lifestyle

Five types of foreigner you’ll meet in Japan

132 Comments
By Philip Kendall, RocketNews24

Japan attracts all kinds of people from all over the world. Some come to work, others come to play, and thanks to its relatively low crime levels, high standard of living and abundance of delicious food, Japan is a very easy place to call home for a while. Plus, isn’t Japan where all those anime, video games and ninjas come from? It’s got to be worth a visit!

But today, instead of talking about the myriad things Japan has to offer visitors, we’re going to have a bit of fun by taking a closer look at some of the visitors themselves. You might not encounter each of these five types of people if you’re staying in Japan for just a couple of weeks, but if you’re here for work or an extended sojourn, then you’re bound to meet at least a couple of them along the way…

Let’s start off where the majority of us begin when we touch down in Japan for the very first time:

The Kid in the Candy Store

It’s easy to get a little bit over-excited when you arrive in Japan for the first time. For many, setting foot in The Land of the Rising Sun is something that they’ve daydreamed about for years as they marvelled at the country’s quirkier exports and read all about the strange and wonderful goings-on via certain Japan-based news sites. Some, however, get a little bit too overwhelmed by it all and spend their first few weeks—or even months—running around like a kid at the peak of a massive sugar high. “Oh. My. God. A vending machine on a street corner! Wait, is there one that dispenses panties too? I bet there is! Quick, get a photo of me biting this rice ball. You guys, we have to do purikura. And then go to karaoke! And a maid cafe! Wait, did you just say this place is all-you-can-drink? ALL YOU CAN DRINK? Japan, I love you! Kanpaaaai!”

The Plastic Sensei

But while the bright-eyed newbies are having the time of their lives, over in the corner of that very same izakaya, a stoney-faced man is scowling into his tiny cup of sake. His fellow foreigners’ squeals of joy are a tremendous embarrassment to him. “Don’t they know that’s not how people behave here in Japan?” he says to no one in particular. “Honestly, some of these gaijin just have no idea…”

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Plastic Sensei. As a result of reading hundreds of books and manga and watching one too many anime over the years prior to his arrival in the country, he thinks he has a pretty good idea of what Japan — and what it is to be Japanese — is all about, and no amount of Japanese people preferring beer to sake, failing to decorate their homes appropriately during public holidays, or not being experts in some form of martial art is ever going to change that.

Common traits among Plastic Sensei types include: routinely forgetting their native language; claiming to be perfectly comfortable sitting in seiza (despite the fact that most native Japanese hate sitting like this); throwing up peace signs for every single purikura photo they’re in (but looking decidedly solemn for commemorative pics); using the correct pronunciation of words like karaoke and karate, even when speaking in English and to other foreigners; and never, ever, missing an opportunity to wear traditional Japanese garb for events and festivals. The Plastic Sensei is more Japanese than most native Japanese are, and he’s not shy about showing it.

Hateimus Japanicus

On the other end of the spectrum, we have a character so riddled with anger and distaste for all things Japan that you’d be forgiven for wondering why he doesn’t just go home. “Must they be quite so loud?” he snaps as he enters Uniqlo and the staff call out a greeting in unison. “Do Japanese schoolgirls have a daily quota for saying the word "kawaii" or something?” “Why can’t anyone here ever give a straight answer instead of sucking their teeth and looking like they’ve just been kicked in the nuts!?”

If you’ve long dreamed of coming to Japan, the thought of hating everything about the place may seem nigh-on impossible, but you’d be amazed at the number of foreigners living in Japan, mostly in the urban hubs, who spend a significant amount of their day being angry about pretty much everything the country stands for. Some, admittedly, are just incredibly homesick, never quite got past that initial culture shock phase, and just want to go home. But there are others who will happily renew their contract with their employer, extend their visa for another year, and make no effort whatsoever to leave, yet continue to bitch and moan about all the things they hate about Japan.

Oh, and don’t even get them started on those “microaggressions” the Japanese are all guilty of. You do you know that the Japanese people secretly hate all foreigners, right? It’s true; you can tell by the way they hold their spoons and wear warm hats in winter.

