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‘Thought I’d Die in Japan’ – 8 Cases of Reverse Culture Shock Discussed by Taiwanese Living in Japan

When a foreigner has lived in Japan for a long time, they may become closely accustomed to Japanese culture, customs and lifestyles. And when they return to their home country, it seems that often they find themselves experiencing a “reverse culture shock” – that is, they are unaccustomed to elements of their country of birth.

This time, our Taiwanese writer interviewed Taiwanese residents in Japan and gathered eight examples of “reverse culture shocks” that they felt when they returned to Taiwan. It’s a fascinating way to feel the difference between the customs of Japan and Taiwan! (The following is the personal opinion of interviewees.)

1. Do not eat or drink on the subway! But calling is okay!

“Once you enter the ticket gate on the Taipei subway, you can’t eat or drink at all. This isn’t about manners, but rather it’s stipulated by law. Eating and drinking is fine on trains in Japan; though it can be frowned upon it’s not illegal. There’s no penalty, and it’s okay if you just drink water. You can’t even do that in the Taipei subway. Nevertheless, in Taipei telephone calls are OK; it’s not easy to get used to the fact that it’s always noisy in the car – completely opposite of Japan.” (Female, 30s, office worker, 12 years living in Japan)

Japanese trains tend to be quite quiet, except occasionally during some rush hours. In contrast, the Taipei subway is lively? Perhaps you shouldn’t eat and drink to keep things clean, but it’s a bit hard to avoid drinking even just water over long distances.

2. The train is 20 minutes late!

“When I returned to Taiwan a few years ago, I was annoyed that the trains on the Taiwan Railways (local trains other than the subway and Shinkansen) were 20 or 30 minutes late. In Japan, meanwhile, as long as there is no accident or personal injury or natural disaster, the train will basically come on time – and when it doesn’t, they will tell you the cause. Taiwan’s local lines are usually delayed and it seems that they often don’t mention any reason for the delays. I wish it would improve…” (Female in her 20s, freelance, living in Japan for 7 years)

This isn’t often the case with the Shinkansen or Taipei subway, but the local lines certainly have the image of being late. In contrast to Japan’s impeccably punctual trains, this most certainly would come as a shock to many!

3. Bus drivers will not wait!

“For safety, Japanese buses arrive at the bus stop and then ask passengers to get up after the bus stops; in Taiwan it…

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