I am now writing from an internet cafe in Hiroshima, Japan. For those of you who expected updates on my trip to China, a huge apology. I felt like a lifetime of experiences were crammed into an incredible three weeks in China. It was hard to get internet access, or even the free time to check my email. I took over 2,000 pictures of China, and so there are so many stories I want to share with you. It`s just that it is very time consuming to upload the photos. Anyway, I made all sorts of new friends, and now look at China in a totally different light. Here are a few observations:
1) Japan no longer seems exotic after visiting China. Last year, when I arrived in Osaka, everything in Japan, from the food down to meeting the people seemed so fresh and new that I went crazy taking pictures of anything. Don`t get me wrong, I still enjoy being in Japan. But after three weeks in China, I felt like I was "back home" when I arrived in Hiroshima. I guess I could not understand what the Chinese were saying to me, and so my brain has relaxed a little now that I understand 80% of what others tell me. I`m not experiencing the same level of culture shock in Japan that I experienced in Hiroshima.
2) China was far more developed than I thought. And the Chinese I met had a hunger to move up in life that I find lacking in many American students. We`re going to have to get our young generation hungry to excel in academics and their careers, or else we Americans are in for a rude awakening in a decade or so when we see China develop into an economic giant. China`s strength comes not from its size but rather its people: they are willing to work damn hard to make their country prosperous. Young people I met told me of their future dreams, and they are very goal oriented, such as study abroad for a year to learn English and then open their own trading business company. Now contrast that with the "I dunno...whatever" mentality that I see in some (but definitely NOT all) Hawaii students. Remind me to tell you about the sparking new educational facilities I saw under construction over there. Puts the University of Hawaii to shame.
3) Yes, I did visit a maid cafe while I was in Akihabara. In fact, I visited four of them and dragged my wife along as well. I`ll try to post more pics later, and perhaps even write a short travel article. Just for now, I debated with a maid the merits of maid costumes versus Hooters. She wanted to visit Hooters in America, and I told her that the maid cafe seemed more classy.