Are we still ‘Minnesota nice’?

The University’s Judo Club left a strong impression on one traveler.

Inae Har

A few weeks ago, my motherâÄôs friend, a graduate student at the Seoul National University in South Korea, came to visit Minnesota. He is currently traveling the world, and for the first time in his life heâÄôs outside of Korea. So far, he has traveled to France, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Italy, among others. In college he was president of the Judo club. So in every country he visits, he also visits university Judo clubs. When he came to my house after attending the University of Minnesota Judo Club meeting for the first time, he was deeply impressed by Minnesotans. He said that there could be no people nicer than the people he met that day. According to him, when he asked someone where the gym was, someone actually guided him to the gym entrance. I was told that when he entered the gym, the Judo club members warmly welcomed him and even gave him a judogi âÄî a judo uniform âÄî to join their practice. He attended several more meetings until the day before he left Minnesota. In the last meeting he attended, they held a pizza party for him. He said these were the friendliest people he met throughout all his travels. Actually, at one European university he became very disappointed. He had asked a faculty member where the Judo club meetings were held, only to be told that the faculty member had no reason to inform him since he was not enrolled at the university. PeopleâÄôs behavior here made him very thankful. He said he will never forget Minnesota and the UniversityâÄôs Judo Club members, and he wishes to return. Some Americans, and even Minnesotans, question if there is still a âÄúMinnesota nice.âÄù But from this travelerâÄôs point of view, it definitely exists.