The Bubble Dweller

Ah, the Bubble Dweller. Truly a marvel to behold. He’s lived in Japan for the best part of 10 years, works with Japanese people every day, and only visits home once a year or so. And yet somehow he has managed to pick up approximately three words of Japanese and has zero desire to learn any more.

The Bubble Dweller is actually perfectly happy living in Japan, but that’s mostly down to the fact that their heart is still very much back in their homeland and they exist predominantly in a microcosm of their own creation, tuning out almost all aspects of Japanese language and culture.

Notable Bubble Dweller character traits include: visiting wholesale or import stores at least two or three times a month to bulk-buy treats and snack foods from back home; associating only with other foreigners (or Japanese who speak virtually native-level English and kind of wish their were foreigners too); never turning on their TV set unless it’s hooked up to something streaming shows from back home (though perhaps this one’s understandable); drinking only in places like British or Irish-themed pubs or where other non-Japanese congregate; and eating out a lot so they don’t have to read the cooking instructions on anything bought from the regular supermarket. It’s easy to mock the Bubble Dweller, but in a way it’s kind of impressive how little they’ve let being thousands of miles away from home change them.

The Secret Ninja

Finally, we come to the character type you’re least likely to encounter during your stay in Japan, not because they don’t exist in their droves, but because they’re so incredibly inconspicuous. Everything the Plastic Sensei so vehemently purports to be, the Secret Ninja actually is, i.e. virtually Japanese. He’s fluent in the lingo, socialises with Japanese people (yet doesn’t shun his fellow foreigners), and he knows a vast amount about the country and its little quirks.

Yet, unlike the Plastic Sensei, this person’s knowledge is rooted firmly in reality. Just like native Japanese people, he often blanks when trying to write a tricky kanji character; he cannot locate every single Japanese prefecture on a map or tell you what year the Meiji Era ended without having to pull out his smartphone; he doesn’t claim to be a master of Japanese grammar or begin sentences with “Actually, I think you’ll find…” whenever a new arrival mispronounces a word or mixes up their tenses. Like his namesake, the Secret Ninja often goes completely undetected, but when you see one in action you’ll have no doubt in your mind that you’re dealing with a true pro.

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- 10 things Japan gets horribly wrong -- 10 things Japan gets awesomely right -- You’re probably not as genki as this old lady!

© Japan Today

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132 Comments
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How about the Iranian guy working in a kebab stand who left his country to get away from the religious oppression? Or the Nigerian guy working as a construction worker. Or the Korean lady cleaning hospitals who fell madly in love with her Japanese husband 20 happy years ago. Or the Chinese couple running a tiny clothes store arguing every single night next to my bedroom because she wants to bring her family to Tokyo while he is desperately pleading: "but we left China to get away from them!". Or the Greek criminal anthropologist professor who was constantly harassed by her Japanese colleagues just because she was a woman. Or the Argentinian guy with his own design company who loves it here. Or the guy running a bar in Yokohama for 50+ years who calls the guys with the tats when there is a problem. Or the British guy with the nose stuck to his forehead trying to teach the Japanese how to properly write in romaji. Or the guy from Bangladesh, modern and open minded as any of us, with an extremely religious conservative family who destroyed his marriage with his Japanese wife. Or the Philippine girls spending their nights and youth at the local kyabakura keeping company to drunks who just can't keep their hands to themselves.

I wonder which of the 5 types these foreigners belong to. But I guess all these decent people struggling on a daily basis to fit in and make a living are just not funny enough so we'll never hear how they see Japan.

29 ( +34 / -5 )

Loved the drawing of the 5 foreigners. Good to know that all foreigners in Japan are white!

24 ( +32 / -8 )

Ah yes another stereo-type hit piece.

23 ( +34 / -11 )

I'd say there is no shortage of the Hateimus Japanicus category posting on Japan Today's discussion boards.

