Comparing Cultures

 

Different Politeness Customs
by Gabriela Arrevillaga

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American customs of politeness are different from Mexico to USA, and when I come here I was confused with some of this customs.

For example in Mexico when somebody sneeze people always say bless you, and here people donít soy anything, or when you go to visit somebody, before to enter the house you need to say good morning, or good afternoon, or good night it depends the time.

When American people eat sometimes burp, but making very noise and here is commune, but if you go to Mexico and you make or to others countries in South America you can not do that. Is not polite for us.

Another example is when you have a problem with your homework or another kind or problems in Mexico you should say: Can I help you? But here people only say Sorry. But in Mexico there is something that I donít like. When people is crossing the street, and a car is near you, is better run for your life, because is you donít do that, maybe you can be hurt, and here is different, and I like it.

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Postnatal Care of the Mother in Taiwan and the U.S.
by Joleen Chin


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Giving birth to a baby is a special power given by God to every woman. Itís the best wonderful work. When a woman is pregnancy, every family is waiting for the baby. The baby will develop in the womanís uterus for 9 months; every woman needs more care to keep the baby well until the babyís birth. Childbirth is a critical moment to a woman. Therefore, after a woman gives birth to a baby, postnatal care is very important to everyone. Every country in the world has developed a philosophy of postnatal care for the mother. Maybe someone would think that industrial western country such as the US would have many differences from the traditional eastern country Taiwan. However, a comparison of postnatal care for the mother in the US and Taiwan would tell you not only several similarities, but also a great number of differences.

The philosophies of postnatal care for the mother in the US and Taiwan are similar in a number of ways. First, women all need to stay at the hospital for approximately 1 to 2 days; doctors observe and check their condition for at least 24 hours. Doctors will tell mothers if they have no special problems. The patients can decide if they want to stay at hospital or they want to go home, but most Americans choose to go home as soon as possible. They donít like to stay in the hospital, because they think they are not sick; there are many bacteria in the hospital. Instead, Chinese women all want to stay at the hospital for a long time. Maybe one week to 10 days, and they can pay the money by themselves. They are always nervous about their wound, and they want nurses or friends to be able to give more attention to them, especially with the first baby.

Second, both American and Taiwanese women all have different insurance to pay all the fees. Women donít need to worry about having enough money to pay for the hospital. Itís the important part to be concerned with practicality, because after the babyís birth, the family needs spend much money on the baby. For example, you need to pay $5000~$8000 for the hospital in the US, but in Taiwan, you just pay about $1000~1500. In the US, the medical expenses are more expensive than Taiwan or other Asian countries!

Despite those similarities, the postnatal care for the mother in the US and Taiwan differs greatly in several areas. For instance, American women rest at home about 1 to 10 days after childbirth. It depends on their benefits in the company, but in Taiwan, all women need to rest at home at least 4 to 6 weeks. The government made a law for the workers; companies must give women enough time to recover their bodies. In addition to this maternity leave, many companies will give extra days if you want to breast-feed the baby by yourself; that will give the baby more resistance to diseases in the first couple of months.

On the other hand, American women donít eat any special food except if they want to nurse their babies by themselves. They will drink much more milk and water. They just eat the balanced food as usual. Why is the result so different between the US and Taiwan? I think the main reason is they have the opposite attitude about pregnancy. American women think that it is a natural process; they just continue their regular life, but on Taiwan, however if you are pregnant, you will change your position in your family. Everyone needs to follow your orders and satisfy your needs. Nutrition and food are the best way that the husband or mother can give help to the woman.

It is clear that the experience of the postnatal care for the mother varies from western to eastern countries. Even though the US and Taiwan seem similar in some ways, their postnatal care philosophies are actually quite different. No one can say which is better than the other, because they have different physiques, needs, and traditional customs. However, I prefer the way used in Taiwan, not only because Iím Chinese, but also because I want more care and attention that my family will give to me!

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Wedding Receptions
by Patricia Dominguez

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Some people of another countries told me about their customs for the wedding receptions, and asked me about my culture, what was my opinion for this topic. However, this comparison is difficult at the first look. As a result, if one check deep inside not only several similarities, but also a lot of differences. For this personal investigation I decided to make a comparison between United States and Argentina. In addition I had an interview with my neighbor, Catherine.

First, in the wedding reception in USA, the number of guest is almost one hundred. In my country, we also have the same number of guests.Second, in Argentina the reception is in a church, garden, or reception hall. In the same way, in United States the couple celebrate in the same places. Finally, the new couple give one souvenir to the guests, before they will back to their houses; itís a traditional custom in Argentina. On the other hand, in USA sometime itís the same.

Wedding reception between these countries differ greatly in the time. The people in USA spend in the reception only two hours. In contrast, in Argentina a wedding reception spend all night. Generally begun at 10:00PM until 6:00AM, and finish with a big continental breakfast, the people dance until this time. This custom is not polite in USA. In particular, the guests think that two hours are enough to enjoy oneself without becoming exhausted.

In USA, the couple open the presents after the guests leave. Therefore, in Argentina this custom is different. Specifically, the presents are opening in the same time that the guests are in front of the couple.

In United States the food are finger, small snacks and the wedding cake. However, in Argentina, the food is cooking from special service or homemade; there are two or three dishes, and then the cake or another sweet dishes or deserts.

In conclusion, the United States and Argentina are so different in their customs, but not in the spirit of love. In the first place, the time of the people is very valuable. On the other hand, in Argentina the people know that they should spend some hours for the reception. So, they enjoy a lot and will wait for another wedding reception or party.

Naturally, there are some differences between two or more countries, because the culture is not the same; but in many ways itís better to look for the middle point. In this place we find the equilibrium of all situations. Specifically, in wedding receptions. I think in my country the time itís so long, and too short here. In the future, if I have my wedding reception, I hope to celebrate it in only four hours.

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Sneezes Around the World
by Patricia Dominguez

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Itís interesting this topic about the different customs when another person sneezes. Iíll compare three countries with mine. In Germany, when a person sneezes, another say: "Gesundheit!Ē; itís exchange of "Bless You!Ē. "GesundheintĒ means health. In France, they also say "Gesundheint!Ē, but in this case it means Ēmay your dreams come true!Ē. Itís a good wish. In United Kingdom the way is "Bless You!Ē and "God Bless You!Ē, but it mentioned to the person who sneezed. Also, they use the german expression. The reason for this "Bless You!Ē is about that personís body dwells a devil. When this devil is irritated, a person sneezes to prevent it. In my country, Argentina, was similar some years ago. Now is not polite to say "Health!Ē, and answer "Thank YouĒ if the person is not a friend or relative. Only the old people still have this custom with everybody, for them is polite. So, when another person sneezes in public, we only make a smile. In my opinion it's polite to use a good wish in this moment.

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To Be or Not to Be Polite
by Emanuelle Floriano

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Politeness is different around the world. People can be rude if they are not aware about it. Something that you do in your country maybe could not be polite in another one. I like to compare different cultures; also, I like to learn about it, too. I made a list with something that I learned about politeness in some countries. It can help you if you are going to go on a trip.

