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Gaijin Part III

Wednesday, March 04, 2009 / Posted by Zackary /

This is the 3rd part in a series; please make sure you read Parts I & 2 before this one.

The 3rd reaction that foreigners get from Japanese people is not good. You are minding your business on the train look up and see someone giving you a look of disapproval. There are Japanese people, especially older ones that see no reason whatsoever for there to be foreigners in their country. They think that Westerns are corrupting the youth and have no respect for Japanese history and culture. For some reason I get the worst looks from older Japanese women. This group is in the minority but you can imagine why we remember them. When I get together with Western friends I often joke, “Oh no there are too many gaijin!”

Despite not appreciating the dirty looks I can see where they are coming from. Working in the public schools here I can tell you first hand that the children love Western styles. You see it in the way they dress (when not in their uniforms), the music they listen to and how they carry themselves. For older and more traditional Japanese people this is not appreciated. Even small things are not really small things. Traditionally for example Japanese people do not cross their legs when they sit. I had a teacher get upset that I would set with my legs crossed and the children could see. When I looked around a lot of other Japanese teachers and students were crossing their legs. This was one of those teachers that wanted me to observe all the traditional Japanese behaviors. I tried to make her happy but my job is to teacher the students English and western culture.

Please don't get the wrong idea here. If you visit Japan most people will be friendly, helpful and glad you are here.



Comment by Karthiksn on March 13, 2009 at 1:51 PM

I always wanted to know how it feels to be a gaijin there. I guess westerners get the worst of it from the older folks.

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