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By Margarita I. Gotay

     Japan being a conjunction of islands gets most of its resources from other countries. Apart from rice and fish, Japan imports numerous primary and important products for their daily lives. Entering the port of Kobe, I noticed LOTS of ship containers and cargo ships coming in and out of the port.

    The language barrier is definitely a sign that states how few foreigners live in the islands (1% of Japan’s population). Few people knew English; although in some places I visited with SAS Group, school kids asked us questions in English. They were very curious about America, and we could understand them clearly. It seems they have awakened the desire to learn different languages recently.

    Food from different places was accessible. There were Mc Donald’s, Chinese restaurants, Korean restaurants, Starbucks, 7 elevens, Irish restaurants, an Old England Pub that served numerous imported beer. I easily heard different types of international music  over radios in bars, malls, and internet cafes. I heard Spanish salsa in the mall, American pop music in bars, music was everywhere.

   At the Second Chance bar I meet some Australians who live in Kobe because they studying there. They were impressed by the number of Americans that where in that bar that day. They said it wasn’t that common to see so many American people. It seemed like we were invading the place. At the hotel where  we stayed in Kyoto  there was an American lady from Seattle who was there for business reasons. She didn’t talk to us much, but her presence reminds us of the migratory flows of capital and goods.

   There were signs in English as well as in Japanese in the train ticket machines, in the bathroom, in the boats in the port, everywhere. But sometimes the words were misspelled. In the park near the Hiroshima museum there is a monument for deceased Korean victims of the bombing, an indication that Koreans are one of the major group of foreigners living in Japan. In the book where one can put their thought about the museum there were comments from tourist from all different kinds of places coming into Japan but I could observe that many foreigners living there.

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