I haven’t experienced a lot of culture shock since being in Japan. People expect me to and they expect me to have hilarious or horror-filled stories about my time here but I just don’t. part of that has to do with our location; we are pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Like Wausau, my hometown, this is farming country. Off base, there’s a lot of countryside filled with fields. There are no shopping districts around here. No big city, no night life. People aren’t dressed outlandishly. It’s just a working community.
I’ve only ever seen 2 or so traditional Japanese buildings and one of them was a museum. Many things are constructed similar to the way I’m used to, save for the roads which are smaller. On the outside (and even the inside in many ways), Japan looks like any other place I’ve ever been.
However, I also think the lack of culture shock can be attributed to the fact that Japan is a modern country which seems to be doing its best to assimilate, to mimic the developed western-world, most specifically the United States. Perhaps, since it’s advanced in many technological areas, it’s not Japan mimicking the USA but the other way around.
Things just work in the same manner, some things are even easier and more up to date. There’s a lot of electronic things which seem to make life easier and i’ve noticed that most Japanese airports are slightly more advanced than American ones. There’s more machines and electronics and less human interaction and, surprisingly, there seems to be less computer problems. LOL
Many things are only slightly reminiscent of traditional Japanese culture. In fact, I think the one thing that still may work in a more traditional fashion is the language, which I do not speak.
Most of the differences have been geographical. Obviously, Japan is a much smaller country than the USA and more mountainous. In fact, you can even see them from our balcony. Unlike home, there are many cherry blossoms here but I’m not sure if they’re here naturally or planted on base symbolically because there’s just so many. Unfortunately, i think they look much less pretty close up than they do in pictures.
I feel a bit disappointed in my experience here but i always feel as though I am disappointing people by not having stories.
Hopefully this all will change in a few weeks when I go to Disneyland in Tokyo with Wendy and perhaps will have the chance to do some shopping, see more traditional and more unusual characteristics of modern Japan and its people.
So if you were wondering about Japan, I haven’t much to say. I think it’s definitely difficult to experience new and exciting things in a rural area of a country which tries so hard to be like everywhere else.