Iishukan means “a week” in Japanese. I’ve been home a week. And believe it or not, there has been culture shock. I’m not sure there should be this much that surprises me after three months away, but maybe “surprise” isn’t the right word. Things that I marveled about in Japan are the things I find backward here. The things I missed in Japan are things that I am happy to have back. And one or two things about me have changed forever.
Europeans used to tell me about how they loved customer service in the US, even if the Americans providing that service didn’t know where their country was. After three months in Japan, I think American customer service is horrible. Lines in stores are long and nobody rushes to help. People who work in stores look unkempt and speak in a way which would make Henry Higgins scream. Goods are cheaper. You get the service you pay for.
The Japanese are more aware of others. Nobody goes out unclean, insists on taking dogs everywhere, leaves a mess at the coffee bar, or yaps mindlessly on a cellphone for all the world to hear. They also drive better. Children tend to be disciplined and polite.