even though I’ve been in Japan for only 5 months I believe there is so much that I have learned about – Canada. Now Japan has been treating me very well, but after being away from my homeland for a bit I feel that I can treasure things that I thought were only ordinary in Canada.
- The Cultural Diversity
From a very young age I always knew that Canada was a country which heavily valued multiculturalism and acceptance of everyone. After all, “To have a friend, you must be a friend” was not a motto for no reason. In Canada, there is a mix of all races, cultures and values which which are to be respected. It is this attitude that I have started to appreciate more as of recently. I remember in school that the last thing I would be ostracized about was not my race, however other things definitely do conflict. I think it’s very important as a Canadian to figure out how your culture fits into the Canadian environment, and from there results your journey as a Canadian. Although, sometimes this leads to hyper-sensitivity and everyone thinking that their culture must be respected at all times, no matter what. Which you can see causes debates in politics and legislation frequently, such as “can this be worn at the airport” or “why can I not wear this at work?” All of these things are very real issues as a result of cultural diversity, but after taking a step back from Canada – I can acknowledge that it truly is a very accepting place.
You have access to everything! You have: pizza, pho, laksa, perogies, bubble tea, poutine, Indian curry and etc. The list goes on! While in Japan I may have access to food such as this, it is super expensive to get the ingredients to make such food. Also, the portion sizes you receive are a bit smaller in Japan when you buy these exotic meals at high prices here – though that may be a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’ll be able to get Japanese food as good as Japan if I return to Canada; however, I believe I won’t be able to find such a wide array of exotic foods available to me like they were in Canada. As a Canadian, I often complained that we have many types of food, but we never excelled in one type of cuisine. I’m beginning to see that I was wrong. Firstly, at least we had access to all of those food types. Second, maybe as a university student I was just not paying the price for the high quality restaurants. I’ve noticed a bad habit I have of making generalized statements (whether through unintentional use of poor diction, or just pure ignorance) which hopefully I will eradicate very soon.
3. Holding the Door
Words cannot describe the meaning of this gesture to me as a Canadian. For those of you who do not know, it is customary in Canada for us to look back behind us, and if someone is coming we would hold the door open. This is not specific to Canada, but it is a very kind gesture. What I have come used to as just a minor protocol when entering and leaving has shown me one of the greatest things in our culture. In Canada, when I hold the door for my friend I do not expect a return of gratitude such as “thank you”. Which may seem weird, but I think the cases would be the same if the situation was vice-versa. Subconsciously, we are thinking about each other and the expression of gratitude is not necessary because it’s just normal. Y’know? As a Canadian, I tend to think about the others around me and don’t expect much in return. With small gestures, such as volunteering for Christmas, taking the time to speak with shop clerks when they offer assistance, or even just holding the door. I think these are great parts of Canadian culture which I carry with me wherever I go, even if they don’t always have the same effect as they do in Canada.
I do not want to flood everyone with more of a mountain of text than I already have written. These are some of the great things I will always treasure. This is just one of the blessings I have observed as an international traveler, which I am grateful for. So the next time, you consider making a trip to Canada whether it be for: travel, international exchange, work or immigration – please look forward to these 3 things.