Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 16 – How you realised you’d acclimated to Japan.

I actually had one of my Elementary school students ask me this once---considering most of them ask "WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE FRUIT/ANIMAL/POKEMON/FOOD?!?!?" in Japanese a million and a half times, I was considerably surprised to be asked a thoughtful question by an 11 year old.

 When I answered this particular 11 year old girl, I told her this: It was when I was visiting Tokyo one time with a friend, and needed to call my supervisor. I'm always a little embarrassed to speak Japanese on the phone, especially in front of other people (and especially in front of other foreigners with a higher Japanese level than mine) so I took my phone up the street a little while my friend smoked in front of our hostel. Once I had finished my phone call, I came back and said that we could go (where ever it was that we were headed) and in response, he gave me an amused smile and said, "Did you know that you bowed on the phone?"

Yes, ladies and gentlemen.... I am a phone-bower. :\ I can't seem to break the habit either! Whether the conversation is in English or Japanese (more so on the Japanese calls of course), I find myself bowing at the end, or in confirmation to a suggestion/statement. *sigh* While finding this out was truly my first ever realization that I've acclimated to Japan, I've had other revelations pop-up since then.

Among those, is just the fact that I accept things that would seem ridiculous and/or "going-too-far" in the US, as just a fact of life. Example: About a month ago my supervisor told me and the other teacher working in the BOE that a "desk inspector" was coming the next day, and that we should make sure our desks were neat, clean, and had no food in them (like left-over omiyage or candy/gum). In response, I promptly opened my desk, rearranged a few things, and tossed my gum and candy into my purse. The other teacher gave our supervisor an extremely offended look and started to sputter out an argument about invasion of privacy etc. To this, I just turned to him and said, "This is Japan. Just accept it." and kept cleaning my desk. Sometimes there is no use arguing, and one needs to accept everything as a fact of life while living here.

Have a lovely Friday~ :)

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