Wa-pedia Home > Japan Forum & Europe Forum

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

Voters
58. You may not vote on this poll
  • "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%
Multiple Choice Poll.
Page 3 of 11 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast
Results 51 to 75 of 259

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

  1. #51
    puzzled gaijin
    Join Date
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    140
    I haven't had salesmen say this, but I have had kids and quite a few other people 'assume' too much. That and just people doing a u-turn instead of sitting in my area (my evil eye! ). The funniest was a lady who was heading to my side of the car, suddenly wheels backwards and plants herself between two chainsmoking ojisans (who I would prefer not to sit next to). So fo course she was trying to avoid sitting next to a male (2 males she chose, a lady to my other side, me on the end of the bench), something a right wing moderaror on another forum tried to tell me. He couldn't get it through his head, if you're a foreigner in Japan, sometimes people run away like you have the plague!

    Of course, there are plenty of times when it doesn't happen, but you still notice the seat next to you is often filled last. The size arguement doesn't cut it either, as I've seen sumo guys board and they don't get this 'avoidance behaviour'.

    So bascially what Maciamo is telling you is not that far from the truth, that the tolerance for foreigners in Japan is low, and the messages from the government just support the same line.

  2. #52
    Banned
    Join Date
    Feb 5, 2006
    Posts
    111
    Which is a heck of a lot smaller than the 300,000 people that live in Naha alone......and if you want to include the area surounding Naha, because we are limited as an island, there are probably closer to 1 MILLION people living in an area smaller than Yokohama City.

    SO the area I am in is just the same as any metropolitan area of Japan, unless of course you want to "discriminate" against area's outside of Tokyo.


    Now I truly am waiting for a reply to THAT....

  3. #53
    Non-Member
    Join Date
    Sep 17, 2005
    Posts
    153
    Quote Originally Posted by Hachiro
    Which is a heck of a lot smaller than the 300,000 people that live in Naha alone......and if you want to include the area surounding Naha, because we are limited as an island, there are probably closer to 1 MILLION people living in an area smaller than Yokohama City.

    SO the area I am in is just the same as any metropolitan area of Japan, unless of course you want to "discriminate" against area's outside of Tokyo.


    Now I truly am waiting for a reply to THAT....
    Just for fun...

    Did I mention that in Mikawa, my city is only an average sized community with an area of 50.45km? (BTW, I got the population number wrong, the official population as of November 1st, 2005 was 141,364.)

  4. #54
    Banned
    Join Date
    Feb 5, 2006
    Posts
    111
    Quote Originally Posted by Mikawa Ossan
    Just for fun...

    Did I mention that in Mikawa, my city is only an average sized community with an area of 50.45km? (BTW, I got the population number wrong, the official population as of November 1st, 2005 was 141,364.)
    You actually live in an area that is, population wise, MUCH MUCH smaller than I do.

    Outside of Tokyo I am curious to know what areas of Japan Maciamo is refering to?

  5. #55
    Non-Member
    Join Date
    Sep 17, 2005
    Posts
    153
    Quote Originally Posted by Hachiro
    You actually live in an area that is, population wise, MUCH MUCH smaller than I do.

    Outside of Tokyo I am curious to know what areas of Japan Maciamo is refering to?
    I'm sure you're right. Of course I'm not including the 3 cities that are only 5 minutes driving distance from my home.

    EDIT: Well, now you've gotten me curious, so I went and checked the census numbers for the cities that were supposed to merge together last year (if it weren't for one holdout!) If that merger had gone through, I would now be living in a city of 494,121. Not even remotely Tokyo-like, but big enough for my tastes.

  6. #56
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    Quote Originally Posted by CC1
    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!
    Is this post addressed to me ? Why ? Seems like a very normal situation with which I have no problem.

    What if the Japanese guy had addressed you in German because he assumed you were German (for no particular reason) and feigned not to understand your Japanese when you talked to him, then continued to reply in German to you ? Just replace German by English and you have the typical Japanese behaviour toward me in Japan. Now even if you do speak German, as it is not your mother tongue, wouldn't it annoy you to have people always assuming that you are a German-speaker, and if they don't speak German they would tell you in broken German "kein Deutsch !" while making a cross sign with their hands. You would wonder why they would do that in Japan, right ? Well I wondered why they did that with me about English, as it's not written on my forehead that I am an English-speaker, and indeed I am not a native English-speaker. Japanese do get offended when they are told "I don't speak Chinese" by Westerners when they say something in English...

