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The original 59 Ways to Tell if You’re a Gaijin, not a Gaikokujin list received a number of comments, including insightful observations and some great contributions from readers:

  1. You start stereotyping foreigners as other Japanese do. (Credit: Teltel)
  2. You fall asleep in the train and always wake up just before the station you have to get off. (Credit: Thorsten)
  3. When Japanese riding the trains no longer avoid sitting next to you. (Credit: CCJapan)
  4. When you go back to your home country and are shocked that the staff working minimum wage jobs are so rude and have no sense of pride in what they are do. (Credit: CCJapan)
  5. When you used to be annoyed when school kids yelled “Hallo, how aw you?” but now you answer back and test them to see how far they can take the conversation. (Credit: CCJapan)
  6. When you feel the first drops of rain and worry about whether or not you have clothes hanging outside. (Credit: CCJapan)
  7. When you instantly know if you are eating quality rice or not.
 (Credit: CCJapan)
  8. When you realize that no one is actually buying those ¥10,000 melons and eating them. (Credit: CCJapan)
  9. You know when to leave your house with an umbrella and when not to (figured out the tenkiyoho). (Credit: Mirai)

Readers also pointed out that not all gaijin speak English, are from the U.S., or live in big cities like Tokyo, which led to some new lists of Ways to Tell if You’re a Gaijin.

Six Ways to tell if you’re an American Gaijin

  1. You insist upon speaking English to all Caucasian gaijin even if they only speak French, German, Spanish, Russian, or Tunisian.
  2. You’ve walked up to a black person and said, “hey, what’s up, bro?” in your best hip-hop accent and were shocked when they replied in a proper British accent.
  3. You’ve made a really big deal out of giving your seat to Obaasan or Ojiisan on the train/subway.
  4. You insist American baseball is superior to Japanese yakyu.
  5. You have no clue that Japan has the 4th largest defense budget in the world, most of it paying for U.S. military bases in Japan.
  6. You like to believe there’s a secret conspiracy of Japanese politicians, bureaucrats, corporate executives, bar girls, UFOs, and Freemasons out to get you personally.

Three Ways to tell if you’re an Australian Gaijin

  1. You teach nihonjin friends useful phrases like, “how about another slab of bee-yah, mate?” at 4 a.m. in the morning.
  2. You wish there was a place to get a decent meat pie at 4:30 a.m. in the morning.
  3. You always wish you had brought more Barocca tablets with you at 5:00 a.m. in the morning.

Five Ways to tell if you’re a Furyo Gaijin

  1. You speak Japanese fluently but have pretended you can’t when the NHK guy comes around … for the past 15 years.
  2. You speak Japanese fluently but pretend you can’t when the police stop you for speeding … and it’s videotaped. (see:
  3. You carry a pocketknife with a blade that is exactly 2.51 cm in length.
  4. You secretly read those salaryman porno manga and like it.
  5. You’ve deliberately thrown out moeru gomi on moenai gomi day because you know the neighborhood obasan are afraid of you.

Four Ways to tell if you’re an Inaka Gaijin

  1. You can only speak Japanese in a regional dialect that big city gaijin don’t understand.
  2. You regularly enjoy foods that would freak out most big city gaijin.
  3. You’ve never been to Roppongi but you know where to find the local equivalent.
  4. You still get a kick out of the school kids running around you saying, “Hello! Hello!”

Four Ways to tell if you’re a Japanese Gaijin

  1. You’re Japanese but many times you feel more comfortable speaking English with non-Japanese friends.
  2. You have advanced degrees from the best universities outside of Japan but you are still shy about mentioning it lest others think you’re boasting.
  3. The McDonald Japan “Mr. James” character reminds you of at least one of your gaijin friends.
  4. You realize that these lists of gaijin stereotypes are actually Japanese stereotypes seen from a gaijin perspective … and they make you laugh.

Four Ways to tell if you’re a Non-Japanese Asian or Asian-American Gaijin

  1. Gaijin insist upon speaking to you in Japanese even after you’ve explained you were born somewhere else.
  2. Nihonjin insist upon speaking to you in Japanese, especially when you’re with a crowd of non-Asian gaijin.
  3. Gaijin always compliment you on your flawless English, which is slightly irritating since it’s your native tongue.
  4. You’re Asian-American but pretend to be a “Japanese who speaks English very fluently” when meeting Americans at the American Club just because it’s easier than explaining.

