Weird question number one: “How was China?” I often got asked this after I came home for my month long holiday home from Japan. I would just smile and reply, “It was good, thanks”, to which someone else will correct them or I just ignore it and go about my day.
Weird question number two: “Why did you come back to America if you don’t like it?” Um… I’m American through and through. I was born and raised here and like the next American, I love my country dearly. In fact, if you cut me open, I’ll smell like freedom and bleed the Star Spangled Banner. Just because I left America doesn’t mean I don’t like my country. I went to Japan to experience something different instead of vegetating in my small corner of the earth for all eternity.
When I tell you my life was rough, it was more difficult than necessary. When I cancelled my phone in Japan, it took about 50 minutes and there were problems with leaving the service (big shocker there). Ironically, another guy in the AU store was having just as many problems and complained buying a car in America took less time than that.
1. Ease of Transport
Okinawa had terrible public transport. The buses are always late and the only “train” we have is the monorail. I can easily go anywhere I please in America. Chicago has got great public transport! Buses, the “L”, you name it, we’ve got it! My family has been great with driving me around and I also have a bike I take around for exercise. Besides my family testing my patience at times and being a typical annoying, loving family, I’ve been great.
What a relief to actually eat delicious and non bland food. I did notice Americans eat so much food! I can’t even finish my portions anymore. With a lot of food, comes a lot of fluff. This is the first time in awhile I’ve seen fat people. In Okinawa, I was used to seeing buff military guys and even if their wives were “bigger” they most certainly were not fat.
It’s been great spending time with my family. I’ve been to Starved Rock and I’ve caught up with friends near and dear to me. Why wouldn’t I enjoy that?
I can finally walk into the store and buy clothes that fit. Bras, underwear, pants in so many different styles and sizes there’s something for everyone! In Japan, I got tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. Frilly stuffed bras, baggy t-shirts and coochie shorts… Not my style. Can we get some variation please?
5. Bigger is Better?
It’s so good to take shower and have enough room to stretch my arms and wrap a towel around myself. On the road, there’s enough space for large cars and I don’t feel like I’m gonna crash or I’m too close to someone. Since Okinawa is a small island, there isn’t much room, but I would appreciate a little more room when I drive. The appliances are so much bigger too! Not saying that bigger is better, but I do enjoy watching an HD movie on a large flat screen. 😉
Have I experienced any culture shock after living in Japan three years and returning home? I can communicate in Spanish and English so nothing is far from my reach. I went into the AT&T store and got a pay as you go phone in less than 20 minutes with a phone number and all. So in short, no I haven’t. I’m happy to be home because my life in Japan was rough and my life in America is the opposite.
Maybe I’ll get reverse culture shock later, but for right now, I feel at home and happy. Having been abroad for so long, I have noticed some things about America I never took into consideration before. Okinawa was great, but I’m happy to be home where I don’t have to go through miles of paperwork just to exist. 😉 Has anyone experienced reverse culture shock after repatriating? I’d love to hear what you have to say!