Going Native: a short story

Recently, I got a comment from a gentleman named “TimeTales” who mentioned he is turning 70 years old and would soon retire from blogging. I enjoy his posts about reminiscing over his time in the Korean War, so I wanted to make sure his blog gets some recognition, and to wish him well on his post-blogging activities. 🙂

This is a post where he quotes from an autobiography about another American soldier in the Korean War. The interesting theme in that post is “going native”.

I think many have had this experience. Not just Westerners, but people all over the world who encounter other cultures.

When I was a college student, studying in Vietnam, I went through the same sense of fear for the first-half, but by the second half, I started to “go native” a little. I knew to carry water with me always in a bottle (faucet water always made my stomach sick), wore lighter clothes, knew how to politely refuse street beggars without drawing more attention, etc. By the time I left, it felt a little weird coming back to the US and seeing the overabundance.

When I met my wife, I “went native” even more so. I learned to see things her way, and start eating and behaving a little more Japanese. Of course, I don’t look Japanese (everyone on the trains in Japan would agree…. they keep staring at me 😉 ) but I had learned a little about the mannerisms, as opposed to someone who was a tourist seeing Tokyo for the first time. Even when I am in the US, I tend to bow a lot without thinking about it. Even when there are no Japanese or Asian people around.

But anyway, it’s interesting to imagine all the young GI veterans who fought in WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraqi War and the War in Afghanistan, and how some of them had similar experience of “going native”. I wonder what their experiences are like.

If you are a veteran, I’d love to hear from you.

Anyhow, if you’re reading this, visit Timetales’s blog and say hi. 🙂



Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s