The 3 Stages of Japanese Culture Shock!

  • Stage One: Excitement!

    When you first arrive in Japan, everything is new, interesting and exciting! The trains are on time! The convenience stores are open 24/7! I can learn Japanese every day! You will have so many amazing thoughts running through your head the whole time. Enjoy it!

    This is the time to get to know your surroundings, make new friends, learn about Japan, and have fun. For most people, this honeymoon period lasts between 3-6 months. Of course, this will depend on your own situation.

    Stage Two: Homesickness…

    Sadly, this is something that almost everyone will have to go through when they move to a different country. For a lot of people, food plays a big part in these feelings of homesickness. In Japan, you will probably begin to get frustrated. If you aren’t fluent in Japanese, language barriers will seem even stronger than before. You may find yourself getting annoyed at the level of politeness in the workplace – why can’t they just say what they mean? You’ll wish you could go back to your easier (albeit, probably much duller) life back in your home country. And, for a lot of people, you may feel lonely. Not having family anywhere nearby can take its toll around this point, when you are searching for anything familiar.

    Stage Three: Belonging

    Yes, don’t worry! The homesickness will end! Then, you’ll be in the best stage of culture shock! By this point, you have probably been in Japan of around a year. You know your neighbourhood, you have a circle of friends, you’ve found some great Japanese comfort food for those sick days. You feel like you belong. At last! The people who don’t feel this way are usually those who felt the homesickness was too much, and decided to go home. But, if you stick it out, Japan will surprise you. You can feel at home as a foreigner in Japan, and you can even live a happy life here!

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    1. these three points can be said if you move to every other country in the world, actually.

    2. Xiro Xavier Alphonz says:

      Even I feel sometimes, as a Japanese native, the same frustrations you guys feel over Japanese excessive shyness, over-modesty and the way everything it is only applicable among Japanese people.

      Actually I find it easier to communicate in English than in my mother tongue in many situations because we can’t put so many unwritten meanings and feelings in a ‘communication-tool’ 2nd language anyway, but we are expected that with our ‘profound’ Japanese.

      Japanese will have to change those inward common rules and protective usages of their language and attitude, at least partly to deal with people from different backgrounds, like changing gears to keep driving smooth on any road conditions. I think we are getting better year by year, tbough.

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