Freshman Miki Kimura may be from here in Tampa, Florida but her heritage comes from the great country of Japan.
Kimura’s parents were both born in Japan; her father in Tokyo and her mother in a small town called Nara. Her parents would later move to Colorado, then to Florida where Kimura was raised. Although Miki was raised here in Florida, her family regularly flies to Japan to visit their extended family.
“One big cultural difference between America and Japan is how school is treated differently. In Japan students put in so much effort to keep the school clean,” Kimura said. When they walk into the school, they change into slippers in order to keep the floors clean. They also don’t have janitors, instead there is a set period of time for students to spend cleaning the classroom.
In Japan, there are festivals, traditions and celebrations that go on throughout the year. One big tradition is how they treat New Year’s Eve as not just a holiday but a time for self-reflection and preparation for the new year.
“Oomisoka is basically a New Year’s Eve celebration that my family and the country of Japan celebrate. During this day we clean the entire house to prepare it for a fresh start for the new year and we also spend this time to pray,” Kimura said. “One of the major foods of this holiday is a small snack called mochi, it’s very good and is used as a treat for us to have.”
Due to COVID-19, it has been two years since Kimura has visited her family in Japan. Because of this, she misses several things that she would normally enjoy.
“I really miss all of the temples Japan had to offer, everything was so peaceful and beautiful there,” Kimura said. “Unfortunately, due to the main religion of America being different from Japan’s we can’t go to any temples like we could do in Japan,” Kimura said. “Another thing I miss is going to my grandparents’ house in this small town called Nara, there’s this park that all of the neighborhood kids go to try to ride and play with the deer there. A small shop nearby sells deer crackers so that everyone can be able to feed them. It’s such a pleasant experience.”