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View Poll Results: How do you feel when a Japanese calls you "gaijin" ?

Voters
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  • "You are an outsider and will never belong to Japanese society" (exclusion)

    17 29.31%
  • "You are an outsider, ignorant of Japanese ways" (cultural ignorance)

    17 29.31%
  • "You are different from us ! Hahaha !" (childish differentiation)

    12 20.69%
  • "You are not Japanese, but I am" (opposition)

    13 22.41%
  • "You are not a Japanese national" (on the passport)

    11 18.97%
  • "You are not an ethnic Japanese" (different looks)

    13 22.41%
  • "Wow ! You are better than me !" (awe)

    8 13.79%
  • Don't know

    10 17.24%
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Thread: What connotation does the term "gaijin" have for you ?

  1. #26
    puzzled gaijin
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    I hardly think so, but of course that's only my opinion. Maciamo shares a lot of knowledge about Japan in his posts. I don't think he gained this knowledge by studying and learning about various Japanese aspects of life because he hates the country. I think what you sense more is some bitterness as Maciamo was tired of dealing with some attitudes in Japan even after he had lived here a while and decided to return to Belgium. But if you really want to know, why don't you pm him instead of assuming a lot without reading many of his posts.

    As to comparisons, it's usual in life, and most people would be hard pressed to find other developed countries that treat foreigners the way Japan does. In another forum discussing a related issue, someone brought up the example of Israel, but I personally think it's a bad comparison based on a) the relative size difference, b) origin of a country, Israel has been struggling to survive in a perpetual war zone versus Japan's past post war struggles c) Israel is in the midst of other countries trying to take over its territory, so they have a more extreme reaction to others sharing their land.

    That being said, an another option for an answer would be useful, and I am curious to hear what these other meanings could be as many Japanese have shown they feel it means non-Japanese (showing shock when '"gaijin" was directed aganist them, or Japanese use it in other countries to refer to the locals, who would hardly be foreigners in their own countries).

    As to it being a different culture and getting used to it, than why would the Japanese object to being treated differently if that's what is generally done in their own country? Wouldn't it be a matter of getting used to what you're dishing out in your own country to visitors and long term residents alike?

  2. #27
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GodEmperorLeto
    every single American north of the Mason-Dixon knows about how evil slavery was, and how bad Jim Crow was, and how horrible the White Man was to the Native American.
    While every single American south of the Mason-Dixon reminisces about how righteous slavery was, how good Jim Crow was, and how wonderfully the White Man was to Injuns?

  3. #28
    Seeing is believing Minty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I questioned them about whether they called themselves "gaijin" while abroad, but usually they don't. In fact, I remember that both times I went to China with a Japanese tour, the Japanese people in the group frequently referred to the local Chinese as "gaijin", eventhough they were the foreigners in China. That is mostly why I cannot accept the translation "foreigner" as it rather means "non-Japanese".
    I also know it's not about being an ethnic Japanese, as Japanese Americans, Japanese Brazilians, etc. are almost always called "gaijin".
    That's why I feel most strongly that it means "outsider to Japanese society, culture and customs" OR "physically different".
    I never been called gaijin by Japanese, not that I have heard of, but I expected to be called a gaijin because I am indeed a foreigner.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minty
    I never been called gaijin by Japanese, not that I have heard of, but I expected to be called a gaijin because I am indeed a foreigner.
    And couldn't that be the root of the problem?

    People don't like to think of themselves as being a foreigner, particularly after living here a few years.

    It almost seems like they expect everyone to know that they belong here or are long time residents.

  5. #30
    Banned ricecake's Avatar
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    Oddly though,non-Japanese Asians have this common perception of Japanese tend to treat " white-foreigners " well,oppose to consciously snub at yellow folks for backwardness.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways
    As to comparisons, it's usual in life, and most people would be hard pressed to find other developed countries that treat foreigners the way Japan does.
    Is the treatment of foreigners a matter of development? i don't see the connection.

