Friday, January 28, 2011

culture shock

Visiting is one thing, living is another. I've visited Japan several times for the past years, but all that time I lived in California. When you are a visitor, you don't mind differences in lifestyle, those little "inconveniences" here and there. They only start to annoy you when you know you are going to live in the place for a little while. That happened when I moved to LA. And now, after six years, it's happening again in Japan.

I shop around and see everything neatly packaged. I see a crowd of people waiting at a red light in my small hometown even though there's absolutely no car in sight and you can cross the street in ten steps. I hear all those announcements and signs telling you what to do and how so that everything will go smoothly.

Ah, Japan. I feel a bit desperate. Though I know all this makes my country a clean, safe, nice place to live, it's also something I kind of wanted to escape from. Or maybe I feel desperate because there's this sense of responsibility that I have to follow all the rules because I'm a native and understand everything. One thing about getting culture shock in your own culture is that you don't really get to have the excitement of acquainting newness, the feeling of a fresh start, that you would get in a new environment (well, if you desired to come to the place in the first place, at least).

With your own culture, it's different. You know it all too well, and you expect it to be the same. And then it presents itself as quite unfamiliar.

I feel Japan is cheating on me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

recycling a blog

One of my new year's resolutions was to start writing a blog, constantly. I'd just learned about some of my friends' blogs, and that inspired me to do the same. Again. The problem is I always start something like this and stop after a while, being too busy or finding writing something presentable on a regular basis quite a difficult task.

I decided to set up an account with a Japanese blog service, and then realized I had this one and that there wouldn't be any better time than now to write a blog in English. Now that I've moved back to Japan and won't be using the language as much as before. English, I'm afraid of losing it. Language is so easy to lose.

So here it is, I'm recycling a blog I started 18 months ago, around the time many of my friends went back to their countries after graduation. It's my turn now. It's my first night in Japan and my mother is smothering me with all that motherly attention we call love. As much as I appreciate and enjoy it, there's a part of me who yearns for privacy, and writing helps. It always does.

And so I try to continue even if I end up stopping again. At least my butt is on my chair and I've been thinking in English for the past fifteen minutes or so. Not a bad (re)start!