Why You Hate Japan Which You Thought You Would Like It? – the Cultural Adjustment Process
Tadaimaaaaaa~~~ (I’m back to Japan!) Anyone is happy to know I’m back? lol
I was on vacation in Malaysia for the whole February. The vacation taught me many things which I will share it with you in my next post. 😉 Stay Tuned with Naruhodo ya!
Back to the topic, I suppose many students who study abroad in Japan have experienced this. “Damn! I hate Japan! This is not the Japan I imagined before I came here!”
Sounds familiar? Yes, you have thought the same thing right?
I have seen my friends decided to go back to Malaysia after 1 year study in Japan, just because 1 reason – they turned out to hate Japan. Why? Is Japan not the Anime Kingdom you had been dreaming of? Is Japan not the Fashion heaven you had been pursuing for?
So why do you turn out to hate Japan after 1 year study?
In this article, I want to tell every one of you, who has / is / going to study abroad, the psychology behind this phenomenon – It is just a normal part of the Cultural Adjustment process.
Why You Hate Japan? The Cultural Adjustment Process
Have you heard of this term called “the Cultural Adjustment Process”?
Living in a foreign country, regardless of what country you are from, it is common for all international students to experience a period of Cultural Adjustment. To put it short, the process you adjust yourself to accustom to a certain culture.
Here are the 4 stages of the Cultural Adjustment Process. Everyone will experience the process I’m sure you are in either one if you are studying abroad. Spot your stage and be prepared for the culture shocks. 🙂
4 Stages of the Cultural Adjustment Process
The length of the process varies from person to person. Some people take 1 year to overcome 1 stage, some take few years.
1) The Honey Moon
This is the stage that occurs when you first arrive and everything is exciting and new. You may have a heightened sense of enthusiasm. You might focus on the similarities between your home and host countries.
This is exactly what will happen to people who have loved Japanese culture from their home country. Anime, Samurai, Fashion, J-pop, etc. You feel excited to meet the country you had been dreaming of.
Everything seems strange and exotic, and you feel moved by your encounter with a new world. At this stage, you are nervous, excited, and possessed of a strong curiosity.
2) Culture Shock
Culture Shock occurs when you realize that you are in a different environment than what you are accustomed to. You start reacting to the difficulty of communicating with people in the new culture.
What you think of as common sense does not seem to apply, and you don’t understand how to cope with certain situations. You are a grown person in your country, but here you feel like a little child. Your identity is shaken. The shortcomings of the new culture weigh on your mind.
For instance, the annoying procedures for everything in Japan, the hierarchical society, the male-emphasis society, etc.
3) Cultural Adjustment
You are beginning to adjust to the language and culture and realize that things are not as bad as you thought when you were coping with culture shock.
You lean by trial-and-error and by reflecting on various experiences. You begin to find your own place and to understand how you can exist here. This stage is a time of displacement, a kind of journey to find out who you are.
You begin to reconcile who you are within the local culture, and to recognize changes in yourself.
You have gained some objectivity and are able to enjoy yourself. You find life worth living. You become able to see differences in a positive light and to act in a way that is true to yourself.
Culture Shock is the Hardest to Cope With
Many people who left the country after a short period of studying in Japan, largely because they could not cope with the culture shock stage.
If you ask them why you come back, their answers are likely to be “You know…Japan is not as good as you thought.”
However, by understanding the process of the Cultural Adjustment, we will all be prepared for the culture shocks and be able to overcome it. 🙂 Are you now at the stage of culture shock? or have you overcome it just like me?
Coping with Culture Shock
If understanding the Cultural Adjustment still does not help you feel comfortable with the culture shocks, try the following:
- Find ways to relieve stress.
- Do something that reminds you of home.
- Talk and share your intercultural experience with someone.
- Visit the office and talk
- Connect with family and friends back home.
- Get some exercises, Stay active.
- Get involved in intercultural activities.
- Take a vacation back to your home country. You will get to recognize the differences of the two countries and realize the good side of the culture shock.
Shen’s Experience of Cultural Adjustment
Everyone experiences different length of the Cultural Adjustment Process.
In my case, I am now at the 4th stage, where I find my own identity in the local culture, recognize the differences and similarities between the two countries in a positive way, and find life is worth living here. 🙂
Looking back at my Cultural Adjustment history, it should be like this:
- The Honey Moon (6 months, Tokyo)
- Culture Shocks ( 2.5 years, Tokyo, Oita)
- Cultural Adjustment (6 months, Kyoto)
- Adaptation (6 months, Kyoto)
It took me 2.5 years to overcome the culture shocks!!! Now you can imagine how bad I hated Japan. :p
Since I started making videos about Japan on Youtube, the cultural adjustment process worked faster than before. I began to adapt the local cultures and see it positively. Maybe you can already realize some “Adaptation insight” in my videos. :p
Many people give up studying abroad when they experienced culture shocks in a new environment. They thought the host country was just not their cup of tea.
However, we all need to understand that is just a part of the Cultural Adjustment process. By understanding how it works, we can cope with it and become able to adapt the new cultures.
Now you can tell which stage yourself or your friend is at, and find a way to deal with it. Remember, no culture is bad. Just we need to adjust ourselves to understand it. 😀
Love this? Share with your friends now! (How bad I want everybody to know this! lol)