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Opinion – Adjusting to Cultures

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Summer tends to be a very interesting time around Japan. There are no shortages of festivals and activities and with it a very cool aspect of the culture comes out, people wearing yukata and kimono.

Last summer I got a chance to appreciate this and learned how ubiquitous it tends to be here in Japan. It was certainly initially quite catchy to see people dressed up on the street akin to what you might see in movies and shows and the appeal of it is all the more strong this summer time. Back then, in my first year here, the thought of wearing one terrified me simply on the basis that I often associated it with only the oddball foreigners that you find around here. Looking back though it’s something that was foolish to think and these days I really want to get past that silly mentality.  I think those people that live in a country and try to adapt to the culture and heritage of it come off as genuine and interesting people. I had no shortage of examples of Japanese friends who made Canada their home and while at first I must admit it was a bit unusual to see their love and participation of Canadian culture to be much higher than mine however I found a great respect for it.

In a sense now I am in the same shoes and I wish to make a set of steps in unison with the forward mentality of my counterparts. There’s a lot more attention you can get as a foreigner in Japan when you don such attire but it should be well worth the effort. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t get stares or looks just for being a foreigner in odd settings here and although putting on a yukata will certainly amp that up a few notches it’s not something that I particularly fear anymore, strange as that may sound.

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