  7. #32
    puzzled gaijin
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    osais posted
    Is the treatment of foreigners a matter of development? i don't see the connection.
    Yes, I believe it is. When a developed country continues to not recognize that there are racism problems (related with nationality and appearance) in their own country and doesn't have any laws to deal with it even though they signed the UN decree agreeing to outlaw such actions, that would be a larger problem than a country struggling to raise their standard of living via modernization, where equal rights takes a back seat to being able to eat.
    Last edited by gaijinalways; Jun 16, 2006 at 23:26.

  8. #33
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    As to comparisons, it's usual in life, and most people would be hard pressed to find other developed countries that treat foreigners the way Japan does
    I hope you don't actually believe that....it borders on racism.

    Ask any of the "foreigners" living throughout Europe or for that matter the USA.

  9. #34
    puzzled gaijin
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    Ah, I have. Their answers are mixed. Many make the mistake of pulling the violence card out, which is a separate issue. More violence does not equal racism. No another pet theory is the ignorance one, which probably has a better chance of being defended. But how long can people in a supposed modernized country be ignorant about issues of racism, especially ones that travel as much as the Japanese do? Perhaps it's another '4 seasons' mystery, i.e. the mystery being how the Japanese could think that having 4 seasons is unusual or unique.

  10. #35
    Veni, vidi... vicodin? GodEmperorLeto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hachiro
    Quite possibly so, but this isnt the US and comparing things here to there is not fair either as the backgrounds and history are so different as to trying to compare them to apples and snowballs.
    I'm not trying to compare so much as to explain why Americans (and some other Westerners) may be so overly sensitive to the term gaijin.

    You yourself said:
    People don't like to think of themselves as being a foreigner, particularly after living here a few years.
    No I am not surprised at all. I would however be curious to know just how many Japanese fall into that category. I am not talking about anyone other than the Japanese.
    Good point. This puts me in half a mind to do a poll at work. We have fewer Japanese than Koreans and Taiwanese, but I think the percentages work out the same. On average I get at least 1 Japanese student per session complaining they've been discriminated against out of about 5.

    Also would you be willing to ask them how they would feel being called "gaijin" whilst they are in the US in your classroom?
    That's a damn good idea! Except if I do it wrong I could get fired. The college I work at might frown heavily upon doing it.

    As an aside, one of my Japanese students who loves hip-hop made a pilgrimage to Harlem. He came back saying, "In Harlem, I was the gaijin!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cash
    While every single American south of the Mason-Dixon reminisces about how righteous slavery was, how good Jim Crow was, and how wonderfully the White Man was to Injuns?
    Ye gods, no! I honestly haven't lived down there so I simply don't know. That's why I left them out. My education was in blue states. I honestly don't know how the red states handle it. I tried to err on the side of caution.
    Ὦ ƒÌƒÃῖƒË', ἀƒÁƒÁέƒÉƒÉƒÃƒÇƒË ƒ©ƒ¿ƒÈƒÃƒÂƒ¿ƒÇƒÊƒÍƒËίƒÍƒÇς ὅƒÑƒÇ ƒÑῇƒÂƒÃ
    ƒÈƒÃίƒÊƒÃƒÆƒ¿, ƒÑƒÍῖς ƒÈƒÃίƒËƒÖƒË ῥήƒÊƒ¿ƒÐƒÇ ƒÎƒÃƒÇƒÆόƒÊƒÃƒËƒÍƒÇ.

  11. #36
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Interestingly, out of 12 people who have voted at the poll so far, none have voted for "You are not a Japanese national" (on the passport), which is the only option that means "gai(koku)jin = foreigner". In other words, there is unanimity on the feeling that gaijin does not mean "foreigner", unlike what some people have been saying... (and who visibly haven't voted)

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  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Interestingly, out of 12 people who have voted at the poll so far, none have voted for "You are not a Japanese national" (on the passport), which is the only option that means "gai(koku)jin = foreigner". In other words, there is unanimity on the feeling that gaijin does not mean "foreigner", unlike what some people have been saying... (and who visibly haven't voted)
    That is most like because the majority of people reading this didn't vote due to the fact that the poll questions are biased to get the answers that you want to hear.

