Living in Japan part 2

Last we left off about me getting a job as a chiropractor. In Japan anyone can be a chiropractor because there is no licensing in Japan for that job. So please be careful if you live or are in Japan visiting and you need some work done on your neck or back. It can be very dangerous. I myself have a license from Seattle so I knew about it a lot more then the people I worked with. That is probably one of the reasons I got hired. But as I was saying in part 1 of living in Japan is that the language barrier was a huge issue and thought I couldn’t last long at this job.

My coworkers helped me out a lot when it came to talking with the customers. Even though my coworkers didn’t speak any English they had a way of communicating everything I needed when dealing with the customers. An example would be when an old lady came in and needed her back worked on. I would greet her best I could and then gesture for her to lay facing down. She would then start speaking about what she wanted for me to work on. I obviously didn’t understand but my coworkers would point to parts of their body to help me understand where I should massage her. This really helped me a lot and I started to learn the Japanese words for the parts of the body. I still had to listen very very carefully but eventually I started to have super simple conversations with them.

My first conversations in Japanese where mostly about where I am from and how do I like living in Matsuyama. Also about Japanese food and what I think of it. Most Japanese just don’t know about how other cultures are like so they ask so crazy questions. One old lady asked me if I eat white rice because she didn’t think foreigners eat it. I gave a little chuckle and told her that we do but not everyday. Other questions would range all over the place. Kids often asked me why my eyes are blue. I would laugh and tell them I drink lots of water. They would laugh as well and be on their merry way.

I have found that most people are very polite over all but sometimes too polite as well. When people first meet you they don’t know how to react because of the language barrier or it might also be because they have never talked to a foreigner. They will see you using chopsticks and go out of their way to say how great you are at them. Even if it is obvious you are not good at using them. This is called oseji (お世辞). Oseji is a term used when you are giving complement but don’t truly mean it. It is kind of like a white lie. it is mostly to save face and not look bad in front of a person you have just met. One of the many little things I found weird about Japan and at first kind of insulting. Now I think of it differently but I still not a fan of it. I am a very straight talker and say what I feel. That can be a bad thing sometimes but at least people know where I am coming from. Here in Japan I have had to train myself to act differently in certain situation. Everyday Japanese is not just speaking but also acting. That and more will be talked about in part 3 of Living in Japan. Hope you enjoyed this part and look forward to my next part.

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