    Visit Japan for free with Wa-pedia
    See what's new on the forum ?
    Eupedia : Europe Guide & Genetics
    Maciamo & Eupedia on Twitter

    "What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?", Winston Churchill.

  7. #57
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    Quote Originally Posted by CC1
    But you are not Japanese are you?
    Are you saying that only Japanese people can speak Japanese. I am a permanent resident in Japan, so that alone makes me almost Japanese and likely to understand Japanese. I am also eligible to become a Japanese citizen (about the same conditions as permanent residency). I just didn't choose it because Japan doesn't recognised dual citizenship, otherwise I probably would be Japanese.

    This also answers Hachiro's post and his stupid assumption that I could not be Japanese because I don't look Japanese. Hachiro, are you of Japanese descent by any chance ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hachiro
    Pretty easy assumtion to make isnt it? Are you Japanese? Do you even closely look like a Japanese?
    If I were to acquire Japanese nationality tomorrow, would it change salespeople' behaviour toward me ? NO ! Is it difficult to become Japanese when married to one ? No !

  8. #58
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    Quote Originally Posted by Hachiro
    Which is a heck of a lot smaller than the 300,000 people that live in Naha alone......and if you want to include the area surounding Naha, because we are limited as an island, there are probably closer to 1 MILLION people living in an area smaller than Yokohama City.
    First of all, I was just wondering, not stating facts about Japanese in the country being more open-minded toward foreigners. Secondly, I was quite skeptical about that 'wonderment', as country people are usually (globally) more closed to the world and narrow-minded. Yet, I hear people in cities complain and people in the country say it's not true. I haven't lived in the Japanese country, but cannot recall any similar problem while travelling there.

    And to answer both Mikawa Ossan and you about what is a "big city", I mean the Greater Tokyo and Greater Osaka, while Fukuoka, Hiroshima or Sapporo would be "cities", something like Nagano, Nara, Nagasaki or Naha would be big towns, and 120,000 people would be a regular town, under 10,000 to 100,000 people a small town, and under 10,000 a village (and under 100 people a hamlet, if you really want to know)...

  9. #59
    Banned
    Join Date
    Feb 5, 2006
    Posts
    111
    Hachiro, are you of Japanese descent by any chance ?
    How many "lilly white" Okinawan/Japanese do you know that stand 6'4" and weigh 220lbs? No I am not Japanese nor do I look it either and I do not expect people here to assume anything different either. Even if I was a citizen of the country I would still expect that people would think that I am "gaijin", so what, it's a fact of life living here that people are going to think and act that way.

    so that alone makes me almost Japanese and likely to understand Japanese
    Good lord man do you wear the card glued to your forehead proclaiming to everyone that "I have PR, I have PR"....geez how in the heck do you expect people to know? What do you want them to ask..."Summimasen eijyu shiteru GAIJIN-san desuka?"

    I've got PR status as well and I live here. But if the flag under your name is any indication of location of where one is you are not here. You may have the status but you're not living here. Be that as it may, you have a huge chip on your shoulder that an A-bomb couldn't knock off.

    It is not a stupid assumption, it's a fact of living here. If you are bothered so much by it why keep the PR status, you wave that around like some flag making you an authority on Japan. Yet from reading many of your posts here you hate the damn place as well. You dont need the PR status if you are not living here. Maybe you have plans to come back in the future I dont know nor do I care it's up to you. However just assuming that people should automatically respect you as an "almost citizen" because of your unseen status, because of a stamp in your passport means nothing.

    I'm willing to bet that everyone else that has PR status here in Japan all have stories to tell about discriminatory experiences while living here, but none outside of you Maciamo expect people to automatically accept them as a Permanent Resident upon intial meeting. Oh besides the fact that just having PR is no garuntee that the "gaijin-san" speaks or understands any Japanese.

    If I were to acquire Japanese nationality tomorrow, would it change salespeople' behaviour toward me ? NO ! Is it difficult to become Japanese when married to one ? No !
    I know you are trying to say that looks shouldn't matter, and in a utopian world that may be so, but this isn't utopia it's Japan and if you can't deal with things like this may be you shouldn't return. Oh and btw you failed to answer my question on whether you look Japanese or not....because it DOES matter to people looking at you. This is not a racially or culturally diverse society and I think you know that as well. You are wishing to impose or apply the rules of a diverse society as you think of them here on Japan and it's people.

