I haven’t traveled to Japan before, because I’ve always thought that Japanese culture is somewhat similar to Chinese culture, but it turned out that I was wrong. As soon as the first day of our tour, I’ve found out the big differences between the two cultures, and American culture as well. Since the big theme of the trip was about sustainability, so that was where I paid my special attention. I remembered that the first day we were introduced that in Japan, there weren’t trashcans on the streets. In the beginning, I didn’t believe that, they might be less than there are in America, but there must be some. Then I found out that if one country really wants to keep itself clean, it must work like Japan then. In America, people throw trash everywhere, China as well, and most likely one is not going to pick a trash up if he or she throws it outside of the trashcan. Another reason is the recycle system of Japan, which is really advanced. Far back when I was in China, I’ve heard of how Japanese people are really serious about the recycling matter, which a lot of people had admired. In Japan, the trashcans were divided by plastic bottles/cans, newspapers, others, and etc.
Another thing that really impressed me is how the Japanese people taught their children the idea of unity. Because this is what it really is, their recycling ideas comes back to sustainability, the people here really are caring about their future generations, how they can create a similar or even better environment for their kids. As we visited the school, I saw how the little kids couldn’t even lift up the food basket, but was still trying his best to take it all the way back to the classroom without complaining a single bit. The children who served food in the classroom also knew what kind of person eats how much, he gave me more than other little children and gave a gigantic amount of rice for his PE teacher, he was adorable, but was also very responsible. The children had milk during lunch, which after finished, they fold the paper box, and put it into another milk box with other folded ones, they also separated the straw and the package that the straw came with. I looked into kids’ rice bowls, not single rice was wasted. During the class, I saw the idea of responsibility everywhere as well. When practicing soccer, children took the gates out from the storage themselves, and took them back after practice. In China, we say everything has to start with the children. In Japan, they took the responsibility of passing the environment to their future generation and started educating the children how to sustain such an environment.
Sustainability doesn’t only mean to preserve the environment and pass it down to the future generations; it also means to pass the history and the culture down. As theme of our group project was values, I interviewed a few locals, and paid my attention to people on the streets as well. I have always been ashamed of how Chinese people didn’t preserve their own style of clothing. I can’t recall what traditional clothing is really Han. If there were, it traces all the way back half a thousand years ago, which is not even modern and fits with the time. But in Japan, the people still are wearing kimonos. People have realized that they wanted to pass down their proud culture to their future generations, so they meant to wear kimonos so that it doesn’t lose track in history. It is also beautiful since such a dressing has carried a history of a nation on it. It’s also a shame that in Mongolia, people don’t wear the robes anymore, unless one still lives on the steppes. I thought Mongolia could also borrow the idea from Japan to wear robes ceremonially.
I’ve learned so much during this trip, about the idea of preserving for the future generations, to become selfless. The Japanese are right, we as in the river of history are shorter than a blink, the world was never ours, it’s our sons’.