Quote Originally Posted by Pachipro
If we were fluent, they would treat us as they would any normal Japanese person and would reply, “すみません 外国人さま”(I’m sorry most honorable foreigner.)
I don't ask to be called gaikokujin-sama. I prefer noting at all than anything with "gaikokujin" that emphasize our being "soto" (from outside), and therefore not part of the group, eventhough we live and work in Japan, are married there, and know better Japan than most other countries in the world (including the USA in my case - which makes me all the more annoyed when I asked by Japanese people who know me "how things are in America").

Even the Japanese police would be required to first ask all gaijin riding their bicycles, in Japanese, "日本語 わかりますか?" (Do you understand Japanese?) and upon hearing our fluent Japanese, they would bow to us and wave us on our way without checking the registration number on our bicycle or asking for our gaijin card as, since we spoke fluent Japanese, we were to be treated as any normal Japanese and couldn’t possibly have stolen a bicycle or be in the country illegally.
Are you kidding ? They always ask me that. And half of the time if they bother asking more questions, they wonder how I speak so well Japanese and ask me if I have been in Japan for over 10 years (very unlikely at my age). That gives me all the more contempt toward them, as they think it takes over 10 years to learn their "difficult and unique language" and because they first decided to stop me and check my bike because I was a foreigner (and therefore a potential thief in their mind, as all foreigners are poor, which is why Japan only now ranks 17th in GDP/capita at PPP, behind almost all Western countries).

However, because we are gaijin and hate redundancy, the Japanese would be informed NEVER to welcome us again into their place of business should we exit and return within a few minutes or hours. Heck, why not ever say “welcome” to us ever again as they should already know us and they know how much foreigners dislike them acting like robots.
Watch out that "irasshaimase" doesn't mean "welcome" (which is "yokoso"), but more like "hello" in English.

I would prefer if they'd avoid saying "irasshaimase" twice the same day. It's normal to greet people everytime you see them, but not the same day. The Japanese know that very well, as they use "ohaiyo gozaimasu" with people they meet for the first time that day, even if it is in the evening. What's more, you can't expect shop attendants to remember all the people they have seen in their life, but in the same day it is possible. What annoys me most is when I am the only foreigner to enter a cafe, if I pass a few times in front of the counter because I am looking for someone, they keep saying "irasshaimase" everytime I pass, really like robots. I would expect them to remember me within 10 seconds, except if they are mentally retarded.

When we first meet Japanese people, they would be required by law, to first ask us “Do you understand Japanese?” Upon hearing our fluency, they would know NEVER to ask us if we could use chopsticks, like Japanese food, sleep in a futon, etc. because it would be assumed that since we are fluent, we must do all things a Japanese person does. And they would know how much a foreigner hates to hear those questions if they are fluent

They would be told NEVER to ask a fluent gaijin if we like natto or ikura, or can eat sushi, or enjoy the Japanese bath because we probably do and they wouldn’t want to offend the honorable fluent gaijin as they were probably asked that question by someone else, somewhere, sometime.
I am looking forward to that.

They would be informed that if the honorable gaijin looks lost or confused and, if they are fluent, to never offer ones assistance, especially if they have a map in hand.
I think this should be a rule (at least a moral one) in any country: "Don't offer help to someone unless they ask you for it, except if you want to offend them". This rule may only apply to men, as women are known for their poor abilities to read map or find their way.

If we do ask for directions in fluent Japanese they would be informed to just reply with, “You are fluent, find it yourself,” as they might offend us otherwise.
Now that doesn't make sense.

The Japanese people would also be required to first ask a gaijin’s country of origin before they ask us if we have such and such in “America”.
That should be a law, and there should be penalties for all infractions.

Even though the majority of Japanese people have only interacted with Americans and it was Americans who occupied Japan after the war and gave them their constitution, and it was America who paid to rebuild Japan, and it is Americans who constitute the largest majority of gaijin in Japan, they should not offend other people from another country by assuming they were American.
What are you saying here ? According to the Japan Statistical Yearbook, among the registered foreigners in Japan, there are 57,000 Europeans, 47,000 Americans, 12,000 Canadians and 11,500 Australians. That means that out of a total of 127,500 Westerners, 37% (a bit more than a third) are Americans. The chances are the highest that if a Japanese meets a Westerner in Japan, they will be European.

But what irritates me most, is that many of the Japanese who know me, and know excatly where I am from, and to whom I explained the big difference of mentality between Europeans and Americans (eg. regarding religion, education, lifestyle...) still ask me sometime later "if Americans do this or that". For example, this week again I was asked by someone who's known me for over 2 years "but isn't Valentine's Day different in America and Japan ?", to which I replied that "yes, in all Western countries it was different from Japan).

