Sunday, September 26, 2010

From Church... to the river!!!

Baby from the Filipino Comminity
       A personal living area has many things which makes it an incredible and boring place to be in. Incredible places are those that one wants to hold memorable. Whether it's a meeting area for friends, a place that makes it distinguished from others, or a rendezvous that holds memories, a person likes to express these to others. In Hirakata I would like to think that there are many places that have an interesting feeling to them. The problem is choosing which ones I would like to talk about; the old looking road towards Hirakata Koen, the back roads by the City Hall, the park behind the sakura trees near Kansai Gaidai, the Basu Hiroba under the station.
Hirakata Catholic Church
        I think these are all great, but I want to talk about the places that are unusual for Japan and probably unknown to many Ryuugakusei. The first one is the Church I attend in Hirakata. The most interesting thing about it, is the fact that the church is built in a western style. The people in the church are very multi cultural. The church has a Japanese community (being the biggest out of all the communities), Filipino community, Brazilian community, Spanish community, and an American community. It also holds events periodically to bring all communities together and celebrate religious festivals. I think that the existence of the church holds a part of the community that many people in the city don't notice. It holds a weekly personal influence and maybe even more so for others of its members.

Big Park Near the Hirakata Station
Example of Different Areas
Single Tree in the Park field
       The big park by Hirakata is a little bit out of the way, which is probably the reason why a lot of people in Kansai Gaidai haven't seen it or have barely passed through it. The park is always visited by families during the weekends which, even in great quantities, still makes the park look vast and almost empty. The park tends to have different areas to it (terrain), which gives each family a place of preference to locate itself  at. A lot of kids will be riding the bikes through the ample area, or playing sports with friends or families.
Example of Different Areas
 The river by the park gives a good atmosphere, and creates a scenic view towards the bridge close by and the other side. This is a great gathering area for the Hirakata area as it has the area to support the people, and the resources for entertainment!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Stares Hurt... But the effort pays off

          As you come into Japan you notice the Bright lights, the language, the difference in cultures.... but most importantly the stares. When I came to Japan, I remember the weight that stares carried the first couple of days as I wandered the streets. It's not that it hurts, but rather that it becomes uncomfortable to be looked at intensively by  people you don't know. The greatest impact that I felt from stares is probably during train rides. As you enter into a train, it felt as if almost every person in the train turns their head towards you and fixes it into position. It's probably curiosity that entices the eye to look at foreigners with such passion, but as you enter into a new culture it generates a different feeling from the bearer to the one being looked upon. This feeling, though, disappears very quickly after a couple of days of cultural integration. 

         A secondary impression that impacted me upon speaking with a Japanese person for the first time, was the effort they put forth into understanding and recreating the English language. This demonstrates the morale that Japanese people have, and made it easier for me to try and communicate with people. Furthermore, if Japanese people know any other language that would increase the amount that can be communicated, then they'll try to utilize it. I remember the difficulty I had when I first tried to use the train station by myself. As I struggled to communicate with Japanese employees, they would make their greatest effort to find someone who knows how to speak English. This all happens, while they treat you with the best costumer service. Applying this only to Japanese employees would be far from truth; If I asked a person in the streets where to go in English, they will try to create a sentence with as much English as they know.
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