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  I'm looking for introductions to people involved in communities about homeschooling, middle school and high school social studies/history, and others who have some say in the curriculum for similarly aged students.  A few of you have suggested that my emails would be put to good use in those environments, and I'm looking for ways to make that happen.  If you can help, please do! -- Dan
Allergic To Paris
Each year, Paris welcomes 45 million visitors to the city.  Of those, roughly 1 million come from Japan.  And of those million visitors, each year, about twenty fall ill to an odd condition called "Paris Syndrome" -- effectively, an acute reaction to being in Paris.

Paris Syndrome is marked by a psychiatric breakdown suffered by the visitor, often including physiological side effects such as dizziness, an increased heart rate, and otherwise unexplained sweat.  Extreme cases come with increased anxiety, a sense of persecution, and even hallucinations.  Most of those affected are Japanese, but on occasion, a non-Japanese tourist will fall prey to the syndrome.

The cause?  Most likely, it's a mix of a few factors: jet lag from the long trip; elation (similar to Stendhal syndrome) from taking a once-in-a-lifetime vacation; the language barrier; and, most critically, culture shock.  As the BBC noted in its discussion of Paris Syndrome, "[m]any of the visitors come with a deeply romantic vision of Paris [but the] reality can come as a shock. An encounter with a rude taxi driver, or a Parisian waiter who shouts at customers who cannot speak fluent French, might be laughed off by those from other Western cultures. But for the Japanese - used to a more polite and helpful society in which voices are rarely raised in anger - the experience of their dream city turning into a nightmare can simply be too much."  And, also according to the BBC, the Japanese embassy there takes culture shock seriously, staffing a 24-hour hotline for citizens and expats who suffer culture shock while in La Ville-Lumière. 

But for some, a phone call provides no solace.  For them, there is only one cure for Paris Syndrome: leaving the city, never to return.

Bonus fact:  A couple second-best solutions for Paris Syndrome?  Try Paris, Texas, which has a faux Eiffel Tower replete with giant red cowboy hat or this 2,000 person village in China which, well, you'll have to see to believe it.

Related reading: "Eiffel's Tower: And the World's Fair Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a Count," a historical backdrop on the times and circumstances that lead to the Tower's creation and unveiling.  Four stars on Amazon (20 reviews), mixed but mostly positive.  Available on Kindle.

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