“So did you have culture shock?” this high school student asked me yesterday. Japanese people always makes the best out of their opportunities, whether it is to mingle with a foreigner, to know the outer world or to practice their english. I told her how i felt when i was brought into all this snow and how i got accustomed to it later. but that doesn’t fit as a culture shock, does it? I didn’t have much to tell her abt culture shock as one of the reasons i came to japan was the unique culture it posessed. Yet i forgot to tell her about the Reverse Culture Shock, which i saw defined in the handbook for international students of our university, and which i met with a few months before..


They’ve given the stages of Reverse Culture Shock like this:

  1. acceptance & integration: state where a student has established a routine and accepted the habits, customs, foods n characteristics of japan.
  2. return anxiety: where he realize how much his experiences have changed himself
  3. return honeymoon: excited immediately upon arrival in india. parties to welcome and renew friendships n family ties
  4. reentry shock: family n friends may not understand or appreciate what he has experienced, nor may they seem very interested. india n his hometown may’ve changed in his eyes.
  5. reintegration: realises +ve n -ve aspects of both countries and have a more balanced  perspective of their experiences.

Of these, reentry shock is the most treacherous. was prepared for it too, psychologically, as i was aware of it beforehand but still it felt awkward once in a while. it may seem weird but thatz how it is.

So it was in august that i went to india after 1 n 1/2 years. and things were fun..

sense of time. gathering @ kochi

me: i’ve been waiting here since 5:45 !!
he: what time did we fix to meet? 6:00, rt?
me: ya and do you know whatz the time now?
he: it is 6:30 yaar. we’re on time!
me: huh??!! 😮

dress sense. @ my friends home

he: dey, arent u changing this tshirt when you’re going out?
me: huh? mmm? means?
he: didnt u bring any shirt?
me: no, whatz the problem with this da?
he: ohh, never mind!

zebra crossing @ kottayam

me: mummy stop! itz red!!

mummy n me stops there
people cross the roads
cars n lorries n buses pass by

me: mummy itz green now! letz cross

cars n lorries n buses pass by
therez a policeman watching nearby

me: whattt???
mummy: hahaha. so letz wait for the red signal n cross!

aunty on phone, inviting to their new home

me: oh! i cant wait to see ur new home!
aunty: but remember, we dont have those hi-fi computerised toilets at our home. if you need, you’ve to bring one of your own. (unfortunately sometime back i had bragged to them that in japan the toilet seat warms when you sit, one can adjust the heat, water jet n blah blah..)
me: 😯

It was like this for some days for each n everything. Back in time i was expert in jumping into those crowded running buses and now i found my talents lost. I even felt it was awkward how i kept my foot in the bus. I twitched n twisted n turned so that i was satisfied how i stood in the bus. and then my shoes will be over someone’s feet!

So i dont have to say what happened to the green tea and the chopsticks i brought home!!

and oh god, i was saved cuz i was aware, never did i start stories saying “in japan..”. (other than the hi-fi-toilet incident. that was enough!! )

Anyways reintegration came soon to my rescue. Indian toilets found me or i found them who knows.. (or was it the spicy food 🙂 missing it now). Was allergic to japanese toilets when i came back after a month. Needed to go to the nearby spicy tajmahal restaurant to treat the allergy lol.

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