I had my first real taste of culture shock the other night.
I went into town to buy a pair of baggy, knee-length shorts to exercise in because the spandex shorts I brought with me are too tight and too short for rural Japan.
I browsed the racks for about 15 minutes before I found a pair of shorts that were both regulation length and relatively stylish (“relative” being the operative word here).
I grabbed a small-sized pair to try on since all the women in this town keep telling me how “slim” I am. Seriously. They are obsessed with my weight. I hear “You are so slim!” at least three times a day.
They eye me up and down, smiling and nodding approvingly while I squirm with embarrassment. After about five minutes of this, one of them will finally say, “You. Have. Nice. Body!” It’s both flattering and creepy.
So I could be forgiven for assuming I would be able to fit into a small-sized pair of shorts. But when I tried the shorts on, I couldn’t get them up past my knees. They were so small I had to double-check to make sure I hadn’t grabbed a pair of child’s shorts by mistake.
The same thing happened when I tried on a medium pair. So I tried on a large pair. This time I was able to get the shorts up past my knees but not past my hips. So I tried on an extra-large pair. And the shorts still didn’t fit! They were stretched so tightly against my butt the seams were about to split.
All I could think was “My ass is XXL? Are you kidding me?”
Adding insult to injury, the store didn’t even carry XXL shorts. So I ended up buying a (large) pair of spandex yoga pants instead because, apparently, I can only fit into clothes that are made of stretchy material with an elastic waistband.
Like I said, it was my first real taste of culture shock.