Jan 3, 2013

The gaijin stages

This post will be about the stages of moving to Japan and what you might feel when you get here. Of course everyone is different but in general most people tend to follow the same pattern of feelings.

Stage 1 : OMFG I AM IN JAPAN!!! (*゚Д゚*) [approximately lasts 2 weeks - 1 month]
- Fresh off the boat and in a paradise. You can't take your hands off your video camera. A constant facebook update every hour to your friends and family of all the new things you are seeing.

Stage 2 : Look at me now Bitches! [approximately lasts 1 - 2 months]
- Feel great because you can order something by yourself
- Only been here a short time but feel like you own the place
- Your friends back home in your home country start to get annoyed with the fact that all you ever talk about is Japan and how much cool stuff you are seeing.

State 3 :  Withdrawals [approximately lasts 1 - 5 months]
- I call this withdrawals because its almost like someone is coming off drugs. The feelings of excitement were away, you stop taking pictures of random things (trees, stop signs, cars, buildings). 

Stage 4 : The dark ages [approximately lasts 1 - 9 months]
- This is the time where you are putting lots of effort into understanding everyone around you, but still no one is able to understand you yet. You have not made any real friends, and perhaps you have even lost some friends because they thought you were too strange and too different to handle.

State 5 :  Acclimation [approximately takes 1 year or more to happen]
- You have started to get an understanding of the language
- you are able to go out on your own and perform normal everyday tasks with little struggle.
- You accept the cultural differences and understand them.
- You are making regular friends

Stage 6 : Home country sick [can happen at any time, coming and going]
- You have settled into your new life in Japan however you start to get cravings for foods, visits or something that is back in your birth countries. You start looking forward to trips back to see your friends and family.

Stage 7 : URUSEE!! [can happen anytime, can last forever]
- This is the stage where you start to realise the small things that bother you about Japan. Weather it is the annoying questions you get asked by the locals or one of the cultural differences you have not got accustomed to yet. You start to complain and get stressed out about it, you might even get defensive and start to build resentment of the people around you.

Stage 8 : I am a more Japanese like gaijin than you! [usually happens after stage 7]
- This is the stage where you start to feel so aware of the Japanese culture that you start to feel better than the other foreigners around you. You walk around and when you see someone else, you might judge them. You avoid hanging out with other gaijin because you don't want to be seen as one of them. You try to speak Japanese loudly so that those around you know you can speak Japanese.

Stage 9 : Regular resident [approximately takes 2 years or more to happen]
- You are just like a regular Japanese. You consider Japan your home and you understand the culture. You don't get excited when you see something new because you have seen it all before. You have stopped resenting gaijin and just see people as people, without any care in the world about them. You go about your daily activities as you would in your home country. You don't have to brag to the world that you live in Japan.

Feel free to add any of your own stages in the comments. :)