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Thread: Culture Shock - how did this affect you?

  1. #41
    Senior Member Crab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meelynn View Post
    I had a "down" phase in the fall after coming where I was just generally irritable and got annoyed by stupid insignificant crap pertaining to Japan. Most people go through that to some extent I think their first year. Some people have it worse than others, a friend of mine actually missed a ton of work and overslept every day and was too depressed to go out socially, but she was atypical.

    in terms of finding stuff to do, it depends on who your social circle is. I hang out with a lot of nearby JETs and foreigners, as well as a few Japanese friends in town, and we make a point to do "ritual" things like going to the mall every Wednesday etc. Having a routine and a niche hangout spot makes life very comfortable.
    What do you mean when you say comfortable?

    Who is in your social circle?

    What ritual things do you do?

    What made that girl atypical?
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotty View Post
    sean bean and viggo mortensen are like aint no thang yo we just shank this bitch and gandalf says YOU CANT CUT A BITCH MADE OF FIRE MOTHERFUCKER put that shit away and fuckin CHEESE IT bitches

    Quote Originally Posted by matt360 View Post
    Now I think of Magneto forming metal dildos to ram up his own ass. And then I picture Gandalf whispering to butterflies to go get him some dildos so he at least has something to do on that tower.

  2. #42
    Senior Member wry bread's Avatar
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    Default Re: Culture Shock - how did this affect you?

    I got kind of depressed during winter but that's probably because I was continuously physically uncomfortable for like 4 months. But if you've experienced a down period prior to Japan it's not like OMG TIME TO HANG MYSELF; you know you can ride it out. I feel like the most happy-go-lucky, genki, and particularly YOUNG folks have the hardest times because their expectations are the highest/most unrealistic.

  3. #43
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    Default Re: Culture Shock - how did this affect you?

    What's your placement?

  4. #44
    Senior Member wry bread's Avatar
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    Default Re: Culture Shock - how did this affect you?

    It's right under my avatar, eh? Obvs. not a cold place but I wasn't accustomed to living and working in drafty unheated buildings. I wasn't dying, just uncomfortable... like all the time.

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Culture Shock - how did this affect you?

    cool placement. Love that 'little(ish)' island. Recontracting, eh?
    Last edited by Djordje; May 17th, 2010 at 15:41.

  6. #46
    Senior Member wry bread's Avatar
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    Default Re: Culture Shock - how did this affect you?

    Indeed... what I mean by young people being most affected by culture shock is that if you haven't had the experience of working a shitty job and really struggling (as I have) you might not appreciate how cushy a JET job really is (as I do)!

  7. #47

    Default Re: Culture Shock - how did this affect you?

    But even people who haven't had shitty jobs should be able to see that, wry bread - seems the majority (not all!) of JET placements are pretty straight forward and easy.
    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    I will not miss the Keihin Tohoku when I jump in front of it.

  8. #48
    Senior Member wry bread's Avatar
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    Default Re: Culture Shock - how did this affect you?

    Should, but I hear a lot of bitching and entitlement from some folks...

  9. #49
    Senior Member Crab's Avatar
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    Default Re: Culture Shock - how did this affect you?

    What makes them straightforward and easy?
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotty View Post
    sean bean and viggo mortensen are like aint no thang yo we just shank this bitch and gandalf says YOU CANT CUT A BITCH MADE OF FIRE MOTHERFUCKER put that shit away and fuckin CHEESE IT bitches

    Quote Originally Posted by matt360 View Post
    Now I think of Magneto forming metal dildos to ram up his own ass. And then I picture Gandalf whispering to butterflies to go get him some dildos so he at least has something to do on that tower.

  10. #50
    Senior Member frankdux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverx7 View Post
    Did you end up leaving or what?
    No. I stuck it out for the full year.


    What you have to understand about this website is that it is NOT a fair representation of the JET population. To get a fair representation, for starters you'd have to talk with people both from this site AND bigdaikon, then you'd wanna talk to the people you'll meet at all of your orientations.

    I find that people are more positive here, more negative on BD, and more realistic when you meet people face to face at, say, a mid-year orientation.

    When you ask a question like, how often have you felt like absolute shit when you were in japan? your answers will be something like:

    ITIL: i never feel like shit and i don't even know what the word 'shit' means.
    BD: is there any other way to feel?
    a JET at a mid-year conference: Yeah, sometimes. You gotta find some other foreigners to hang out with sometimes. It keeps the homesickness away. Also, having a hobby that gets you out of your apartment helps.
    Last edited by frankdux; May 18th, 2010 at 08:56.
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  11. #51
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    I had some culture shock when I was living in Japan as a student. It was never bad, and I always got over it pretty quickly, but there were just days when the foreignness got to me and I'd be kind of down. Not so much actively unhappy as just discontent and a little bit uncomfortable with normal, everyday sorts of things that are different than in the States. It happened more often when I didn't have much to do, so I tried to not spend a lot of time sitting around at home. And that worked for me - there's just less time to brood over such deep, compelling issues as the milk being different when you're window shopping and wishing you had a bigger bank balance.

  12. #52

    Default Re: Culture Shock - how did this affect you?

    culture shock is probably worse for non-yellow JETs too, since everyone will stare at you and talk about you, even though pretty much every foreigner in the country can understand "gaijin/gaikokujin."
    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    I will not miss the Keihin Tohoku when I jump in front of it.

