Thursday, September 03, 2009

Home coming

It used to be that when I go abroad and come back to Narita airport, I get into a mental zone of inverse cultural shock, finding the atmosphere of my home country somewhat strange, as if I am witnessing it through the eyes of a foreign visitor.

Nowadays, the transition is more smooth. But the metacognition runs deep.

Each culture has its own merits and limits. I seem to discern more accurately the scopes and borders of the context of my native culture, as I shuttle between Japan and abroad. It is not that the context of the English-based civilization, for example, is broader than that of Japanese-based civilization. It is just that they are different.

Home coming has a bittersweet aftertaste. As I get into the rapid train connecting Narita airport and central Tokyo, recollections of the London atmosphere rapidly disappears, and I am left to adapt to the familiar cultural contexts of my mother country, in which I sometimes feel like a stranger.

But then I would feel like a stranger in any single cultural context, mother or foreign.


kirai said...

I'm from Spain but I've been living 5 years in Japan and I have the same feeling as you have when I come back to Japan. BUT I don't have that feeling when I'm in Spain and I travel for example to Paris or London and come back to Spain... There is something VERY DIFFERENT about Japan, I can't never explain it in words to my friends what I feel when I'm back to Narita, when I ride the Narita Express... sometimes I end up explaining that when I'm back to Japan I can feel the WA 和 :)

mamie-t said...

Hi, Mr. Mogi. I'm just stopping by to say "Hello".

Since I go back and forth between Japan and US where I study, I have the same feeling as you have. When I'm in the US, I feel like I'm stranger even after 4 years of staying. I think that is just because I recognize my self as Japanese and I do not turn to US culture.

Even though, I also feel weird when I go back to Japan. I can sense that all the things I used to know before leaving have been change in such a short time and I feel I'm a stranger. The way people talk, react, and wear clothes seem really different from what I see in the US.

And I start wondering where I belong. So strange...

By the way, I really love the book you wrote on "How the brain falls in love in 0.1 sec" and one on "The brain that puts makeup".

thomas said...

can i be suspicious towards what i ll read? just to be scure i understand.