Naoki, a Japanese exchange student, talks about his experiences in Oregon

It’s been two weeks since the eight Japanese Exchange students and their teacher arrived from Kochi, Japan, and experienced American places and customs. Naoki Nakamura saw an Oregon high school, the Portland Art Museum, Multnomah Falls, and a Blazer’s basketball game. The host families and exchange students have found out much about each other and their respective countries, and perhaps put some well-known sterotypes to rest.

Naoki likes many things about Oregon. “Oregon has lots of free Wifi in public places, which is hard to find in Japan,” Nakamura, senior, said. “I like that younger people can drive as well. You have to be 18 years old and graduated to drive in Japan.”

The high schools are run differently in Japan. His school is not carpeted, and there is a lot more concrete and wood. The students stay in one classroom the entire day, and the teachers come in and out of the room. “Japanese classes are very simple,” Nakamura said. “In Oregon, the classrooms are highly decorated.”

His favorite thing about America is that everything is cheap and big. In Japan they have narrow roads, and in America the roads are very large. “Japan is too small,” he said. “There are too many people.” The work and school days are also short. His dad works from 8 a.m. in the morning to 9 or 10 p.m. at night, while many people in Oregon work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. His school day is 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There are many more rules of politeness in Japan. “In Oregon, it is a lot more informal,” Nakamura said. “In Japan, it is rude to eat standing up, and in public places you always pass things to other people with two hands. You also never see teachers sitting on tables.”

Although there are many differences between West Linn and Kochi, there are many things that unite the cities. For instance: Starbucks. “I like to go to Starbucks in Kochi, too,” Nakamura said. “There aren’t as many as there are here, though.”