For example, if you are invited to dinner in Arabian, You must burp after you eat. It is the way to show that the dinner was delicious, and that you are satisfied. Be careful! If you come to the US, you should not do it. In case you do it, don't forget to say, "Excuse me!"

When you go to Brazil, shake everyone's hand. It is polite and nice. If you don't do it, people will think that you are a snobbish person. They won't like you very much. Don't be astonished if they give you a hug, or, also a kiss, too. They are used to doing it. It is how they show you that you are welcome in their country. It is not the same in Japan. Usually, the Japanese just bow for you. It is very polite for them. You can shake their hands, but never try to give them a kiss. It would be really rude for them.

We don't know about every culture, but we can learn by observing people from other countries. We must need to respect someone else's culture, even when they do something that doesn't look polite to us. Also, don't forget to enjoy the opportunity to learn more about politeness around the world.

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Dating in Brazil and in the United States
by Emanuelle Floriano

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In many parts of the world, people date one another. Some date to have fun or to find someone to get married. However, it is quite different from one country to another. For example, dating in Brazil is similar to dating in the U.S. in some ways, but very different in other ways.

Dating in Brazil and in the US is similar about meeting people to date. Brazilians and Americans begin to date between ages 13-16. In my case, my first date was at the age 16. I think that 16 years old is a good age to start to go out on dates. Usually, they meet one another in cafeterias, at parties, at school, at church, or at work. They date to have fun, to make friends, or to find someone to get married to. They go to a movie, eat dinner, listen to music, and play games, parties, social events, or any other fun thing. When I go out with a guy, I like to go to a place fun and with people around us. It makes me to feel safe.

Another similarity between U.S.A. and Brazil is about choosing the person for a date. Usually, people from both countries look for when they date are religion, race, physical characteristics, and age. These help because they create a common interest between each other. Common interest helps the date to work out. Usually, things like religion and race are the most important for me in the person that IĎm going out with.

Despite these similarities, dating in the US and in Brazil differs greatly in several areas. For example, in the US, boys and girls ask one another to go out. Usually, the person who asks is the one who pays for the date. In Brazil, girls donít ask boys to go out because they get the wrong idea. When a girl wants to go out with a boy, she can ask a friend to help set her up on a blind date. Also the boy will pay for the date. I had an experience that my friend set me up on the blind date. I confess that I didnít feel comfortable. I prefer when a guy asks me to go out, without friendís helping.

One of the differences is that Brazilian never goes on a date in a group, because they donít think it is fun. Also, they expect some physical attention like kissing and hugging. In the U.S. they are the opposite, because they like to go on dates with a group, because they donít expect any physical attention like holding hands on the first date. Sometimes, they hug each other at the end of the date. That is all. Also, Americans guys donít show that they are interested in you. In Brazil, the boys make sure that you about their interest in you. In this case, I prefer Brazilian boy, because I donít need to be asking to his friends if he liked me or not.

Another big difference is how long Americans and Brazilians keep dating the same people. It is quite different. In the U.S., people keep dating for a short period of time before getting married, while Brazilians date for years before they consider getting marry. I think that it is up for each couple to decide about it.

In conclusion, there are some similarities between dating in the U.S.A. and Brazil and a lot of differences. In my personal opinion, I prefer dating in the U.S.A. I think we can have a lot of fun just going out as friends in the first date, and we donít need to kiss everyone that we go on date with just once. Iím not saying that Brazilians are wrong about dating. It is just my personal opinion.

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Cultural Shock
by Emanuelle Floriano

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Like most people I have had cultural shock, since I arrived here. I didnít realize it before. I think that I was afraid of admitting it to myself, because it could mean that I am not a strong person like I wished be. When the ELC asked us to write about it, I start to thing about the things that I had and I still have trouble with. I could realize that I had many problems like food, friend, loneliness, and homesick.

Food was my first big problem. In Brazil, we have the big meal between 11:30 and 1:30. Then, in the first two weeks, I thought I would die by starving. My stomach seemed that it couldnít wait to have dinner. I felt that I was hungry the whole day. The second problem was the food was completely different from Brazilian food. It tasted really strange at the beginning, but after while, I became accustomed in both ways.

My second trouble was about making new friends. I didnít speak any English. Then, it made hard to meet people and make friends. I felt scared of talking to other people. Sometimes, when someone came to talk to me, I felt panic. I was afraid of people think that I was completely stupid, because I couldnít understand them. It brought other feelings to me. Feelings like loneliness and homesick.

My first two months seemed the longest in my whole life. Loneliness filled my soul. I cried during nights. I didnít tell to anyone, because I thought that maybe it could make me weaker, and, then, I could go home without reaching my goal of learning English and living a new culture. Every night, for two long months, I told myself that this was just a short period of time, and I could do it. Well. It worked. I still here!

Another problem that I thing doesnít happen just for me is homesick. I confess that I didnít know what it was when I heard at the first time. I thought it would be a kind of disease that the only way to get well was going home and resting. I know that it was a silly thought. Anyway, I didnít know any English when I came here. Now I know the mean and the feeling. I can remember that sometimes, I caught myself complaining, telling myself that the Brazilian food was better than American food, Brazilian people were friendlier, and etc. Any little problem that I seemed enormous. For many times I thought to go back home. Well, I overcame this problem. I made new friends. I often go out with them. They help me when I am sad. Anyway, I still miss my family and friends in Brazil, but I donít thing anymore about going home before I accomplish my goal of learning English.

I concluded those troubles like loneliness, homesick, with food you can have anytime, but the solution is to discover how to overcome these problems. In my case, I wasnít accustomed to a new lifestyle, and the problem was with me and not with the food, people, or whatever I could thing of. When I start to complain about anything, I start to tell myself that I should enjoy this moment, learning everything that is different from my culture. I overcame those problems in my life. Now, I can enjoy completely my stayed in the U.S.

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My Investigation about Occupations
by Hideaki Higashi

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There are many occupations in the world. Many people work in different occupations. Why did they select their occupation? For money? For fun? Or vaguely? I want to investigate about the reasons for this mystery.

At first, I introduce about a most popular occupation in many countries. According to my research, the most popular occupations are doctor and lawyer. These occupations are very important in any countries, because these occupations are concerned with human life. Therefore, to work in these occupations, you need to study hard. Instead of this, these occupations can earn a lot of money. However, today some people want to become doctor or lawyer only for money. It is such a terrible thing for me. Sometimes they donít set an important to human life. They set an important to money that they can earn. In order to prevent an increase in the number of people like that, education is important.

I think the most important education is early like an elementary school and junior high school, because a personís character is almost decided at that time. If a people receive bad education and grow up in a bad environment, they will become bad persons. Therefore, teaching is a very important occupation. People know the fact, and want to be good teachers. Thus, teachers should receive good treatment. However, in some countries, they donít treat teachers very well. In Korea and Spain, for example teachers can earn a lot of money and have a lot of vacation. Therefore, teaching is very popular occupation in these countries.

