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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Ayase- Kanagawa Perfecture, Japan

Submitted by Kimdelacreme

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What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Ayase- Kanagawa Perfecture

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

Some, teaching about bowing as a greeting & saying Thank you. Japanese appreciate when you try to speak their language. I would suggest Rosetta Stone in beginner Japanese. or a website someone told me was free -japanesepod101.com ( I heard it sends you lessons to do everyday. Taking off your shoes before entering someones home. You don't talk on your phone on the train. Only text or reading. Its quiet. not much talking either. When in doubt copy the Japanese. They are a very polite society. They respect your personal space on the train unless rush hour time when people get off work. everyone gets packed in like sardines! ha!

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If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

no.

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

no, you will adjust. I was in love with Japan the 1st 6months then the newness ran out. I still enjoy its beauty & uniqueness. I love taking pics & sharing them with people back home.

How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

Driving!!!!!!! The steering wheel is on the front right side of the car & you drive on the left side of the rode. I was scared to death. I watched my husband drive for 6 months till I decided I was ready. Now its second nature. It also very scary that the motorcycles can drive in between the cars whenever they want-without warning. be alert!

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

Yes, the 1st stage for me was honeymoon -6 months. then it wore off. Then it wasn't a big deal. But there are lots of sights to see around Japan. They have tours you can take too. I love taking pictures of unique things I come across.

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

Sometimes I get depressed & Isolate myself. But I think if you throw yourself out there you get more confident. I would suggest to make a Japanese friend that can show you around Japan or take you shopping. it will help. There are a lot of etching jobs to teach English . 2 times a month or as much as you can. I have friend that make 600. a month pt teaching at night or on weekends.

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

the beauty of Japan. I like the Kimonos you'll see ladies wearing on holidays. The children are so cute. Mount Fuji is breathtaking to see. I can't stop taking pictures of it. ha!

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

the Language. I know about 20 words & this is my 2nd time here. I haven't study my Rosetta stone yet. I need to work on it. You will find yourself doing a lot of charades.ha!

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

I said "Arigato" to a man I passed ( which means Thank You) when I meant to say Ohiyo gzamuz ( which means Good Morning!) My son said, why did you tell that man Thank you? I laughed & said I was nervous.

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

Be patient, take your time to fit in. Use your Facebook to stay connected with love ones & pics. I use Skype to call home every once in awhile.. I love living out of the United States. On the TV - get satellite TV they have english & Japanese programming -they will install. its world news too. That way you stay connected. I got a iPhone from Softbank carrier. it has internet & a GPS.map you will need if you drive. Plus it has a Japanese train app you can download. very helpful for navigating the trains. I had internet at home too.

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