Monday, June 30, 2008

Reverse culture shock

So here i am back in Alice Springs. The centre of Australia. A desert town with only 27,000 people. Only one cinema, two supermarkets, K-mart and Target on its way. When i left Japan i knew that i would miss having everything so close to me. Let's face it, I was 40 mins from Tokyo and only a short bike ride from two huge shopping malls. So i thought that i would have some adjustment problems. But all i really miss is Krispy Kream (spelling) donuts and my bike.

There have been a few times since i got back that can be classed as reverse culture shock. I was driving home from a mate's place at 10pm on a saturday night and the town was deserted. It was amazing. I remember thinking that it was strange that there was no one around and realised that i had grown used to the busy life that is Japan, and especially Tokyo. As i thought about it i realised that when i take the last train home on a saturday night in Saitama or Tokyo, that some people are only just going home from work. And i thought to myself that this must be what they meant about reverse culture shock. It was quite a strange feeling.

Another example of my re-adjustment included arriving home on saturday the 7th of June and then going to work at Alice Springs High School on the Tuesday. I had a blast working there but the first day they put me in the Indigenious Transition Unit. Which is for Aboriginal students who aren't quite ready for mainstream. This could be because of literacy, numeracy, behaviour or emotional probs. Anyway, it is a high energy and very emotional space. All day I felt like i had been hit over the head. I was in shock and i think it must have shown on my face. It is a team teaching classroom so the other teachers kept asking if i was okay. It was crazy, the back chatting and the way that the kids treated me - lack of respect i mean. I couldnt get them to sit down and work and they just bounced off the walls. That said i think part of my shock was just that i had been in a Japanese senior high school for one year. Where students sit quietly and work. I may never know. But it was definately a baptism of fire. I enjoyed it but felt very drained at the end.

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