Yuzo Shimura, a San Francisco State University philosophy major, has received a $3,500 scholarship from the Dilena Takeyama Center to help finance his study abroad program at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.
Shimura, who is Japanese American, said the experience so far already has shown him that the cultural differences between Japan and the U.S. are even larger than he had imagined.
“I’ve learned that a lot of miscommunication can occur when two people or groups of people do not understand each others’ cultural differences,” he said. “Miscommunications may sometimes lead to misinterpretation of words, actions or behaviors, which in turn can lead to awkward, uncomfortable and sometimes hostile environments or relationships.”
For this reason, Shimura plans to become a language teacher in Japan so that he can spread cultural understanding between the two countries. At Aoyama Gakuin University, Shimura is taking Japanese language, culture and writing classes, as well as classes in global business and international relations.
“I sat in on an international law class taught in Japanese,” he said. “I only understood about 70 per cent of what the teacher was saying. I hope to challenge myself next semester after I improve on my Japanese a little bit more.”
The Dilena Takeyama Center launched the scholarship program to assist students in the U.S. and Japan who plan to utilize their studies and future careers in ways that promote improved relations between the two countries.