Nao Hiro Rainy "Happy" Days

Nao Hiro Rainy "Happy" Days
Nao&Hiro Rainy days Wall paper available for download!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Don't be a stranger ------ Nao

So, I’ve been in the U.S. for some time now, and I've faced culture shock and stereotypes towards Japanese people. I just thought I would share some of my experiences here.

OK, so the first culture shock for me was that strangers here smile at each other!! In Japan, even the friendliest people never, NEVER smile at somebody passing by on the street, or in a store, or in a hallway. Yeah, I kind of freaked out at first. All these questions were going through my mind, “Do I know this person?” “Wait, is he trying to hit on me?” “Have I met her before?” “Should I respond? I don't wanna be rude, but…I don’t know HER!” and etc.

When I first came to the U.S. I couldn't really speak English, so I was really freaked out when a stranger tried to talk to me! hahaha. But I soon learned that this is how things work here. People say hi to each other even though they don't know each other. It was even more confusing for me when cashiers would talk to me while I was paying for my things in a store. All the cashers were very cool, but when they asked me “Hi, how's your day going?”, or “Hi, how are you today?”, I seriously wondered if I should start telling them what happened that day. Hahaha But again, I soon learned that they didn't really wanna know my story; they were just being friendly and avoiding any awkwardness during the process of checking products out.

In Japanese stores, the cashers do say “Irasshai mase”, which means welcome to our store, but they certainly will never ask you how your day is. They're very polite, but their politeness sometimes seems like it is methodical or regulated. Maybe that’s just me.

After I got used to American culture, I went back to Japan for a short trip. People looked at me funny when I smiled at people in a store, or on the street, and whenever I was out. Great, now I am freaking others out. Hahaha

I have lots more funny experiences and things to say about cultural differences, but I will babble about that some other time.

Keep smiling, everyone!