Old Dec 1, 12, 7:57 pm
Original Member
Join Date: May 1998
Location: Tokyo, Japan (or Vienna whenever possible)
Posts: 5,541
Originally Posted by Taiwaned View Post
I'm not sure how to describe it but recently I feel really claustrophobic living in Japan.

Everything seems civil and orderly on the onset but discover so many unwritten procedures and non spoken yet readily accepted rules of conduct that I feel like I am in a very small closet, hand cuffed and smothered.

For example, our neighborhood is instituting clear garbage bags only and you must sign the outside of the garbage your name. This starts in January. This is on top of the wash your cans and jars before recycling and newspapers and advertising are supposed to be separated etc..... - SIGH -

Or went to purchase a simple wallet calendar. Saw the last one I wanted and picked it up, went to the cash register. Was informed, this is not the last one but need to go to a different area because where I was looking was only samples. The rest of the calendars were located on the other side of the store. Wouldn't have dreamed that the inventory was that far away.....

Went to 711 to pick up a snack. Told the cashier that I don't need a bag because I was going to eat it right away. She told me, please don't! This neighborhood doesn't like people eating and walking. Got home and my wife agreed with her and said "This is Japan, not Canada, not China."

I can't seem to do anything right (the Japanese way) and I am feeling really suffocated.
What jib said.

Garbage separation and not walking and eating are as common here as are tipping and Christmas vacation in the West. Some days it seems odd, some days we are indifferent, some days it seems intriguing and appealing. Trying to be Japanese is a phrase I often hear from expats, but it is as silly to expect to be someone else than it is to actually be someone else. Be yourself, accept that there are differences and that whether they are good or bad are merely value judgements, Equally valid from person to person, but nonetheless quite consciousness dominating at times. The pendulum swings become less and less as time goes by. Come to Tokyo and have a meal with me if you get too frustrated, I will be glad to talk you through it.
mjm is offline