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'moved to Fukuoka, Japan' - personal statement

ellecc 4 / 12  
Sep 16, 2012   #1
personal statement

I have never arrived at the borders between countries, yet, somehow, I have been there. I heard the clashes between two different cultures, I smelt the smoke, I witnessed them blend and finally integrate. I know I was there.

I was almost there when I first moved to Fukuoka, Japan, where my father worked, at the age of five. When I accidentally broke the silence on a bus, my mother scolded me: "Sh! Japanese talk gently, so should you, otherwise, they will think you rude." Puzzled and astonished, I looked around, listening carefully: no conversations could be eavesdropped! That was the first time the difference of this new world lay clearly before me. From a language I know not to omnipresent orderliness, everything was different. With a five-year-old's susceptibility, I soon accepted every single new element, secretly observed and imitated how Japanese behaved, and familiarized myself with the new language under constant exposures to Japanese cartoons. By the time I enrolled in Ozasa Primary School half and a year later, I spoke Japanese like a native, without a trace of an accent. Assimilation was fast and I soon resembled Japanese in every way except for my Chinese name. Origami, flower arranging, and nihonnbuyou (a classical Japanese dance) all brought me a sense of delicacy and tenderness. Except at home, where I spoke and studied Chinese and remembered Chinese tradition through my parents, Japanese culture always wielded its power on me.

Thus when I was sent back to Dalian, my hometown, to continue my Grade Four's study, I was already a Japanese girl. A familiar yet strange world meant a new adjustment, and the mark of Japanese culture left on me contradicted Chinese culture. Everyone talked loud, which annoyed me, yet if I talked in a lower voice, a good manner in Japan, no one could even hear me! Whenever I said "xie xie (thank you)" on trivial matters, for example, to cashiers, as I have been taught to do in Japan, people were surprised and eyed me differently. I refused to blend in at first, yet I had to. I was ten then, possessed a better judgment and less impressionable to new things than when I was five, so I changed with discernment. I started to talk louder to be heard; I became more enthusiastic rather than reserved. But, I still thanked others for however small a business; I still never sat on the seats for elders on buses; I still was more serious and punctual. Those five years spent in Japan seems short, yet its influence on me was profound and far-reaching. I blended in, yet I preserved my particular attitudes and habits. As I advanced to junior high, I no longer repelled giving treats to each other though I preferred going Dutch as with my Japanese friends. Every summer when I am in Japan for vacation, I act more like a Japanese, and less when I return home. Just as the saying goes: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." I now find each culture special, charming, and respectable, as any other cultures in this world.

Yes, I have been there, I have strongly felt how cultures meet and blend, and I still expect to be somewhere else, to feel, to learn, and to enjoy.

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really need overall advice and opinions!

I really want to know whether the topic works!
collegebound16 2 / 2  
Oct 14, 2012   #2
This is very good. It really showcases your individuality. However, in the first sentence of the second paragraph you say "where my father worked, at the age of five." While it is understood that obviously your father did not work there when he was five, it is a bit confusing. I would rewrite that sentence if I were you or at least reorder it it make it clear you were five.

Additionally, you use the word 'yet' a lot. Try to use some different words.
Otherwise, it sounds great!

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