After I left Japan I came to think about my identity as a Japanese, more than ever. Living in a foreign country gives me a more objective view of myself as a Japanese.
At NEGS, I experienced something of a Japanese teacher. I answered to the questions from students about Japanese culture, customs, school, and people, as much as I could. In ICTE (the language school I'm going now), we often compare many different countries and discuss about the differences in the class. Since I am the only Japanese in the class, my classmates may see me as a representative from Japan; what I mention about my country will strongly influence the impression of Japan that they will have. I try to be careful not to be too subjective when I explain things about Japan. Through these opportunities I'm learning a lot about my own country, and at the same time, I think more about myself as a Japanese.
When I was in Japan, I thought I was very different from others and didn't like being so different. I was less humble than others and rather asssertive, I'm not very punctual, and I felt more confortable being by myself than being in a group. From these characteristics, I thought I was very different from typical Japanese girl. But since I came to Australia and have lived in a multicultural society, I have recognized that many of my behaviors or ways of thinking are considered to be typical Japanese characteristics. Different from what I had thought of myself, people around me give me comments that they receive a polite and humble impression from me. In Australian time scale I'm rather thought to be punctual, and most of the people are a lot more individualism than I am. I found myself very Japanese now.
I was very different from others in Japan and I felt very unconfortable about it. Now, I've found I'm very different from anybody else, in a community where everybody is very different, but I never feel unconfortable about it at all. I'm a lot more proud of myself now than before, being different from other Japanese, but still keeping the characteristics as a Japanese in another country.
Even though I'm going to live away from Japan for a long time, I don't want to lose my identity as a Japanese. I want to stay as Japanese as sushi; an Westernized sushi, maybe(: b)! Keeping its Japanese traditional taste but adapting to Western culture by changing the ingredients. Hehehe~