When Culture Shock ATTACKS


It’s Monday, and I’m back at my middle school.

This morning when I came in, all of the kids were outside practicing for the upcoming sports day.  Which may or may not be this weekend along with the cultural festival.  I need to ask kyoutou-sensei.

Regardless, we have the school cultural festival this weekend, and everyone is going crazy trying to get ready for it.  Me?  Well, I honestly have no idea what to do besides sit here whenever I’m not in class.  Mostly I’m trying to stay out of the way because everyone seems to know what to do, and I don’t know how or if I can help.  Maybe on Saturday, they’ll be like “Laura, can you do this?” and I’ll be like “I’m on it.”

All of this reminds me of being at Gatton and all of the activities we used to do.  It was tough my first year because I had no idea what I was doing, but after five years I was pretty confident in how to plan and execute an activity.  So I’m thinking if I am here next year, I’ll know what to do ahead of time and maybe can ask what I can help with.

I’m feeling more shy at the middle school than at my elementary schools.  Today, especially, I just feel drained.  We had the YETI (Yamanashi English Teachers International) welcome BBQ on Saturday, and that was really fun.  It was good seeing my other fellow incoming JETs and meeting other people, too.  I met some people I had only talked to online before, so that was cool.  Afterwards, we all had a big karaoke party in Kofu and sang terrible songs.  It was a lot of fun.

But then, me and Karla (fellow Hokuto-ite) tried to leave early and missed our train so we had to wait for the last train.  I didn’t get home until about 12:45am.  Yesterday, I stayed at home and chilled.  I ended up napping for three hours which threw off my sleep schedule, so last night I stayed up later and didn’t sleep as well.

Culture Shock is slowly attacking me.  But it’s also not much different from the usual “I’ve been working a whole month, holy crap, when does it end???” adjustment I always have to make at the beginning of every school year.

It’s little things, too.  Just like I’ll randomly miss going shopping at Kroger or sitting on my couch at home.  Or even just the convenience of having everything in English.  There are times I just don’t want to Nihongo.  Or rather, times I want to understand everything so I don’t miss anything.

But none of this means I’m ready to turn tail and run.  It’s been challenging sometimes, but I am having fun.  I miss my friends and family a lot, but I’m thankful we have Facebook and Skype and all of the lovely social media to keep us in touch.

I think, even though I’m experiencing some culture shock, it’s been slow and steady and mixed with the general stuff of getting used to a new year and a new routine.  I’m sure it’ll get better in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, I’m already booking my flight home for winter break.  Yes, I’m already thinking about it because right now flights are super cheap so I need to get on that ASAP.  I’m pretty sure our school is open even on Christmas, but I am definitely taking vacation days if I can.

About half an hour until my ONLY class of the day.  Yes, I have ONE class today because of cultural festival practice.  Oh, well, them’s the breaks.


One thought on “When Culture Shock ATTACKS

  1. becominggaijin

    Yeah my only school is junior high and our bunkasai is tomorrow, so I’ve really just been sitting at my desk all week in between classes and either planning activities, studying, or messing around on my computer like right now lol. I would love to help, but you’re right, everyone’s busy and settled into what they’re doing, so I don’t want to ruin the flow by asking to help out. All day today is bunkasai rehearsal’s/prep, so I’m just chillin in the staff room and letting everyone do their thing. Maybe later I’ll venture out. But people have kinda randomly been coming up to me inviting me to events tomorrow and I’m judging some kinda singing contest for the 2nd years tomorrow lol. I think when you come in the middle of all this stuff, it’s difficult to get involved. I think next year will be a better bet for sure!

    I’ve been getting the slight homesickness, too, mostly just missing my family. Jealous that you’re going home for Christmas… I want to, but I also know if I go home this year, I’m totally not gonna wanna come back because I’ll wanna stay with my family lol!


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