You say Chigai, I say Chiga

Thought I would give this a try, having some issues. Writers block I should say with writing things down in a normal understandable format. Thought maybe talking it out would
be easier, so we will see how this goes. All I know is what is in my head. I guess that is probably the first lesson I have learned. After talking to others and people who have been here for a while you are reminded you really cant push your ideals on people. You cant expect there to be a common understanding from minimal effort or even a large one.

Its easy to superimpose our ideals and beliefs… our prideful projections on other’s actions and try to make sense of them. One thing about Japan is that it is beautiful prideful majestic and enigmatic, Gaijin like me struggle with the concepts and the reasons behind actions of the natives here. Try to force ourselves into their lives and build that bridge of understanding. Sometimes the bridge isn’t wanted, or needed… the materials to build just aren’t there.

I’m trying to develop my own objective opinion of Japan at the same time taking knowledge from others who have had a long term experience here. The problem is that everyone’s
experience is different. What I have gathered so far is that the further the measurable gap in communication and life experience between two cultures.. the more wear and tear it
can put on yourself and your personal life as you continually try to negate those differences.

I guess here its difficult because so many things in Japanese society revolve around expectations, so many things are the way they are for the average citizen … just because. That of course is a stereotypical view, and there are exceptions. The togetherness and unity could be looked on as one of Japan’s most definitive qualities.

Maybe these ideals that I think are better, that I view as progressive maybe aren’t as progressive as I originally thought they are. I think its human nature to wonder, but in this case maybe there is some solace in having expectations placed upon you. Knowing what you should be doing and feeling, more a part of the bigger collective.

Out of this Im very amazed that any of us get along at all. Cross culture communication works somehow on a basic level. To me it really is a sign of the times, we are all given
our basic luxuries and our primary concerns are communication and relationships. Or maybe small lessons have been learned from our pasts of fighting under the banner of
misunderstanding and self righteousness.

All of that being said I feel very fortunate to have this experience. It has opened my eyes to so many things that I would wake up and never think twice about. Being immersed in
a country in which your communication is limited, creates a frustrating situation. Daily interactions, common tasks, the simplest things can become monumental tiresome events. I
think I can understand how difficult the isolation from lack of expression could be. If I did not have my family and friends things would be a different story.

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5 thoughts on “You say Chigai, I say Chiga

  1. Chris & Amy , It sound like you are pointed in the right direction with your social skills with the japanese people.I think it will be a life time venture into a persons inner most being living in japan. I am in Minnesota at the present time visiting my mother and sisters for next week, and all is going well hear. I wish the best to you and amy & the girls. Ron

  2. I so enjoy your writing. I still think you need to write a book and you won’t even have to hire anyone to do illustrations because you can do that too. You have more talent in your little finger than I have in my whole body.

  3. It’s cool because each time I read your essay different things pop out at me. One day I’ll pick up on one idea and the next time I’m moved to a different level. Yes, I’ve read it several times. My brain processes things better that way. Diplomacy; love your phrase prideful projections. Would love to hear some experiences that showcase your ideas. Thanks for posting. Sherryl

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