Japan Mini-Series #1: Things I Found Helpful
Culture Shock, What?
It’s Gina again with another chapter on things to help prepare you for Japan Adventuring!
Culture shock. It’s something that every traveller of the globe, every individual who’s visited other countries has had to deal with. It’s the realization that suddenly you’ve been thrust into this foreign land with wildly different cultural expectations than the place you grew up in. “Exposure to an unfamiliar culture can be beneficial but also stressful and potentially harmful to sojourners or tourists. Unfamiliar environments may contribute to anxiety, confusion and depression in groups.” (Moufakkir 323) What might be seen as perfectly acceptable in one culture might be taken as a grievous insult in another. This is how things like cross-cultural miscommunications happen, and what one person sees as acceptable might not necessarily be acceptable to another.
“Culture shock was introduced to the literature by Oberg in the 1950s. It refers to a situation when a group of people entering a different culture encounter a feeling of confusion and experience disorientation” (Moufakkir 323)
In order to help ease the burden of culture shock, one needs to be as prepared as possible for the culture that they are stepping in to. This means that one needs to research cultural expectations before one goes, especially for cultures like Japan.
On the flip side of the coin, there is also the issue of “reverse culture shock” which the author of this blog post doesn’t belief is talked about enough. Essentially what this means is that if one spends enough time in a foreign culture, one gets used to it, and coming back to the culture that one grew up in can be just as much of a shock as moving to a foreign culture.
In order to get a glimpse into things that my or may not have crossed your mind while reading this, I’ve linked a youtube video from one of my favourite youtube channels: Abroad in Japan.
Real Name Unknown. [Abroad in Japan]. (2017, December 21). 12 things NOT to do in Japan [Video file] Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GCuvcTI090
Moufakkir, Omar. (2013). Culture Shock, what shock? Conceptualizing culture unrest in intercultural tourism and assessing its effect on tourists’ perceptions and travel propensity. Tourist Studies. Volume 13 (Issue 3), pp 322-340 Accessed: http://journals.sagepub.com.ezproxy.macewan.ca/doi/pdf/10.1177/1468797613498166