20 ( +34 / -14 )

Maybe true for many western foreigners, this article neglects many aspects of Asian (Chinese, Korean) etc living in Japan, though some of them could apply towards them as well.

A group missing is the foreigner that is only a foreigner because Japanese law doesn't allow those born in Japan to parents who are not Japanese to be Japanese. Know a couple of people who are "foreign looking" to Japanese people, have foreign passports, but were born and grew up in Japan and speak Japanese, they aren't acting or playing it out, it is truly what they are. This is a little different from the "secret ninja" described above.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

'bitch and moan about all the things they hate about Japan.'

I'm a Brit. Bitching and moaning is a fine British tradition tradition and a great stress reliever. I explained this to my Japanese coworkers who thought I was singling out Japan. I have an enormous range of things I bitch and moan about. It doesn't mean I hate Japan.

A bit more bitching and moaning from Japanese people rather than bottling up the stress or shrugging with 'a can't be helped' may not be a bad thing. There I go again....

15 ( +22 / -7 )

Some foreigners hate me for smiling or nodding my head at them on the train, like as if they're disappointed that another foreigner would have the nerve to invade the space that they alone have discovered. Others even cross the street to avoid me. Yet some grab and hug me , Great country Japan where the common language is Japanese no matter what part of the planet you are from and most of us can get by on a little English from time to time.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

'Came to Japan because he heard you could 'play the field' with the local girls'

Why do people frown upon this? If I'd have come to Japan single, I'd have done it.

The more annoying types are those who love the bitchy "He wouldn't be popular in his own country" comments when seeing a foreign man with an attractive Japanese woman or call him "a loser". I wonder how many of these 'winners' are picking up Goldman Sachs salaries. My wife's American, British and Aussie friends sometimes come out with this and it sounds low and catty. I think it's a nice thing to see 'losers' or supposedly unattractive people enjoying themselves.

14 ( +14 / -2 )

Some foreigners hate me for smiling or nodding my head at them on the train

I have experienced this many times in Japan. You can go a week without running into another foreigner out in the countryside. You get on the short train on the side of some remote mountain and the big gaijin dude sitting four spots down from the door looks at you for a microsecond and quickly averts his eyes as if he had just seen the one thousand and first old Japanese guy of the day. Where is the camaraderie of the shared experience of living in a foreign country? I get the impression that many of these people are of the Plastic Sensei variety. They want you to ignore the obvious and assume he is just another Japanese person. I don't get it.

11 ( +13 / -3 )

'I do not understand how someone can move to a foreign country and deliberately not learn a thing about the place, but try to come across as the expert. Quite odd deshoka'

I do. Some come here for work, don't plan to stay and don't see any value in studying Japanese. That's fair enough. I've also met a Japanese coworker's wife who lived in the US for three years with him and couldn't do much more than order in a restaurant in English. That's also fair enough.

Can I also bitch and moan about English speakers who like to drop Japanese expressions into conversations in English with native English speakers? I have a friend who constantly dropped 'chigau' and 'ne?' into the conversation until we started taking the piss out of him for it. Horribly pretentious and just plain naff.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Careful, guys: how you react to this is gonna pigeonhole ya.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Oh, the never ending appeal of over-generalization... :)

9 ( +16 / -7 )

Little or nothing in this world is formed in isolation, especially social animals like humans. The fact that foreigners in Japan will forever be just that should be considered an important factor to explain why so few "foreigners" will feel truly at home here.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

These are not only caricatures but recycled caricatures. This was somewhat funny in the 80s--but only if you just got here.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Let's see, in my experience there's Sleepy, Grumpy, Lazy, Loudy and Drunky. Did I miss anyone :)

9 ( +11 / -2 )

The more annoying types are those who love the bitchy "He wouldn't be popular in his own country" comments when seeing a foreign man with an attractive Japanese woman or call him "a loser".