Twelve Ways to tell if you’re a Hypocritical Gaijin

  1. You refer to yourself as gaijin but you’re offended when Japanese use anything but gaikokujin.
  2. You insist that your home country’s democracy is superior to that in Japan but you haven’t voted in your country’s elections for years.
  3. You think the McDonalds “Mr. James” character perpetuates stereotypes but you’ve gotten paid to be the gaijin priest at Japanese weddings.
  4. You’re sensitive to any hint of discrimination against gaijin but start conversations with gaijin friends with “why do the Japanese …”
  5. You continually whine about how bad your life in Japan is but you keep living in Japan year after year.
  6. You expect to get paid more than Japanese people for the same work and twice as much if the work involves a gaijin language.
  7. You make a big fuss about Japanese stereotypes of gaijin but you do a fabulous impersonation of your Japanese boss.
  8. You secretly look down on other gaijin who are not from your country/culture.
  9. You’ve got a secret stash of Japanese porn on your PC.
  10. You’re on a fully loaded ex-pat package and look down on Japanese-speaking gaijin who work at Japanese companies for a living.
  11. You loudly proclaim Japanese TV sucks but that’s only because you’ve forgotten how bad TV back home can be.
  12. You’ve cheated on your Japan taxes and your home country taxes.

Ten Ways to tell if you’re Ijiwaru Gaijin

  1. When Japanese people knock on your door bearing religious treatises, you try to convert them.
  2. You’ve inserted an “Engrish” phrase into a document just because you knew no one would notice.
  3. You’ve secretly taken photographs of male pattern baldness on the subway or train.
  4. You’ve eaten three times your norm at the all-you-can-eat buffet just because you can.
  5. You’ve farted silently on a crowded train but made faces like the salaryman next to you did it.
  6. You’ve gotten into the o-furo without washing first.
  7. You’ve sprayed water all over the toilet by hitting the wrong button on the Washlet but pretended like you didn’t do it.
  8. You’ve pushed the button that makes the flushing sound in public toilets twice as many times as necessary just to be funny.
  9. You’ve taken photographs in places where the signs clearly say, “No Photography” because you knew the security ojisan wasn’t going to do anything.
  10. You delight in reading/writing obscure kanji that your Japanese friends can’t.

Two Ways to tell if you’re a Male Gaijin

  1. You’ve been molested by a chikan on a crowded train/subway but no one will believe you.
  2. You believe Japanese condoms are too small for your gaijin maleness but they’re not.

# # #


  1. Funny list. Very insightful. As an American, I have to mention that the American Gaijin list does not apply AT ALL. However, I am guilty of quite a few points on the Hypocritical Gaijin list.
    We’re all fragile egos, lead more by our emotions than our logic. As long as we continue to learn from our experiences and gain perspective while abroad, we are all entitled to occasional acts of stupidity.

  2. Thank you for your comments and thoughts!

  3. while reading the “Hypocritical Gaijin” I was thinking in…

    I like the ijiwaru one… haahah

  4. If I had known you were gonna include my two-cents on here I had a bunch of better ones (or better version: you keep an “okigasa” at work). But nevermind that, this is your list and I must say you sure know your stuff. But I guess that’s why you blog. Keep up the good work Invisible Gaijin!

  5. “You’ve taken photographs in places where the signs clearly say, “No Photography” because you knew the security ojisan wasn’t going to do anything.”

    I’m such an ijiwaru gaijin.

  6. “You believe Japanese condoms are too small for your gaijin maleness but they’re not.”

    Ha!! Great list 🙂

  7. Lists like these will hopefully make me a good gaijin when I visit Japan 🙂

  8. Every time I read this list I laugh…enduring humor is the best!

  9. And thanks for the blogroll add (-; I’m verklempt

  10. “You believe Japanese condoms are too small for your gaijin maleness but they’re not.”

    Sooooooooooo true! Hahaha.

  11. You use an umbrella for snow.

    You’re annoyed by bad manners on trains.

    You can identity all the songs for the Yamanote stations.

    You take cell-phone pics at the University faculty party.

    I will think of more.

  12. I like the Okamoto Mega Big Boy “Elephant” packaging! Very creative!

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