Have you ever felt out of place within your own culture? As time passes, it happens to me more and more often. Last night, I attended an event with coworkers. The noise volume took me by slight surprise when I first arrived. How can people be this loud? I thought. And then I remembered almost before I finished asking the question: They’re americans (from the USA).
But I’m american from the US, too. Wouldn’t I be used to this, then?
I quickly compared it to a drinking party at an izakaya (like a bar) with nomihodai (all-you-can-drink) in Japan. Yes, the Japanese can get quite loud there. It was never to the point of wanting to cover my ears, though, I hear myself thinking. So, I am very much accustomed to a much quieter environment for parties, then. I’m not just being a bit dramatic and overly sensitive to normal behavior and a normal situation.
Even still… I felt so oddly out of place, I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with myself. I ended up semi-hiding in the coatroom (it wasn’t a closet, but an actual room, I promise) to take a breather from all the people and the noise from time to time. I also took extra-long any time I went to the bathroom, because it was cozy and quiet in there on my own. Yes, I could have just gone home. However, I rarely spend time even around people who aren’t high schoolers right now, so I felt it was somewhat necessary – even if just for social practice – to spend time around adults, especially happy ones in a good, safe environment.
I definitely adjusted after a bit, but I still felt quite out of place for most of the event. I guess I’m just not so USA american anymore… which doesn’t surprise me, really. It’s just odd, not belonging in a place everyone calls my “home”.