Anticipating Reverse Culture Shock

When you move to another country, you most likely go through a period called culture shock. It’s characterised by a feeling of paranoia, depression, and an intense homesickness. You don’t want to go out, you don’t want to talk to anyone, and you think everyone is talking about you. I went through it. It only lasted a few days, but it was an unpleasant time.

That was when I came to Japan. Now that I’ve been here for more than ten years, I don’t get that feeling at all. Japan is home, and I feel comfortable here. Part of me doesn’t want to leave. I know I’ll be back many times on vacation. If I could make a good career at writing, it’s possible we could stay the entire summer in Japan. But that remains to be seen.

Going to Canada, I’m going to be experiencing another bout of culture shock, or rather reverse culture shock. In a way, Canada is now the foreign culture to me. I’m so used to being around Japanese people, using Japanese public transportation, and going shopping where everyone is Japanese. I can imagine what will surprise me in Canada.

What I will be happy to see in Canada

  • Food! Of course, this is a big one. Specifically, bacon (crispy in Canada), variety of cheese, Chinese food, Panago, Arby’s, Harvey’s, etc.
  • Family. I can’t wait to introduce my daughter and wife to everyone.
  • Driving. I drive in Japan, but the narrow streets can be a challenge. Also, so many people stop on the side of the road blocking an entire lane of traffic. And everyone backs into parking spaces.
  • Hockey. I really want to watch some Oilers games.
  • Skating. Surprisingly, I’ve gone skating more in Japan than I have since high school in Canada. But it’ll be nice to have a free option in Canada.
  • Free health care and education.
  • The scenery. Can’t wait to see the Rockies.

What I need to adjust to in Canada

  • The Japanese food. It’s so good in Japan. I’m used to the real thing. Sushi will be somewhat less appealing. There’s a lack of gyudon, the ramen isn’t the same, and several other things. The bright spot is Tomo Izakaya. Must eat there!
  • Winter. Snow. Having lived in a place that doesn’t get a proper winter, I’m not used to the frigid temperatures that Canada gets.
  • Transportation. It’s so fast and convenient in Japan. The train system is amazing. I wish Edmonton had that.
  • History. Edmonton is a new city, so it doesn’t have the kind of historical sites that Japan has. I live in an area that is so full of history, I can explore here for my entire life and not see everything. I can probably see everything in Edmonton in a week.
  • The scenery. Flat.  It’s all flat. In Japan, I have a nice view of the mountains, including Mt. Fuji.
  • Lack of ocean. I love living near the ocean. Edmonton doesn’t have that at all.
  • Customer service. It’s amazing in Japan. They always welcome the customer, and are polite without fail. In Canada, it’s hit and miss.
  • Cell phones. The cell phone plans in Canada are ridiculously expensive. I like my unlimited calling, unlimited data plan here in Japan with no roaming charges. I can go anywhere in Japan and pay exactly the same thing.
  • Convenience stores. They’re convenient in Japan. Not convenient in Canada. You have to drive to get to one!
  • Work. I think this may be the most difficult thing. I’ve been doing the same job for more than ten years. I have to change. This will not be easy.

Anyone go through reverse culture shock? Let me know how you fared.

The Immigration Process Moves Forward

As you may know, my family is moving to Canada next year, and I’ve applied to sponsor my wife for permanent residency under the family class visa. Nearly two months ago, we received the notification that the application package had been received in Mississauga. Today, we received another email.

Good news! I have qualified to sponsor my wife for the visa! That was the quick part of the process.  Now, the visa application goes to Manila, where they will process the visa. This can take several months, or it may not take so long. It’s up to the officer handling her case.

So, that is my update. It’s just a waiting game now.