05 April, 2014

You know you've been in Japan too long when you...

I came across this "You know you've been in Japan too long when you..." list. I'm not guilty of all of them, but as I'm about to transfer back into my birth country I thought I'd make up my own list.

You know you've been in Japan too long when you...

1. Are shocked when you see another foreigner and point them out to whomever you are with.
Japanese shopping trolleys are very small.

2. Can't answer a question about "what they do in Australia" or "what do they call this in Australia".

3. Can't remember how to use your credit card at the shop and don't remember what your signature is.

4. Think it's normal to carry lots of cash in your purse. (Goes with the above.)

5. Apologise for even brushing someone's arm.

6. When speaking in English, adding extra politeness, like "Oh, I'm so sorry." or "Thank you ever so much."

7. Think about distances between local places in terms of how long it takes to walk or ride.

8. Expect the weather forecast to tell you what percentage chance there is of rain today and the hour of the day it is likely to begin raining.

9. Tend to interpret the pictures first, rather than attempt to read labels or signs.

And here are some for when we get back:

10. Are amazed at the size of Australian money and toothbrushes and milk and shopping trolleys.

11. Are shocked at how much wasted space Australia has (eg. you could build a house on the land between that house and the road).

12. Not be able to make choices at the grocery store the first (and maybe second or third) time you go in there.

13. Wonder why people aren't staring at you.

14. Take your shoes off at the front door of someone's house even though they tell you to leave them on.

15. Can't throw all the rubbish into the same bin.

Do you have others to share (perhaps from a different expat experience)?


Georgia said...

Even after a year and a half at "home" I still have difficulty with my signature and writing personal checks. Great list.

Georgia said...

Oh, and I can't do #2 either.

Wendy said...

Sounds like a year at home isn't going to fix these "problems" for us Georgia!

Georgia said...

At least you can look forward to reverse-reverse culture shock. I'll never be the same.

Sarah said...

Are there no credit cards in Japan?

Wendy said...

Sarah, there are credit cards in Japan, but they aren't widely used for daily life. We use cash almost exclusively in face-to-face purchases. We have missionary friends who had to get a credit card as a requirement for renting their house. You also need one to get electronic payment for toll roads.