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Culture Shock

Posted by tamashiinouta on 2006.02.07 at 14:12
Already talked to Becky about this, but thought we can put up for any further thoughts.

Recently the Columbus Dispatch ran an article on the struggles that Japanese students face in America. Among the things sited was of course culture differences.

What other things do you think could be considered? Or what culture differences do you think would be the most difficult for them to face? This doesn't have to be only isolated to America, but anywhere.


tsukinokrystal at 2006-02-07 19:26 (UTC) (Link)
Do you mean Japanese students that come to America?
tamashiinouta at 2006-02-07 19:29 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. They have to go to special classes and stuff in addition to normal classes. So, it keeps them from extracurricular activites. At least according to the article.
sachie at 2006-02-07 19:53 (UTC) (Link)
I guess I'll chip in.

One of the things that I had problems with (still do actually) is the amount of personal contact you're expected to have with strangers. Maybe this also has a rural/urban component to it also, as I believe people who live on the East coast aren't nearly as friendly as those in the Midwest.

I can walk through a hallway and not make eye contact with any strangers I might pass. In Japan this is considered normal. A few years ago a man asked me a question in a movie theatre and I breezed right past him because I was too busy not making eye contact and didn't realize he was speaking to me. He thought I was pretty rude. When I realized what I'd done, I felt pretty bad.

Maybe I'm just naturally ill-mannered or something, but I'd like to think that it's because I'm not used to interacting with other people who share my space unless there's some kind of situation. It's like my brain has been programmed with a high 'Ignore' threashold and I need more prodding than what people around here expect to snap out of myself and talk to other people.

Or then again, I could just be a space cadet. Hard to say, with a control group of one.
tsukinokrystal at 2006-02-07 20:50 (UTC) (Link)
That actually has some truth to it. People in the Midwest are, for the most part, friendly and people from the West coast are quite friendly too. But I think the ignoring people and not making eye contact thing is just part of being polite since I do it often too. It's also partly because I'm shy but yeah. And I do think that some people might consider me rude as well but it's certainly not intentional.
joriel at 2006-02-08 13:46 (UTC) (Link)
Having grown up on the East Coast, I can say eye contact and being asked questions is part of the normal expected interpersoal contact. You don't have to stand on a street corner and spill your life story, but acknowledging the existance of people you encounter with a polite smile or nod was expected.

We weren't unfreindly on the east coast, just competitive. Because we have to be, the east coast has a HUGE density of population that a lot of other areas don't. Competition for jobs, dates, shelter, the whole nine yards. So you were expected to just get to your point and move on rather than ramble on and on like they do here when people wnat something.
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