    I strongly disagree with the options written, so to me at least your poll and the information gathered so far are invalid due to the bias against people that have no problem with the word at all.

  13. #38
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    I started a thread on this about a year and a half ago about a movement started in Japan by some foreigners to get the word gaijin off official documents and replaced with the word gaikokujin instead.

    To me, the word gaijin will always mean "not Japanese", period, as 99.9% of the time that is how I felt it was used when referring to me. I never felt any racism when the word was used nor did I feel any negative connotation. Heck, I even used the word when referring to myself in conversation such as, "henna gaijin da", when someone seemed surprised at my knowledge of the language, culture or food.

    So, for long term residents to feel offended by the use of the word, to me, shows that they are overly sensitive and will never understand that no matter how long you have lived there, how well you know their language or culture, you will always be gaijin, meaning not Japanese. Period.
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  14. #39
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pachipro
    So, for long term residents to feel offended by the use of the word, to me, shows that they are overly sensitive and will never understand that no matter how long you have lived there, how well you know their language or culture, you will always be gaijin, meaning not Japanese. Period.
    As Hachiro pointed out, the very few of us here who have actually lived in Japan for an extended period are largely of a single mind on this: it isn't worth getting worked up over.

    The very large number of us here who have 1)never lived here 2)visited as tourists/students 3)cut and run after a short stay tend to clump into the "embracing victimhood" crowd.

  15. #40
    Regular Member Tokis-Phoenix's Avatar
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    When you view everyone with suspicion, fear arises.
    I think a lot of the people here who live in japan but are non-japanese and are often offended by the term "gaijin", do so because they feel when it is used, it is being used against them as in "you are not a part of our society" or "you will always be a foreigner no matter how long you live here", or perhaps they just feel that their identity as an individual is being smothered by constantly being just grouped as another outsider or foreigner.

    When you live abroad, the most important thing is your identity as an individual- in a country that you find hard getting used to, or feel unhappy about in some way or another, it does make you feel better if people give you some mutual respect for being an individual rather than making you feel like outsider all the time.
    Its the kind of discomfort you might feel when you've lived your whole life in the countryside, and all of a sudden you find yourself in the hubbub of fast-paced city life. It can be the opposite as well- if you are used to having people around you 24/7 where ever you go, it can be quick a shock to live in the middle of no where, even if you've been doing it for some time, it might not be something you'll ever get used to.

    First impressions of the people around you are just as important of theirs of you- if you've lived a large part of your life in japan, i suppose it could become quite disheartening or annoying if people don't give you a chance to be someone different, but just instantly group you up with the rest of the outsiders because of your appearance or family bloodlines. Like others here have said, i think most of what depends is the context the term "gaijin" or "gaikokugin" is used in though.

    Personally i wouldn't care less if i went on holiday to japan and some stranger or person i didn't know well called me "gaijin" (as long as they weren't intending it to be deliberatly and obviously offensive) because i am obviously a foreigner, and outsider if you will, and i don't look japanese in the slightest.
    If i was half-japanese or korean or something though, i probably would feel offended, because when it comes down to it, there really isn't any obvious difference between most koreans or half-japanese and true japanese (at least to me there isn't), so i would probably be a lot more offended because i would not really be much of a foreigner or outsider, so the person calling me gaijin would probably be raising my non-japaneseness in a more direct way rather than just making a general statement about my appearance (which i believe is the case a lot of the time with non-asian people being called gaijin).

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hachiro
    People don't like to think of themselves as being a foreigner, particularly after living here a few years.
    It almost seems like they expect everyone to know that they belong here or are long time residents.
    Sorry to respond to this a bit late.

    I can't speak for others, but personally my own opinion is the opposite. As far as living in Japan goes, I will always consider myself a foreigner. I will never consider myself Japanese, neither do I feel the need for Japanese people to consider me one of them.

