American vs. Japanese Culture

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Psychological anthropology is the study of individuals and their personalities and identities, within particular cultural contexts. In this paper I will identify two different cultures in the world which are the American and Japanese. Then, I will examine their traditions through various life cycles. Based on the behaviors, customs, and beliefs of each of the two cultures, I will discuss how personalities and identities are formed and shaped within the two different cultures. Finally, I will be giving two specific examples for each of the selected cultures. In Japan New Year is considered a family celebration. Most people go return to their home towns or parents' homes. The majority of shops and restaurants close for 3 days, people start to prepare the traditional "o-set chi ryouri" during this time. Also there is what they call Adults Day which is a celebration for boys and girls who turn 20 in that year. What this means is that whoever turns 20 have the right to buy cigarettes and alcohol legally. In this occasion, ceremonies are held at temples and shrines and the girls wear a special way of dressing called kimono. Valentine’s Day is not the same concept as in Western customs; in Japan only women give gifts on Valentine's Day. The norm is to give chocolate not only to their boyfriend or husband, but to any men among friends or fellow workers. The way it goes is that men have to give back double what they have received from the women one month later. Another celebration in Japan is Hina Matsuri which is held on March 3 of every year. It is a festival intended only for young girls. They bring these dolls and display them in the houses of unmarried girls. It is believed that these dolls bring good fortune to the unmarried girls.... ... middle of paper ... ...e restaurants are all over the country. So tourists will never feel alienated because they will always find something that ties them back to their own countries. In addition to the different cuisines, they have also developed their own regional foods, such as California cuisine and Southwestern, Creole, and Southern cooking. We can proudly say that “Still evolving and drawing upon its ever more diverse population, American culture has come to symbolize what is most up-to-date and modern. American culture has also become increasingly international and is imported by countries around the world. Today American culture often sets the pace in modern style.” (http://www.americanfamilytraditions.com) Works Cited http://www.japan-guide.com http://www.americanfamilytraditions.com Miller, B. D. (2007). Cultural anthropology (Custom 4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon
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