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.



English Teacher in South Korea Describes Cultural Differences

Cultural Shock in South Korea

Americans have a reputation for being clean freaks – bath daily, brush teeth all the time. Learned not to eat after other people. Korean dishes are shared dishes. Many soups are shared. It’s a big communal thing. Double-diping and eating after other people, even people you don’t know at all.

Self-service is the norm. If you want water, you’ll need to get it yourself. Koreans think that water inhibits digestion.

Nasty culture shock was the toilets. Squatter toilets are the norm. Her school (she is an English teacher) has only on Western-style toilet. If you don’t bring your own toilet paper, it can be a problem. There is sometimes a giant roll in the toilet, but not in the stall. You are not supposed to flush the TP ever. You put the paper in the trash. The soap in Korea is a blue compound on a rod.

Traffic often ignores the road signs and red lights. Pedestrians are at risk from busses and scooters runnig lights. Being a passenger is not much better–a “white knuckle” experience.

Plastic surgery is very common and accepted in South Korea. It’s like getting braces.

Shoes off entering a room is common and nice.

Fashion – no cleavage, but you can wear very short skirts. You can bring a towel and cover your legs when you set down. Men’s fashions, perms and hair-dye is normal even for straight guys.

Fresh fruit is very, very expensive.
Video link courtesy Stephanie Hernandez.

Bonus – Here’s the YouTube video on her return to Ameria, “reverse culture shock”


Asian vs American #culture

What Is Valued?

Asian vs US Culture

Punctuality – US On time is late. Asian, time is a guide.
Community matters in Asian culture.
Emotions are expressed openly in US culture. In Asian culture, they are internalized. Don’t cry in public.
American culture celebrates youth. Asian culture celebrates the elderly.
American culture in school emphasizes extra-curricular activites. Asian culture emphasizes the academics.
Americans value confidence. Asians value humility.
American culture values tan skin. Asian culture values pale skin.

Video link courtesy Melanie Flory