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sfuruka

2017-02-23 08:18:59

Visiting countries where English is spoken

I like to travel countries where English is spoken as an official language. It’s interesting to compare the different of their culture, an accent of their English.

Two years ago, I visited London during my summer vacation. https://londonliverpoolstreet.andaz.hyatt.com/ja/hotel/abridged/home.html

I love London because it is one of the safest cities I have ever visited. I was amazed that public transportation was clean and safe. In addition, they spoke English with British accent, which sounded so authentic to me. English people were kind and generous to tourists. I spoke to British Airways’ attendants and they were very friendly. A male purser explained nicely where to go in London. 
London had many museums and historic places. The British museum was filled with plunders from all over the world. Admission fees of those museums were free, maybe because they displayed looted goods, not their own property from former British colonies.
The London Museum showed that in 1666, about two-thirds of the buildings in London were burned down because of a fire from a bakery. But later, they built the city from scratch. However, the city was again destroyed by Nazis during WWII. At the Imperial War Museum, a vivid picture of destruction by the German Army was displayed. And moreover, numerous cruel evidences of the Holocaust were also exhibited and explained, including how Jewish people were tortured by Hitler. I imagined that English people still bore grudges against Germans. 
I think England is very different from the US even though both countries use the same language. I felt that minorities in London tried really hard to assimilate into the society. They tried their best to speak British English to survive. However, it would be hard for an immigrant to merge into the atmosphere in London until they mastered British English perfectly. 

Then I decided to go to Australia last summer because Australia is safe and its official language is English. I’ve been to Cairns and Sydney, and both cities were excellent places to stay because Australians in general were very friendly. I made friends with a couple from Brisbane on my way to Sydney while we flew business. I felt a bit of difficulties understanding their Australian English because they pronounce “a” as “I”. For example, they pronounced “Sundays” as “son dies”. I felt it was a bit difficult when I listened to their Australia English. I changed planes in Sydney and went to Melbourne.https://melbourne.park.hyatt.com/ja/hotel/abridged/home.html
Melbourne was a European-style city, and it had a lot of old brick buildings in the center of the city. The city is square, and its streets are wide. Trams were running in the city, and there was no fee inside the city limits. I guess Australia is a rich country enough to provide a free-ride of public transportation to visitors.
Asians were everywhere in the city. Many of the receptionists were Asians who spoke Standard English with a bit of an accent. There are a lot of mixed race couples. 
In general, Australians are very generous. When I dropped in at a chocolate shop and bought a souvenir, a cashier gave me freebies. He was so generous to give tourists free gifts even though it is unlikely I will visit there again. Australians are friendly to Japanese because they have few negative feelings toward Japanese Military during and after WWII.

What about a country where English is widely spoken as a semi-official language? Hong Kong was used to be a colony of the UK and English is spoken in restricted area.

http://www.ritzcarlton.com/jp/hotels/china/hong-kong

Last May, I stayed at The Ritz Carlton hotel in Hong Kong and all hotel staff spoke English good enough to communicate with me. An English speaking Asian receptionist took me to the club lounge on 116th floor. While I was waiting for check-in, I had the opportunity to eat a variety of food from a buffet with Champaign and wine at the club lounge. The staff there spoke English very fluently. A blond clerk from Russia was working at the lounge, and she spoke excellent English. A tall, nice-looking waiter who was from the Netherlands was very kind to us. They were very friendly and greeted us gently. I was very satisfied with their hospitality. However, the Asian receptionists were a bit different from them. They were very polite but a little bit aloof. I didn’t understand the reason why the Asians were a bit impolite to Japanese guests until I visited the Hong Kong Museum of History. It exhibited HK’s history and culture. The museum vividly displayed a video of Japanese occupation for more than three years leading up to the end of WWII. The Japanese army invaded HK from mainland China, and the Japanese military regime led people to starvation. More than a million people evacuated HK and went to China because of lack of food. Sadly to say, many starved to death. After visiting the history museum, I came to realize that people in HK may still bore grudges against Japanese people even though they ostensibly smiled at Japanese customers.

Visiting places where English is widely spoken is so fascinating to me. I understood the culture and history and got to know people there while I talked to them in English. However, we cannot communicate with each other openheartedly until we erase the sad history of the past.

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1: iuliia

2017-02-25 07:22:22

Thank you for the post :)
I absolutely agree! The difference in cultures and accents is truly fascinating! I have not been to Britain or Australia yet but they are definitely on my list.
I’ve met a couple of Australians though, and the way they talk is strangely attractive and charming.
At school we had a professor from England and he had (and probably still has) the most boring lectures ever – I always ended up falling asleep and, to be honest, I wasn’t the only one. Nonetheless, his classes are always extremely popular and fill up really fast.
As for grudges, I think history is so full of aggression and wars, that it would be a waste of time and effort to succumb to them. Being reasonable and trying to stay calm is the only way we can face, analyze and fix mistakes.
History is there for us to learn, but overthinking anything could be damaging to one’s mental stability since humans tend to go from overthinking to “overfeeling” and then to overreacting. We are who we are, and it’s through historical events that we got here.
My heart hurts for the children but adults bear full responsibility for the events - they shed blood for it, some of them die for it. Those are lessons we, the children, should never forget, and we should take responsibility for our parents’ mistakes as we grow up. Even if it pains us to think about these events and the lives lost or destroyed, we have to accept these mistakes as our own and learn from them. Scary and horrific at times, history is full of advice for the next generations. And one skill for us all to gain is the ability to learn from mistakes of other people and other generations, and thus take over responsibility not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
I sound too serious, I apologize for that – it’s not typical for me. There is this saying I heard awhile ago: We can live our life through the prism of our hearts and cry all the time or we can live our life through the prism of our minds and laugh all the time – it’s up to us to decide.

Iuliia (I feel this smiley is perfect for the occasion)
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