Spicy Coconut Milk Rice

November 20th, Thursday:


  • Shoyu Ramen (Pork, Bean Sprout, Bamboo Shoot, Green Onion, Chinese Cabbage, Carrot)
  • Milk
  • Chidjimi
  • Mandarin Yogurt
  • Kcal: 775

Have your hands ever turned yellow after eating too many mandarin oranges? That comes from the pigment in the oranges. If you stop eating so many, your normal skin colour will return.

Today, we had two boys from Malaysia visit the school I went to. Because they didn’t speak Japanese and most of the teachers don’t speak English, I accompanied them to the classes as an interpreter. It was actually my first time formally serving as an interpreter and it was less difficult that I feared.

It was interesting to observe the interaction of my students/teachers with the boys. Everyone at school went out of their way to make the boys welcome, although I think there were still times when either sides were at a loss or confused about what to say/act. During the lunch break, I took them to the gymnasium to play basketball with the other students. While everyone tried to be friendly, it was over all very awkward. But at the end of the break, about 10 girls in unison together said “hello” in Malaysian to the boys. It was really touching and I felt quite proud.

Reflecting on this situation and other occasions, I think that despite what some people may say, Japanese are very interested and friendly people. (Really, I know this from my everyday experience.) But the large cultural difference between Japan and many other countries makes situations awkward or difficult. Japan should of course value and preserve their own beautiful culture. However, the reason that learning English is important is not to become perfectly fluent speakers, but to understand how to bridge that cultural gap when necessary.  cf. Nitobe Inazo.


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