On our winter holiday Dan and I experienced, briefly, reverse culture shock.
We have become accustomed to life in Japan, with its immaculate streets, low crime rate, quiet people, and peaceful public transport. In contrast, Paris was loud, smelly, dirty, and full of wild glorious life! A few days in and I was loving it, feeling like an anonymous anybody on the metro and like any other tourist in the cafes.
At first, however, I was intimidated. We arrived at 1 am and the streets were loud, people were drunk, and it freaked me out! Suddenly I wanted my bag closer to my body and wished I could be on a silent Japanese bus. I was worried our hotel room wasn’t secure and I was convinced we would be mugged…and that, was reverse culture shock! We had been warned about it, but I really didn’t expect to experience it so vividly.
A few days later and I was loving life in Paris. I loved that I was nobody, that I could walk down the road without children shouting ‘HELLO’ at me and old people turning to gawp. I enjoyed riding on the metro listening to my music and glaring moodily around. I laughed at the Eiffel Tower when everybody forgot to look and admire the building because they were so busy taking photos (Dan and fam included!) I felt at home again living in a big city and got carried away by the life you experience when living in such a vibrant place.
Dan and I discovered breweries, new ales, cheese shops, cafes, a bars like never before. We joined in with afternoon beers and standing breakfasts. On New Years Eve we got drunk until 3 am and tried to gatecrash an elaborate party (very unsuccessfully). Busy city life suits us (just not our wallet!) So, reverse culture shock doesn’t last for long, but was very real on our arrival back in Europe. We quickly slipped back into life in Shimonoseki on our return, but now we have that nagging feeling, having been reminded just how fun travel and city living really can be…so on my first day back at work I spent most of my day planning our next (set) of holidays! Kagoshima…Fukuoka (again and again)…Taiwan…Kyushu road trip…and Hokkaido here we come (and that only takes us to June 2018).