Being a Gaijin

I will not write what I did every day , because I have to admit that the next few days in Tokyo I struggled with insomnia and I was sleeping until the afternoon, late afternoon. I am ashamed because I ‘ve wasted a few days. I woke up late and I was already tired ! So I was strolling through neighbourhood, I was walking near the harbor, I was taking pictures..

As I was walking, I passed a school trip, actually pre-school (all in uniforms !). Kids not yet fully adapted to life in Japanese society began staring at me, surprised and smiling. When I went next to them I heard the word ” gaijin ” (pronounced Guy-Gin ). What does it mean and why they named me like this ?

Gaijin is an abbreviation of Gaikokujin 外国人and means – a foreigner .

So they were right . I’m a gaijin !
Is that good or bad?

Being a gaijin in Japan has its pluses and minuses.

Let’s start with the pros. Japanese have rules , wherever they are they have to play certain roles imposed by society. They bow, apologize (for everything , even when they leave the shop) , are very polite (interesting fact – verbs don’t have conjugation but there are different forms depending on how much polite you want to be ^ ^) . They are usually calm and quiet. They take off their shoes in many places, and have a completely different food culture. There are more of these rules, but it all does not apply to gaijin. When I entered with Japanese into a small museum with a non-shooting pictures sign, friends told me “But you can take pictures, you are gaijin” . So I can scream loud, eat with a knife and fork, talk to all saying YOU and I will be forgiven and even received a smile! Of course I do not recommend anyone to break the rule of law , because foreigners are punished the same way as the Japanese and even more severely when they do not have a passport with them.

Now move to the negatives . Although I know some Japanese, some people don’t want to talk to me . They pretend they don’t see me! Why? They are afraid that they will not understand me. They don’t want to ” lose face”. The problem also occurs when you decide to stay in Japan longer. You can be not accepted. Because you’re gaijin , because you are different ….

More examples of discrimination against foreigners in a very interesting article here (in polish, but try with google translator :D)

And photos from my walks.


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