Having grown up in the United States, there was much about Japanese culture that I did not get, despite my family being from there. It was difficult to imagine a culture so much different than my own while still having ties to it. So the first time I visited my parent’s native island of Shikoku, it became clear how the cultural diversity played into my life.
In the US, there is a lot of focus on the cultural aspect of work hard play hard. People in the country commonly subscribe to the narrative of if you work hard, you can earn enough money to play hard. In Japan, this is also a common mentality, but with nuance.
Comparing and contrasting
In some ways, the culture in the US and the culture in Shikoku are very similar. People are humble, hardworking, and know how to enjoy their free time. It is almost as if the two cultures had enough overlap that they developed the same ideals. Perhaps the most stunning part of visiting Shikoku was noticing how people spent their free time.
Much like in America, people, above all, enjoyed spending time with their families. This was the most common source of recreation in the country, which I noticed was similar to how people in the United States behaved. Pretty much everything was different, but there was this one aspect that made me feel right at home. That and the fact that both cultures value hard work and dedication.