BACK IN TOKYO

Posted: February 22, 2013 in Japan
Tags: , ,

It’s almost a month since I came back to Tokyo. I thought I should write about my thoughts so far. Coming back to Tokyo this time has been different from the previous three times. I usually am quite excited the first few weeks and then everything becomes normal. But this time around I think I got some sort of a culture shock and weather shock too. The usual excitement was replaced by thoughts of whether I made the right decision about coming to Japan in the first place.

Coming straight into a Japanese winter from Chennai isn’t such a great idea. It was nice and warm at about 25 Deg Celsius when I left Chennai. December-January is definitely the best time to be in Chennai. It’s not really Winter, but you can say it’s the ‘Not So Hot’ time of the year. Every month other than that is just one season to me – ‘Summer’. But it’s quite literally freezing here in Tokyo now. Windy days are the worst. It even snowed a couple of times. It’s always beautiful to see snow. It’s not very often that I get to see snow as I’m from Chennai, so I enjoy the sight of snow a lot.

Balcony

Fuji san from my balcony

My company had sent a Japanese colleague to pick me and my friend who was also travelling to Japan with me from the Airport. We got to go from the Airport to my apartment in a car on the highway. Though that doesn’t sound that exciting, it is to me in Japan. The train lines are so convenient here that travelling by car is quite rare. I’ve only travelled by car like less than five times in all the time I’ve lived in Japan.

Going back to work in a Japanese office was also some sort of a challenge. It has taken me a couple of weeks to get used to things here. One of my friends said that it was culture shock and I’ll get used to it. It’s always fascinating to see that everyone in the office is working almost the entire time that they are there. I mean I don’t know if they are working, but they are definitely staring at their computers all the time and if they do talk to each other, it’s about work. Back in Chennai, the work environment is more relaxed. The thing is, whether it is Japan or India, the work to be done is the same for me, but I’d definitely prefer chatting with friends about all sorts of things while doing the job. In Chennai Friday evenings are super relaxed. There will be a few people leaving early because they are going to their native towns for the weekend. My company usually has a one hour event like thing in the evening on Fridays where they either play a documentary or someone gives a talk about some general topic (not related to work). Nothing of that sort in Japan. Friday evening 6 PM – everyone is still in the their seats working, 7 PM – still working.. by 7 30 I was ready to leave in a bit of shock actually. But really understanding and accepting that this is how work is going to be here helps a lot in getting over the culture shock.

This type of a work culture or ethic isn’t that bad actually. They take their work very seriously and it’s mostly a good thing. At the airport while I was waiting at the immigration counter, I was the last person in line. The person coordinating the line wrote the time on a slip of paper and gave it to me and asked me to give it to the person at the counter when I reach there. I think they were actually measuring how long it took for the last person in the line to get to the counter so that they can better manage the system and people don’t need to wait forever in lines. Now compare that with the Chennai Airport – last time I was there, there was no one really coordinating anything. There was a separate counter for foreigners and the other counters were for Indians but the sign-board that said ‘Foreign Passports’ was so small and almost hidden somewhere that there were some foreigners standing behind me in the line. It’s really up to us to use our instincts to figure out where to go.

Now that it’s been a couple of weeks and I’ve started hearing from friends back in Chennai about the summer already slowly creeping in, I think I’m starting to enjoy Tokyo more. I can’t wait for it to be spring so I can start going out a lot more.

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Comments
  1. I've noticed there's nothing about the Japanese women 🙂 C'mon Divine you're hiding something! Whats up ??

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hey Divine!Culture shock comes in waves. You never know when it's going to come back but being prepared for it can always help guide you through it. Just being aware that culture shock is an ongoing process and that it gets better after a little time will help a lot.Glad you're writing! Keep it up!No need to worry about the ladies right now. Take your time to adjust and to take time for yourself.Look for guidance in the areas you need, get spiritually food, and take care of your health (Got any swimming pools there?)Stay encouraged, bro! Your writing is great!All the best!edit: Used my old blogger account. Haven't made a new one. Still Ryan here!

  3. Divine says:

    For a moment, I was like – who is this random person asking me about swimming pools!! Thanks Ryan. Culture shock always takes me by surprise! I haven't still found any swimming pools close to my place. I think I'll go jogging from next month or something.

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