Pieces of Advice
Hello again, dear guests and readers! Tabita here!
How are you dealing with the heat? Today I went to that shop on the second floor of that nice shopping mall near Takatsuki JR station. Before I saw a girl eating a light blue ice cream and I wanted to try it too. In the end it was “soda” flavoured, like Ramune, but not carbonated… quite tasty…
Today I witnessed a rare and very interesting encounter at Wa. One guest was preparing to study abroad somewhere in Missouri (United States), and other one got their college degree there. So a part of the session was about concerns one might have when going to study abroad, trouble you might encounter due to cultural shock, who to get information from regarding people and daily student life, and so on. Since I’ve never been to the United States it was very interesting to hear these topics and compare them with the situations that I could often see in my country.
Some concerns that may arise when you think about studying abroad are related to, for example, life in a dorm. When you live in a dorm, you have to share facilities, and sometimes your sleeping room, with people you haven’t seen before. What if your customs and habits are radically different to theirs? When you go to live in other country for whatever reason, you are mentally prepared for encountering a different system of principles and values, but it’s not until you experience daily life there that you can feel the extent in which these differences affect you.
Manager Yoko gave us an example of a quite common situation that is difficult to deal with: You went to buy your food supplies, namely milk, fruit and eggs, and you stored them in the fridge you have to share with your roomies. The logic thing would be that no one touches them because they didn’t pay for them, but you get there the next morning and your missing some eggs and half your milk carton. What to do? Some people would piss off for sure, like normal territorial beings. Specially because we are students and money is kind of scarce so it’s not like we are willing to give our stuff for free. But some other people have a different way of thinking. They might take your stuff, but they also might be equally willing to share their supplies with you without you having to ask for it every single time. So you can either take the individualist approach and fight the offenders or buy a little fridge on your own (here second hand goods will be of great help), or a communitarian approach and propose that you and your roomies buy groceries with a common fund, or designate what will each person buy, so one of them will buy the milk every time, some other the eggs, and a third one the fruits.
When this or any other problem arises, the first thing you have to make sure of is that you express your concerns frankly and without hesitation. There is no need to get into a fight (well, sometimes there might be, hehe), but in this cases it’s better to make your points of view known. There is the stereotype that people in Japan won’t speak honestly when they disagree with you, and sometimes some bad person might want to take advantage of that point, so always speak frankly and don’t beat around the bush. People in Western countries value their own individuality as well as others’. We can work in teams, but the special features of each member are important for the team to achieve their goals, so we show our special features and remark the features of others. Of course, in each and every country you will find these bitter people trying to bring you down, but when you’re sure about yourself, it is less of a problem.
Ok, I’ve been going on for a little longer that usual, so I’ll stop here for now.
Words of the day:
1. Encounter: Noun, refers to an unexpected meeting.
2. Culture shock: That unpleasant feeling you experience when you go abroad and bump into customs too different to yours and don’t really know how to react.
3. Roomie: A shorter, informal way to say “roommate”.
That’s it for today, see you next time!