Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Culture Shock?

If you arrive to Japan at a US Military installation, the "culture shock" is not too bad.  Yes, you will see Japanese employees all over the base, many of them only speak a tiny bit of English, and everyone drives on the Left side of the road, but on-base the currency is still US Dollars, there are a few American fast-food restaurants to eat at, and you'll do just fine without knowing a word of Japanese.  For the most part you will be comfortable.  Within a couple days, you will have seen the base and be bored or homesick.  So, you have to get out!  Here is where the "culture shock" lies.

First bit of advice before arriving, learn to count to 10 (or better yet, 100+) and every word or symbol for your gender's restroom.  Women, you'll come into a room with a thing like this, and think you ended up in the wrong one...

Yes girls, you're supposed to SQUAT, facing the toilet paper.  They say it is much more sanitary than Western toilets because your rear doesn't touch the seat.  (Just don't slip or accidentally splash. ;)

As for the driving, stay to the left, "hiney to the liney," and don't really pay attention to what color the center line is, just make sure there's no one-way arrows.  Yes, they have yellow or white, dotted or straight lines as the center lines.  Sometimes they add extra lines just for fun. ;)  Here's a couple examples...

So, if you're planning on getting a driver's license in Japan, I recommend you start studying signs and rules early, WALK and pay close attention to the movement of traffic, then do a lot of riding in the passenger seat before you set out driving on your own.

Incase you are wondering, I DID pass my driver's license test... but have no car... yet. ;)


I've always thought blogs were a bit silly, or egocentric, people writing about themselves.  Now, here I am, adding to the drama of "ordinary" lives.  Then I realized, I keep getting asked for photos, fitness advice,  now even recipes, what better way to share them for free?  So here we are.  I will try my best to keep the drama short, and the photos coming.  As a personal trainer, I plan to include some fitness information, and healthy food ideas.  I know you all want to see Japan.  Therefore, I have added a search bar so you can easily "jump" to your favorite topics.  I hope you have fun. :)