Stage 3

For the past 2-3 months I’ve been in the downswing of cultural adjustment.  This basically means that anything I don’t particularly like about Japan is heightened and anything I enjoy is downplayed.  In essence, it’s a state that I just don’t like Japan very much at the moment.

The real downside about this is that the things I never understood or liked in the first place become somewhat “wtf!?” things.  For example, putting your hands in your pockets.  Or, I just learned a new one today – tying your hoodie or sweatshirt around your waist if you take it off.  These are STOP. THE. CLASS. and sternly tell the kid to change their roll before you slap them upside their head offenses.  Yet, things like having a 12-year-old girl try to stroke the salami while her friend attempts to check my prostate is considered perfectly normal and something I need to enjoy or at least get used to.  Does this strike anyone else as crazy or is it just my stage-3ness?

Why stage 3?  Well, as you can see by this highly technical graph there are some stages to culture shock.

Warning: explanation manual not included

Sometime after the initial adjustment and after you’ve settled into life in your new surroundings you’re presented with something not many people talk about:  confronting deeper issues.  You’ve tackled “there’s no cheese in this country!?!?!?” and now have to face “what do you mean I have to pay $300 for a trip I’m not going on because I said I might go to a teacher who casually asked if I was thinking about going over a cup of coffee a few months back?!?!?”  Basically, you’re now dealing with more actual life matters in your adopted country.  I know some people who avoid getting too deep into the second sinkhole, but I also know many very capable people who spent a few months wallowing in hating Japan.  There are so many differences, and so many things you can’t comprehend because the thought never occurred to you previously that it starts to weigh on you.

My Christmas prep has been spent trying not to let the last week or two of work get to me too much.  Yesterday was my last day at kindergarten, as mentioned.  It couldn’t have come at a better time.  I illustrated the horrors of facing a troupe of young Japanese kids in a previous post and yesterday was no different.  I stayed, tried to play, got my pants and sweatshirt stretched out, previously sucked on fingers rubbed across my face, and fingers up my bung.  It all came to a halt, however, when one girl took a running start and lined up a perfectly placed punch to my left nut.  Yeah, that’s graphic but there’s really no better way to describe it.  After a few seconds (read: when the pain hit) I simply kicked my way out of the clutches of the kids and left for the teachers room to double over for 5 minutes or so.  I’m pretty sure one kid caught a decent knee right in the noggin’.  I had no guilt.

I once sat on the floor to eat with my legs out to the side of me and got scolded.  It’s rude, you see.  I have nothing inside me that can explain the logic behind thinking that sitting a certain way is rude but letting kids molest you and treat your privates like a pinata is something you’re told to enjoy.  Maybe my nether regions just need a rest and my attitude about things will improve.

In other news I have no chance to finish my kanji goal by the end of the month.  Suddenly this month I got very busy at work.  I don’t know what happened but I barely get any chance to study these days.  So, I’ve decided I’ll just have to put in as much work as possible and finish the rest up after break.


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