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Tag Archives: nihonjin

  1. You call yourself gaijin because you know it pisses off the newbie gaikokujin.
  2. You bow repeatedly when talking on the phone.
  3. You offer your business card before shaking hands with a visitor from overseas.
  4. You prefer Japanese Big Macs to American Big Macs.
  5. You can sing enka perfectly but Japanese colleagues still ask you to sing “Country Road” at karaoke.
  6. You freak out folks back home when you take off your shoes at the door.
  7. You automatically duck your head when exiting the subway.
  8. You ignore other gaijin, especially the tourists who make eye contact and smile.
  9. You have pretended you don’t speak English at least three times.
  10. You fold the paper wrapper for the chopsticks to make a neat little stand.
  11. You put chopsticks back into the paper wrapper AND rewrap the rubber band around the bento box when you’re done.
  12. You keep expecting restaurants back home to give you a nice hot towel at the beginning of every meal.
  13. You watch Sho-ten, Chibi-Maruko, then Sazae-san on TV every Sunday.
  14. You no longer wonder why Americans have such large asses.
  15. You still wonder why Japanese don’t have any asses.
  16. You recycle plastic bottles, meat trays, cardboard, and milk cartons.
  17. You have run outside and bought a yaki-imo during the winter.
  18. You find the McDonalds Mr. James stereotype to be mildly amusing and not worth getting upset over.
  19. You can name at least 23 Japanese prefectures.
  20. You have climbed Mt. Fuji more than once.
  21. You sympathize with gaijin tarento on TV even if you find their gei unfunny.
  22. You have impressed Japanese friends with a senryu, kotowaza, or yojijukugo once too many times.
  23. You frequent at least three izakaya where everybody knows your name.
  24. You avoid the American Club like the plague.
  25. You know everybody’s name at Tokyo 2.0 and CGM Night.
  26. You can tell jokes in Japanese that actually make Japanese people laugh.
  27. You can read/write kanji your Japanese friends can’t.
  28. You save the plastic bags from the supermarket to use as trash bags.
  29. You shake your head when you see people put out moenai gomi on moeru gomi day.
  30. You actually like natto, shirako, sazae-no-tsuboyaki, kusaya, or shiokara.
  31. You have a favorite brand of Japanese sake, shochu, or beer.
  32. You avoid Roppongi because they are too many gaijin.
  33. You have been inside one of those “oppai momi-momi” places in Roppongi.
  34. You think self-proclaimed otaku you meet online are just silly.
  35. You have carried a mikoshi at a local matsuri or danced at obon.
  36. You have published at least three photos of “Engrish” signs on your blog.
  37. You have a sake story, just as you have a tequila story.
  38. You have carried a co-worker onbu-style after a company party at least three times.
  39. You know which vending machines have the best prices.
  40. You are friends with all the obasan in the neighborhood and they always compliment your nihongo.
  41. You go to the gym and stoically pretend not to notice Japanese staring at your private parts.
  42. You bathe twice as much here than you used to back home.
  43. You prefer Japanese junk food to the stuff you can get back home.
  44. You go back home on vacation but wonder why things don’t work like they do in Japan.
  45. You know the back-story of Hachiko in Shibuya.
  46. You never miss the last train no matter how drunk you get.
  47. Japanese people are shocked to discover you’re gaijin when they meet you for the first time in person.
  48. You can do a passable regional dialect.
  49. You can name at least 17 Sumo waza.
  50. You can explain the difference between Kanto and Kansai styles of unagi.
  51. You have been to Nikko and can say kekko.
  52. You cry watching Japanese dramas on TV but never admit it to gaijin friends.
  53. You have at least three books on Japan/Japanese culture that you bought but never read.
  54. You have been inside the gates of the Imperial Palace on the Emperor’s birthday or oshogatsu.
  55. You don’t bother commenting on stupid blog entries about weird Japan.
  56. You know the difference between okonomi-yaki and monja-yaki.
  57. You no longer try to explain why you choose to live in Japan to friends back home.
  58. You think Tamori is funnier than Sanma.
  59. You think, “I should have written that,” when reading a weird Japan story in the New York Times

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Bigots and Baguettes. You’ll find both in Tokyo.

