 and I will be there, so she can stay one night at my place with my family! Great!

Anyway, she was such a nice person, and that was such a great time that I had, and what I was missing was to put myself into more dynamic, international place everyday as much as possible, because I am staying in US only for 1 and a half more year, and then I have to go back to Japan. Once I go back to Japan, it’s so hard to find a place like this, where everybody from all over the world gets together and they get along with. I’
m sure I’ll miss this environment a lot.
That’s why I try to give myself more opportunities to meet more people, from all kinds of nationalities, to explore myself more. I want to broaden my perspective as much as possible, and I want to use my life to the fullest, feeling that I am using my life in this planet to the fullest, using every opportunities.

I’m going to have my own sushi and Japanese calligraphy school from next semester, and I’ll teach them how to make sushi and how to write their name in Kanji. I’m sure I’ll get to see more people each week, and that's one of the way that I can do now to explore myself more. I’m doing this to practice how to make company in my future, because making organization and managing that stuff is the basic work of managing company, so it will be a good practice for me. But above all, it’s going to be a great place to “meet” more people, which I need right now, while I am in US.

Anyway, that was a good night.