A Brit Living in #Japan

Culture Shock

Living in Japan – Culture Shock
by Abroad in Japan

Doesn’t speak Japanese.

Stages of culture shock.

Initial euphoria
Irritation and hostiility
Gradual adjustment

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.


Delayed #CultureShock

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


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.