    This has nothing to do with not liking Japan or Japanese people. I adore living here, but I'm not one of the otaku crowd who after spending a few years here suddenly thinks they are more Japanese than the Japanese. I'm proud of who I am and where I come from. I have no inclination to want to change that.

    Actually, on the second point about "expecting people to know that [we] belong here", I honestly think this does happen to an extent. I seem to recall that when I first came here, shop assistants, schoolgirls on trains, old women and various other people used to apparently find me a lot more amusing and interesting. Perhaps I looked more foreign, more lost, more wide-eyed. Now I find that sitting on the subway or walking down the street I notice a lot less head-turning than I used to get. Perhaps after spending time in one place you do start to blend in a little more, and people are less aware of your difference, or at least they don't point and snigger in the way they used to.

  17. #42
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stinger
    I can't speak for others, but personally my own opinion is the opposite. As far as living in Japan goes, I will always consider myself a foreigner. I will never consider myself Japanese, neither do I feel the need for Japanese people to consider me one of them.
    That is why some people (like you, who doesn't mind being seen and called a foreigner) don't mind the term gaijin, but some (like me) do. However, there are several possible explanations to not liking being reminded of one's foreignness all the time. One may be being an "otaku", I don't know as I am not very familiar with the feeling as I am not a fan of video games, manga or other teenager stuff. What I know are causes of disliking to be called "gaijin" on a nearly daily basis are :

    1) when someone comes from a society where foreigners are supposed to do all they can to "fuse into the local culture" and behave like natives. This is the case of France and Benelux countries, but not so much of most English-speaking countries. Japan is more extreme than English-speaking countries, as the natives refuse (unconsciously ?) to accept that foreigners could behave like Japanese, just because of their different looks.

    2) when someone is married to a Japanese, and thus belongs to a Japanese family. This urge to be accepted as part of the family and society is even stronger when the person speaks Japanese and is completely used to the Japanese lifestyle.

    3) when someone is an immigrant, which means they have no intention of returning to their country of origin, and ultimately will become a permanent resident or naturalised.
    It is possible to be in more than one of these situations. Points 1 and 2 applied to me, and a little bit point 3 as I already achieved permanent residency, although I had no intention of staying forever in Japan or be naturalised.

    I'm proud of who I am and where I come from. I have no inclination to want to change that.
    I think I am even prouder than you of my origins. But only someone completely confident about who they are can decide to adopt a new culture on top on the one(s) he/she already knows. If you cannot change, it means that you are afraid of not being able to come back to who you were before, and that sounds a bit pathetic to me. People change, progress, and keep what is good in what they have learned and experienced, and throw away the rest.

    Actually, on the second point about "expecting people to know that [we] belong here", I honestly think this does happen to an extent. I seem to recall that when I first came here, shop assistants, schoolgirls on trains, old women and various other people used to apparently find me a lot more amusing and interesting. Perhaps I looked more foreign, more lost, more wide-eyed. Now I find that sitting on the subway or walking down the street I notice a lot less head-turning than I used to get. Perhaps after spending time in one place you do start to blend in a little more, and people are less aware of your difference, or at least they don't point and snigger in the way they used to.
    I don't know how long you have been in Japan, but if it has been over a decade, couldn't it be that the Japanese in the area where you have lived are getting more familiar with the presence of foreign faces ? That doesn't mean that your behaviour is the cause of their different reactions. I know that because I considered myself well-adapted to life in Tokyo, never seemed "lost", dressed like a Japanese (by my wife ), acted as much as possible like a Japanese would, but still noticed people looking at me like at a weird creature.

    At first it didn't bother me so much. It only became irritating once I became fluent in Japanese (about 2 years after arriving), because people would still see me as a "gaijin", which in their heads meant "you are outsider, ignorant of Japanese ways and cannot possibly speak Japanese", with clear result that many of them feigned not understanding me when I talked to them. Frankly, what can be more frustrating that having strangers (e.g. train staff, shopkeepers...) in the whole society where you live feigning not to understand you because you don't look like them ? (and they automatically assume that you speak English, even when it's not your mother-tongue).

