15 July, 2014

More re-entry shock stories

Where are all the people? 
This is both a stress and a joy. A stress, because the Japanese part of us panics when we don't see enough people at an event. In Japan that usually means we've made a mistake and come at the wrong time or on the wrong day. A joy because it is wonderful to go to an event where we aren't in the midst of a crowd, even without trying.

Why is the iron so hot?
The voltage in Japan (100V)  is less than half of Australia's 230V. That means not only that we can't use Australian appliances there without a transformer, but that appliances like irons aren't so hot. It is a shock to come back here and find that I don't need to put the iron on maximum to iron most things.

Why isn't it turning on?
This got David and I early on, but the boys have taken longer to figure it out. Power points (power outlets) have on and off switches here, they don't in Japan. So we've all plugged things in and expected them to work without turning them on at the wall. Whoops.

What size are my kids, for that matter, what size am I?
In Japan many clothes are measured by cm. So, for children, it is pretty close to their height. My middle son wears Size 140 at the moment and his younger brother 130. Shoes are the same: the actual length of your foot is pretty much your shoe size.

Not so in Australia. I feel like a bit of a fool not knowing what size clothes my kids wear!

Additionally, in Japan I've gotten used to having to look at L or XL size clothes just so that I don't have a skin-tight clothing experience. A friend we met in Cairns was shocked at that, I could even prove it because the t-shirt I was wearing at the time had an XL label on it! But here...the other day I was even called "Petite" by someone at church!

How do you cook with an electric stove instead of gas?
I've cooked with gas stoves-tops for 12 out of the last 14 years. It takes some adjustment to move back to the steadier, yet slower electric stove.

What's my PIN number?
This was a huge concern during our week in Cairns. A few times we had to ask to sign for our credit card purchases instead of using pin numbers because our pins were refused. In Japan we almost always use cash and had therefore forgotten our pin numbers.

How fast can I drive?
Cars are allowed to drive so much faster here. Actually it is safe to drive much faster here, as the roads are wider, there are less obstacles, pedestrians, and cyclists. But it is hard to remember that the roads around our suburb aren't rural roads where you can drive 100km/hr. It isn't easy to keep our eyes open to see the seemingly random changes in speed designations here. In Japan it isn't hard to stay under the limit on most roads because of the above mentioned obstacles to driving fast. I'd be surprised if we don't cop a fine sometime soon!

What month is it again?
Yep, got that seasonal confusion happening. Catch me quickly and ask what month it is and I'll probably have to think for a bit.

It doesn't help when we're filling out forms that ask questions like, "When will your son finish primary school?" This is our middle son who graduated from US Elementary School last month. This week he starts Grade 6 at an Australian primary school. We found out last week that his grade is the transition grade for this school and that from January he'll be considered a "Secondary School Student". David and I were Primary School students until the end of Grade 7 and then moved on to High School. Confusing: yes, even more so when  combined with the sort of change we've just made.

I'm sure there will continue to be more of these...

1 comment:

Steve Finnell said...
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