On the other hand, many countries like Japan and America donít treat teachers well. Teachers canít earn a lot of money and have less vacation time than other occupations. Particularly in Japan, teaching is a very hard job, but the treatment is not good. Therefore, some people stop wanting to be a teacher. According to this, these countries look like donít set an important to education. However, it is said Japanís education level is highest in the world. It is a mysterious thing for me. I canít understand that fact even though I am Japanese. I just want the treatment of teachers to be improved like these countries.

Another popular occupation is being a soldier. Soldier can earn a lot of money, because the job is hard and dangerous. Some countries like Korea and Spain have compulsory military service. In Korea, every young man has to serve in the army two years after graduating from high school. Similarly, young men in Spain have a duty to serve in the navy or air force for nine months. Just the same in teaching, the treatment is different in being different countries. In Korea, the soldier can earn a lot of money, but in Spain they do not. However, soldier is still popular occupation in Spain. Perhaps Spainís soldiers have a pride to guard people in their country.

On the other hand, my country Japan doesnít have army. We had an army until World War 2. Japan has lost the war, and America subdivided our army. America prohibited Japan to have army. However, America promised to guard Japan. Therefore, America has many bases in Japan. Instead of army, we have the Self-Defense Forces. I donít know what is difference between army and the Self-Defense Forces. I think the Self-Defense Forces is kind of army. Maybe the Self-Defense Forces is almost same as army. Similar to army, we had compulsory military service very long time ago, but we donít have compulsory military service any more. However, the Self-Defense Forces is popular occupation in Japan. Maybe the reason is that the training is hard, but the Self-Defense Forces doesnít need to go to war. Therefore, the Self-Defense Forces can earn a lot of money without dangerous. I want the treatment to army to become worse. If it makes decrease of soldier or army, it is good for the world. If there are no armies, the war will be decrease.

Next, Iím going to write about my opinion about occupation. I canít say this occupation is good and the occupation is bad or so. I donít have a right to say like this. It is depends on each liking. Therefore, Iím going to write about my standard when I select my occupation. First, I want to know the occupation is shaping to me or not. It means I can make use of my talent in the occupation or not. It is very important for me! Next, I want to know the treatment I will receive in my work is right or not. In addition to this, I want to know the job has a challenge or not. I donít want to take an easy job for me. It will be so boring for me and it will be spoil me. I donít want to spoil myself. I want to make progress all the time, in every place, and every situation. I also want to take a creative job, not only paper work. So far, I am considering getting a job about computer. The job is international job, so it will be have a challenge. The job is very creative. The treatment will be good, I think. These are reasons I am considering getting a job about computer.

In conclusion, there are many good jobs in the world, and we can select any occupation. However, it is sometimes difficult to get a job you want. Sometimes, to get a job you want requires hard work. There is possibility that the talent you think you have isnít really your talent. There is also possibility that you have another talent. I think to find own real talent is very important. Making the most of own talents is also important, I think. It makes you can find a great job for you easily. However, the way to find good job for you are not only this way but also other way. For example, if you want to be a teacher, and require good treatment to your works, how about go to Korea. If you canít get a good treatment in your country, you can get a good treatment there. There are many different treatments in the world. Knowing about other countries and culture is also one way to find a good job for you. Your occupation can change your entire life. When you decide your occupation, I recommend you to consider a lot and a carefully.

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Differences in Universities in Korea and America
by Hoon Jin Jung

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The purpose of university is education and study. Students prepare to become competent members of society, and they lead people into the right path. Every country has developed universities based on social, economic and traditional needs. Externally, universities in the world would have similar systems. However, a comparison of universities in Korea and the USA show couple of similarities and some differences.

One of the most important things is education and study. Universities always study to make creative and practical things. In America, many companies support financial help to universities, and universities give good ideas to companies. For example, in Silicon Valley, it is possible to prosper. Because Stanford University and companies mutual help. In Korea, many companies assist universityís research institute and venture groups.

Men prefer natural science to cultural science, but the case of women is contrary. In Korea, men prefer an institute of technology to the department of education, and women prefer the department of education to an institute of technology. However, last year, in medical college of Seoul national university, 90% of successful candidate is woman. Gradually, women are approaching the fields that were previously thought to be just menís careers. In America, men students also are interested in more science than the humanities, and the case of women is contrary.

It is very difficult to enter university in Korea, so high school students have to study very hard. However, if they pass an entrance exam, it is easy to graduate from a university, so average graduation rate is 96%. However, in America, it is very easy to enter university in general, but it is difficult to graduate from a university, so in comparison with entrance rate, graduation rate is relatively low. Until recently, professor in Korea gave generous grades to students, so people pointed out that these grades were meaningless. As a result lately professors have begun to evaluate studentís abilities relatively: such as A 20%, B 30%, C 30%, and D,F 20 %. However, in America, professors evaluate studentís abilities absolutely.

In Korea, universities entirely depend on tuition, so they are in financial difficulties. In order to solve financial difficulties, some educational experts insist that we should accept donation entrance into a school, and universities decide tuition freely. In America, universities partly take donation entrance into a school, and they decide to tuition freely, so each university is very different, from 1,500 to 25,000 dollars a semester. but in Korea, universities tuition is decided by government, so all universityís tuition is alike.

We have a saying in Korea ďA king, a teacher and a father are same.Ē A long time ago, we even wouldnít step on a teacherís shadow. We think teacher is different person, so it was hard to talk to teacher directly. In America, the relationship of teacher and student looks like friendship. When I saw American students joke with their teacher by TV program, it was surprised to me. In Korea, we canít imagine it. However, recently, it much softened, but its spirit always remains.

I compared university in Korea and America. I can find a couple of similarities and some differences. Universities in Korea and America have been the driving force in the development of society. Actually, a university is a Mecca for society. In conclusion, in Korea, we should be a little more open-minded to take opening mind, and in America, itís better to think and say freely, but itís necessary to act courteously. We know that we have some problems about education, so we try to keep up with distinguished universities in the world and research good educational system. When we feel we have problems, we deal with them flexibly. Thatís a strong point.

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Baby Teeth
by Hoon Jin Jung

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In Korea, if children fall out their a lower baby tooth, throw it up onto west roof. And if children fall out their an upper tooth, throw it up onto east roof. We believe that magpie will pick it up, and magpie will bring new tooth. Magpie always appear at good things, because Korean believe that magpie is a good omen.

In America, when children fall out their tooth, children put the baby tooth under his pillow before going to bed. A tooth fairy comes during the night and takes the tooth with her. The next morning, the child would find money underneath the pillow.

In Mongolia, they give the baby tooth to a young dog. The dog is respected and is considered a guardian angel. They put the baby tooth in the meat fat and feed it to the young dog. When the guardian angel eats it, it is said, that a strong tooth will grow. Thatís very funny.