    According to your profile you only lived here for 3 to 5 years and from reading many of your posts it seems to me at least that in comparison to all the troubles you had in your time living here I would have to live 10 lifetimes here to equal them. It's no wonder that you have so much animosity towards the people and the country.

    However I wonder if many of the incidents that you often refer to were more your problems with perception of the situation and maybe misunderstanding the people talking to you. I still can't not image why you would be proud to claim PR residence here if in fact you had all these troubles while living here. Do you enjoy pain and frustration so much?
    Last edited by changedonrequest; Jun 25, 2006 at 10:52.

  10. #60
    Non-Member
    Join Date
    Sep 17, 2005
    Posts
    153
    To answer the original OP, the best way to sum up what I think of the word "gaijin", I think I should refer you to the following post from Pachipro. I think it has an excellent analogy.
    http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showpo...&postcount=138

  11. #61
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 3, 2004
    Age
    49
    Posts
    198
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Are you saying that only Japanese people can speak Japanese.
    I said nothing of the sort. I was merely pointing out that the salesman was correct. He merely stated that you are/were a foreigner. Nothing more, nothing less. Whether you can speak the language is a moot point at this juncture.



    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I am a permanent resident in Japan, so that alone makes me almost Japanese and likely to understand Japanese.
    It makes you nothing of the sort...it merely means that you are a permanent resident!


    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I am also eligible to become a Japanese citizen (about the same conditions as permanent residency). I just didn't choose it because Japan doesn't recognised dual citizenship, otherwise I probably would be Japanese.
    These statements lead me to believe that you are on a personal conquest to be a citizen of multiple countries. You seem to me to be the individual at parties that constantly has to "one up" everyone.

  12. #62
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 3, 2004
    Age
    49
    Posts
    198
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Is this post addressed to me ? Why ? Seems like a very normal situation with which I have no problem.

    It was addressed to you. The reason being that numerous times you stressed how rude people were to not assume you could in fact speak the language of their home country (namely Japan). I did this exact thing being that I was in the US and addressing a Japanese person in Japanese. (assuming that he could not speak English). Add to that, everytime he spoke English I continued to answer in Japanese. From many of your previous posts on this forum, I was extremely rude by refusing to speak in the language chosen by the foreigner to communicate with.

    By reading your response, I can not understand why you would become so irate with the Japanese while you were living in Japan. What I did was the same, but you see no problem with it?

  13. #63
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 15, 2002
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    291
    Quote Originally Posted by CC1
    It makes you nothing of the sort...it merely means that you are a permanent resident!
    "Permanent" residents don't bail out after 4 1/2 years. Those are more properly called "tourists".

  14. #64
    Banned
    Join Date
    Feb 5, 2006
    Posts
    111
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cash
    "Permanent" residents don't bail out after 4 1/2 years. Those are more properly called "tourists".

    Couple of comments to this, if that is the case I seriously wonder how he got Permanent Residence Status in the first place. Generally speaking if a man gets married to a Japanese national their spouse visa is as first 1 to 3 years renewable after the 2nd renewal (meaning after 5 to 6 years of continuous living here) application for Permanent Residency is accepted.

    Unless maybe he is confusing a spouse visa with permanent residence visa?


    Immigration is pretty strict on who they give PR status to.

    I also noticed that Maciamo hasnt responded to any of the comments/questions directed towards him...I wonder why?
    Last edited by changedonrequest; Jun 29, 2006 at 11:31.

  15. #65
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cash
    "Permanent" residents don't bail out after 4 1/2 years. Those are more properly called "tourists".
    Funny, my definition of 'tourist' is someone who comes to a country for sightseeing and typically moves around staying in hotels, hostels or other short-term accommodation. Countries which have "tourist visas" never grant them the right to work, afaik.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hachiro
    Unless maybe he is confusing a spouse visa with permanent residence visa?
    No, no, I am talking about "Eijuuken" (‰iZŒ ).

  16. #66
    Banned
    Join Date
    Feb 5, 2006
    Posts
    111
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Funny, my definition of 'tourist' is someone who comes to a country for sightseeing and typically moves around staying in hotels, hostels or other short-term accommodation. Countries which have "tourist visas" never grant them the right to work, afaik.