    How often have you had salespeople ring at your door, and exclaim "oh, gaijin da !" when you opened the door, then apologise in an embarassed fashion because you cannot possibly be a prospective customer as you are not Japanese and surely do not understand what they have to tell you. Maybe my neighbourhood was a particulat prey to these door-to-door salespeople, but it happened to me in average every 2 weeks - Well, sometimes my wife answered the door, so it only happened a dozen times to me personally (but always the same reaction : "oh gaijin da !").

    I hope this helps you understand why it is possible to be irritated by the term "gaijin" even when you are proud of your non-Japanese origins. It's just a matter of basic respect, which the Japanese interestingly seem to lack in some situation when dealing with foreign-looking people (I know it happens to naturalised foreigners like Arudo Debito, so I won't say "foreigners").

  18. #43
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cash
    As Hachiro pointed out, the very few of us here who have actually lived in Japan for an extended period are largely of a single mind on this: it isn't worth getting worked up over.
    The very large number of us here who have 1)never lived here 2)visited as tourists/students 3)cut and run after a short stay tend to clump into the "embracing victimhood" crowd.
    Or maybe some of the long-term residents haven't had many experiences of salesmen at their door exclaiming "oh gaiijn da", then walked away without double-checking whether you actually speak Japanese. I thought it was justly those who lived in "gaijin houses" or "expat accommodation" (or even expact districts like Roppongi, Azabu or Yoyogi) that never experienced that. Well, maybe I am wrong. Maybe the Japanese outside the big Tokyo Metropolis and Kansai region are more open-minded ? Maybe they assume that if a foreigners lives in a small country town or village they must speak Japanese ? What I noticed here is that the long-term residents who haven't got a strong negative opinion of the term "gaijin" live in the countryside (Mikecash, Mikawa Ossan...), not in big cities...

  19. #44
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    How often have you had salespeople ring at your door, and exclaim "oh, gaijin da !" when you opened the door, then apologise in an embarassed fashion because you cannot possibly be a prospective customer as you are not Japanese and surely do not understand what they have to tell you. Maybe my neighbourhood was a particulat prey to these door-to-door salespeople, but it happened to me in average every 2 weeks - Well, sometimes my wife answered the door, so it only happened a dozen times to me personally (but always the same reaction : "oh gaijin da !").
    Personally I don't care whether they say it or not. They are not saying it to be disrepsectful as they have no idea that a "gaijin" is living there or not.

    You probably gave off the aura of "leave me alone I am a touchy overly-sensitive gaijin". How can you sit here and say that you automatically "know" what and how people are thinking just because they say "Aaa gaijin da". You create the situation and the problem by always being on the defensive, as if to say that you are ashamed of being a "gaijin".

    I didn't know you were a mind reader as well.

    I think I am even prouder than you of my origins. But only someone completely confident about who they are can decide to adopt a new culture on top on the one(s) he/she already knows. If you cannot change, it means that you are afraid of not being able to come back to who you were before, and that sounds a bit pathetic to me. People change, progress, and keep what is good in what they have learned and experienced, and throw away the rest.
    Maciamo what you wrote there is either arrogant as hell or pot-kettle-black way of thinking and speaking. You ***** quite often about the way Japanese people treated you or how you felt discriminated against because they called you "gaijin" right? People change, did YOU? Did you ever learn to let it go? I dont think so.

  20. #45
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tokis-Phoenix
    When you view everyone with suspicion, fear arises.
    I think a lot of the people here who live in japan but are non-japanese and are often offended by the term "gaijin", do so because they feel when it is used, it is being used against them as in "you are not a part of our society" or "you will always be a foreigner no matter how long you live here", or perhaps they just feel that their identity as an individual is being smothered by constantly being just grouped as another outsider or foreigner.
    I agree. I also noticed that the word "gaijin" is often used in negative context. For example, my wife and a Japanese friend (married to a Belgian and who has lived in Europe for over 5 years) entered in the metro in Brussels and her friend said "gaijin kusai !" (it stinks the "gaijin"). She was referring to the stronger smell of the many African people in that carriage, but it still offended me because she just associated bad smell with "non-Japaneseness". The Japanese often complain that Caucasians and Blacks "stink" whenever it's hot. It's probably true that in average Mongoloid people have lesser body smells when they sweat, but that does not justify saying "gaijin kusai", especially for a Japanese living abroad.

