Saturday, August 11, 2007

You know you've lived in a foreign country to long when...

《insert guess here》

Nope! You're wrong! haha

I had a “cultural moment" yesterday. I was planning for a retreat with a girl who has only been in Japan less than one year. Well we are all aware that I tend to talk with my hands. We also know that different gestures mean different things in different cultures. So it stands to reason that offensive gestures could be made by mistake. Normally not a big problem. Right?

Well we know I'm not a big fan of following the crowd. So what do I do in situations like this? I of course do the opposite of what any normal person would do. Instead of using an innocent American gesture that causes offense to a Japanese person, I used an innocent Japanese gesture that causes offense in America. Ha! I didn't even realize it either until the other girl pointed it out to me. I've become so used to things like this that I copy them naturally now. I now use many Japanese mannerisms instead of American ones. For instance: I now point to my nose when referring to myself rather than pointing to my chest. It's funny the things you pick up without ever noticing it.

So you may be wondering, what exactly was my mistake?

So in Japan the middle finger has no special significance. You often see people casually pointing to things with their middle fingers. So by now you must have figured it out. Yes. I, in my cultural confusion, flipped off my fellow American!

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