In the case of Asia country, usually when if it is a baby tooth, throw it up roof. I guess it means that Asian people worship sky for a long time, so they throw it up for sky. In American, United Kingdom, Mexico, I guess they are influenced by religion, so they believe god. In Mongolia, they live nomadic life with animals, so I guess they worship animals. I think all country are influenced by their surroundings

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Superstitions in Korea and Japan
by Yong Won Kim


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Superstitions seem like magical and unscientific things. They sometimes cause a person to do irrational things. Thus, learned men give superstitions a disdainful look. However, the superstitions in each country are an important part of that countryís culture. They contain a culture of their own.

Superstitions in Korea and Japan are similar because these two countries are in the same culture zone. For example, most Koreans decide superstitiously their wedding date and burial ground. They believe that dates and places cause people to be good. If a couple gets married on a good day, they will be good. Also, if descendants bury their ancestors in a good place, they will be good. This superstition is familiar to that of Japanese.

For another example, the number or the behaviors that both countriesí people believe to cause bad luck are similar to each other. They all dislike the number Ď4í, because the sound of the word for ď4Ē(sa) sounds like the word for ďto dieĒ(sa). Both countries use Chinese characters. The Chinese characters for ďfourĒ and ďto dieĒ have the same sound. Thus, most Korean buildings have no 4th floor or room number 4. Because Koreans hate to live in a house that has the number 4, a builder never gives the number 4 to his building, floor, or room number. If you take an elevator in Korea, you recognize that there is not a 4th floor in the building. You will go to the 5th floor after the 3rd floor. This is the same in Japan, but Koreans take it more seriously.

Despite these similarities, there are different superstitions in the two countries. Koreans eat taffy or a rice cake to pass on examination, but Japanese eat Tongkatsu, which is a fried pork steak with crumbs of bread. In Korean, because ďto stick fastĒ to an examination means to pass the exam, Koreans eat a sticky thing to help them ďstick toĒ the exam. In Japanese, Ďkatsuí sounds like the word for ďwinĒ. Thus, ordinarily, many people present this food to an exam taker.

In addition, when Japanese people have a dinner, if one person and another person catch one food with their chopsticks at the same time, they feel an ominous presentiment. I heard that this is bad because, in Japan, after burning a dead body, many people hold a dead bodyís ashes with chopsticks and move them. This superstition is unfamiliar to Koreans.

As a consequence, most superstitions in Japan are similar to ones in Korea, because these two cultures were affected from the same culture zone and the superstitions occurred based on this culture. However, because each superstition contains each characteristic lifestyle and thoughts, there are a few differences. I think if we investigate another nationís superstitions, we can understand that nationís lifestyle and culture better.

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Invitation Culture
by Yong Won Kim

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When I was in Korea, one American friend said that Koreans differ from the Americans very much in thought about relationship between men and men. Koreans count on other personís thought. When they do something, they feel wonder how other people feel about it. However, the Americans behave freely regardless of other personís thought if what they want to do is in a rule. I also think that Koreans depend on otherís thought more than the Americans do.

For example, More Koreans refrain from inviting other person to their houses than Americans, because they think they should prepare a lot of food when they invite others to their houses. Moreover, they are anxious about how other people think about the food they prepare. It causes the host to be nervous. However, Americans invite other people to their houses for several parties and everyone to attend to parties sometimes takes food to the parties. The partyís host isnít worried about food for a party and how other person feels about the party.

Korean culture is changing to American style these days. However, Koreans who doesnít know American culture such as older Korean might feel awkward in American invitation culture. Americans invited to Korean houses also might feel odd about Korean hostís behavior for guests.

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Japanese and Korean Culture
by Yong Won Kim

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Eaki Mizuharaís father is Japanese and her mother is a Korean. Therefore, she knows about these countriesí culture well. She told me about the differences and the common points between Japan and Korea. I agree with her opinion and want to add my thoughts about her essay. For example of differences, she said that ďin Korea when the birthday of one family member comes, most of the relatives will gather, while in Japan so many people wonít gather.Ē Most Koreans would gather on a special day such as New Year day, Korean Thanksgiving Day, babyís first birthday, and sixtieth birthday. Moreover, a wedding ceremony is the most important day when relatives and neighbor have to gather together. Korea was a farming country in old times. Because most Koreans lived on rice, they had to raise rice. However, because raising rice was difficult and needed many procedures, one man alone couldnít farm rice. As a result, Koreans helped each other to raise rice. After that, when others were in hard work, they began to gather to help others. This tradition has been continued until now. Even though this culture sometimes causes other people to be inconvenience, I think that it is a beautiful tradition.

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School Systems on the United States and Argentina
by Adrian Mandrile

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Education is very important purpose for the government of a nation. They know that to be a good country, it is necessary to have an adequate educational system. Each country made their own education systems in concordance with their economic, politics and social needs. For this reason, a comparison of school systems between the United States and Argentina would give us an idea of which things are the same or are not. Educational systems in Argentina and the United States have almost the same number of similarities as differences.

The first similarity is that the relationship between teachers and students are the same. For example, they have very friendly attitudes. The classes are informal. Nobody use uniforms. Only if the school were private, students would use something like a label. In addition, there arenít many rules of formality in public school. For example, the students never stand up when the teachers enter the room. Students also have the same behavior in the schools. It is good, but always there are some individual exceptions.

Another similarity that we can find is that the layout of the room is the same. Students sit at desks in rows and the stand teacher at the front. Also, teachers grade students on exams and behavior. They reward their students by giving good grade, but they punish by sending students to the principalís office.

Leaving similarities, I am going to tell about the differences in the organizational aspect of school system between the United States and Argentina. First, the number of years required to attend school in the United States are ten, including elementary school, junior high school, but in Argentina, are obligatory only seven years. It is elementary school only. Second, the academic subjects students have to study in elementary school are different. In the United States, students study more quantity of subjects, like writing, reading, and foreign languages. In Argentina, students study general introduction to mathematics, geographic, and history.

Another major differences are that in Argentina, there arenít activities like clubs, sport, and student council, and the vacations are different. The parents donít have special activities like United States has, it activity is called PTA. ďParent Teacher AssociationĒ. In addition, the vacation isnít equal in both countries. In Argentina is dividing in two parts one in summer, it take two months and half, and the other one in winter it is only two weeks. In the other hand the United Stated has three months of vacation in summer, and almost two weeks in Christmas

These are the general differences and similarities that we can find between educational systems in Argentina and the United States. I think that both educational systems are good, because they cover the necessities for each country.

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Traditional Clothes
by Erika Matsuyama

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I like my culture. Especially, I like the Japanese traditional clothing which is called "kimonoĒ. My mother is a dressmaker, so I have seen the making of kimonos up close. Sometimes I sat close to my mother and watched her work. She often told me about kimonos. For example, the meaning of a kimono is not only clothing, but it is also art. I gradually came to like a kimono when I got knowledge about it.

I also came to have interest for other cultures, especially about clothes. Right now, I have a Mongolian roommate, and she showed me her traditional clothes. I will explain about kimono by comparing the Mongolian traditional clothing which is called "deelĒ.

