December 15, 2003

culture shock, the beginnings
I can feel this whole culture shock thing starting. It's snuck up on me without me really knowing, and I can feel that feeling of being annoyed at this different culture around me.

Today, I went to go study with my friend Kenji at his senpai, Jin's apartment. It wasn't much of a warm welcome, and Jin really wasn't talking to me much. I was there to study, so I didn't think much of it. I started to notice the way Kenji was talking to Jin: he was using more polite forms. Each time I heard it, each desu and -masu he said was making me more and more annoyed. "Why can't you just fucking talk to the guy without this formality crap!?" I kept thinking to myself.

Then, Jin's girlfriend, Hisami, arrived. She wasn't introduced. I've discussed this phenomenon before with Judah. Japanese guys just don't introduce their girlfriends, and it pisses me off cause it's like they don't exist. At the same time, they're running around in the background cleaning and cooking. One of the first things she did was clean up all the mess that was on the table and then she did the dishes. And it wasn't the first time I've seen this happen before either. What the hell is that shit?

OK, so I understand it, but I'm having difficulty accepting it. That's the whole culture shock thing: I know about these things in the culture, and I'm annoyed at them even though I know why it is the way it is.

There's the whole tatemae/honne (the face you show to the world vs. your true feelings) thing, and then there's the in-group/out-group jazz. And the senpai/kohai (relative relationship and rank are important bits in this here society).

It's all making me rather upset right now. Argh!








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