    When you live abroad, the most important thing is your identity as an individual- in a country that you find hard getting used to, or feel unhappy about in some way or another, it does make you feel better if people give you some mutual respect for being an individual rather than making you feel like outsider all the time.
    I completely agree here as well. I maybe more "sentitive" than some other foreigners in Japan about always being referred to as a "gaijin", because I have experienced living in many foreign countries, and was never singled out as a foreigner as much as I was in Japan.

    Of course, if one has nothing to compare it to, it's hard to speculate whether this is normal behaviour toward foreigners around the world, or if the Japanese are exceedingly keen on stressing people's foreignness. I'd say that Japan is not normal by Western standard (at least Europe, Canada and Australia), but people in other East Asian countries (Korea, China, Thailand, Indonesia...) behave pretty much the same way in that regard. So it's more like a conflict of civilisation (wider cultural group) than just about Japan.

    I didn't feel that Indian or Middle-Eastern people made so much fuss about my being foreign. But maybe that's because I haven't really try to integrate there and learn the language ? Well, I knew the equivalent term for "gaijin" after a week in Thailand ("farang") because so many Thai point at you saying "farang" (much more than in Japan, despite the numerous tourists there). I am not aware of the existence of a similar term of "differentiation and exclusion" in any Indo-European language.

  21. #46
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hachiro
    Personally I don't care whether they say it or not. They are not saying it to be disrepsectful as they have no idea that a "gaijin" is living there or not.
    You probably gave off the aura of "leave me alone I am a touchy overly-sensitive gaijin". How can you sit here and say that you automatically "know" what and how people are thinking just because they say "Aaa gaijin da". You create the situation and the problem by always being on the defensive, as if to say that you are ashamed of being a "gaijin".
    I didn't know you were a mind reader as well.
    It is disrespectful because they don't even try to talk to me and check whether I speak Japanese or not. They just walk away assuming I am not Japanese and don't speak Japanese. They are the ones assuming, not me ! No need to be a mind-reader to understand that !

    Quote Originally Posted by Hachiro
    Maciamo what you wrote there is either arrogant as hell or pot-kettle-black way of thinking and speaking. You ***** quite often about the way Japanese people treated you or how you felt discriminated against because they called you "gaijin" right? People change, did YOU? Did you ever learn to let it go? I dont think so.
    I can adapt to a lot of situation, probably faster than most people. I can eat almost anything, get used to different lifestyles, learn about almost anything, live in any kind of place... Some people have the ability to grow a thick-skin and ignore insults and criticism thrown at them - but unfortunately this is something I haven't managed to do yet. Maybe that is because I am so worried about doing things the right way and improve myself whenever I can that I will never tolerate insults or discrimination. For me the use of the term "gaijin" as I have experienced it is both insulting and discriminatory. Usually people develop a thicker skin with age. But for me having a thick skin equals being insensitive and "thick", which also means one cannot learn, change and adapt so well anymore - a clear sign of aging indeed. So, I don't care whether you like it or not or if it is not "politically correct" to say so, but I believe that the faculty of learning and adaptation is invertly proportionally to thickness of skin.

  22. #47
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    I still have much reading to do to catch up on this thread, but Maciamo I assume that you would consider me rude after today`s flight.

    As I made my way to my seat, I noticed that I was sitting with two Japanese men. One older and one younger. I naturally greated them in Japanese. The younger man returned the greating and the older man answered me in very good English.

    I am guessing that you would look down upon me because I initiated a conversation with them, while in the US, using Japanese instead of English? It seemed quite possible to me that they did not speak English. I did find out, however, that the older gentleman spoke quite fluently. I continued to speak throughout the flight in Japanese and he would answer in English. It made the flight quite enjoyable!