The kimono is very different from the deel, but they have quite a few similarities. The first similarity is the material. A deel is made from silk or satin. However, silk is very expensive, so Mongolians use the silk deel as a very formal costume. It is the same with the Japanese. The kimono is also made from silk, and we use the kimono always on ceremonial occasions.

The second similarity, the kimono has many varieties, and we use different kimonos on different occasions. For instance, at a wedding ceremony and funeral, we use different kimonos, and single women and married women also use different kimonos. For example, single women wear kimonos that have very wide sleeves. Itís called "furisodeĒ. However, the furisode is only used at auspicious times. Married women wear kimonos that donít have as wide sleeves. Deel also has many varieties, and it is also used properly on different occasions. For example, married women wear a kind of long vest. Itís called "uujĒ.

The third similarity, each kind of traditional clothes has many symbols. I canít explain all of those, but I will present the most interesting part of those symbols. In Mongolian traditional clothing, the hat means to prosper. The belt means to be organized. The deel means a modest and humble person, and the boots mean to be supportive. Those symbols are very interesting for me. The kimono also has many symbols, and I will explain the best two of those symbols. The Japanese belt, called Obi, means to tie heavens and earth. The whole kimono means harmony and beauty. It is so interesting for me.

Now, I will explain about different way kimono and deel. First, the model is different. In Mongolia, winter is very hard. As a result of this, a deel is made to be warm. For example, they use the sheepskin for lining of their coats. My roommate told me, it is so warm. In contrast, there is a high percentage of humidity in the summer of Japan, so a kimono is made to be breathable and cool. For example, the kimono has very wide sleeves. It makes the kimono be well-ventilated.

Second, at the present time, almost all Japanese people wear the kimono only at special times. About two hundred years ago, Japan opened the country to foreign intercourse. Since then, the Japanese stopped using our traditional clothes so often. However, in the countryside, Mongolians wear the deel casually even now. I feel envious about this. I want to wear the kimono more often, because I love kimonos, and it is our culture. It is also a dream of my mother. Maybe I am affected by my mother strong.

I think that traditional clothes are the best for people in their own country, because each has very good things, and each type of clothes fit in their own country and in its traditions. When I inspected those things, I felt like that. I like both Japanese and Mongolian cultures. I want to know more about other cultures.

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Cultural Meanings and Importance of Teeth
by Yumi Ogawa


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Every culture has a different attitude when it comes to teeth. Actually, it is very to compare the various attitudes to words of teeth. Specifically, I want to compare Japan with the United States, because both of these countries have fairly good dental habits. However, they also have some definite differences between them. In addition, I want to find some similarities from each country. I think these will be helpful in understanding each culture.

First, we don=t want to go to a dental office. In other words, everybody hates to go to a dental office! It is very scary! I donít like that special sound of a dental drill. The smell is bad too! It helps to make us nerves. Even though I was a dental hygienist, I don=t want them to do anything to me. This especially true in Japan, where itís thought that showing us teeth is rude, and so the Japanese donít like showing their teeth or opening their mouths. I saw this happen when I was working in the dental office. Patients wouldnít like to open their mouths to a doctor. It was very interesting. The old people would say, ďOpening your mouth is a shameless thing!Ē I would wonder why they would come to doctor. Then I would wonder what they would think about this in America. Do they also feel shame like the Japanese? Or do they have a different opinion? In addition, I wanted to compare Japan with America concerning the cultural meaning and importance of teeth.

Second, even though people donít like the dental office, everybody loves white straight teeth. I know that it is opposite different desire, but we try to keep good teeth. If we have beautiful teeth, we look young. (especially women!) In addition, we always want to make a good impression. We spend a lot of money and time for our teeth. This is same in America and Japan.

I think that you are wandering why we think showing our teeth is rude? Showing teeth when we were laughing is bad manners in Japan. About 1300 years ago when girls wanted to laugh, they had to cover their mouth with a fan. It was a tradition in Japan. We still feel that it is elegant manners. The noblewomen stared the tradition. They used folding fans, and they covered their mouths when they talked with people. However, I don=t know why they began it. I think that it was because a small mouth was considered beautiful at that time. This is still time today, for example, when I showed my friendís wedding picture to my American friend, she had a question about their faces. She asked, ďWhy do your friends look sad? Why they donít smile? Their faces are so serious too! Are they happy for their marriage?Ē I was laughing about it, because I know that when Japanese have to take formal pictures, we donít smile. We feel that serious faces are beautiful. However, Japanese teenagers donít care about showing teeth when they are laughing now. A lot of Japanese girls smile and show their teeth like American models. The Japanese feel that American or European models are the best. So, now the Japanese culture is subject to American or European culture.

One of the differences between Japan and America, it is the starting time of braces. Braces are very popular in America, and they start them young, too. Most Americans does braces often. But braces are not very popular in Japan. When Japanese turn 20, they most have a desire braces. They want to have straight teeth like the American models. However, most Japanese think that it is too late for beginning. They give up trying. However sometimes when they turn 40, they try to have braces, because of periodontal disease. It is a sickness of the gums and teeth bone. If people have crooked teeth, they accumulate a lot of dental plaque, because people canít brush their teeth very well. That plaque becomes to tartar. (Which is a very hard little stone.) The tartar contributes to melting their teeth bone. The gums also swell up. After whiles, their gums would be bleeding. The tartar gives them foul breath too. So, people lose their teeth easily. Now, however, Japanese teenagers are interested in having braces because we eat a lot of soft food. (The food in Japan is also influenced by America culture; so Japanese teenagers love fast food now.) When we eat soft food, we can make a lot of dental plaque easily and also our jawbones canít fully mature, because we donít chew a lot. Chewing looks like exercise of mouth. It helps our jawbone to grow. Eating soft food gives us a small jawbone, and then our teeth lose space and itís difficult for them to come in. Braces are modern, and help improve ours oral situation. The Japanese especially have a need for braces now.

Now, I want to focus on how each countryís attitudes different. Iíve heard that an American actress and actor or news reporter has to have beautiful teeth. However it is doesnít matter in Japan. This really interests me. Even though Japanese actress and actor or news reporter doesnít have straight teeth, they can become a famous movie star or news reporter. Sometimes I feel so bad about it, because their mouth looks dirty to me! However, a personís teeth tell their gender, age, education environment, character etc. It is amazing! When I watch American movies, I always check their teeth, because teeth can give a personís character away quickly. For example, bad people usually have swollen gums, they have a lot of plaque, and their teeth are yellow. These signs mean their lifestyle is irregular. In other words, they donít have control of their life. Similarly, when a dentist does an autopsy, they get a lot of information from their objectís teeth. Of course dead body doesnít speak to anybody. The doctor can find out whose body is that from information of teeth. For example, if a dead person had straight teeth in Japan, this generally means that these people are rich who and from a good family. The braces are very expensive and they have to have a good value of oral situation. When a corpseís teeth are worn away, this means is old people or who has a short temper. This kind of people does grind their teeth very often. Even though it is just teeth, they can tell us lots of information.

