The Five Stages of Culture Shock: Critical Incidents around the World

By Paul Pedersen | Go to book overview

INSIGHT:

The female American student's behavior communicating friendliness by her casual manner and smiles was interpreted as an invitation for sex by the Japanese businessman. The Japanese and the American were both following the rules as they understood them, but the result was a serious misunderstanding.

Getting Picked Up. I was sitting on a curb on a main thoroughfare in Kobe, Japan, around 9:00 p.m. on a weekday night. I was dressed in ripped jeans, a black silk blouse, and boots. As I was waiting for my friends to come out of a restaurant I was approached by two Japanese men. Both men were wearing business suits and carrying briefcases. They looked at me as they walked by. They walked about five yards and then turned around and again walked towards me. Once they were standing directly in front of me one of them began speaking in a rather soft tone. I tried to explain that I spoke no Japanese, both verbally and using sign language.

Then the men began talking among themselves. About a minute later the first man pulled out his wallet and showed me his cash. He motioned that I go with them and tried to place cash in my hand. At this point I was furious and horribly embarrassed. I immediately stood up and firmly and loudly said, "No!" As I turned to walk away the other man grabbed my arm and began to laugh. I jerked my arm away and ran into the restaurant where my friends were waiting. I could hear both men laughing as I left.

The men must have thought it was appropriate to offer me money in exchange for "company." There were other Asian girls sitting on the same curb, yet none of them were approached.

INSIGHT:

The student could choose to dress and act as she pleased but she then faced the consequences of being propositioned by the Japanese men who interpreted her dress incorrectly. The student's clothing and manner communicated the wrong message to the Japanese men who no doubt felt confused, uncomfortable and perhaps humiliated as well.


CONCLUSION

The second stage of culture shock highlights the disintegration process when persons going through culture shock tend to blame themselves for everything that is going wrong around them. This stage represents the first real encounter and interaction with an unfamiliar culture after emerging from the protecting encapsulation of stage one. As the students felt the impact of being in strange and unfamiliar cultures during the voyage, their first reaction was often to blame themselves for the misunderstanding and confusion they were feeling. The students who were most sensitive and most fearful of becoming "ugly

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The Five Stages of Culture Shock: Critical Incidents around the World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1 - Experiencing Culture Shock 1
  • Conclusion 11
  • 2 - Critical Incidents Around the World 14
  • 3 - The Honeymoon Stage 26
  • Introduction 26
  • Conclusion 77
  • 4 - The Disintegration Stage 79
  • Introduction 79
  • Conclusion 132
  • 5 - The Reintegration Stage 134
  • Introduction 134
  • Conclusion 199
  • 6 - The Autonomy Stage 201
  • Introduction 201
  • Conclusion 243
  • 7 - The Interdependence Stage 245
  • Introduction 245
  • Conclusion 263
  • References 271
  • Index 277
  • About the Author 283
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