• Miku Inoue, University of Hawaii, West Oahu

Places That Have Inspired My Life


Hawaii

When I was thirteen years old, I moved from Japan to Hawaii because of my parent's job. My life has changed ever since I arrived. First, I was despondent that I had to move to Hawaii because I had to leave my friends, school, and childhood home. My parents told me it would be a great experience, but as a thirteen-year-old child, I was fearful of having to learn a new language, meet people, and adapt to a new place.

On the first day of school, not knowing English was very hard, it was especially hard to keep up. However, people around me kept cheering me up. After a while, I discovered that we can still communicate through my facial expressions and body language, even without understanding the language. People around me were super sweet and warm. After that, I fell in love with Hawaii; and now, I feel that this place is my home.

Japan

I went back to Japan for the first time in quite a while after graduating high school. On this trip, I sensed several cultural differences that I never really realized before. Customer service, food, people, and the country's atmosphere felt different from when I lived there.

Hawaii and Japan are very different places. In Japan, everywhere I go, customer service was terrific, and people were very polite. Although Hawaii does have excellent customer service, it is a different type of service. The people and the culture are more laid back and unhurried.

During my time in Japan, I was unsure about my career goals and my major, but returning to the country made me ponder what I wanted to be in the future. Because of this trip, I realized just how lucky I was to learn and understand two different cultures. I had such a great experience. The people in Japan were very welcoming, and this truly inspired me.

After my Japanese trip, I realized why it is essential to understand cultural differences--especially in Hawaii. Since we have people from all over the world, I initially struggled to accept their uniqueness, but I now see how significant cultural differences can be, and it has changed my mindset. I now have a greater interest in and appreciation for people and now want to work with individuals from varied backgrounds.

After my trip, I continue to learn from the people around me every day. I chose hospitality and tourism as a major and graduated from college and entered a position in hospitality. I still have a difficult time or challenge every day, but each time I face a problem, my experience and the people around me support me. These experiences inspire me to be a person who wants to assist others.

I believe our work is a big part of our lives; therefore, I want to enjoy my work time and my colleagues. I want to do something I enjoy since you never really know what will happen in the future.

Every time I receive a thank you from the guest I encounter, it makes me realize just how much I love what I do. I am also motivated to work harder and better each day.

In closing, I want to thank everyone who has positively contributed to my life each day.

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