The cost of dental care in Japan is very different from America. In Japan, our government helps with our medical insurance. For example, if someone has to get his or her tooth pulled out in Japan, it costs $20 to $50. In America, it costs over $700. I was surprised about that! In addition, they don=t have a lot of tooth decay, and prevent gum disease, and keep their own teeth. In other words, they take care of their teeth all the time, so they donít have to pay a lot of money for dentist. In Japan, we can go to the doctor easily, so people fix a little bit. However it is not good for Japanese people=s value for oral care. Even though the cost of dental care in America is expensive, Americans take care and spend money for their teeth. Japanese should take care of their teeth, because of cheap!

American tries to have perfect health and looks. They use a lot of make up too! (Especially the eye make up is too much) In Japan, we just try to have a beautiful clothes and accessories. Most Japanese donít know how important our teeth are tragedy. We have to change this. I should life up Japanese value for oral care with Americans. Even though it is just a tooth, we can find out what is different thing between our cultures. I am trying to understand how should I can change my country. This homework helped me to think about medical care and understand each culture. We have to take care our natural teeth. I remind you that you can eat everything like when you were young, and can keep good health all your life.

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Superstitions in Korea and Argentina
by Sang Hee Park

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I am usually interested in superstition even though I believe in Christ. The reason Iím interested in superstition, because it gives me enjoyment to think about this topic. As a result, I decided on this subject of comparison easily. However, I couldnít decide the country to use. I decided on South America by hard work, because I donít know about South America. If I interview with South America people, I can know about south-America. As a result, I compared Korea with Argentina about superstitions.

We both have funny superstitions about enrolling in school. In Korea, the exam for the university is very important. As a result, when we take the exam, our parents attach wheat-gluten to a school gate. If the wheat-gluten sticks well, this means we will pass the examination. Also, if we want to pass the exam, we eat wheat-gluten. However, nowadays this is changing. When we eat wheat-gluten on exam day, someoneís tooth may come out. As a result, we eat chocolate instead. In Argentina, if someone takes the exam, they wear the same suit, which they studied in. The reason is that the clothes have the answers. In addition, they sleep on the book before the exam, because while they sleep, the subject of book enter the their brain. This is similar in my country. However, this is not popular. There is interesting thing about the number.

In Korea, 4 is the bad number. On the other hand, in Argentina, 13 is the bad number. In Korea, there arenít bad days. However, in Argentina, when someone wakes up, if they touch their left leg to the floor first, the day is a bad day. In addition, if you open an umbrella inside, this means bad luck. Also, they believe in werewolves. If the night has a full moon, the werewolf appears. I saw this only in movies.

I know that all of the countries have similar things. However, culture and tradition are different in each country. In addition, I learned the superstition of Argentina. I thought South America was very different from Asia. However, the superstitions are very similar even though it is different how many believe.

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Response to "Japanese and Korean Culture"
by Sang Hee Park

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I read ďJapanese and Korean Culture.Ē I agree with the ideas more or less. However, I disagree with some part. Culture is different. However, there is some simmer same parts. In Korea, some people like to gather many people. However, some people hate gathering many people. Maybe in Japan, there are people who like gathering people in event. I think the personality gives each individual more than nationality. As a result, I think that all Koreans are diligent but some are diligent themselves. The comparison between Japanese and Korean people is very fun, because I think that Japan is a close country even though the thoughts are different.

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Cultural Attitudes about Soccer in the U.S.A., Japan, and Spain
by Francisco Rebollo


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A long time ago, some people from Great Britain took a ball full of cloth and started to play whit it happily. Soccer was born! Because Iím from Spain, I have been playing soccer since I was a child. Consequently, I like this sport very much. Now, Iím in the U.S.A studying English. I have been here for seven months. Also, I have been studying with many Japanese students. Thus, I have learned a little bit about their ways of life and different cultural attitudes about soccer between the U.S.A, Japan and my own country. I must say that I have found more differences than similarities. Therefore, a comparison of cultural attitudes about soccer reveals a lot of differences between these countries.

The most important similarity I have found is that there is a professional league in each of these countries. In these leagues, soccerís rules are the same; there are eleven players on every team. Also they play with the same kind of soccer ball. Besides that whoever gets more gols always wins. But, these similarities are the only ones that Iíve found. Thus, I am going to write down about some important differences.

Despite the fact that Americans and Japanese know that a professional league exits in their countries, they do not know its name. That is the first great difference. Soccer has been present in the Spaniardsí lives for almost 200 years, yet in the U.S.A it has just gotten big in the last 10 or 15 years. In Japan, soccer is a little more popular. It has been present there for almost 50 years. Time will help soccer become more and more popular in Japan and in the U.S.A

What will happen in Spain if you decide to take a walk on the street or on the beach on a beautiful day of summer? If you decide to do it, you ought to take care or protect yourself with armor because a soccer ball might hit your body strongly. It will never happen in the U.S.A or Japan. Itís rare to see people playing soccer on the street or on the beach in the U.S.A; Japanese people only play soccer at school. This is one of the biggest differences about soccerís culture between these countries.

Soccer generates great enthusiasm in Spain. When there is an important game on television in my country, you cannot find people walking on the street. All of them are at home enjoying watching the game. For these two hours, Spain will be a large wilderness. On the other hand, television in the U.S.A does not care a lot about soccer. Similarly, in Japan you can watch soccer games on television just at midnight, when only the ghosts can watch it.

Nevertheless, these differences will change step by step. In the summer of 1994, the U.S.A hosted the Soccer World Cup. It is the most important event in the soccer world that takes place every four years. The people from Europe were very frightened because they thought that it would be a great calamity.ď The Americans do not like soccer. The stadiums will be empty,Ē they said. Yet, this was not true. Not only was the competition a great success, but also the people filled the stadiums at every game. Since that time, soccer in the U.S.A has been getting more and more popular. Japan is going to host the next World Cup. This will be a great deal for this country. They will have the opportunity to show the world how soccer in Japan is growing quickly.

In conclusion, cultural attitudes about soccer in the U.S.A, Japan, and Spain are different. For Spaniards and European people in general, soccer is a way of life, meanwhile in the U.S.A, and in Japan things are changing swiftly. Maybe soccer will ever reach the same popularity in these countries than in Spain and the others countries on Europe. But, It is part of the culture of every country. Furthermore, we cannot forget that different cultures make this world greater.

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Important Holidays in Honduras and Korea
by Silvia Rodriguez

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Every country around the world has special days called "holidays." The holidays in every country are to remember important people or events in the history of the country. I want to write about Korea and Honduras because we have different customs. Also, we are very far away from each other, and I can learn more about another culture. A comparison of holidays in Korea and Honduras reveals that we have some similar holidays, but different ways to celebrate them.

