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
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”