Saturday, February 04, 2006

Stupid Foreigner, part 9: Turning Japanese

Greetings, and welcome to another Saturday edition of The Daley Show, the day I re-run something I wrote years ago, when there were no blogs, only geocities, and I lived in Japan. I originally posted this sometime in 1999. Many of the items probably won't make much sense to anyone that hasn't lived in Japan -- or somewhere overseas -- but maybe you'll learn a thing or two about that crazy country that I'll be returning to in a couple of months for my first visit in five years. Enjoy. And thanks to all the Daily Kos readers that stopped by yesterday. If 10 percent of you return regularly, I'll be a happy chappy. I'll be posting something original shortly.

1,001 signs that you've been in Japan too long

This started as a list forwarded to me by a fellow teacher here in Japan. I added my own. Then, more ideas came in. Now we're looking to make a list of 1,001 symptoms of Japan. Feel free to contribute.

You know you've been in Japan too long when ...

Shirts with Japanese-English on them start to make sense.

You pronounce words like Pokemon properly, and correct people who don't.

You can fall asleep on the train and wake up as it pulls into your station.

You pay 1,800 yen (about $16) to see a movie, any movie.

You never allow soap inside a bathtub.

You don't tear your pants on the bicycle chain anymore because you now tuck your pants into your socks.

You plan to use dried wakame (seaweed) in the future to keep all your messier foods together when you eat.

You occasionally are heard saying, "What the hell? This vending machine doesn't have beer in anything bigger than a 32oz!?"

You catch yourself singing or mimicking the tunes that pipe out of the train station speakers.

The idea of a raw egg in most anything doesn't disgust you any more.

You pay $15 to see Melt Banana in Tokyo, a band you saw in Chicago for $3.

You carry around a handkerchief to wipe your hands after using the toilet.

You're never caught in the rain without an umbrella because you always carry one.

Whenever someone says something you don't understand, you just nod your head and say "hai."

You like corn on pizza.

You eat pizza with chopsticks.

Whenever someone points a camera in your direction you flash the "peace" sign.

You're happy because the bicycle you stole this time has a light that works.

When someone asks you how you're doing, you think about it and respond "so-so."

You think a "2-3" count in baseball is correct.

You wait patiently in an orderly line for the next train, but when it arrives you rush for the doors and push aside people trying to get off.

You say "going to" instead of "gonna."

You can use a public toilet without taking your pants off completely.

Your friends back home say, "Stop correcting my grammar."

Your friends back home say, "Stop grunting."

At a bar in your home country you ask the bartender for "a beer."

You can tell Asahi and Kirin beer apart. (And you swear it's 10 times better than Budweiser.)

You call your day off a "holiday."

You consider "driving" a legitimate hobby.

You have more than 10 print club stickers of yourself.

You've lived in your apartment for six months before realizing you've never actually met your neighbors.

At McDonald's you order "fried potato."

You walk to the local 7-eleven in plastic sandals that are too small for your feet.

You watch Pretty Woman and think, "Gee, Julia Roberts is fat."

You watch American TV and are horrified to see people wearing shoes in the house.

You return to your home country for a visit and your first impression is "Wow, look at all the gaijin!"

You start getting annoyed at how inconveniently long things are written in romaji.

You forget the English word for "romaji."

You stop making eye contact with people when you talk to them.

You are no longer surprised when people ask you how old you are right after meeting you.

You are not surprised to wake up in the morning and find that the woman who stayed over last night has completely cleaned your apartment, even though you'll probably never see her again.

You return to your home country for a visit and find beer cans disappointingly small.

You start buying food in quantities that will last for only one or two days.

You give up asking people what the food is before you eat it.

You notice that you have forgotten how to tie shoelaces.

You rush onto an escalator and then just stand there.

You are talking on the telephone to your parents and your father says, "Why are you interrupting my explanation with grunts?"

You're talking on the phone and your mother asks you what "genki" means.

You see a fellow foreigner on the train and you think, "Wow, It's a gaijin!"

You start thinking canned coffee tastes good.

You wait for the first day of summer to wear short-sleeve dress shirts.

The first option you buy for your car is a TV set.

You don't think its unusual for a truck to play "It's a Small World" while backing up.

You leave your expensive bottle of Royal Salute with a sleazy bartender and don't worry.

You appear for your first ski lesson with brand-new Rossignol high performance racing skis, an aerodynamic racing suit with color matched goggles. And then snowplow down.

You squat while waiting for the bus to come.

You phone an English-speaking gaijin friend and somehow can't bring yourself to get to the point for the first 3 minutes of the conversation.

You have forgotten how to say "no" and instead offer vague explanations as to why something might not be a good idea.

You automatically remember all of your important dates in Showa numbers.

You have mastered the art of simultaneous bowing and hand shaking.

You think the best part of TV is the commercials.

You think wet umbrellas need condoms.

You have trouble figuring out how many syllables there really are in words like "building." The correct answer, by the way, is three. Wait, maybe four.

You spend all of your time trying to think of reasons why you've been in Japan too long.

You start categorizing your students as "burnable" or "non-burnable" and accidentally refer to them as Gomi-san.

You watch American TV and think that all of the actresses have fake boobs (not just on Baywatch).

You scold school kids for being too loud on the train.

You think Japanese TV shows are funny.

You begin speaking in the present simple tense.

You have been working at NOVA too long (a week) when you think about the present simple.

You include karaoke in your list of hobbies.

You have a list of hobbies.

You include masturbating in that list, without fear of being questioned about it because your students will just nod and say "so desu" even though they don't have a clue.

You can't make any decisions on your own.


Anonymous jenska said...

This explains some things!
Thanks for another installment -- a nice way to get a weekend morning started.

10:19 AM  

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