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The Universal Day of Culture

This week, on April 15th we had the Universal Day of Culture. This holiday is celebrated in Canada, Brazil, Russia, Lithuania, Cuba, Italy, and Spain. Japan does not celebrate it yet, but I hope one day it does.

The Universal Day of Culture is a day when we remember that our feeling and identity are connected to our culture. It is from our culture that we understand our language, our music, our art, our buildings, and our human connections to other people.

But, what is culture? What is the meaning of the word culture?

To some people the word culture means, “our country” or “our way only”. Some people make a mistake by saying that culture is the same as saying what country you come from. But that idea is very small, and very limited.

The idea of culture is to find the mind and heart of a group of people in one place. For example, Japan is a country and Japan has a culture. The country is the land, the prefectures, the cities, the rivers, lakes, and mountains. Japan is the government, the economy, and the businesses. But Japanese culture is more. Culture is about how we think. Culture is about our feelings about art. Culture is about making a community and learning and growing.

Recently, some students from Otemae went to Canada to experience Canadian culture. They met homestay families. They went to restaurants and they went shopping. They met people. They made friends. They could try the food, listen to music, see art, and communicate with other people. I hope that they had a good time in my country’s culture. I hope that you got a good feeling and impression about Canada.

Now they are here at Otemae again and ready for this school year. And here at school you will learn a lot about culture. There is culture in your history class. There is culture in your music and art classes. There is culture to learn in your English classes. But there is also culture in clubs and after school activities. We learn about culture in our friendships, in our sports teams, and in talking with our classmates.

Culture is the thing that makes us better together. Culture is the education we need for the human heart.

Some people think that culture is only about the culture that you live in. But this is not true. In Canada we have a culture where people from many places come together and make a new culture. In Japan there is not the same amount of mixing of different people like Canada, but more and more we see diversity in Japanese society. There are double nation kids in many places. There are more people coming from other countries to live and work in Japanese society. Things are changing and our cultures will change and grow too.

But culture is not just about different countries around the world. There is a culture here at Otemae too. There is a culture of working hard, and studying hard, and making new friends, and trying new things. Otemae has a culture of education excellence. Otemae has a culture of supporting each other and making a good community.