Reverse Culture Shock
During the Christmas and New Year vacation I (1) a trip back to England for two weeks. Not only did I really enjoy my trip, but I also learnt a lot of interesting things about English culture. Since I've come back to Japan I've had the opportunity to consider my trip, and the culturally interesting things about England have become clearer in my mind.
When people go to foreign countries they sometimes experience "culture shock." In other words, they feel (2) and surprised by the foreign country's culture. When this happens the traveler really notices the difference between their culture and the culture of the country that they are in. An interesting (3) is "reverse culture shock." This is when you feel surprised by your own country because you have spent some time in a different culture! When I first arrived back in Britain I experienced a mild form of reverse culture shock. In this newsletter I'm going to talk about some of the things that surprised me.
The first thing that surprised me was the standard of service in English shops and restaurants. In Japan we are used to being treated very (4) when we shop. We tend to be welcomed into shops, thanked for buying things and sent on our way out of the shop with a (5) goodbye. I know that everyone gets treated the same way, but I still enjoy feeling like I'm a special customer. After arriving in Britain my family and I stopped in a motorway service station for something to eat. I was very surprised to find that the staff was neither friendly nor (5). A short time after we ordered we were told that we couldn't have some of the dishes we wanted as they had (6) some ingredients. The staff didn't apologize or even seem to care. Even when we paid they (7) said thank you. I was extremely surprised, as I had forgotten how common this kind of service is throughout Britain. However, a short time later, we went into a supermarket. After we had just paid, the cashier smiled towards my mother and warmly (8) her a good Christmas and New Year. I felt sure that my mother and the lady were close friends, but I was surprised to hear that they had never met before! I have since (9) that British service can be really good or really bad, in comparison with Japanese service.
In addition, I noticed how British food (10) from that found in Japan. Before I went back to Britain I was really looking forward to eating English food. As everyone knows, it isn't the tastiest food in the world, as evidenced by there being a complete lack of English restaurants outside of England, but I still missed it. During my two-¬week-stay I ate as much of the local food as I could, but in the end it all seemed to taste exactly the same. Finally, I can understand the (11) remarks that foreigners make about British cuisine.
Perhaps the most interesting shock that I had was when I noticed the changes that have happened to me over the last few years. On my trip to Britain, 1 realized that I was prepared to noisily (12) and loudly talk with people about fairly private matters. My sister has never been worried about doing this, but I had always kept my voice down. So I was a little surprised when, while we were in a pub arguing about an unimportant political point, that the pub had got quiet and that some people were listening to us! In Japan if I'm talking with a native English speaker I've got into the (13) of not speaking quietly as few people understand what we are saying. Perhaps this is what has led to my change of (14).
The above are just a small selection of things that I found out during my trip. It seems very ironic that we sometimes learn more about something by being away from it than from being near it.
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Question 1: What differences in service do you notice between Japan and the country you came back from?
Question 2: What differences in manners do you notice between Japanese people and the people in the country you came back from?
Question3: What is “polite” or “proper” in one culture isn’t necessarily “polite” or “proper” in another. Give some examples and write your opinion about those differences in your essay.