  13. #53
    let's talk about socks gingerbread's Avatar
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    Default Re: Culture Shock - how did this affect you?

    culture shock as far as "omg japan!" stuff never really hit me. like yeah. it's japan, so what. but i have extreme mood swings about workplace stuff and sometimes i'll go through bouts where something really minor and stupid makes me freak out, especially social expectations with Japanese people.

    oh, and i still can't get over the fact that they won't boot disruptive and disrespectful students from school, and that teachers are held responsible for a student's behavior/performance, regardless of whether or not the kid's a total jerk whose parents have never disciplined him in his life. it fills me with a silent rage.

    i have a routine, cook a lot of familiar foods, and have a good circle of foreign and Japanese friends that I can do stuff with. I stay pretty busy, and that helps keep the craziness at bay.
    Last edited by gingerbread; May 18th, 2010 at 19:49.

  14. #54
    Member movingthestars's Avatar
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    I went through 2-3 months of mood swings when I first got here, just from not being used to everything I think, but it has since balanced out and I feel like I can be a lot more realistic about things. I also imagine that it is harder for people who can't understand any Japanese, for those first few months I was getting used to "hearing" Japanese at the natural speed and so I felt lonely and depressed at the beginning when I could only understand about half of what was going on. (Then again, there are no English speakers where I live.)

    I live in a more "inaka" placement than 95% of people on this program, probably, so my experience differs greatly but I think the best advice I can think of to give someone who is starting the program is do EVERYTHING you possibly can when you first arrive. Don't say no to invites if you don't have to. Later when you find out who your real friends are/who you can really get along with/want to hang out with verses who was just being nice, you can pick and choose but I think a lot of what your experience ends up becoming depends on how you treat those first few months.

    And yeah, I still have days when I get a little down because I'm never going to be like "everyone else" but then I realize that's the point of me being here, really...
    Last edited by movingthestars; May 19th, 2010 at 14:18.

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neb View Post
    People took photos of you? You freak, such a thing has never occurred to me. Keep in mind that the areas in Japan vary greatly.
    This happened to me in China when I was 12. Granted I was on the Great Wall of China (somewhat lost) and wearing a bright red polo shirt. In on instance a woman put her baby in my arms and then took a picture of me and the baby.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by word View Post
    You'll get invited to all sorts of shit by random Japanese folks. The first week I arrived, I met a crazy lady whose family runs a farm near my village. She would later give me an ETC card, cook for me on a regular basis, invite me over to celebrate her grandkid's birthday, and take me on hikes and onsen trips and stuff. This weekend I took a bunch of ALTs over to her place to harvest tea. A few weekends ago, another ALT planned a clam-digging trip with his girlfriend's family and invited a bunch of us. I been to my neighbors' places for dinner, been invited to taiko and chorus groups, offered free trips to various cities when someone is going, etc. You won't have trouble finding stuff--if anything, you'll have to learn tactful ways of saying "no" when you get too many offers.
    Just to note your "Big Bird in Japan" avatar, that was my favorite movie when I was a kid. Many years later I'm actually going to go .

  17. #57

    Default Re: Culture Shock - how did this affect you?

    For me, culture shock hasn't been a shock but just a creeping feeling of fatigue. I am happy with my job and my placement, but it is tiring to "perform" all the time. Having to smile and be diplomatic 300 times a day when people ask me insanely retarded questions ("do you have lions in Australia?" "Do gaijin eat fruit?"). Not being able to do the simplest thing, like buying milk at the 7/11, without that small underlying stress that follows me everywhere. Having to renegotiate my self image as an articulate, persuasive orator because in Japanese I am about as articulate as a six year old. Having to go through most of my day with a person to person interaction level of "you like strawberries? Me too! Strawberries are the best, aren't they? (Do you have strawberries in the gaikoku?)".

    It isn't a shock, it's not even really about culture as such, it's just a base line of stress derived from my imperfect Japanese and my visible difference. I find it emotionally draining to interact with other people, and sometimes I just have to stay at home and watch a movie in English because I can't bare to have another stupid conversation with someone breathtakingly dumb but who I can't explain their stupidity to without ME sounding dumb fumbling with my Japanese.

    I really, really want to just tell people how stupid they are articulately XD

  18. #58
    Senior Member Village Drunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DjinnWired View Post
    I find it emotionally draining to interact with other people, and sometimes I just have to stay at home and watch a movie in English because I can't bare to have another stupid conversation with someone breathtakingly dumb but who I can't explain their stupidity to without ME sounding dumb fumbling with my words.

    I really, really want to just tell people how stupid they are articulately XD
    This is pretty much what I'm like in England.

  19. #59
    Senior Member 3ngrishsensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Village Drunk View Post
    This is pretty much what I'm like in England.
    hehe

  20. #60
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    Default Re: Culture Shock - how did this affect you?

    For me, while most of the time I like living here, I like my job, etc. Last November/December, just get in the whole "I'm sick of Japanese food, I'm sick of feeling like an idiot because I'm not fluent in Japanese, I'm sick of having to ride a bike everywhere, etc." and I got a bit homesick. For no rational reason, I just got tired of it all for a bit. I took a vacation home right after that, and I've been fine since.

    I'd like to think I'm immune to "culture shock" or whatever, but I guess not. I haven't had it terribly like some instances, and I've never been like "OMG I WANT TO QUIT THIS JOB AND JUST GO HOME", but there's been times like "i just want a vacation back home...just long enough to get sick of it so I can be happy being back in Japan"

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