when deer attack

23 05 2008

I’ve reached a point of stagnation with my cultural adaptation.  I think it’s mostly a language thing, but I basically spent the last four hours in a car on the way to eat with the other junior high school teachers, sitting quietly and zoning out to different things that we drove past.  Maybe it’s just one of those nights where nothing makes sense, but I didn’t understand any of what was said except a few sentences here and there.

In the past Japanese people I was at parties with would make a special effort to ensure that I felt included, and while I still get the occasional question about life in America (which I usually don’t understand and thus can’t answer), it’s more likely that they just assume that my Japanese has somehow gone from piecemeal to fluency overnight, are taken aback when I don’t understand something, and then give up.

Someone pointed out that it’s actually a skill in itself, speaking to foreign people in your own language too.  I try not to change my English too much in the classroom, but in day-to-day conversations, I certainly do.  I’m also almost positive that the Japanese people that I understand the easiest, speak to me differently than they do to their friends.

Anyway, this recent feeling of exclusion topped with the other events of the night—ditching taiko to go with the junior high teachers, being in a car that hits a deer on the way to restaurant and the two-hour aftermath thereof, finally getting to the restaurant and being stared at by people at another table—hasn’t left me in the best of moods.

I’m sure this’ll pass, just like every other funk I get into.  It’s just a pain in the ass that as the capstone of an otherwise great week, I once again feel like the black sheep.  Well, I am, but that’s beside the point.

Did other people who have spent time abroad in equally homogenous cultures (do they exist?) find themselves feeling this way?  Like tired of always being the odd one out?  Or have any other points of view on the matter?  Do share.

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One response

24 07 2008
Lori

Felt like that at Penn all the time – talk about homogenous! I’m sure you’re picking up a little bit of what I’m putting down, eh? Keep on keepin’ on, but remember to come back to America! I’m liking these shorter blog posts, they are easier for me to read.

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