Culture Shock

What kind of culture shock do you guys have?

Please listen to my culture shock story…

About 30 years ago (scary!), when I was a freshman in high school, my family and I moved from Osaka, Japan to Hawaii, USA.

It was my first day of school.

Of course, I could speak English, this is a pen!

Anyway, being completely unable to speak English, I was the only one in the classroom taking a test to prove how little English I could speak.

And then!!!!

Suddenly, jiggly jiggly! A sound that shook the whole school!

What! An emergency bell?

What do you mean?

Fire? Earthquake?

The ground is not shaking, so the fire started in the lunchroom! Fire!

Panicking, I looked outside, and lo and behold! The students are running outside like mad, trying to escape!

I knew it was a fire! I have to get out too!

But wait! How do you say “fire” in English?

Fire” is fire, but what’s the “thing” in “fire”? Thing”?

Fire” is “Fire Thing”? called?

Oh, ・・・・. What will happen to me if I can’t communicate in English, don’t understand, and am sent running away?

With that thought in mind, what haunts my brain is tomorrow’s newspaper article.

‘Poor foreign student, sent away because she didn’t understand English, found burned to death in a cloud of smoke”…….

Oh no!

I was desperate.

People can do all kinds of unexpected things when their lives are at stake! Like Degawa, I can manage even if I don’t speak English!

Anyway, I gestured to the teacher something like, “I’m afraid for my life and I’m going outside,” and ran outside. I had a handkerchief (it was my first day, so I had a handkerchief, nose paper, with me…) I covered my mouth with a ・・・・ and bent down to avoid breathing the smoke. (There was no smoke, though.)

Among the students running around, I found a girl who spoke Japanese! I grabbed her by the chest and asked her, almost in tears. (I guess she must have been scared when I grabbed her by the chest…)

Me: “What are you going to do?” What should I do next? Where should I run to?

The kid: “What?

Me: “Where is the fire coming from?

The kid: “What? Fire? (scowling)

Me: “Yes! Now the emergency bell is ringing and everyone is running away, but I don’t know where to run. I don’t speak English and I don’t know what to do. ・・・・ Please help me…”

The girl: “What? Oh, is that this sound, this ‘jiggery-jiggery’ sound? That’s the bell to let you know that class is over. Now it’s recess time…”







Ahhh ・・・・ I want to go home already…. I thought so with all my heart.

One culture shock a day is enough.


May the Lord bless you all today!


Setsu Shimizu (JCFN North America Director)

She grew up in Osaka, Japan in a pastor’s family. She believed in God from an early age, but lived an inactive life of faith until college, when she moved with her family to Hawaii at age 15 and has lived in the U.S. ever since. Involved in international student ministry since high school, rededicated at the Urbana ’90 Mission Conference, and led to JCFN, which she became involved with while attending Fuller Seminary, where she has been serving as a staff worker since 1994. Her very supportive husband, Mao (a former international student who became a Christian in Denver), has been serving in the Japanese Language Department at Wintersburg Japanese Church since May 2022, and they are enjoying their ministry together.

Event Info Useful for Returnees June, 2022

Event Info Useful for Returnees

June, 2022

◎JCFN Japan online lunch hour “V.Ochalunch” (Japan, online)
every Thursday 12:00~13:00
online chat meeting with lunch or coffee.
facebook group link
Zoom link

◎Returnee cafe (Japan, online)
Wednesday, June 1st, 19:00〜20:30 ( * 2nd Wednesday for May meeting) (Zoom)
facebook group link
Instagram link
Contact: If you would like to join, contact via facebook or
*We are reading the JCFN “Returnee Workbook 2017” together. Everyone is welcome, regardless of region, country, or age. We look forward to your participation.

◎ACMI Virtual Conference (North America, English, online)
Friday, June 3rd 〜 Sunday, June 5th, 8:30am〜6pm
Visit homepage for details.
Fee: $109 and up
Final registration is by June 3rd.

Saturday, June 4th, 5〜8 pm
Location: Rise OC Church 3198-B Airport Loop Dr., Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Youth gathering of the Japanese Christian Church Federation of Southern California
Instagram link
Junior high and high school students come together! Fun games, worship from the heart together, a message from the Bible, and a yummy meal await!

◎JCFN Japan online prayer meeting “V.OCHAHOP” (Japan, online)
Saturday, June 11th, 10:00〜11:00
Time to pray for returnees, returnee ministries, and each other.
facebook event link
Zoom link

◎Inspa prayer meeting (Japan, online)
Sunday, June 12th, 20:00~20:30 (30 minutes only) (Every 2nd Sunday evening) (Zoom)
facebook group link
Instagram link
Contact: facebook or
Everyone is welcome, regardless of region, country, or age. We look forward to your participation.

◎Global Japanese Prayer Network (Zoom)
Wednesday, June 15th 17:00- (PDT)(日本16日午前9時)
ONE VOICE Global Prayer Network is Zoom network and platform for Japanese Christians to connect for World missions. Setsu will share the testimony and JCFN ministry this month.
Homepage (Registration required)

◎Chushikoku prayer meeting (Japan, online)
Saturday, June 26th, 19:00~21:00

◎Mentorship Conference (Atlanta)
Friday, June 24th – Saturday, 25th, 2022
Mentorship conference sponsored by Second Level Ministry. Main speaker is Pastor Iwao Sato from Louisville, KY.
Registration required by June 15th.
Fee: $85

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