Bigots come in all colors.

Gaijin who are convinced the Japanese are little children who need tough love from their colonial masters. Ah, the white man’s burden.

Nihonjin who are equally convinced Gaijin are teenagers with guns who must be placated lest they go postal on everyone, disrupting the “wa” of society. Leave that to the unemployed, under-employed, otaku-outsiders, or any other Nihonjin who dares to be different.

News media who inflame the racist in all of us. Gaijin-baiting remains an avocation of certain media – and the Gaijin fall for it every time.

Politicians who think they can score easy points with the “we the Japanese” riff – until nihongo-speaking Gaijin tip off the New York Times. Ah, gomensai.

Advertising that hammers the consumer with messages like “Gaijin use this product, it must be good!” 新登場 indeed.

And, of course, there are baguettes. Ah, les baguettes!

There are more French bakeries per square kilometer in Tokyo than in Paris. Some of the best baguettes in the world are baked here.

You can even get Baguettes in Bigot Bags!

I love this place.

img_02362

Bigots and Baguettes. You’ll find both in Tokyo.

Bigots come in all colors.

Gaijin who are convinced the Japanese are little children who need tough love from their colonial masters. Ah, the white man’s burden.

Nihonjin who are equally convinced Gaijin are teenagers with guns who must be placated lest they go postal on everyone, disrupting the “wa” of society. Leave that to the unemployed, under-employed, otaku-outsiders, or any other Nihonjin who dares to be different.

News media who inflame the racist in all of us. Gaijin-baiting remains an avocation of certain media – and the Gaijin fall for it every time.

Politicians who think they can score easy points with the “we the Japanese” riff – until nihongo-speaking Gaijin tip off the New York Times. Ah, gomensai.

Advertising that hammers the consumer with messages like “Gaijin use this product, it must be good!” 新登場 indeed.

And, of course, there are baguettes. Ah, les baguettes!

There are more French bakeries per square kilometer in Tokyo than in Paris. Some of the best baguettes in the world are baked here.

You can even get Baguettes in Bigot Bags!

I love this place.

InvisibleGaijin has been a Salaryman, both the work-yourself-to-death-by-quietly-taking-shit-every-day Japanese kind and the fully-loaded-ex-pat-who-hangs-out-at-the-American-Club-talking-shit-about-Japanese kind.

For my generation, being a loyal, dedicated, hard-working Salaryman was a good thing. Wearing a non-descript-so-you-don’t-stand-out-too-much suit from Takashimaya, wedged into the Odakyu train every morning like soybeans into tofu, chain-smoking Seven Stars, drinking Kirin Lager, and slowly working one’s way up to Exalted-but-do-nothing-Bucho-ness — that was the life all good boys aspired to (or at least the life their kyoiku mama‘s programmed them for). 

Even as a third-generation Japanese-American born and raised on the streets of South Central Los Angeles, “having a good career” meant: go to good university, get degree, get white collar professional job, get married to approved-by-mom-nice girl, have 2.3 children (1.4 children in Japan), work ass off for 30 years, then enjoy retired life on a pension.

Even though I was once a I-make-way-too-much-money-thus-I-am-a-god kind of executive-asshole, I eventually realized there must be more in life than the endless pursuit of corporate profit. Especially when the other boys got bigger bonuses than me just because they liked kissing the board’s ass, exploiting the loyalty of local staff, and lying to Clients.

Oops, sorry, that should read: “being a team player, empowering staff, and creating value for Clients.”

In my early middle age, I reached the point where I said, “f**k that!” and pulled the pin, resigned my executive position, burned my suits, and tossed my briefcase into the gomibako.

The Salaryman in me died that day. Actually, I snuck up behind him in a dark alley, popped a cap in his head, and stood over the corpse, saying, “who’s your otou-san now?”

In the Death of a Salaryman began the Journey of the InvisibleGaijin.