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Culture Shock – Welcome to Japan Oct 17

I’ve always understood that culture shock exists and have experienced it enough times (Thailand/UK/Ireland) that I’ve got familiar with its feeling. This time I thought I would write about it as part of the process of dealing with it.

My move to Japan may not have been one of my better thought out plans. Hell since when I have I ever thought out plans, I am more your fly by the seat of your pants kinda guy. A little careful planning, a decent dollap of luck and most of all, don’t panic cos you cannot change it. A highly useful piece of advice particularly when stuck at Gatwick airport without any details of where you are staying in rome, and no mobile phone, nor contact numbers to retrieve all the information you let sitting at home! That another story and proves that luck is not always there, or was that planning.

Anyway, whats culture shock. My current personal definition is that every single thing in this country is completely different from what I am used to. I don’t speak the language, let alone read it, and trying to determine what is sugar and what is salt suddenly becomes an issue when you are the supermarket.

Wikipedia has the definition

Which is fairly accurate, although I don’t like the "disgust" reference. So its been two weeks now and where am I, well I think still in stage 1, but moving to stage 2. To be honest the weather at the weekends has been so yuck the idea of playing tourist doesn’t really grab me a lot.

Having sorted out the apartment bit things are looking up abit. I’ve tackled stage one of the metro system and can get from A to B. Still need to master the Japan Rail bit, but baby steps here. I think I’ve discovered that I have a real issue with metro systems and being afraid of doing the wrong thing. Each tube system is different and when its in another language its does not help.

Also people tend to be rather pushy if you get it wrong etc. Its quite a shock from being so confident with the London Rail network to being total beginner, but I suppose thats part of the "experience". Anyway a lazy weekend of just maintaining my own little bubble of reality.

Today, we shop for house insurance. Now that should be a fun exercise. Perhaps I can get them to put my wisdom teeth back and so I can take them out again. I think it will be less painful.

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