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The Minor Annoyances – 30 April 2013

I really am a man ever on a wub-finding mission.

I was walking with a friend to a shop near I-House tonight and, as usual with the people I live with, we fell to talking. He had had a tough week, but the most bothersome thing that was troubling him weren’t the big things, but the tiny things. Things like dropping off some paperwork at the office at school, being told that the person in charge of such matters wasn’t there, being asked to return, and, upon returning, finding that the person in charge of such matters still wasn’t there and the people who were present refused to take the damn paperwork for him anyway.

Tiny, tiny things. Tiny things that, in America, would just be handled in the most efficient way possible, if for no other reason.

That’s when it hit me. I had never realized that culture shock isn’t just limited to things like being cast out in the desert with the bedouins to look after you. It can arise from tiny things, like coming across an SUV with spinners on it, or spotting old ladies in the subway wearing honest-to-god kimono as they go about their business. Minor annoyances can be considered culture shock – are culture shock – and it wasn’t until today that I realized that.

When I first got here I sincerely expected to be crippled by technological advancements and girls in tiny, tiny skirts, and a myriad of other things besides. Instead the things that have gotten to me more than anything else are the drunks that roam the streets of Sakae, and the filth that will accumulate even at six AM on a Wednesday morning. Or the relative ease with which one can become a drunk roaming the filthy streets of Sakae at 6 AM on a Wednesday morning. Or almost getting run over at the same intersection a week apart. They’re all wubs. They’re all learning experiences.

And it’s the minor annoyances that are the most important.

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