Adjusting to Home

10/09/2013 11:37

Some how I changed the primary language to Japanese on my website and now I can't get it to go back no matter how many times I click submit.  Good thing I know a decent amount of Japanese.  It's still annoying though.   Anyhow,

After arriving in California and having to head to customs, I immediately hit culture shock.  My brain felt that something was wrong when walking up to someone and they not having their faces struck with fear because of a language barriar made things a bit shocking.  It was almost odd to talk to an Asian-American police officer knowing that his first language was English.  On the flight and even a little after, I was speaking Japanese because the people I sat next to were Japanese visiting Las Vegas.  Their surprize on their faces when I spoke to them in Japanese made me smile.  They were such nice people.  They asked me a lot of questions and after every sentence they kept saying that my Japanese was very good and my pronunciation was perfect.  They were so nice.  They were a married couple and the wife did not know English but the husband knew very little.  If he could get out of using English he said that he would.  So, when we arrived in LA he asked if I would help with translation while going through customs.  I did for a little while but then we had to be separated.  After they left and went on their way, I realized that I wasn't in Japan anymore.  I wasn't in a place where I was tall and perfectly fit into all the clothes and all the food was healthy.  I was now in my home country, only it didn't feel like home.  I only wanted to go back to Japan.

I had to get my baggage and take it through baggage claim again because I had to head through customs first.  It was odd, but it assured me that both my bags would make it to my home.  Going through baggage claim there were many many people from Japan traveling abroad to study in the states.  A few of them I heard were heading to Arizona State Univserity.  They said all of this in Japanese but I listened because I knew that it was going to be the last time I heard that language natively spoken for a while.  

The worst part about going home was the fact that I was SUPER tired and had to wait 5 hours before my flight left.  I walked around to all the shops and realized really fast that everything in the airport was cheaper in Japan that it was there.  Things were so expensive!  You would think that the flights themselves didn't make enough money to employ everyone but you know that's not the case.  It was a bit on the rediculous side.  

I was so so so SO tired.  I was afraid that I would fall asleep and miss my flight home so I called my mom and talked to her for about an hour to keep me from falling asleep.  I tried playing my game boy but I just kept dozing off.  When someone is talking to me, I force myself to stay awake better than just staring at something intently.  My phone freaked out for a while and I was having a really hard time getting the call to go thru.  I think I spent about 45 minutes just tryihng to get it work.  I guess having the phone set to airplane mode for 4 weeks did not do the phone well.  It works fine now, it's just that I had to restart the phone about 5 times before I could get a call to go thru to my mom.  It was very frustrating.

As soon as I sat down and buckled my seat belt, I was out.  I slept the entire flight to AZ. Although, after being on a flight for 10 hours, no other trip is going to feel half as long.

Seeing my husband at the airport in AZ was different.  I'm pretty sure my tiredness kept me from feeling any emotions.  I felt nothing.  I mean, I was very happy to see him, but my initial reaction when seeing him was, "Oh good I can go home and sleep soon."  The funny thing is, when I got home we went out to sushi.  If anyone is wanting to eat Japanese food, American sushi is not the way to do it.  Our sushi and Japanese sushi is not the same thing.  It has completely different tastes and Japan doesn't have rolls like we have here.  It's made differently.  Eating out settled for me that Japan was over and I was indeed home.  We get home and stayed up talking for a long time.  Then finally went to sleep.  The next day we were going to my mom's for the weekend and Jd figured that after he worked a half day I would be up before he got off and I would be getting ready to leave but I was still sound asleep when he came home.  The jet lag lasted about 4-5 days.  I think it took about 2 full weeks before I felt that I really adjusted back to Arizona time.  It was really hard.  I didn't know what day it was for about 3 days.  I would fall asleep around 8pm and wake up at 1am and be unable to get back to sleep cuz I was not tired at all.  It would take a couple of hours before I could get back to sleep.  That all happened within the first week back.  It took time to adjust but I finally got there.  I didn't have any time adjusting in Japan.  I don't know why that happened but it did.  Oh well.

Emotionally, I really had a hard time getting back into the swing of things. It took a few weeks.  I don't know why reverse culture shock hit me so hard for as long as it did, I was not in Japan for that long.  When I got back, I had exactly one week until school started at ASU and the day before going back to school, I felt that the reverse culture shock was under control, but as soon as I got on the light rail, things didn't feel the same.  As the day went on, things kept getting worse.  I felt farther and farther away from home.  Things that I never realized about my cultures was starting to show and it was upsetting me.  I would keep comparing Japan to home and feeling that Japan was much better than home and would cry because I wasn't back in Japan.  I would dread going anywhere.  I didn't want to go anywhere in which I would encounter Americans even thought I knew that would be impossible.  It took about 3 weeks or so before things got better.  Things are alright now in case you were wondering.  I still think that there are things severely wrong with American culture and can't wait to get back to Japan but it's not something that bothers me anymore.  It's just something that I have to accept is American and just live with it.  Although, there was 2 things I could not wait to do when I came back.  They were: 1. lick food off my fingers, and 2. eat/drink while walking.  I missed that soooo much!  :D  Now I can do those things again!

The plus points of having gone to Japan:

1. Motivation to do better than my best in all my classes went thru the roof.

2. I spend 4-5 hours a day doing nothing but focus on Japanese. (I want Japanese to be my second language)

3. I plan more for the future (mostly with saving money)

4. Japanese listening comprehension skills doubled.

5. I have greater respect for people of other cultures.

As a side note of information, I learned that everything the TV tells us about diets and foods are completely wrong.  I think the only thing they have gotten right is to not eat so much fast food.  And 80% myths about Japan are wrong.  One of them being that the cost of living is much more expensive.  This is false.  While to live in the equivalent comforts in Japan as we do in the US is extremely expensive, the average expenses of a person are no different than the average person here.

Sorry this took so long to post.  There were some personal things to work through and with studying Japanese so much, any time taken away from that makes feel a bit on the guilty side.