Junya Kitamura from Junten High School Title: The Door to Open

Ju n ya Kitam u ra f ro m Ju n te n High Sc ho o l
Title : Th e Do or to Ope n M in ds
Have you ever thought about which side of the door of your house opens? In fact,
Japanese doors open from the inside to the outside. How about the ones in other countries?
Let me take Britain for an example. The doors in Britain open from the outside t o the inside.
This is the opposite from the ones in Japan.
So do you think this difference has a big
meaning in our daily lives? I think it does.
I think Japanese doors are not suitable to greet guests. This is because when we open the
doors in Japan, we might hit the visitor waiting for us just in front of the door, so they will
have to take one step backwards. This might give visitors an impression they are not
welcome. On the other hand, the doors in western countries open to the opposite way, which
means from the outside to the inside. So the door opened inside won’t hit the visitor and he
or she will feel they are welcome even without any greeting.
I noticed this when I went to NZ and studied there for about 9 weeks from January to March
this year. The people in NZ are called KIWIs , and I had some surprising experiences regarding
KIWIs. For instance they smiled at me even though they didn’t know me. Even when they
saw someone they didn’t know, they would talk with him or her, and within five minutes they
looked as if they had known each other for a long time. And o ne day, some of my KIWI friends
came without any notice to the home where I was staying.
My host family wasn’t surprised
at all, and to my astonishment my host mother even gave them dinner. They seemed like they
were always ready to accept any other people and they treated them well even if they didn’t
know them.
I wondered why they were so friendly and always welcomed anybody to their homes.
During my stay in NZ, I remembered the difference in the way their doors opened , and since
that time I believe that the way their doors open from the outside to the inside is related to
the way the people in NZ communicate with other s. Like their doors, they always welcome
others without making them feel awkward. They open their minds to anybody. I believe this
is one of the reasons why KIWIs seem much friendlier than Japanese people.
Japanese people in Showa period also helped each other, even strangers, with the spirit of
“Your problem is my problem.” In those days, the door s of Japanese houses slid open from
side to side. They opened their minds and always welcomed anybody into their homes. But
these days most of us Japanese are less likely to communicat e with others, even among
ourselves. We want to live comfortably and don’t want to get involved in trifling things with
our friends. We are likely to avoid such relationships and having communication with others.
The key to accepting others is to welcome them with an open mind. Nowadays Japanese
people don’t have the attitude and feeling of accepting others. We should get ready to
accept others by opening our minds like opening doors from the outside to the inside. It is
essential for all of us to communicate with others with our open minds.
日 本 と欧 米 諸 国 では家 のドアが開 く方 向 が、実 は違 います。私 はNZ短 期 留 学 中 に、
この違 いが「他 人 を受 け入 れる姿 勢 」と深 く関 係 しているのではないか、と考 えました。
欧 米 諸 国 の人 々はドアを外 側 から内 側 に開 け訪 問 客 を快 く受 け入 れます。この姿 勢 が
「欧 米 諸 国 の人 は友 好 的 だ」という印 象 を与 えており、今 の日 本 人 には彼 らのように
のように「広 い心 で他 人 を受 け入 れる姿 勢 」が不 足 している、と思 うのです。