The holidays in Honduras are similar with some holidays in Korea. We enjoy them and remember special holidays in our countries. On important holidays in cities, many people celebrate with parties and family gatherings. During national holidays, offices and banks are closed, whereas palaces, museums, most restaurants, markets, department stores, cinemas, and amusement facilities are usually open. Taxis and other forms of transportation are almost always available. The same custom exists in both Honduras and Korea. Second, in Korea, the most important holidays include Christmas, New Year's Day, Children's Day, and Independence Day. In Honduras, these are also very important days of the year.

However, Christmas Day in Honduras is celebrated on December 24th. We celebrate it with big parties in every house. Also, we share food with our family, neighbors, and friends. We talk with them about future plans, and, of course, we dance all night. Some other countriesin Latin America have the same celebration, because our cultures are very similar.

On the other hand, Koreans celebrate Christmas on December 25th, like in the United States. They think that this day is not really important, because most people are Buddhist. They use this day to be with family and enjoy that, but young people use it to meet with their boyfriend or girlfriend and have a good time.

Another difference is that in Korea, New Year's Day is more important than Christmas. They celebrate New Year's Day according to the Oriental Lunar Calendar, so the day might change from year to year. They celebrate with special customs. They eat rice cakes at this time as a special food, fly kites, and visit all their relatives. Also, they talk about work. An interesting thing I learned is how they receive money. I asked, and they told me, "When young people bow reverently to an older person, the older person gives them money." That is different from my country. We receive money without bowing to people.

However, in Honduras we celebrate New Year's Day on December 31st and the first day of the new year. On this day we dance, give gifts to family and friends, eat a lot of food, and set off firecrackers. When the clock strikes 12:00, all families are together, and they give hugs to each other saying, "Happy New Year!" After that, we open our presents and go outside to watch fireworks. Similar to Koreans, we spend time with family and eat special food. For example, in Honduras we eat rice with chicken and torrejas, a special dessert.

I like to write about the differences and similarities between holidays in Honduras and Korea. Now that I have learned about it, I want to spend one Christmas in Korea to learn more things about this country. Although we are far away, we all have special times with family and friends to remember special events in our lives.

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Dating Customs in the United States and Mexico
by Zeika Rodriguez

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The purpose of dating is to meet new people, make friends, have fun, and, most importantly, to find somebody to marry. However, a comparison of dating in the United States and Mexico reveals also not only several similarities, but also a number of differences.

Dating in the United States and Mexico is similar in a number of ways. The majority of the youth start dating when they are 16 years old. In both countries, they begin dating in litter or big groups. They participate in many activities, such as watching movie, playing a sport, having a barbecue, and camping. As they get older, the men will invite the women on a date. When a man invites a woman on a date it is customary for him to pay. In both countries, they do many similar activities, such as going dancing, eating out, and going to movies.

While there are many similarities in the dating customs of the United States and Mexico, there are also differences. Smaller portions of the youth begin dating at different ages, depending on the family. In Mexico, a man will visit a woman many times and tell her about his feeling for her. In the United Stated, however, no one is very open about his or her feelings. It takes a lot of times and a lot of trust for people to open up. Therefore, many mind games are played with each other. Mexicans do not date a lot of people, and never play games while Americans date many people. In Mexico, is not common kiss on the first date but they kisses later. On the other hand, Americans is usually kiss on the first date. A kiss means a lot in Mexico, but in contrast, Americans people sometimes a kiss does not mean as much in the United States.

In summary, people become boyfriend and girlfriend in different ways. They all have fun dating, and meeting new people. Nevertheless, everyone is searching for the same thing, someone to love and marry.

I like this topic because I learned the differences among United States, Mexico. I liked dating in United States because I can meet a lot of people of different place. Also, you can date with different persons and made a lot friends, but I donít like to play mind game with the feeling of the person because the feeling is very important to me and means too much. In contrast, dating in Mexico sometimes that is very serious to me. Also, there almost I didnít have to meet lot of person. I liked some things of dating in United States and Mexico. In my personal opinion both countries have a good things. They are not bad and they are not good only both are different.

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What Happens when a Child Loses His First Tooth in Mexico
by Zeika Rodriguez

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When a child lose his first tooth in Mexico, they have to put his first tooth under pillow. Also, they should put his first tooth in the night before they go to the bed. Just at night the mouse goes to the childís bed and the mouse take the first tooth. Later the mouse changed the first tooth for some amount of money. The mouse has to put the some money under the pillow where the first tooth was. The next morning when the child wake up, he should looking for his money under the pillow so, he takes the money, and he became happy!!!! In Mexico each time when a child lost a tooth wherever tooth. The child has to do the same steps if he want to get some money for each tooth he lost. The most important time is when he lost his first tooth.

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Birthday Parties
by Zeika Rodriguez

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I read this article about the party in Australia and Japan. In Mexico, the host birthday when he is doing to do a party. The host birthday have to invite their friends or family if he want to. The host birthday has to notify his friends one or two weeks before the party but sometimes the party can be in the same day. So, host birthday prepare, and he buy everything to the party because the host birthday want to share his special day with his best friends, and family, too. Therefore, his guests have to bring a present to the host birthday, that is very polite. In the party you can to invite somebody such as boyfriend or girlfriend, but you should to notify the host birthday about that to be prepared. The party is not a date with somebody. The party is to know a new people and enjoy a good time with the host birthday. In time the guests talk to each other very friendly, listen traditional and modern music, eat desserts, snacks, and drink soda or fruit drinks.

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Eating Food in the United States and Indonesia
by Mora Siregar


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Food is very important for human to survive in life. Each country in the world has a specific food which different from other countries. Even though there are some similarities between traditional food, they also have a lot of differences. Indonesia and the U.S. have their own specific food. It is good to know both the similarities and the differences of food between U.S. and Indonesia refer to keep a good relationship.

First of all, both Indonesia and United States people usually change their menu for each mealtime. For example, they always change the menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In other words, they didnít eat same menu for lunch and dinner.

In addition, both Indonesians and Americans take just a short time to prepare their breakfast. It is because the people rush in doing their routine activities every day. On the other hand, it usually takes a longer time to prepare lunch and dinner than breakfast.

Second, both Americans and Indonesians consume fresh food every day. For instance, they eat fruits, vegetables, and fresh meat. Not only the Americans always eat snacks as additional food, but Indonesians also have this custom. They eat it in their spare time. It usually happens late in the afternoon. However, probably kind of snack could be different.

Despite these similarities, eating food in Indonesia and United States has some differences. For example, Indonesian people eat the same food every day for lunch and dinner. That is rice. Rice is a main food for Indonesian folk. Even so, they eat it with other foods, like meat and vegetables. On the other hand, American people eat a variety of foods each day. In particular, they eat pizza, sandwiches, pasta or noodles, and sometimes meat for dining.

Another difference is how people prepare the food for lunch and dinner. In the United States, people take a longer time to prepare dinner than lunch. They cook the food approximately one and half-hours before eating. On the other hand, in Indonesia, people take a longer time to prepare a lunch than a dinner. For dinner, they usually warm the food that was cooked at noon instead of making more.

