My Big Fat Greek Wedding #2 Movie Review

Movie Review

poster for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 - Art for my review on

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. 🙂

Reverse Culture Shock – Returning To America From Japan

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


Culture Shock – #Job Distribution in Japan

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

#Columbia Business School Orientation

Culture Shock for Exchange Students

Columbia Business School – Culture Shock

International student orientation

Israel – Student came from Israel to study journalism. He says he remembers being in shock. He was sitting in the orientation. He knew his name and where he was living, but everything else was in a fog. It’s difference for everyone. But it includes frustration, anxiety, lonliness, and being left out. He began to really hate Americans for a couple of months. He began hanging out with the exchange students, and really wanted to go home. He wasn’t alone. The exchange students say, 38% of them, feel extreme homesickness.

He says that those in the audience may still be in love with the US. That’s phase one. You’ll be SO HAPPY… at first. He had worked for years on his application and there was nothing more that he’d wanted.

But every good thing must come to an end. Phase 2 is the “what am I doing here” phase. That was when he and “Miss America” had a big fight. Everything became a big fight. The worst was that he couldn’t speak. He didn’t have the words to express yourself the way you want. He’d been a journalist, making a living with his words. It was his identity. He couldn’t be wise or funny.

He didn’t understand uptown or downtown. He kept getting in the wrong station. Food was a problem. Money made no sense. Why is the dime smaller than the nickle? The units of measurements were not metric. Is 20 centigrade hot or cold? And the Americans seemed happy all the time. They seemed so plastic. Everyone will say everything was amazing. He kept hearing “Let’s meet sometime.” And then I’d never hear from theme again. He felt everyone was fake. Then he began to think they were just all terrible, a reverse Halo effect. He hated their clothing and everything. He really wanted to go home.

He could see that there were little groups forming where related ethnic groups began hanging with one another. This does not help it go faster.

Then there’s the third phase. This is “where’s the happy hour?” This is where you get adjusted and adapt. You need to understand the American phrase book. “How are you doing?” Is not a question. This is just hello. “Let’s have lunch sometime.” Is “I’m just being polite.” And “I have to think about it.” is No. When a professor says: “You might want to think about it.” Means you want to do it now. When a professor returns a paper and says it is interesting. It means it is terrible. You need to downgrade everything two notches.

Once he was able to understand this, he was able to exist better.

It’s all culture. In his culture, everyone is direct. It’s just the way he was raised.

How long does it last? 26% said one month. Slide says culture shock, for most people, lasts one semester.


Travel Documentary – #Singapore

Singapore Culture Shock with Nicholas Cheadle

From the YouTube Channel – Travel Docementary

This video follows the host as he experiences Singapore, presumably for the first time, learning how he goes.

His commentary and travels begin in the airport, where he finds it easy to get into a cab and find his way about. English is spoken by all he encounters, and they are happy to explain the various and varied customs he experiences. Singapore’s many residents hail from cultures all over the world, and the choices this affords in food and entertainment are quite varied.

Some things to know if you are dining out – it’s common to reserve your table with tissues left to hold your seat. Some meals (depending on cuisine) are eaten with the hands. The right hand is the “right” hand for eating, greeting and accepting gifts. The left hand is used only for toiletry.

The host then shifts gears to talk about business etiquette and the religious techniques.

When handed a business card, accept it with the the right hand, look at it with respect–reflect upon it–and then put it in a special holder not your wallet.

Many women are greeted with a bow and not a handshake–you don’t touch them.

Face is key. You don’t disagree in public. Be mindful of silences, slow responses to questions, and pay attention to the non verbal communication.

The majority publish Buddhism and Taoism. There also or Christians and Muslims. Given the diversity, religious tolerance is stressed.

You will see many people practicing a variety of religions.

Video link provided by Brandi Holloway.