One of the most important identities for me is that I am a Japanese. Though being a Japanese might not be an identity when I lived in Japan, but it is obvious in the U.S, and the few number of Japanese students at UM make it more noticeable.
In the most of the classes, I was an only Japanese student yet other international students from like China or Idia usually have the fellow countrymen in the class. It has made me feel a bit lonely, and it seems that being a Japanese has no positive effect on my mind.
Starting the internship at the Laboratory, the situation in the sense of the nationality is the same: No Japanese fellow, and probably I am the first Japanese in the history of the lab. The different thing is that some people are from relatively “uncommon” countries like Brazil. It is my first time to meet a Brazilian in a professional scene for me. This experience changes the thought of mine toward being Japanese.
As he is the first Brazilian for me, my impression of Brazilian people is largely dominated by the who he is. Of course, generalizing the nationality in such way from a person is incorrect, but it would be how many people do actually. He is very smart and kind, so I have an impression like “Brazilian people are very professional.”
The same thing can be said for me. As I maybe the first Japanese man in professional circumstance for my fellow, how they see me may represent their understanding of Japanese. This idea changed my way of thinking. I am now motivated by the fact that I am a representative of Japan and feels I need to work harder and do better so that I can leave a nice impression not only as a student but also as a Japanese. Furthermore, representing the country is not bad! Totally, it gave me a positive change on how I think to be a Japanese.