A final difference in eating food between the United States and Indonesia is the taste of the food. In general, Americans prefer a sweet taste or a little bit salty in their food. In contrast, most Indonesian people like a hot and spicy taste in their food. Also, Indonesian would like to eat food that still warms instead of food that is not warm anymore. Therefore they always warm their food before eating. On the other hand, American people admit to eat food that isnít warm, like sandwiches.

Even though Indonesia and the United States had some differences in eating food, they could eat one to anotherís food. They would like to try food each other. Even sometimes they invited to each other. Indonesians were supposed to decrease the spicy of their food when they invited their American friends. In the same way, Americans could add a bit of spicy to the food when they invited their Indonesian friends. Consequently, both Indonesians and Americans can invite each other for dining with a pleasant food.

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Driving in the U.S. and Indonesia
by Mora Siregar

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Driving a car is fun. I think everybody like driving. There are some different habits in driving in many countries. For instance, there are some different in driving between the United States and Indonesia. Even though, I have found some similarities in driving.

In general, the similarity of driving in the U.S and Indonesia is driver has to respect to pedestrians when they meet them on the street, specifically when the pedestrian want to across the street. They have to give opportunity to pedestrian first when the traffic light is red before they continue driving. If they donít obey this rule, and an accident happens, they will get fine.

On the other hand, there are some different in driving in the U.S. and Indonesia. For example, crossing street without traffic light. People in the United States more respect to the pedestrian than in Indonesia in this situation. In Indonesia, a driver doesnít care about pedestrian, if they donít across the street on the appropriate place, like at traffic light. They keep driving fast, although they see pedestrian want to across the street. In contrast, in the U.S. driver always respect to pedestrian, although they across the street without traffic light.

In conclusion, driving habit in the United Stated is better than driving habit in Indonesia. I would like to give a suggestion to my government about driving habit, if I have opportunity. Respecting in driving is important in order to avoid accident.

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What Indonesians do When They are Sneezing
by Mora Siregar

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There are differences of people action when they are sneezing. It is depended of the culture of the country. In Indonesia, there are two kinds of action if they are sneezing. One, people will say ďMaafĒ when they are sneezing. It means ďSorryĒ in English. It shows a refine of the people. In this type, usually people who hear the sneeze donít do or say something. They ignore it, because the sneezer already said sorry. Two, people who are sneezing will say ďAlhamdulillahĒ. It is Arab language. Moslem people usually use it. It means, ďGod bless youĒ in English. The people who hear the sneeze will say the same word with the sneezer ďAlhamdullillahĒ. Saying the words is also to respect the people close to the sneezer. In conclusion, Indonesian folk will say something when they are sneezing in order to show that he/she respect to the people who probably hear it. Otherwise, people will think that the sneezer is an impolite person.

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A Comparison of Education Systems in the USA and Japan
by Naruo Toda

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Almost every aspect of educational systems is similar between the USA and Japan. But I found some different points. I think that educational system in the elementary school and discussion class are the most important for all young people.

There were four major similarities between the educational systems in the USA and Japan by interviewed a native speaker. Usually American students are required to attend school for 10 years. That is the Japanese law, too. I think almost countries have same numbers of required years.

In the USA, they are students at school, eight hours a day, and five days a week they go. In Japan, we are fifteen hours a week, and six days in a week. Itís about my elementary school. In addition, I think I donít care about those differences. Then in the USA, they study writing, math, reading, spelling and science in the elementary school as academic subjects. Nonacademic subjects are art or sports. The students usually do homework for ten hours a week in the USA. These things are same in Japan. In the USA, the classroom atmosphere is informal, and they donít stand up when teacher enters the room. Itís a major difference. Japanese people are very formal. We have to stand up when teachers enter the room. Itís our countryís custom. We become serious about that custom. I prefer to the American education system, because we can express our personality opinion.

They donít discuss at the class until high schools in the USA, but they almost all have discussion in high school. In Japan, we donít have discussion classes at any school. In my experience, I havenít ever had discussion class. It ever happens in Japan. I think accepting discussion class is very important for Japanese people.

Finally, I asked a native speaker the most important question in this interview. That is, ďWhen did you learn about morality, like good thinking or good behavior for people, from school or somewhere else?Ē He learned from the teacher just once about his case, but he said almost Americans get that education from their parents or school in the USA. And that education is good, I think. Almost Americans are not halfway odd for anything. I like that style. Almost Japanese donít have personal opinions like Americanís. Japanese schools donít educate about morality. Our schools always only educate studying. Japanese donít do sports in the school as the club. Maybe about 70 % students donít do that. So many young people donít have normal morality. As a result, there are many poor crimes by young people in Japan.

My opinion is that Japanese schools can learn many things from the American educational system to help students learn to have a personal opinion and good morality. If I could change Japanese educational system, Iíd like to do that. I thought that during this homework strongly. Someday, I believe Japanese peopleís mind will change!! I think the Japanese system can teach the Americans anything important.

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Goodbye to Baby Tooth
by Naruo Toda

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In my country when they lose a baby tooth, we have many kind of doing that. Now I explain two examples in the case of my country. One is same as Americanís style. Itís when they lose a baby tooth, the children put their tooth inside the pellow. The other is maybe Japanese culture. Itís when they lose a baby tooth, the children throw up to the top of their own house. It means, next new tooth will be so healthy.

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Wedding Receptions in Colombia and Japan
by Martha Torres

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I think that wedding receptions are very interesting events, because families enjoy helping with decoration. Family and friends can be together and enjoy a fun time with the bride and groom. Both Colombia and Japan have similar traditional wedding receptions. For example,they have food, presents,music,and they have time for cutting the cake. However,a comparison of wedding receptions in Colombia and Japan reveals not only several similarities, but also some differences.

Weddings in Colombia and Japan are similar in ceremonies. There are religious ceremonies like Catholic chapel ceremonies as well as civil ceremonies, which are sometimes held in a notary office, a club or hotel,or a restaurant. The guests are family and friends.

Wedding receptions in Colombia and Japan have similar formal receptions. Moreover, the guests bring presents to the receptions, and the guests can eat during the reception. In addition, they have music during the wedding receptions. The parents of bride buy the dress.

However, there are differences in wedding customs in Colombia and Japan. At wedding receptions in Colombia, the guests sometimes bring presents the day before the wedding receptions. The groom buys the rings, and the bride pays for the reception. In contrast, in Japan the guests always bring the presents to the reception and the presents are money. The bride and groom help each other pay for the reception, and buy the rings. Wedding receptions in Japan are about two hours long. It is a short service the bride changes her wedding dress for a typical dress, like "kimono.Ē The bride changes two times into other kimono dresses. Red and white are a happy color combination. For example,the soup and ice cream have ingredients in such color schemes. Also, they wear dresses that have multi-colored designs on the kimono. In contrast,in Colombia guests like to dance until midnight, the guests like to dance with the bride and groom. In Colombia everyone is more enthusiastic than in Japan.

I think wedding receptions in Japan are practical because the bride and groom help each other. When I have my own wedding reception, I would like to do the same by having the groom help me, I would like to do a Colombian-style wedding reception.

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