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    It is disrespectful because they don't even try to talk to me and check whether I speak Japanese or not. They just walk away assuming I am not Japanese and don't speak Japanese. They are the ones assuming, not me !

    But you are not Japanese are you?

  24. #49
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    Maybe the Japanese outside the big Tokyo Metropolis and Kansai region are more open-minded ? Maybe they assume that if a foreigners lives in a small country town or village they must speak Japanese ? What I noticed here is that the long-term residents who haven't got a strong negative opinion of the term "gaijin" live in the countryside (Mikecash, Mikawa Ossan...), not in big cities...
    I am rather amazed at this, as in my experience here in Japan it is the direct opposite. The people that live in the cities or metropolitan areas were much more accomodating to "gaijin" than people in "inaka". I have personally experienced more negativity towards "gaijin" in "inaka" than in the city.

    It is disrespectful because they don't even try to talk to me and check whether I speak Japanese or not. They just walk away assuming I am not Japanese and don't speak Japanese. They are the ones assuming, not me ! No need to be a mind-reader to understand that !
    Pretty easy assumtion to make isnt it? Are you Japanese? Do you even closely look like a Japanese? You allow them to make that assumption by not stopping them and asking them what it is all about.

    I have had countless sales people among others stop at my house and when they say "ahh gaijin da?", which is a pretty easy assumption to make as I stand 6'4", lilly white, and weigh about 220lbs, what OTHER assumption can they make, I ASK them "Nani Ka? Do nashaimashitaka? They INSTANTLY get the "hint" that this person, meaning me, is not an "ordinary" "gaijin". Then they go into their sales pitch, if I am interested I listen, if not.....well it is really easy to shut the door.

    Why is it disrespectful? Why do you assume that Japanese people should act as you do? The fault imo is on you and not them.

    I can adapt to a lot of situation, probably faster than most people. I can eat almost anything, get used to different lifestyles, learn about almost anything, live in any kind of place... Some people have the ability to grow a thick-skin and ignore insults and criticism thrown at them - but unfortunately this is something I haven't managed to do yet. Maybe that is because I am so worried about doing things the right way and improve myself whenever I can that I will never tolerate insults or discrimination. For me the use of the term "gaijin" as I have experienced it is both insulting and discriminatory. Usually people develop a thicker skin with age. But for me having a thick skin equals being insensitive and "thick", which also means one cannot learn, change and adapt so well anymore - a clear sign of aging indeed. So, I don't care whether you like it or not or if it is not "politically correct" to say so, but I believe that the faculty of learning and adaptation is invertly proportionally to thickness of skin.
    So can I as I have already in over 20 years of living here. I think you have it wrong there, people that have a "thick skin" are more adaptable to the situation that they are living in, not being insensitive. It means that one is more able to accept things that they are not familar with or that one finds to be different.

    I have a skin like an elephant, things that people say about my "gainjiness" really do not bother me and do you know why? It is because if I let it bother me I would be either in jail for murdering someone for their "insensitivity" to my being a foreigner living in Japan OR I would be dead from a heart attack after worrying so damn much about why people here are always picking on me for being a "gaijin", which I am.

    I have too much to live for, 3 kids, whose "kids" someday I would really love to see.

    Maciamo sorry guy but we are just going to have to agree to disagree, I can not agree or accept your assertions that you have made here on this thread and others that are similar to this one.

    I emphathize with you for the troubles and problems that you had here in Japan, but I am sorry I can not agree with you.

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    What I noticed here is that the long-term residents who haven't got a strong negative opinion of the term "gaijin" live in the countryside (Mikecash, Mikawa Ossan...), not in big cities...
    Hi again, Mac!
    I'm curious as to how you define big cities vis a vis the countryside. Is it the standard Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, etc. versus everything else, or do you mean something different? I'm just curious.

    On a side note, I have lived in Osaka for a short time, and I have lived in Nagoya proper for a year. Other than that, the biggest city I have ever lived in within Japan is about 120,000 people (where I live now).

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