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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Tokyo, Japan

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

Tokyo

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

No

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Expats living in Japan interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

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?

Did not know Japanese before arriving but took lessons after arriving. This helped greatly and I would recommend learning the basics.

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

Not so much as we had lived abroad (Asia) before, so had experienced culture shock before.

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 you go through phases. The best advice is to embrace the new culture, and understand that the way of life will be different than your home country. The faster you come to this point the faster you move through the cutlure change.

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

Regarding Japan, I appreciated the politeness and customer service/quality aspects of every day life.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

The language, thus important to learn the basics, as it will help and also be appreciated by the Japanese

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Get a quote for expat health insurance in Japan from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
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An expat talks about the challenges she's had adjusting to the culture in Japan, where people are much quieter and keep to themselves compared to the US. She explains that even acquaintances keep to themselves and this makes it hard to feel connected.

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An expat talks about what it's like moving to Tokyo. It took some time adjusting to the crowds and culture, but he's happy now and looking back the culture shock wasn't as bad as he anticipated.

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