USA and Japan 060822: in Japanese, 070712: in English
Once you start living in the U.S., you’ll become aware of the fact that the
country is multinational. The land is so huge that each state may feel as if it
were one nation.
As you know, only Native Americans lived on this land before Columbus discovered
America. After the discovery, many Europeans immigrated to the land and built up
the United States, which can be called “The 2nd Europe”. The U.S.
has many states (can be called “countries”). In general, each state is as big
as a European country or bigger. Each state has different ratios of European
nationalities such as English, French, and German.
For example, the majority of Minnesotans are of German and Scandinavian descent.
During this winter’s Winter Olympics, a local newspaper wrote, “Minnesota is the
#th (#?) country in terms of winning medals. We feel that not only some
Minnesotans think of Minnesota as a country, but people in each state think of
their state as a country. I think each state also has power as a country. I can
recall that a few years ago one of my friends, a Minnesotan, told me in a joking
manner, “Many Minnesotans think Minnesota is a country, Minnesota.”
Here are two tables (Table 1 & 2) of the land areas of USA, Japan, and
Minnesota, and land area ratios.
Table 1 Land Areas of Japan, USA, and Minnesota
Land area (Km)2
The land area data are from World Atlas <
Table 2 Land Area Ratios: USA to Japan & Japan to Minnesota
Land area ratio
USA / Japan
Japan / Minnesota 1.83
The numbers disappoint me, a Japanese, but they are facts. The U.S. is 25.5
times larger than Japan in the land area while Japan is 1.83 times larger than
Minnesota. The following, however, is a fact that you can’t take for granted.
Minnesota is part of the Great Prairies as Laura Ingalls Wilder portrayed in
“Little House on the Prairie”, based on her life here. Minnesota is in the Great
Plains. On the other hand, most parts of Japan are covered with mountains, and
it’s obvious that the land area in Minnesota, which is used in an effective way,
is much larger than that in Japan, accordingly.
To close, let me talk about globalization and a second language. While in Japan,
I used to often hear the words of “Kokusai-Sei” or “Kokusai-Kankaku” (It
literally means a sort of international sense). I never hear such words in
Minnesota. The reason is that the U.S. is very multinational as we described in
Letter #197. I think Americans can develop an International sense on their daily
lives. However, business became global, and words such as “Global Business” can
often be heard, accordingly. As for an American trend on second
language-interests, I think American school students haven’t studied second
languages very seriously so far. I’ve heard, however, that the government
recently recommended that students and young people had better learn a second
language such as Chinese or Arabic, considering that business will only become
more global in the future.
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