Friday, May 15, 2009

Introduction Latin America 101B: Mexico

May 2003 - Aug. 2004
Aug.2005 - Dec. 2005
Guadalajara, Jalisco, and Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico

Contd. from the previous article

003. Experiential Studies

One of the things I learned in Mexico is balancing out punctuality. This means similar to be appropriate, moderate, and/or easy.

Stereo typical of Latin culture may go easy on punctuality, and Mexicanos with Latin vibes too. In Japan, you gotta be on time, normally showing up to an appointment at least 10 minutes before. This was how we were taught on punctuality. However, Things are different in Mexico.

For example, a party suppose to start by 7pm. It would be appropriate to arrive there 1-2 hours pass 7pm. Why? If you arrive by 7pm sharp, they are gonna be embarrassed. I have done this. And I was advised, "oye, japones, suabe suabe". it was like, "yo, Japanese, easy easy".

I was also teaching Japanese classes, I remember that all the students come in a classroom and sit down after the bell rang. Once they were in a classroom, they were all focused tho.

It was like that even with adult professionals too. When I participated this seminar in D.F., all the participants sat down a while after the planned time.

Appointment with a dentist, I had a station like that too. It was 2pm, so I showed up by 2pm. The dentist wasn't there. His secretary told me that he was gonna be back soon, and I was conducted to sit on a couch to wait for him, just a bit. Ok, I opened a magazine and waited for him. A while passed, I finished the magazine. He finally came back with a coffee in his hand. I thought it came my turn finally. Yet he was like "Hi, Nochi. Ok, so let me finish this patient. And your turn will soon come. Sit down the couch and relax"... I was like "what? what the hell is the patient before me?"

For about first 6 months in Mexico, I couldn't understand this at all. Instead, I was frustrated, "Why? You lazy Mexicanos". At one point, my frustration reached a peak and I got mental hysteric. So, I asked for a guidance to this US born lady whos been in Mexico for over 25 years. She simply explained me that is just how it is in Mexico. Hmm, did I understand? I had to, right? Then I thought of myself, "is it just me having a tiny heart?" "Didn't I just trying to convey only what I want? without knowing any local rhythm?" "Am I subconsciously disrespecting locals?" So, I looked for an answer inside me.

Then my perspective got broaden, I thought. I came to be thinking like "ok, so... that's why we Japanese are said to be stressed out by tiny little things easily and tend to be luck of emotional expression?"

If so, my personal issue is part of that local issues. And if you look at this from outside, this little local issue could be called culture. And if that is culture, it is a cultural issue. Therefore, if you think of what to gain for the future of Japanese culture, acceptance gotta be one of the things we need to get used to for real.
"I'm in Mexico, go with the flow."

What do you think?

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