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Student Voice No.7

"Top 3 valuable Lessons to be learned in Japan " 
  Wang Luyao

    Saitama University

Three years ago, when most of my friends were busy with getting married and having a baby, I made a decision that come to Japan to start my new life. In the eyes of my parents, their daughter did something that totally didn’t match her age. 28 years old, it should be the age of making a boyfriend or getting married which just like what her friends did, however it is unbelievable that their daughter decided to leave them for aboard. As a girl who grew up under their protection from childhood, I was so eager to go outside to look at the fantastic world. Everybody only life once, isn’t it? I just don’t want to spend my life in the universal way but in my own way. So in spite of the opposition from my parents, I still chose a different path of life with others. Now I’m studying at Saitama University for my second master’s degree. When I look back upon the past three years, I never thought I would be able to learn so much from Japan and realized that how wise decision I made three years ago.

  • About the life in Japan

The first one and half year in Japan, it might be the most leisurely time in my life. The lectures of Japanese language school only took half day time in the morning, and as a transition period of adapting to a new circumstances in Japan, I tried to adjust my life rhythm as slow as possible. Comparing with the busy office workers life before came to Japan, I gained more time to study a new language, enjoy the time alone and with my new friends. During this one and half year, I visited Hokkaido, Okinawa, Lake Kawaguchi, Mount Fuji, Karuizawa, and some other famous tourist spots of Japan with my friends and spent lots of unforgettable time with them.

After graduating from Japanese language school, I started to study at Saitama University for my second master’s degree.  Now my research is to development a low cost structural seismic damaged detection system based on Artificial Intelligence which is more famous by “AI”. To promote this research, besides the basic knowledge about civil engineering, it is also necessary to master the knowledge about deep learning and programming. Focusing on student life in Saitama University, it is impossible not to mention about the most respectable person who gives me the opportunity to join his lab, my supervisor, Professor Dang Ji. He is not only a good teacher but a kind brother for me. I deeply appreciate his great effort in guiding me with my research and helping me surviving through the hard time of my life.

Apart from concentrating on my research, I also got a precious opportunity to do part time job at Japan Society of Civil Engineers (JSCE). Although this job just started only a few short months ago, I have learnt so much from my working partners, especially their focused, dedicated, and disciplined working attitude and it is greatly honored to work with them.

Japan and Japanese taught me so much, and I also would like to share a few of the lessons I learned from them with you.

  • About the culture of Japan

1 “Thank you” and “Sorry” in Japan

  • Sorry (Sumi Masen/Gomen nasai)- My new life in Japan started from the Japanese language school. “Sumi Masen” is the first Japanese word which I learned, and it has been become the most frequently used word in my daily life. In China when we get help from others we only say “Thank you” to express our gratitude, whereas in Japan, I always heard that Japanese say “Sumi Masen” before saying “Thank you”. Japanese are considerate to other people all the time, so they always use “Sumi masen” or “Gomen nasai” to express the apology of disturbing others.
  • Thank you (Arigatou)- In Japan, everybody says “Arigatou” for even the simplest things. No matter workmates, friends or even family members, they never stint on saying “Thank you”. Every time I hang out with my Japanese friend, she always says “O san thank you for coming today”. Sometimes we take for granted that we needn’t say “Thank you” since we are close friends or family. The longer I spent in Japan, the more I realized that how little I said “Thank you” in Chinese to my family and friends.

    2 A lesson learned from crossing road

  • In China- The traffic light is always ignored by the pedestrian, it seems just for cars and buses. Bicyclists may cross your path whether you have the walk light or not. So, the popular way of crossing road in China is that: NEVER cross the street alone, or even in pairs. Wait for a small group who want to cross the street in the same direction you wish to go. Position yourself, if possible, in the middle of this pack of people then go with them. Crossing the road in China always makes me to be nervous.
  • In Japan- I never worry about that I must try my best to play the real-life game “Pedestrian vs. Bicyclists” when I cross road in Japan. Everybody follows the traffic rules and the cars always give the priority to pedestrian.  One day I saw such a thing: A car stopped to give a way to some pupils who were passing the crosswalk, I know you must think how a common thing in Japan! However, after crossing the road, these pupils did something I never unexpected: they turned around and sent their thanks to the driver with a low bow! I couldn't help feeling moved when I saw this scene, you know it rarely happens in China. This scene made a deep impression on me, the driver and pupils taught me how important of the mutual respect and at that moment I realized that the kindness, love and respect has been ingrained in the Japanese culture.

3 Some incredible things which I never experienced in my hometown

After two months of being Japan, I started to notice some amazing things. For example:

  • There are no public trash cans on Tokyo’s streets, however there isn’t garbage anywhere and the streets are unbelievably spotless.
  • Mutual concession creates the “The mystery empty seat in train”: In a carriage which is full of passengers, there is often an empty seat where no one sits.
  • When I was writing this story, I suddenly realized that I have never heard a car whistle in these three years.

I have such a strong love for the people of Japan. What I learned from them is far more than I mentioned in this story: To respect the time of each other and also respect others’ property-It is customary for Japanese to be punctual and there is no room for theft in Japan; To be polite as much as you can; To cherish the simplest aspects of nature (O Hanami)-Spring has become my favorite season and when the petals of the cherry blossoms falling, it seems to be walking in the world of fairy tales… I have been living in Japan for three year, and my life has been changed forever by these amazing experiences.

Japanese Language School Graduation Ceremony

At Hokkaido University

At the seaside of Okinawa