Becoming Japanese

Here are the top 10 reasons why I feel I may have been in the Tokyo sauna a bit too long.

10 -> I can sit patiently for 20 minutes while the person across from me formulates an answer to my question.

09 -> I will carry garbage around in my briefcase for days until I find the appropriate bin.

08 -> I find myself annoyed by foreigners, especially Americans. They talk too loud and excessively, and point at others with their fingers…just as I used to.

07 -> When making a purchase, I feel the obsession to minimize the number of coins I end up with.

06 -> My eyes now appropriately glaze over with detachment as I ride the train. When I get off an hour later, I can’t remember a single one of the faces that had been sitting across from me. However, I will spot every small object dropped behind by others and quickly alert them.

05 -> I feel acute guilt when I wear shoes in my own apartment, even with no one else around.

04 -> I can now expertly impart social guilt upon a violator of social mores by by staring past them with a barely detectable expression of scorn.

03 -> I can ride my bicycle while talking on my phone and holding an umbrella.

02 -> I simply smile and shrug whenever I lose my wallet and happily await its return without the slightest worry.

01 -> Yesterday, while walking pass a barber standing in the doorway of his shop, I became acutely aware of my bald head, bowed and apologized. No kidding.

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4 thoughts on “Becoming Japanese

  1. sillionshine says:

    I can now expertly impart social guilt upon a violator of social mores by by staring past them with a barely detectable expression of scorn.

    I shudder to think what kinds of unthinking assaults on Japanese conventions I would perpetrate. I don’t think I could function in a society infused with such a degree of subtlety. Well, that is to say I could function perfectly well, I would just be thought of as a uncivilized foreign devil by everyone, and all to my unknowing bliss.

    I also wonder what the Japanese make of in-your-face, tell-it-like-it-is ‘fair dinkum’ Australians and of that Land Without Formality, New Zealand.

    Do these legions of Japanese tourists return from their holidays and whisper to their relatives in hushed tones “Great places, but my god the people…”?

  2. Mike Antonelli says:

    1) Have you bowed to the other person on the other end of a the cell phone conversation yet ??
    2) Have you ever thought the best way to approach someone might be thru a third party versus directly .
    3) Have you found yourself saying ” Gochiso samadeshita” to the chef on the way out of a good restaurant and of course ” Itadakimasu” at the start of the meal . and then there is the proverbial “kampai” but more importanttly, have you sat there and not taken a drink out of your glass yet becuase others haven’t been served and some time has gone by and you are patiently waiting for all to be served and then the Kampai??

  3. McDaddyo says:

    “Do these legions of Japanese tourists return from their holidays and whisper to their relatives in hushed tones “Great places, but my god the people…”? ”

    My guess is that few do. For a typical Japanese, that would be like coming back from the South Pole with the observation that it’s a bit cold.

    Japanese people assume foreigners will, by definition, behave widely at odds with Japanese customs. What they’re more likely to report back is: Hey, you wouldn’t believe how many Australians can use chopsticks…or speak Japanese, or bowed or…

  4. Mike Antonelli says:

    One of my colleagues just returned from Iceland. Her comments were about the land, the water, the hot springs , ie. all things natural ( and so Shinto ).

    Non Japanese people? Hell, everyone outside of Japan is a known barbarian. They don’t need to come back and spread that word . ha ha ha ha ha ha ha .

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