I have only been home a handful of times over the last 14 years because i have been living in Japan. So much has changed over those years that I feel I actually felt some kind of culture shock the last few times I visited. I had heard people getting culture shock after returning to their country but I actually believed that couldn’t be true until now. So here are the observations I made while in Australia.
1 We really do say mate virtually after every sentence.
My friends always told me this in Japan but I never used to think we said it this much. Everybody just says it I’m sure they don’t realise how much they say it, ask for something in the shops and their reply would be that will be 10$ mate. “Have a nice day mate”, “enjoy your stay mate,” even at immigration or customs the officers were using the word mate “please open your bag mate”, “could you empty your pockets mate”
After a few days I started singing a song IN Australia there was a mate, here a mate, there a mate everywhere a mate,mate. This was sung to the tune of Old MacDonald. Sorry I work as a kindergarten teacher so I might be around kids just a little too much.
2 We have all truly gained weight.
Women I’m sorry are big from any age, of course there are still a few slim women ,but the bigger girl far out weighs the slimmer one mate. Men on the other hand seem to play a lot of sport and you don’t notice them as large until the age of 35. When they aren’t as active on the sports scene, their drinking their beers and yes that famous beer gut of ours does appear then mate.
As I type this I look down at myself I’m not as active either, and yes I do love a drink there does appear to be a bulge in my stomach. OOh no soon I’m going to have a beer gut just like Homer Simpson and I have the receding hair too, life does not look good for me, DOH.
3 Supersize Me
Morgan Spurlock brought us the brilliant Supersize Me documentary, which I believe everybody in marketing a consumer product must have watched they took the idea of taking an ordinary size product, well it was 14 years ago to making it twice as big.
Come on mate every thing is just huge in Australia from a meal to a drink to even toothpaste everything is just gigantic. Morgan Spurlock probably tripled in size after eating all those MacDonald burgers so twice as big is probably not too bad.
4 Everybodies in a hurry
Having lived in Asia the past 14 years and having really enjoyed some great meals and some great company. I was looking forward to eating at some good restaurants in Australia. Some meals in Asia, I have spent 2 or 3 hours chatting over the meal but not here as I watched couples and groups of friends devour their food in about 15 minutes, not talking, just shovelling the fork into their mouths, not knowing if they are really enjoying their meal or not and when finished they simply get up and leave.
Is this how we enjoy our meals now or have they simply had enough of the waiters asking every 2 minutes if we need anything else or are we finished yet mate , even though there is still food on the table and the place is half empty. I’m now thinking to myself ………..and all i can come up with is Gee MATE
I thought I would hire a car, when I was in Australia. I don’t have one in Japan so I hadn’t driven in 14 years and i didn’t really want my mum to be driving me around everywhere i wanted to go.
I asked mum how much a litre of petrol was now in Australia and I think she recalled it was over $1.50 a litre. My mouth just opened wide and no the word mate didn’t come out of my mouth, it was more like #$#&$&$% .I guess you mates will get the meaning of that. It was only about 85 cents when I lived here.
Every time I got in the car, went a couple of kilometres down the road I started thinking about what was coming out of the exhaust pipe and no it wasn’t about the gasses coming out and polluting the air. All I could think of was there goes another $1.50 out of the exhaust.
6 You can be a tourist in your own country
I quickly found out that you can be a tourist in your own country. I visited a wildlife sanctuary while in Australia. The main reason we went was so my Japanese wife and son could see Australian wildlife but here I was with my camera clicking away taking a hundred shots of kangaroos, yes bloody kangaroos mate.
It’s not that I haven’t seen a kangaroo before. I can’t count on two hands how many kangaroos I’ve seen oh wait a minute I can’t even count on my fingers and toes how many kangaroos I’ve seen ,then why did I take so many photos, that I still can not answer.
It didn’t stop there ,when it came to koalas I was doing the same thing admittedly I had not seen as many in the wild as I had seen kangaroos but still I have seen my fair share. It even got worst I was asking all these stupid questions to the zoo keeper about koalas. Well DUUUH it wasn’t as if I hadn’t learnt anything about these animals in primary school . What the hell was i doing.
7 Yes we truly do exaggerate
Here I was going to Port Douglas. A town in Northern Australia, home to the great crocodile. I was visiting my parents in southern Australia before going up north and all I heard from my parents, her friends, even people I didn’t know, that you better be careful of those crocs don’t go near any water, don’t even go swimming at the beach. Well why would I go to Port douglas if I didn’t want to go for a swim.
Well let me make it clear to you mates, we do have crocs in Northern Australia and I did go searching for them on a river cruise, where we happened to see two dozing on the river bank but I can assure you all that the chances of you being eaten by a crocodile is virtually 0% but now I’ve told you that if you do go there you will probably be eaten mate. I always seem to give people bad luck.
8 A day that may really be bigger than Christmas
You may think that there is no bigger day in the world than Christmas, in some countries maybe New Years day would go close, but let me tell you there is no bigger day in Australia than Boxing Day ( December 26th)
On this day it just happens to be the opening day of a cricket test match. My family and I sit all day on the sofa watching it while drinking a few beers, (there goes that beer gut), the next door neighbour is watching the game,even that looser at the end of the street is doing the same thing, but their not the only ones there is around 100,000 people at the Melbourne Cricket ground doing the same thing watching Australia play a team in a game that lasts 5 days and may still not have a result at the end.
9 Australia is really not that hot in the summer anymore
I was coming out of winter in Japan to the dreadful Australian Summer where it is known to have temperatures of 40 or more. I get off the plane in the small Merimbula airport and walk across the tarmac in my shorts and beach sandals and what do you think is the very first thing I say to my parents after 4 years of not seeing them, it’s not hello, it’s not I love you or I miss you. The first words I say is that it’s bloody cold mate.
What is wrong with this summer. My parents tell me its the usual thing in Merimbula never hot, never cold just perfect. It’s a little coastal town that gets this strong cool breeze in the afternoon where the temperature never seems to get over 25 degrees. I’m thinking what in the hell is this town doing on the coast I have come to this town to swim mate. By the way most of Australia really is around 40 degrees this tIme of year.
Have you had any culture shock or noticed any differences in your country after returning back to your country? We would love to hear all about it.
This post is not to be taken too seriously, just a bit of fun.