CESAR asked in TravelAsia PacificJapan · 1 month ago

Reducing Culture shock for planned trip to Japan?

As the question says how can I reduce my inevitable culture shock impact when I visit Japan. I'm an American so I've already seen some Japanese culture in different parts of where I live in San Francisco.

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  • 1 month ago
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    You don't really experience culture shock on a short term trip. Culture shock happens when people stay at least 3 months in a new place. As a tourist, you can just watch, enjoy, or shake your head over what goes on locally. 

    The biggest difficulty you're likely to experience in Japan is that most people don't speak English. They know English- they've studied it for at least 6 years in school. But the schools demand perfection, so the people are terrified of making a mistake. This won't be a problem in the big tourist hotels, but it will be if you get out of those tourist spots. In restaurants, you'll find that there are usually pictures on the menu of the dishes- you can point to the pictures. It helps to familiarize yourself with the typical Japanese dishes- there's not much variation. Some restaurants have plastic replicas of the food in the window to entice diners. I have, in a pinch, motioned for the server to come outside with me so I could point at what I wanted in the window. Get a subway map marked in English. Take that with you to the subway stations- you can match the stations you want to go to with the JApanese labels on the big map on the wall, and know what price ticket to buy. Don't panic about this- I was with an 11 year old in Tokyo, and she's the one who navigated us around the city. 

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