    No, no, I am talking about "Eijuuken" (‰iZŒ ).
    Ok you answered, thank you. But I still wonder how you got the status in such a short period of time. Also why you are so proud to have it, not live here and generally complain about the problems that you "suffered" through while you were here.

    You sound like a person that enjoys pain.

    Oh and you may have noticed but a few other people made some comments and directed towards you and you haven't replied to those. I would for one anyway be curious to know what your thoughts are in reply to CC1's comments.

  17. #67
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    Quote Originally Posted by Hachiiro
    Oh and btw you failed to answer my question on whether you look Japanese or not....because it DOES matter to people looking at you. This is not a racially or culturally diverse society and I think you know that as well. You are wishing to impose or apply the rules of a diverse society as you think of them here on Japan and it's people.
    First of all, I wish to mention that unlike you I come from a country that is not racially diverse (or not much and only due to recent immigration). I do not look Japanese, but I never assume that Asian people I meet in the streets of a Western country are Japanese, unless I hear them speak Japanese like native speakers (which requires me first to be able to understand and recognise Japanese, which not all Westerners can do). If I hear Asians speak a language that I don't know, I won't assume that they are from this or that country, because I just can't. I also won't assume that they are not nationals of the country where I am and that they cannot speak the language of the country. Why ? Because I know there is a minority of Asian people who have emigrated to Western countries, become naturalised and can speak both the local language and that of their country of origin. Because there is a slight possibility that they indeed are NOT foreigners and speak the local language, I won't make any prejudicial statement. Why can't Japanese (or any other people, it doesn't matter) do the same ? If you support the Japanese behaviour it can only mean that you also behave the same way and prejudge people based on appearances...

    In Japan, just too many people assume that because I am Caucasian I am an 'English-speaking American'. Well, over half of all the world's Caucasians are European, and not even all American speak English.

    I have not had this problem only in Japan. While travelling around Asia, I have met people in almost every country assuming that I was American or Australian just because there were a lot of tourists from these countries in that place. Some people ask first, of course, but not all. In Japan it seems that a majority of the people just think "gaijin" when they see a Caucasian and hardly care where they are from unless they intend to become friends (and sometimes even in spite of that).

    I still can't not image why you would be proud to claim PR residence here if in fact you had all these troubles while living here. Do you enjoy pain and frustration so much?
    I wanted to test whether becoming a permanent resident would make any difference or not. Actually I enjoyed my 2 first years in Japan. The 3rd wasn't bad. The 4th and 5th were the worst and getting worse with time, so I decided to leave as I had had enough.

  18. #68
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 3, 2004
    Age
    49
    Posts
    198
    all of that said, you have to admit that you are an English speaking caucasian...so they are at least partly right!

  19. #69
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 3, 2004
    Age
    49
    Posts
    198
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    and not even all American speak English.

    did you really type this? AFAIK, the only Americans that do not speak English would be naturalized Americans, and they do have to take a literacy test. Whether or not they pass the test is for another thread all together.

  20. #70
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    Quote Originally Posted by CC1
    It was addressed to you. The reason being that numerous times you stressed how rude people were to not assume you could in fact speak the language of their home country (namely Japan). I did this exact thing being that I was in the US and addressing a Japanese person in Japanese. (assuming that he could not speak English). Add to that, everytime he spoke English I continued to answer in Japanese. From many of your previous posts on this forum, I was extremely rude by refusing to speak in the language chosen by the foreigner to communicate with.
    By reading your response, I can not understand why you would become so irate with the Japanese while you were living in Japan. What I did was the same, but you see no problem with it?
    But you were in a plane (between Japan and the US, was it ?), so in an international zone. First, that doesn't count as being in any particular country. Secondly, you are still not getting my point at all. I don't have any problem with having a conversation in English with a Japanese in Japan, as long as they know that I do speak English. Of course, as an English teacher I had many opportunities to speak English with many Japanese. That doesn't bother me. There are 3 things that bother me :

    1) that they assume on looks only (without having any information about where I am from or what language I speak) that because I am a Caucasian I automatically am an English speaker. I have family members that cannot speak English or not well. I am being offended at the assumption that all Caucasian speak English on behalf of all non (native) English speakers in Europe (i.e. 85% of all Europeans).

