I arrived in Tokyo, Japan at the age of 21 to do summer universitycourses for three months, I was very excited with everything.
Once the planelanded in Tokyo I was so amazed and delighted that I was finally in Japan,something I had been planning for many months.I faced several strange situations during my stay.One of the situation was language culture shock. Japanese language andthe alphabet are completely different than western languages. I felt defenselessand baffled at my inefficiency to understand anything. Many things took extratime to figure out. I had troubles asking directions because I could not figureout what the other person was saying.
To overcome this problem, I spent additionaltime to figure out the words for the places I wanted to go. I started to learn Japaneselanguage, made some friends and absorbed myself in their culture. By doing thisit helped me enjoy my stay in Japan because I certainly felt I was experiencingJapanese culture. Even though I was able to speak a little it gave me thecourage to go see and do as much as I could. After getting settled in Tokyo and meeting my fellow class mates we wereheading towards downtown to have breakfast. It was a bit of a surprise for abreakfast.
The breakfast menu was for example savory foods like soup, rice andvegetables or curries. Those of us from Western countries tend to have lighterversion of breakfast such as cereals and acai bowls. It felt good afterwardsbecause the meals were nutritious, healthy, cheap and avoiding a sugar hit inthe morning.Another situation was the menu of options on a Japanese toilet. Japanesetoilets are more sophisticated and provides more functionality than a TV. Thereare large number of buttons, so many unknown symbols and stick figures; also,the concern that you could be sprayed with toilet water by merely approachingone.
Some of the common features were that with a click of button it can cleanprivate areas, electronically operated with a remote control. In addition tothis Japanese toilet includes audio, for instance music will play to help theuser relax. Additional features were heated seats, and warm-air drying. I feltvery confused at the first time and took lot of time to figure out which buttondoes a certain task.
Nevertheless, afterusing it for couple of times, it was easy to get used to it. I found out what to expect in most situations, adjusted my own behaviorand realized to be pleased about new ways of thinking and attitudes. Subsequentlyliving in Japan for a month, things started to make sense and I understoodJapanese culture more thoroughly. Day after day I felt more pleased with my newhome.
I accepted numerous new habits at the same time also keeping earlier onesfrom my home country.The following steps helped me deal better with culture shock. First, Ideveloped a routine. Thinking about how I dealt with stress back home and applyit in the new culture.
I was doing sports back home so I decided to join asports club and meet new people in a fun way. I tried to be positive and seethe good aspect in everything.If I faced similar situation, I would use humor, laugh about myself orwhatever is frustrating me. Humor helps us make light of a situation. I constantlytry to recall, what can I learn from this. I don’t try to cancel out thepositive aspects of the other culture. Furthermore, I would learn as much as possible about my host countrypreferably before I go.
Reading through travel forums, guidebooks, newsreports and talking to people who have been there would help me learn about thehost country.