Quote Originally Posted by GaijinPunch
Do you REALLY think this happens to all foreigners? Ever thought that maybe you're just unlucky? Even when I lived in Shizuoka, where people admitedly have much less experience with foreigners I was never said, "Hello America," by anyone.
As Kinsao said, like in England, there are areas where it happens and other where it doesn't. It never happened to me in crowded places full of Westerners like Ginza or Shinjuku. But it happened in my Shitamachi neighbourhood (only twice though) and it happens frequently when I go to Tokyo's remote suburbs (e.g. around Kashiwa or Funabashi in Chiba pref.) and even more when I travel to the countryside. Last month, I was walking with my sister and her boyfriend in my neighbourhood and a group of older men sitting along the street started saying all stupid things as we passed them by. This included "America", "This is a pen", etc. When we were in the train outside Tokyo, some kids would not stop starring at us, giggling and saying "gaijin, gaijin !", in the same way that just anybody (not just kids) would say "farang, farang !" (same meaning) in Thailand. Very often, when I take the lift/elevator, even in central Tokyo, when the door open and I face one or several Japanese, they typically look surprise and say in audible voice "gaijin !". This has happened when I went to the Izakaya with Thomas for example (among dozens of other times).

Sometimes these "gaijin" muttering Japanese ask just after "Are you America ?". So, in the end, there is little difference between called "gaijin" or "America", as for most Japanese it is equivalent. It's still pretty annoying. I can still understand it in Thailand, as it's a developing country where 99% people are not very educated and have never left their country (at least have never been to a Western country). I thought Japan was different, but visibly, even though most Japanese have been abroad (even if it's only Hawaii) and have learnt English at school, they still behave like people in developing countries.