It was two years ago. I was on the airplane to come to Emporia. I flew on Northwest Airlines. Crews on the airplane were obviously American, however, I could not understand what language they were using. It made me feel scared and disappointed at the same time because I spent 10 years on my English in Japan, and I had much confidence in my English before I got on the airplane heading to America.
Once I arrived in Emporia, I went to Country Mart to see the American products available. Whenever I travel abroad, I always visit the local real estate agent and local supermarkets. Can you guess the reason? If I know the average housing price in the area, I can tell the average living standard. From what I could gather, the average housing price here in Emporia is between $50,000 and $120,000 for one big house. That is about one fourth the price compared to houses in Japan, even though houses in Japan much smaller. I could assume the living expense in Emporia would not be bad.
The local super market is a source of entertainment for me because there are so many different products which I cannot buy in Japan. For example, there are so many varieties of meats in Country Mart, though they do not have many kinds of fishes at all. Japan is a small island, so we eat fish a lot. Emporia is obviously located in the middle of the continent, so I assumed most of people do not eat a lot of fish. I thought eating raw fishes like Sushi is out of the question in Emporia.
I had always heard that obesity is one of the biggest problems in the States. Though American foods are very tasty, they are usually bad for our health, and those foods are extremely cheap here in Emporia. I was surprised that one giant bottle of soda at Country Mart is about 88 cents. In Japan, you can find the half size bottle of soda for $3.5, so people in Japan do not drink soda as much as American people do. I think if the junk foods’ price increases by triple, the obesity problem will be quickly solved.
After visiting Country Mart I walked around the campus for a while. I found whenever I met American people, they always asked, “How are you doing?”, even if I did not know them. People in Japan never talk to strangers. I was surprised by the friendliness of American people.
Though I enjoy the friendliness of Emporians, I know I still have some things to learn about American expressions. When one of my new American friends said “What’s up, man?” I just looked up the sky and said “There is blue beautiful sky!” I obviously didn’t have any idea what the real meaning of the expression was, haha.
So this was the first day of being in the United States of America. Coming to the U.S. was my dream since I was a child. I was very excited and scared at the same time. Most of the new international students might think the same. Welcome to the United States of America, especially here in Emporia!!