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Asano, Takuto, Sakura, Wakana and Kanako write about their culture bump with Jason, an American guy at the University of Houston.

We had a culture bump with American people at the University of Houston. When I passed by my Japanese friend in the hallway, my friend and I said, “Bye” and kept walking. However, when I passed by Jason, the American volunteer, he stopped and said, “Hi, how’s it going?” I was surprised and couldn’t find what to say because usually we don’t make “small talk.”. Therefore, we asked Jason, “Why did you stop and talk?” He answered, “I wanted to show you friendliness.” We thought American people say “Hi” to start a little conversation. On the other hand, Japanese people show their greetings to their friends by a single word.

The universal situation is friendliness. Americans said that they ask, “How’s it going?” to act polite, but it does not mean that they want to know deeply. Even when they ask their friends, “How’s it going?”, the conversation finishes really quickly.

In contrast, when Japanese ask about recent conditions, it means they want to know more deeply. So we don’t ask questions when we just pass by our friends.

To show friendship is a universal situation. However, the way people show their friendship is different depending on the country.

(August 5, 2014)

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