Culture affects our views of reality. It provides the mental concepts by which people perceive, interpret, analyze, and explain events in the world around them.
JAMES G. PEOPLES
What is American culture?
Japanese culture, which I absorbed into my bloodstream when I married my Japanese husband, has very distinct rules. Eat your food with chopsticks. Don’t eat with your fingers. Take your shoes off when you enter a home, school, or other public buildings. Japanese people eat the same thing for breakfast: miso shiru, rice, small salad, boiled egg, a slice of toast, and green tea. Japan is a monoethnic country. One percent of the population is represented by minorities. These minorities include Koreans.
US culture is primarily of Western origin. The English were the first immigrants; the Irish and Italians followed. Chinese and Japanese began to move to the US for work on the railroads and in the mines. Blacks were brought as slaves and worked on plantations. The Native Americans and Mexicans were here before the English came. Because of its diversity, the US could be classified as a polyethnic country.
International visitors and students think of American culture like fast food restaurants, Starbucks, cheap clothing, big houses, and big cars.
I taught English to International students for forty years. I lived in both Japan and Mexico for five-year periods. The students who came to my classes at the university level had questions about culture. The curriculum included language and culture. I explained that I could only tell them about my customs and traditions. I have lived in three cultures: Japan, Mexico, and the United States. I was born a caucasian raised in Catholic private school education and married a Japanese non-practicing Buddhist/Shinto.
These are ten questions my English as a Second Language students at the university always asked me about American Culture.
- Do you live in a big house? (Japanese student)
Americans take up more space than we really need.
My house in Japan had two six tatami mat rooms, one four tatami mat room, a kitchen, a divided bathroom with a pit toilet, and a soaking tub with a shower.