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Weeaboos often get a bad rap for being out of touch with reality and over-idealising Japan. But what do ordinary Japanese people think of them?
What do ordinary Japanese people think of a viral video which depicts a situation wherein a Japanese person is unable to process foreigners’ fluent Japanese?
Here are five awkward, bittersweet moments that’ll make you realise you’ve finally become a seasoned expat…
A while back, we had some fun talking about five of the more noteworthy types of foreigners you’ll meet in Japan, based upon observations drawn from our time spent working and living here in the Land of the Rising Sun. Whether you’re a Plastic Sensei, Hateimus Japanicus, Secret Ninja, Bubble Dweller or Kid in a Candy Store (or indeed, all of these at different times), we reckon there’s probably quite a lot foreign residents can find to nod their heads at when considering each of those five extreme types.
But what about the flip side of the coin? Spend enough time as a foreigner in a country like Japan—a place that’s 98.5% ethnically Japanese—and you’ll be sure to notice that Japanese people will approach you, the foreigner, in a number of different ways. Today we’d like to share our thoughts on six kinds of Japanese people foreigners might meet during their time in Japan. See how many of them you’ve come across during your time traveling or living in the country!
Japan attracts all kinds of people from all over the world. Some come to work, others come to play, and thanks to its relatively low crime levels, high standard of living and abundance of delicious food, Japan is a very easy place to call home for a while. Plus, isn’t Japan where all those anime, video games and ninjas come from? It’s got to be worth a visit!
But today, instead of talking about the myriad things Japan has to offer visitors, we’re going to have a bit of fun by taking a closer look at some of the visitors themselves. You might not encounter each of these five types of people if you’re staying in Japan for just a couple of weeks, but if you’re here for work or an extended sojourn, then you’re bound to meet at least a couple of them along the way…
As a foreigner in Japan, have you ever experienced a slightly awkward yet somehow humorous interaction with a Japanese person? Perhaps you were curious to know more about some aspect of Japanese culture and asked someone a rather random question, or conversely, a Japanese person was curious to know something about your culture and came to you for all the answers. Or maybe you were just out on the street and happened to witness an amusing exchange between some natives and the local gaijin.
Last year, we brought you 10 such tales of comical intercultural interactions, and today we’d like to introduce seven more fun, quirky, and interesting anecdotes as shared by Japanese Twitter users about their exchanges with foreigners. Have you ever been in a similar situation to one of these yourself?
I come before you today, readers of RocketNews24, with a confession. What I am about to tell you may shock you, but it’s eating away at me and I need to get it off my chest. You see, yesterday afternoon on my way to lunch, I did a fellow foreigner–a fellow gaijin, if you will–a tremendous injustice. It was not my intent to do so, but at the very moment this gentlemen, this benevolent stranger, put himself out there and sought to make a minor connection with another foreigner, I turned away.
That’s right, gentle reader, I accidentally ignored a Gaijin Nod.
Allow me to explain.
With all the controversy surrounding a recent “racist” All Nippon Airlines ad, the Japanese and Western media have both been abuzz with the question of whether foreign people can ever truly become respected Japanese citizens – accepted by their community and deemed worthy of the right to not be the recipient of extraordinary treatment.
But this conversation has been going on a long, long time in the expat community in Japan, with a lot of otherwise Japanophile foreigners finding it hard to befriend the Japanese on a higher-than-acquaintance level. Why? Well, frequent source of opinion and cultural commentary Madame Riri has compiled a few of the reasons:
Not a day goes by without Japanese school children hearing the terms globalization (グロバール化) or internationalization (国際化), and why it’s so important for their future careers. In fact, the whole country seems to be swept up in a fervor of these two words. But do Japanese people really understand the meanings of them, or are the terms just being used as catchphrases?
Enter Austin, an international student who has been living in Japan since 2012. Last week he posted a thought-provoking piece called “Some Thoughts – And Doubts – About Japan’s Internationalization” on Tofugu, a Japanese language and culture blog. The piece has circulated around the Internet, and was even picked up and summarized in Japanese by popular Japanese blogger Madame Riri. In it, Austin addresses how while Japan may be making efforts to globalize on the surface, it still lacks something on a deeper level that is preventing it from becoming truly internationalized. Join the debate after we take look at some of his thoughts below.
Earlier this week, website Netallica posted an interesting little article entitled “The Things That Foreigners in Japan Hate to Hear” for its predominantly Japanese readership. Naturally, classics like “wow, you’re so good at Japanese”, and “you’re very good with chopsticks” were flagged as the main offenders, which I’m sure many gaijin (a term I use intentionally and will come back to later) will no doubt empathise with and would be happy to hear a little less frequently, but overall there were few phrases that could not be reasonably perceived as stemming from either the speaker’s genuine desire to compliment the listener or simple naivety.
It’s difficult to broach this topic- especially as a cynical Brit who loves a good grumble- without it quickly turning into a cliché-ridden compendium of gripes about life in Japan as a foreigner or an ill-advised rant about how comments of this nature are, in fact, some kind of backhanded attempt to draw a line between foreigners and Japanese; and goodness knows there are plenty of those out there.
There are, nevertheless, a number of phrases that foreigners living in Japan have heard a thousand times and would definitely prefer Japanese people knew aren’t always received in the way that they are probably intended…