Even if this were the law in Japan, some immersed gaijin would still say something like, “The Japanese do not speak to us and are just patronizing us.”
Certainly not. We would just have the same kind of conversation as they have between them, or discuss more interesting and less evident differences between our countries (such as the legal system, the education system, politics, the way business is done, etc.).

They might even say, “The Japanese are not interested in us as they do not even ask us if we like their culture and food.
Would you react like that ? I wouldn't. Do you ask Japanese coming to your country whether they like this or that typical food without knowing if they have tried it ? I would only ask them more general questions such as "Is there anything you cannot eat ?" (some meat, any allegries, etc.) if I invite them to eat at home. But otherwise, not even the French would ask (all) their Japanese acquaintances if they can eat frogs and snails. It just doesn't matter, and you don't want to make them look stupid if they can't.

Sound inane? I thought so. What kind of country would Japan be if this was the way it was? A better place for immersed foreigners to live? I think not as someone, somewhere would complain about this also.
I have lived in 7 countries and travelled to over 30 countries (sometimes as long as 5 months, also I don't consider it "living" there) in my life, but nowhere more than in Japan have I been repeatedly asked stupid, irrelevant, offending or self-evident questions. As I mentioned above, I quite disagree with your opinion regarding your conclusion of this post. But we come from different countries and cultures, and as I started realising in other threads, Americans (and Australians) are in fact very similar to the Japanese in many respects, especially all things related to their "insularity" and little knowledge of the "rest of the world". So it may not bother you that the Japanese are like this, but for me it's quite unnerving.

I think it would be a boring place and it would be very difficult to meet new people as the only thing a Japanese can now ask you is your name and country of origin.
That's not true. You can start a conversation in a thousand different ways. In most cases when I was asked those dumb questions, we were already well into a conversation. Sometimes it just broke it down, as it made me think that the person I was talking to was not more intelligent than the others.

Can you imagine what it would be like if the Japanese were not allowed to ask you why you like Japan, the food, customs, etc, just because you were fluent and may become irate?
I don't mind being asked it this way (why do you like Japan), but not the stereotypical fixed questions that make us feel like they are testing our ability to appreciate their uniqueness (can you eat natto ? can you sleep on a Japanese futon ? can you read kanji ? can you use chopsticks ? can you drink Japanese sake ? can you blablabla...). I am not again discussing cultural differences. Their approach is just wrong. They only ask these questions to try to prove that their country/culture is unique and in some way superior. Very condesceding and offending. If you can't feel it, then you should try to go deeper in their mind and find their motivation in asking the question, as I usually do.

Heck, even if it doesn’t come as fast as I want it, it is not my country, I am not Japanese, and why would I want to criticize another country’s customs and culture when I am their guest even though I may not agree with some of them?
I pity this kind of mentality. There is nothing wrong in criticising any place or any system or culture in the world the same way as you would do it with your own. As I mentioned in other threads, Americans tend to lack self-criticism, and therefore often have difficulties accepting criticism from outside (as seen with the anti-French reactions before the Iraq War or on this very forum in the Bush-related threads). I have no problems with others criticising my country or culture, as long as they can do it based on logical arguments and facts (not just untamed emotions). I also think it is a service done to other countries/cultures to point out what we think is a problem, especially if that concerns their dealing with foreigners (the topic of this thread with the Japanese).

Besides, it is too much fun being an immersed foreigner in Japan. We can pretend we don’t know the language to see what people are really saying about us.
Well, that's not always fun to see ow prejudiced they can be.

If we feign ignorance at first, and pretend that we don’t know the language, we can tell if a person really likes us for who we are or if they are just patronizing us just because we are a foreigner.
I think it's a bit more complex than that. This will only tell you if the person is completely set against foreigners in general (=racist) or not. But there are many people (esp. in Japan) that will not openly express their negative feelings in public, especially in front of a foreigner. So you'll have to dig a bit more to know whether the persons you meet really like you for who you are or not.

If we screw up on their customs we can just say, “I didn’t know,” and we are usually forgiven. This can come in handy in some situations.
This works in any country, regardless of the language. Many Americans "screw up with the local customs" when they come to Britain, but may be forigiven because they are foreigners, even is the culture is related and the language basically the same.

Being totally accepted in Japanese culture would require me to act, think, and be Japanese to the core. That I do not want as I totally enjoy being the henna gaijin (strange foreigner) and thinking for myself.
Well, that is you, but I don't wish to be seen as a "henna gaijin" at all.

I enjoy meeting new people, walking into new establishments and don’t mind answering the usual “20 questions” all foreigners, fluent or not, are asked time and time again, sometimes from the same people, although this is rare.
I usually don't like wasting my time with shallow people. There are too many people in this world to meet in one's lifetime, and I'd prefer to choose those with whom I can share something in common or have an interesting conversation. This does not include anybody who might think that all Westerners must be Americans, or that only Japan can possibly have 4 seasons.