Living in Japan – Culture Shock
by Abroad in Japan
Doesn’t speak Japanese.
Stages of culture shock.
Irritation and hostiility
He says he feels like he is in a huge theme park. He finds he is being driven to learn Japanese.
Vending machines are everywhere, and in the middle nowhere. The non-existance of crime make this possible.
Convenience stores are everywhere. You can buy airline tickets there or pay or your bills.
Hanko Stamp is your own personal stamp that you use to stamp the many documents you get each day.
Hi living quarters include a kitchen that’s too small (he says) to use. So he eats out a lot. This causes him to get out and walk, and this helps his fitness.
He takes us through a restaurant that delivers your meals on a conveyer belt.
Culture Shock Can Come Later, Too
Delayed Culture Shock
They are surprised that they are just now, 2 years in, experiencing culture shock. Food and weather were not a problem. But now they have been there long enough that they are doing more “complicated” things, such as coming across more problems with eveyday life. Their can needed work, and they have been having issues. There are no customers rights and return policies.
Note: The traditonal view of culture shock is that you “get over it.” Other theorists say that it isn’t a once-and-done issue. This video supports the latter view.
Video link courtesy Kali Larrucea
It’s been 14 years since we first met Toula on screen, and she has aged well. This sequel is as strong as the first, and it’s due in no small part to the wonderful ensemble cast that it features. I was surprise to see that the cast featured just about everyone from the original movie.
Without spoiling the fun, I can tell you that this movie is NOT about Toula’s daughter getting married, but it still focuses on her large, noisy and nosey Greek clan. The writing and acting make for snappy dialog and wonderful moments.
From an intercultural perspective, what I like the most about this movie are the scenes where either one-by-one or en masse, her outsize family shows up. For me, that really captures a key part of the family dynamic. It’s one thing to say a family is close, but to see them so enmeshed in one anothers’ lives really illustrates this type of extended family. More than that, the movie is really about identity. Toula’s mother has a scene whether she wonders what her life would have been like had she not had a big family. Toula wonders what it will be like if her only daughter goes away to college, and Toula’s dad and uncle argue about who is a “real Greek.” (Toula’s uncle still lives in Greece, when her dad left for America 50 years ago.)
I won’t spoil any key moments, but as with all comedy, this movie is about what happens when things go wrong. And plenty of things do.
Worth your time, and for class assignments related to family and culture, a better choice than the original if only because we see more current technology–cell phones and Twitter. 🙂
An American Woman Reflects On Differences
Reverse cultural shock – after being in Japan
1. Realizing your short. There are towering people in America.
2. Cultural diversity in America. Apparent in airport.
3. Returning to a place with a lot less structure. Work and play schedules are looser.
4. Americans are much larger and have junk food in shopping cart.
5. Convience, fast food prep, is more common in America.
6. Japan they take time to prepare a meal with fresh foods and the time spent with family to prepare the meal is an important part of the family time.
7. Space – more room for stuff in America. There is a lot more stuff being bought and then surrounding ourselves with it. Japan you give money but not stuff. People think twice about putting stuff in their apartments.
8. Outdoors in America is a big thing. But her Japanese husband does not know the smell of a skunk. Her husband is a city boy. There are activities planned for outside in Japan, but it is structured differently.
Video link courtesy Karan Singh
Mono Culture and Jobs
Living in Japan – Job Distribution
Speaker says that the mono culture of Japan does not have, as you’ll see in the US, a particular ethnic group being predominant in a particular line of work. In Japan, this is not the case, and this (goes his analysis) means there is more respect for people in whatever job they do. There’s less of a tendency to dismiss a line of work because it is done by a particular ethnic group.
This, he says, is a wonderful thing. This in no the case elsewhere.
A job does not define a person, and it’s good to remember this. It’s easy to fall into a prejudice that “only certain people do this.”
This is not to say you should not aspire to an interesting job, but it should be a cautionary note when looking at people who do humble jobs.
This was a conclusion that comes out of his culture shock, but it may even be a reverse form of culture shock.
Be aware of the decisions we make related to work.
Video link courtesy Kali Larrucea