I came to Japan 8 years ago. I have always been different from the people who were born here... I am taller than them, curvier than them, have blonder, curlier hair than them, bluer eyes than them, and of course have trouble communicating with them on a native level.

So I can understand why I might be intimidating... why people might not want to talk to me... why kids might point at me, or tell their parents I am `scary`.

I don`t understand why people find it necessary to point out the obvious however. I know I am not Japanese. You know I am not Japanese... so why say it out loud? Why look at me and say `Gaijin`, or nudge your friend in the ribs and say `Gaijin`.

I have friends who hate the word `Gaijin`. It means `outsider` or `outside person`... but it isn`t the word that bothers me so much. If you are going to expend the energy telling me that I am not Japanese, why don`t you say `Ohayou` (good morning) or `Konbanwa` (good evening) instead? Make the world a happier, friendlier place?

Before I had a baby, I can count on one hand the number of times strangers talked to or approached me when I was out in public. At least 2 of them were drunk, creepy old men accosting me with `Sex, want!`, or `How much?` and others were odd, to say the least. That`s less than 5 people, in 8 years!

A friend of mine came to Japan (from NZ) for my wedding and was asked to appear in a magazine the first day she walked outside of her hotel! During her one-week stay she was also approached to get a free haircut! Nice!

Since Aiden was born, at least one person every day talks to us when we go out. 99% of them just want to say `Kawaii` (cute) or to touch Aiden`s chubby cheeks, but some of them have questions, like why he looks japanese, or if he is ha-fu (half japanese).

Does having a baby make me more approachable? I suppose that makes sense... I guess.

Either way it is all very peculiar!


  1. I've found exactly the same - was barely talked to until Little S came on the scene - now it can be several times a day! Usually older ladies, and they almost always try to touch her. I try not to be too uptight but I just want to smack their hands away ;)

    Also find that having her with me removes the gaijin barrier on trains - hardly ever an empty seat next to me now!

  2. It is an interesting phenomenon in Japan. Also interesting to note that when I'm in Western countries, I don't remember getting weird stares or people whispering behind my back that I'm "Asian"... :P

    Ai @ <a href="'> Sakura Haruka </a>

  3. My boys look more Western so people are often surprised that their daddy is Japanese and that shock horror I speak and understand Japanese.

    Recently in an elevator I had the double stroller and I was with my MIL, FIL and hub {house meeting!} and some older men and women, maybe late 60s or early 70s started commenting on how cute Noah was and look at his curls and big eyes and blah blah blah and I smiled at one of them and he said to me in Japanese "kawaii to iu no imi wakarimasu ka" and my MIL laughed because I had just been speaking to her in Japanese about something in front of these people yet they thought I might not understand what "kawaii" meant....

    It is this kind of talking about me or about mykids as if I dont understand thing though that gets me.

    People are oblivous. I used to think it was just here though but it isn` get oblivous people everywhere.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

What is a chanchanko (ちゃんちゃんこ)?

Maternity clothing in Japan

Where to buy baby clothes in Osaka