Ha ha - spot on Jimizo! I think you've just singled out another lovable "type" sadly omitted...THE CHARISMA MAN!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Keika1628 Ha haaaaa! I love the foreigners who think they are so Japanese that would never deign to actually acknowledge another foreigner, let alone even contemplate speaking to one. Toss pots.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

This article can only be described as junk.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

great list ... you could also add 'The Loser', a species of white male who really wanted to be in the marines back home but didnt make the cut. Came to Japan because he heard you could 'play the field' with the local girls although you never see him with a girl. He practices karate at the local dojo and is friends with the all the black belts as this seems to impress the english language groupies who fawn over his apparant prowess. He doesnt really make any money and his Japanese language skills are good but never good enough to actually pass one of the JLPT proficiency tests. He cant go back home because there is nothing to go home to so he remains in Japan - a legend in his own mind

7 ( +12 / -5 )

"One type of foreigner article you'll read in Japan"

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Applies to any nation on Earth. I've lived in four countries and these five types exist in all of them.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@Jim

Spot on. Britain's (maybe that should be England's) greatest gifts to the world are football, sarcasm and complaining.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Ive seen this type of commentary about gaijin allot. Which catagory does the author fall in? The self congradulating one? I think every gaijin has to play a role in each catagory throughout their long term stay.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This is because there is nothing worthwhile for them to go back to. They are essentially the undesirables or losers in their home country.

What a horrid, and mean spirited knob you are. I'm sure there are many foreigners who'd like to return to their own countries, feel they can't because they have children, and wives who are not willing to wrench themselves away from the only life they know. Please do not generalise, you smug get.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

@Kabukilover

These are not only caricatures but recycled caricatures. This was somewhat funny in the 80s--but only if you just got here.

Another expat caricature: the I've been here longer so I know better. Kind of like the actress who gets busted for something and asks 'Do you know who I am?'

6 ( +10 / -4 )

zones2surf: "Loved the drawing of the 5 foreigners. Good to know that all foreigners in Japan are white!"

Exactly. Says a lot about the article and the idea of what makes a 'foreigner', and needless to say it's just rash generalization.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

You could add a category of "Guys who have been here long enough to feel confident in creating a taxonomy of their fellow foreigners but not long enough to make it even remotely accurate or entertaining."

I have seen a lot of these lists over the years. This one suffers from the fact that it basically offers caricatures specific to Western men in Japan, who obviously only make up a tiny proportion of all foreigners. So the title is misleading.

Moreover, if you were to fix that problem by limiting your purported focus to Western men, there are two approaches you could take. The first would be to try to create an accurate taxonomy based on observation, the second would be to ignore accuracy and instead just try to make it funny.

The author has gone for the latter, but I feel the results just are not particularly good. Funny stuff should be original, but this just feels like a collection of stuff I have read a thousand times before. If you create a listicle it should introduce new observations that your audience hadn't thought of before because that is where the audience draws the entertainment value from. This just left me feeling pretty meh.

I guess you could add yet another category of "foreigners who tsk tsk light hearted articles about foreigners".

6 ( +9 / -3 )

A sixth type of foreigner would be the ones who come to Japan very briefly to spend loads of money buying Japanese stuff and then quickly leave before the hate on them by the locals becomes extremely obvious.

6 ( +9 / -4 )

Can I also bitch and moan about English speakers who like to drop Japanese expressions into conversations in English with native English speakers? I have a friend who constantly dropped 'chigau' and 'ne?' into the conversation until we started taking the piss out of him for it. Horribly pretentious and just plain naff.

For the most part I don't like this so much, but that said, I can't claim I don't do it sometimes as well. But not with 'ne', or something like 'chigau', but more with concepts expressed better in Japanese than English.

6 ( +7 / -2 )

Which category would the Nigerian touts in Roppongi belong to? lol

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Title should be, 5 of the many types of westerner one might find anywhere overseas.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Good to know that all foreigners in Japan are white! LOL didnt you know that all law abiding gaijin are white and Americans, the rest are visa overstayers and criminals to be feared!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I live here because I want to.

Sure I moan about some things and praise others...but I did that back in the UK too didn't I??? Though the article has some truth to it, and I have seen some of those traits in myself and others...it is a gross generalisation that just brings up the same tired stereotypes that actually makes me want to leave.

As for the disgruntled gaijin stereotype...they way we are often treated would never be accepted behaviour back home.

Is being truly Japanese all about having the epicanthal fold?? I sometimes think that the respect I show for Japan and the disrespect some Japanese often show makes me technically......more Japanese?

But wait...Oh...the eyes (sigh)

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Apparently there aren't any foreign women in Japan.

I'm pretty lucky, most of my colleagues are Secret Ninjas and very easy to get along with.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I'm a Brit. Bitching and moaning is a fine British tradition tradition and a great stress reliever. I explained this to my Japanese coworkers who thought I was singling out Japan. I have an enormous range of things I bitch and moan about. It doesn't mean I hate Japan.

Spot on Jimizo, spot on. The most truthful comment I've read on this site.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

These categories are simply stages in culture shock, more or less. Some folks just stay stuck is an earlier stage while some move through them as they live here.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The darker skinned foreigners have their own special "5 type" thread then? Is this list only for white people?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

@IIIyas

I guess you can't have a light-hearted article anymore without the social justice crowd getting their panties in a twist because they aren't being pandaed to, even when the article in question is basically making fun of Westerners

Look this is a serious discussion about social justice, not about endagerend animals. I'd appreciate it if we could stay on topic hmmmmm?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Why do people think you must greet another foreigner if passing by? Perhaps you may not come by many foreigners in your daily life but I am sorry this isnt some sacred secret little country where we acknowledge each other based on thinking the other is a foreigner. You may think the other is a foreigner but is actually not one. Also, did you greet everyone in your home country as you passed by?

In my home country, it's actually quite common to give people you don't know a greeting when passing on the street.

I'll greet someone on the street if they greet me, and sometimes even if they aren't. No big deal either way, and being friendly means sometimes meeting friendly people.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I wonder which of the 5 types these foreigners belong to. But I guess all these decent people struggling on a daily basis to fit in and make a living are just not funny enough so we'll never hear how they see Japan.

Good point. There's actually more of non-Japanese Asians in Japan than there are Westerners. Aside from those places you mentioned you'll also see them working hard in convenience stores, gyudon shops and fast food chains. They blend well with the locals that oftentimes it's just their accent or their nametags that give away that they're not Japanese.

But of course, stereotyping the foreigner as a typical Anglo-saxon male is the standard when writing a piece about people who come to Japan. Surprise, surprise.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Creating such classifications is something I abandoned long time ago. To believe in such categorizations is to simply turn off your rational thinking and replace it with predefined set of definitions. That's the shortest way to prejudice and judging people you know nothing about.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Pretty sure I read this article in 1995.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

You missed the wannabe Samurai.

The person who fell in love with ancient Japan and even uses Middle Japanese in the street and for whom nothing is nicer than to relax in an onsen after having spent more than two days in several ryokan while trying to follow the old Nakasendo or Tokaido.

You will find these also in your local Koryu Bujutsu school engaged in Keiko, or on a Samurai re-enactment where the wearing of armor and daisho is allowed. This because he is not allowed to wear a daisho in every day Japan and whenever he goes to a hairdressers to ask for a chommage they look funny at him.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I am seriously stumped. Why do people think you must greet another foreigner if passing by? Perhaps you may not come by many foreigners in your daily life but I am sorry this isnt some sacred secret little country where we acknowledge each other based on thinking the other is a foreigner. You may think the other is a foreigner but is actually not one.

Hmm...I don't know about everyone else on this thread but a few of the people I've casually greeted or had small talk with for the simple fact that they were foreign I ended up becoming pretty decent friends with. You do have a point in saying that not everyone who "looks foreign" is foreign however. I have some exotic looking friends who don't speak a lick of English.

Also, did you greet everyone in your home country as you passed by?

Genmaken, yes, I did if we were the only people in the elevator, the only people crossing paths on the sidewalk, if we made eye contact, and the like. Common manners that my parents taught me and not only exclusive to foreigners living in Japan actually. I say hello to Japanese people and foreigners alike in all of the aforementioned situations and have made some very wonderful friends and business partnerships because I was "friendly".

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Liked it, everyone wants to be The Secret Ninja, and a lot imagine they are.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Japan is perhaps like the only place in East-Asia where expats can be easily assayed into those five categories beyond the bubble dwellers who we are so familiar with from places like HK, SIN and KL. What's amazing is that Westerners who didn't live through the Japanese Property Bubble are putting time and effort into learning Japanese shinjitai kanji.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Fun to read. In stitches some part. Thanks for good laugh on a rainy sunday morning.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Very good.

Love the plastic sensei although I'm sure it will make uncomfortable reading for some.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@crustpunker

Actually there's a quite a number of black weaboos that would fit into these categories. But I guess you can't have a light-hearted article anymore without the social justice crowd getting their panties in a twist because they aren't being pandered to, even when the article in question is basically making fun of Westerners.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Funny,,,, There are no Gaijin in my Borg Cube. They all were assimilated.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No big deal either way, and being friendly means sometimes meeting friendly people.

Well Strangerland, isn't that a nice 180 from last week where you admitted to burying your head in your smartphone on the train in order to avoid talking to them. And I quote;

but one thing I've noticed is that old guys don't try to talk to me on the train as much when I'm using my phone as they used to back before I was always using my phone on the train.

That's a good thing.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The kid in the candy store... AKA the weeaboo

2 ( +8 / -6 )

I definitely have elements of all of them, except the first one, and the Loser, identified above, as well.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm a bubble-dweller and have no qualms with admitting it although, I have gone to the trouble of learning Japanese and don't always go to British pubs. I don't own a Jimbe either.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I think 'hateimus japanicus' is basically a myth. I've never met one in real life but if all you do is read internet comments, you might get the impression that they are the only type of foreigner in Japan.

It's easily explainable by the fact that most people only bother posting a comment if they feel strongly about a story, and emotions such as annoyance or anger are usually the ones that motivate people. What you never see is the 99% of nice and positive comments about Japan that they don't even bother sharing.

For example, the photo of the day showing Japanese people helping disabled children was nice, but nobody was motivated to share their thoughts about it. If it had been a story about wasteful government spending or a pervert stealing underwear then it probably would have got 100+ comments. That's just the distorted nature of the internet, and not a comprehensive reflection of what foreigners think about Japan.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@kyushubill

Exactly what I thought. More gaijin stereotype.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

'Not a myth, I'm afraid. In real life, they are too afraid to express their rhetoric in real life due to their incompetence in the Japanese language to the Japanese counterparts so they choose to express them in such medium as this site.'

I agree. I've met them. I think they should try to express their gripes and moans as best they can in Japanese. After all, plenty of Japanese trolls on this site express their gripes and moans about gaijin despite being less than competent in the English language. I've always respected your posts for this reason.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I like Japan and the Japanese.

I'd like to think I understand some of the culture and am willing not to be a burden. Or a pain.

I'm happy to be anyone's friend as long as they have an international outlook. We can talk film, comics, computers, and kids … life is too short to deal with haters.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I like this somewhat, but it should be called "Five types of Westerners..." Other foreigners exist here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Years ago I gave up trying to speak Japanese first when I met a Nihonjin in Japan. I now prefer to try English first and then gauge the listener's ability thereafter. If he or she is totally lost I switch to Japanese.... if not I stay with English. I find it less awkward this way. Got tired of me speaking Japanese and the person I met answering in English or broken English.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

theres only two type of gaijin in Japan, those that have been assimilated, those that refuse assimilation but have a high tolerance level to handle all the petty BS, the rest go home.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This article forgot about the majority of foreigners: Chinese, Koreans and Filipinos but then gaijin never includes them as opposed to gaikokujin.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Stranger - The question wasn't about greeting people you don't know on the street. It was about greeting people you don't know on the street solely on account of their being foreign. It's the opposite of being friendly, it's being discriminatory.

