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Geo spoke to me with a subtle smile. During our casual conversation, he suddenly asked me if I’d like to go to Thailand with him sometime.
Upon arriving in Thailand, he took me to a restaurant that he has being going to since he was in high school.
A bowl of ramen appeared in front of me that did not appear to be anything special. In Thailand, these noodles are called kuaitiao. It was delicious, but looking back now, I regret not trying something more “authentically Thai.”
But one of the ingredients in the bowl caught my attention. After we finished eating, I asked Geo what the squishy red thing was, and he said, “That’s a jelly made from pig’s blood.” Although it was tasteless and odorless, my heart skipped a beat because I had never tried it before.
Just as the Japanese take for granted that they can choose their own ramen toppings, Thai people go to restaurants and eat kuaitiao with a serving of pig's blood jelly in it.
We Japanese are sometimes bewildered by what is considered “commonplace” in other parts of the world that would be unimaginable in Japan. But the same can be said of people who come to Japan. I can only imagine that they spend their daily lives living somewhere between “surprising” and “commonplace.” This experience made me feel strongly that I want to educate myself more about Japan and share the depth of our culture with the world.
College of International Management 1st year
(Published in the morning edition of the Oita Godo Shimbun on June 20, 2023)
Based on a comprehensive cooperation agreement with Oita Godo Newspaper, since January 2022, Student PR Assistants (SPA) have been contributing their interviews with international students to the life and culture section of the newspaper’s morning edition. SPA will introduce different cultures and the interesting topics they raise from an authentic, student perspective. These student writers take this opportunity to get the newspaper’s readership and students interested in the world as well as aim to improve their skills with the aid of professional editors.
Nice to meet you! My name is Hirofumi Kawagoe (APM 2nd year) and my motto is "Be unprecedented. Be #1!" Recently, I just truly discovered how good it is to have friends (lol)! I'll do my best to write articles that'll make you go "What!? Really?"