    2) that they assume that because I am Caucasian, I cannot speak Japanese (again without asking), as if Caucasian people were too stupid to be able to speak Japanese. This is all the more vexing when it is a Japanese fluent in English that tells you that, because although they were able to learn English, they think that you most probably are not able to learn Japanese. This is a kind of complex of superiority shared by many Japanese. How many times have you heard Japanese people saying that Japanese is more difficult to learn than English ? They usually agree that English is difficult for them, but that Japanese must then be impossible for foreigners to learn ! Sorry but that is a racist assumption.

    3) that when I address some in Japanese, they feign not to understand. When I repeat, they make gestures or say "no English". That would be ok if they answer back in English if they knew I spoke English. I am French speakers friends who speak well Japanese but not English. It is very annoying to them when they ask something in Japanese and get an answer in English. Then when they say "eigo ga wakaranai" the Japanese tend not to believe them and laughing at what they thought was a joke.

    Why is it that all Caucasians must speak English ? But well this feeling is probably too difficult to understand for an English speaker. Just imagine you come to Belgium to learn Dutch (wild fancy ) and everytime you try to ask something in Dutch in Brussels (which is officially bilingual Dutch-French and most people in shops must speak both), you get an answer in French (a language you don't understand) because they assume that you are a French-speaker as you have an accent in Dutch ! Can you imagine the frustrartion if that happened on a daily basis for years ? If you can, you have an idea of my frustration in Japan (yeah, I know it's a bit different as I speak English, but I wish they would not just assume it as I only speak English for having studied it).

  21. #71
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 3, 2004
    Age
    49
    Posts
    198
    Ah, but it is you that can not comprehend what is being said here!

    I was in the US.

    I began a conversation with a Japanese looking person by speaking Japanese.

    Even after he answered me in English, I continued to speak Japanese.

    Same as the situations you have mentioned many, many times. He did not get frustrated and we had a nice conversation.

    End of story.

    Maybe you are too sensitive.

  22. #72
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    Quote Originally Posted by CC1
    did you really type this? AFAIK, the only Americans that do not speak English would be naturalized Americans, and they do have to take a literacy test. Whether or not they pass the test is for another thread all together.
    You don't have to be naturalised to become American. FYI, anybody born on US soil (even if they moved the next day to another country never to come back) is automatically American. I know some South American and Israeli people who have a US pasport. When I asked them how came that they had one, yet never lived there and do not speak English like native speakers or with an American accent, they told me that their parents just wanted them to be born in the US to have the nationality, then went back to their country. In fact, most Israeli that I met while travelling had non-Israeli passport (e.g. French, Italian, Australian, Canadian, American...).

    Secondly, there is a HUGE Spanish-speaking community in the South-Western USA. Many were born in the US, and thus American, but still speak only Spanish. Same for some Chinese in Chinatows around the country ; born there, but don't speak English (or not much). FYI, the USA does NOT have any official language, unlike most European and Asian countries.

    Funny that you shouldn't know that as an American...

  23. #73
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    Quote Originally Posted by CC1
    Ah, but it is you that can not comprehend what is being said here!
    I was in the US.
    I began a conversation with a Japanese looking person by speaking Japanese.
    Even after he answered me in English, I continued to speak Japanese.
    Same as the situations you have mentioned many, many times. He did not get frustrated and we had a nice conversation.
    End of story.
    Maybe you are too sensitive.
    I still have no problem with your situation except if you assumed that they spoke Japanese without hearing them speak Japanese or having some clues that they were Japanese (e.g. name on the handbag, Japanese book or newspaper, etc.). What would you have done if the person had not been Japanese and couldn't speak Japanese ? Would you have felt embarassed or not at all ?

  24. #74
    Non-Member
    Join Date
    Sep 17, 2005
    Posts
    153
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I wanted to test whether becoming a permanent resident would make any difference or not.
    For the life of me, I honestly can't comprehend why you thought it might.

  25. #75
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 3, 2004
    Age
    49
    Posts
    198
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Funny that you shouldn't know that as an American...

    snide remarks only make you seem much smaller a person!

    funny that you wouldn't realize that much of the spanish speaking population are not legally in the US.

Page 3 of 11 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Why do the Japanese make so much fuss about "gaijin" ?
    By Maciamo in forum Immigration & Foreigners
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: Mar 18, 2005, 23:34

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •