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Now begins my third month in Japan.  Things have begun to settle down and I am beginning to come into my new life.  I’m working 7 hour days Mon-Fri with minimal down-time.  Following work, I come home, make dinner, and sit down to watch some Japanese television or even stream some American shows via our good friend the internet.  Afterwards, I’ve been studying my old Japanese texts that are far from being finished, or even some new books I picked up during my last trip to Nagoya.

I’m not the biggest fan of manga(Japanese comics) or anime(Japanese cartoons), but I find myself forcing an interest in pursuit of improving my Japanese skills.

Weekends have been a very busy time for me.  Meeting old friends, traveling to new places, and creating new relationships has taken up the majority of my weekends.  During my first two months I have gone to Tokyo, Mie, Takayama, Kanazawa, Ise, Nagoya, Sakae, and Hamamatsu on several occasions.  I’ve had so many experiences during these trips, but what I want to address is the number of cultural differences that I’ve noticed.

For anyone who has studied Japan or heard about Japanese cultural, it is widely known that the toilet and shower are nearly always in separate rooms.  When searching for an apartment, I saw a few rooms with the shower and toilet together.  As a result, the rent was noticeably lower than rooms with the two separate.

Another thing that you’ll notice is the amount of English used in Japan.  English is written everywhere you go.  In fact, one of the Japanese scripts is based on foreign words, namely English.  For example, バスケットボール(basuketto booru) is translated into basketball.  It almost feels as if a person could survive as long as they know the foreign script “katakana” and can read and understand English.  I don’t mean to undermind the difficulty that comes from living as a non-Japanese person, but there are ways to survive with minimal knowledge.(Surviving comfortably is a different story)

During my trips to Sakae栄 and Nagoya名古屋, one thing has stood out to me more than anything.  I’m not Japanese.  There are people everywhere in larger cities and during each trip I’m lucky to see 10 other non-Japanese people.  It’s funny to see how quickly people of the same origins notice each other.  Although I haven’t tried speaking with anyone from America yet, it’s obvious that there is an immediate connection between people when they are so blatantly different from the main group.  Despite being an “outsider”, I have experienced both joy and annoyance from the attention I receive from strangers.

My most recent experience, and possibly most common, was in Nagoya.  I was sitting in McDonalds(of all places), waiting for a friend when I saw two Japanese businessmen in their early 30’s walk by me.  The one sees me and taps his friend, “Gaijin” he said.  In other words, he said “hey look a foreigner”.  If this were to happen in America it would be seen as highly offensive.  That is because, classifying and alienating a person from another country is not at the top of the list of polite things to do.  However, in Japan it is an almost daily experience for me.  When someone says, “hey look a foreigner” it is more like they’re saying, “hey look, it’s an American…how cool!”.  All cases do not hold true to this, but there is more interest than animosity between American and Japan.

Anyways, I’m getting bored of writing now so I’ll leave on this, despite there being many differences between Japanese and American culture, children are the same everywhere you go.  One of my students recently tried hitting me in the gonads to see how I would react.  I pulled from the situation that she must’ve done it to her dad and he reacted in a funny way, from there she tried it with other boys and realized, “Wow! Everybody jumps away when I do that! haha!”.  In retrospect it had me laughing, even though it wasn’t so funny initially.  Moreso, I feel bad for her dad, because he’s having to deal with it on a daily basis.

About travelnihon

I recently graduated from the University and am currently teaching English to all ages in Japan


16 thoughts on “Nareta慣れた

  1. Brad, Sounds as if you are going to come home a very well informed young man. This knowledge will take you long distances in the world. Keep taking pictures as this will be the only way I see Asia–Japan.

    Posted by Aunt Karen | October 24, 2011, 12:30 am
    • Aunt Karen, thank you so much! I really appreciate the support everyone is giving me while I’m here. I just got home and saw your letter inside my door. Halloween is in fact not celebrated widely in Japan, but we are celebrating it at my school. Therefore, I’ll be dressing up and passing out candy to my students, amongst the many Halloween activities. I’ll try to take more pictures when I get the chance! Love you, take care!

      Posted by travelnihon | October 24, 2011, 2:03 pm
  2. I would just like to point out that you too have to deal with your student on a daily basis…and for me, that too is VERY entertaining. Good luck, and maybe consider wearing a cup (the american sport kind).-GEESE.

    Posted by LISA | October 24, 2011, 3:33 am
  3. Brad, I enjoy reading your blog, feels like you are sitting right next to me. I am glad you are settling in and glad you are taking advantage of all there is to see and do. Love your pictures too, I think your mom has rubbed off on you – just a little. What a wonderful opportunity for you. I will have to get uncle Jim on here. I am sure there won’t be enough space for everything he might ask or say :). Take care and do everything I would do…plus more 😉 Talk at you soon. Love Aunt Deb

    Posted by Aunt Deb | October 24, 2011, 9:55 pm
  4. This is very cool, Brad!! I miss you too much. I want to visit for sure but I have like no money and stuff right now. It looks like you’re having an awesome experience! We think of you every time we burn stuff out in the backyard.

    Posted by Todd | October 25, 2011, 1:50 am
  5. Brad, reading your blog makes me reflect back on my time spent in Japan. It was a joyful, enlightening experience.
    Oh wait, the was En Japanese Restaurant. Must have been the Sake, for an hour or so I thought I was in Japan.

    Still waiting for the wedding invitation so I have a great excuse to visit you in Japan. Traveling to experience another culture is great, living in one is beyond cool! I am envious.

    Looking forward to your next blog.


    Posted by Mike Cassidy | October 25, 2011, 12:51 pm
    • よろしくお願いいたします

      Posted by travelnihon | November 5, 2011, 4:27 am
      • 日本の女性たちに十分注意してください。 あなたは異常な(人たち・もの)、(彼・それ)らが毎日経験するより異なった何かです。 (彼・それ)らは利点をあなたでとろうと試してみるでしょう。 結構です、ただ捕えられない。

        Brad, I hope it is OK with with you that I email in Japanese. So few people use this language in the US.

        Posted by Butch | November 5, 2011, 2:59 pm
  6. As I wrote to you in my e-mail I really enjoyed your blog. And then I saw the second one and it was so informative. I’m looking forward to seeing more. I’m glad that you are enjoying Japan so much. What an experience!! Love Grandma

    Posted by Grandma | October 26, 2011, 12:24 am
  7. WHat an experience! I love seeing the pictures! Keep writing,,,,,you will look back at it one day and have lots of memories! Have fun!

    Posted by Susan Usher | October 27, 2011, 1:50 am
  8. Brad Maloney-Man of the World! I am so excited for you. Your pictures are incredible. If I wasn’with your mother twice a week, I would be convinced that she was there with you, as your personal photographer. Can’t wait for updates. Try not to let your new found celebrity get to your head. Enjoy every minute.
    Aunt Mary Beth

    Posted by Mary Beth Maloney | November 2, 2011, 9:04 pm
  9. the placese u go look peaceful

    Posted by peng | November 9, 2011, 7:37 pm

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