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Student Voice No.7

"Top 3 valuable 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 I would go to Japan to start my new life. In the eyes of my parents, their daughter did something that totally was not agreeable to her age of 28 years old, it should be the age of finding a boyfriend or getting married just like her friends did however, their daughter decided to go abroad, leaving home. As a girl who grew up under the attentive care of her parents, I was so eager to go outside to see a fantastic world. We have only one life, don’t we? I just don’t want to spend my life in an ordinary way but go on my own way. So despite of my parents’ objection, I chose a different way from others did. 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 much from Japan and realized that what a wise decision I made three years ago.

  • About the life in Japan

The first one and a half years in Japan, it might be the most relaxing time in my life. Lectures were given only half day in Japanese, and as a transition period of adjusting to a new environment, I tried to slow down my pace of daily life as much as possible. Comparing to the busy life of office workers, I got much time to study a new language and enjoy spending time by myself and with my new friends. Also, I visited Hokkaido, Okinawa, Lake Kawaguchi, Mount Fuji, Karuizawa, and some other famous tourist spots around the country with my friends and had many unforgettable memories.

After graduating from the Japanese language school, I started studying at Saitama University to acquire my second master’s degree. Now my research is to develop a structural seismic damaged detection system with a low cast, utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI). To proceed that research, besides the basic knowledge about civil engineering, it is necessary to acquire knowledge about deep learning and programming. Focusing on the life as a student in Saitama University, it is impossible not to mention the person whom I most respect. That person is my supervisor, Professor Dang Ji, who has given me the opportunity to join his lab. He is not only a good teacher, but also a kind brother to me. I deeply appreciate his great effort in guiding me in my research and helping me go through the hard time that I have in the unfamiliar environment.

In addition, I have gotten a precious opportunity to do a part time job at Japan Society of Civil Engineers (JSCE). Although I just started that job only a few 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 have taught me a great deal, and I would like to share a few of the lessons from which I have gained from 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 that I learned, and it has been 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 consider what other people think, thus   they use “Sumi masen” or “Gomen nasai” to express their apologies for disturbing others.
  • Thank you (Arigatou)- In Japan, everybody says “Arigatou” for even minor matters. No matter who they are, co-workers, friends or even family members, they never stint in saying “thank you”. Every time I go out with my Japanese friend, she always says “O san, thank you for going out with me today”. Sometimes we take for granted that we don’t need to say “thank you” since we are close friends or family. The longer I stay Japan, the more I come to realize that I seldom say “thank you” to my family and friends back home.

    2 A lesson learned from crossing road

  • In China- The traffic lights are always ignored by pedestrians, and they see the traffic lights are placed just for cars and buses. Cyclists may cross your way no matter traffic lights are on or off. The way of crossing roads in China is that you NEVER cross road alone, or even in pairs, but Wait a small group and cross the roads together. Take a position in the middle of the group and then walk along with them. Crossing roads in China always makes me nervous.
  • In Japan- I never worry about that I must try my best to play the real-life game “Pedestrian vs. Cyclists” when I cross road in Japan. Everybody follows traffic rules and cars always give the priority to pedestrians. One day I happened to see that a car stopped to let some pupils cross a crosswalk. I know that is common in Japan! However, after crossing the road, those pupils did something I never expected: they turned around and bowed to express their thanks to the driver! I was impressed by them. That you would never see such that scene in China. The driver and pupils taught me the importance of having mutual respect; at the same time, I realized that the kindness, love and respect were in the Japanese culture.

3 Some incredible things which I never experienced in my hometown

After two months I came to Japan, I noticed some amazing things. For example:

  • There are no public trash cans on the streets; however, no garbage is found anywhere and the streets are unbelievably spotless in Tokyo.
  • Mutual concession creates the “an empty seat in train”: In a train packed with passengers, there is often an empty seat in which no one dares to sit.
  • When I was writing this essay, I suddenly come to realize that I have never heard a single horn blowing in these three years.

I have strong attachment to the people of Japan. What I learned from them is much more than I mentioned in this essay: To respect for other’s time and property. It is normal for Japanese to be punctual, and there is no room for theft in Japan; To be polite as much as you can; To appreciate the beauty of nature (O Hanami)-Spring has become my favorite season, and when I walk under falling cherry petals, I feel like walking in a fairyland. I have been living in Japan for three years, and my life has changed forever by those amazing experiences.

Japanese Language School Graduation Ceremony

At Hokkaido University

At the seaside of Okinawa