And I sometimes do it. I don't see it as a big deal. If the person is obviously avoiding it, I won't say anything, as I know that for whatever reason it makes a lot of people uncomfortable. But I figure anything that makes the world a little more friendly is a good thing. And many people are happy to give a greeting.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Disillusioned at Sep. 06, 2015 - 12:11PM JST I'm a bubble-dweller and have no qualms with admitting it although, I have gone to the trouble of learning Japanese and don't always go to British pubs. I don't own a Jimbe either.

I second that. I don't really appreciate being steryotyped. I've been here for a while, I'm married to my lovely Japanese wife, having a baby next year January, working at a lovely workplace, paying my taxes, accepted and loved by my in laws, friends with my actual Japanese neighbours, have good hobbies, and get to fly overseas every year exploring the world. I'm happy with my life.

Look at all the other cultures around the world? Is it wrong that they don't let go of their culture? Nope. I'm happy to be an Aussie living in Japan. I'm proud of that. Good to see I don't fit into 1 of those 5 dumb catergories.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Look this is a serious discussion about social justice, not about endagerend animals. I'd appreciate it if we could stay on topic hmmmmm?

You literally edited my post to include a typo I didn't make so that you could make fun of it. What the hell?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

You missed "Looking for Something New" - the westerner who has travelled a lot through western countries and needs somewhere new to travel to so they can stimulate their minds.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Hateimus Japonicus is strong on this site, for sure.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The Hateimus Japonicus is strong on this site, for sure. not as bad as the "Fearimus Gaijinicus" in the hearts of many Japanese.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Spot on! Thanks, JT, for the Sunday-morning pick-me-up.

1 ( +15 / -14 )

Loved the drawing of the 5 foreigners. Good to know that all foreigners in Japan are white!

to ensure that they can be harassed there easily , the anglo-saxon DNA

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Damn! Was hoping to find my pigeon hole, guess I have to wait some more!!

Yeah yeah I know some of you will say I fall into the hateimus category, but you would be mostly WRONG LOL!!

Most of us on jt calling it like it is TRULY wish for Japan to be great, get things right more than wrong, see peoples lives IMPROVE(not just decline), see Japan get along better with its neighbours, but a lot of these things simply aren't happening, too often the opposite.

So go ahead pigeon hole there is you want, but me I can vision WHERE Japan can & SHOULD now, I simply cringe at all the wasted opportunities I have witnessed.

Although I do indeed despise govt for the most part, they are truly bring Japan down more & more over time, I just wish Japan could turn itself around is all, see I am misunderstood by some of you, ok I forgive you LOL!!!

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Plastic Sensei used to be known as Hen-na Gaijin.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I'm probably somewhere between plastic sensei and secret ninja :)

1 ( +6 / -5 )

A bit more bitching and moaning from Japanese people rather than bottling up the stress or shrugging with 'a can't be helped' may not be a bad thing. There I go again....

Jimizo is on fire! Couldn't agree more.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Jimizo: "Can I also bitch and moan about English speakers who like to drop Japanese expressions into conversations in English with native English speakers?"

I think it depends. As Strangerland said, there are certain expressions or words in Japanese that are all encompassing or better suited to describing things in Japan than in English, and so in those cases it's not pretentious at all, in my opinion. For example, I think most foreigners, even when speaking with other foreigners, will use the word 'shinkansen' or 'conbini' or even 'genki' or what have you. But yes, if they're being pedantic or dropping in Chinese idioms, or god forbid suggesting they speak in only Japanese to each other when there are no Japanese who cannot speak their native language present, it's annoying. It's kind of like the reverse if you're invited to someone's house and they invite friends and, despite you speaking fluent Japanese, insist everyone use English with each other -- it's contrived and unnatural.

karlrb: "This article can only be described as junk."

Yup, and recycled junk at that. A better article would be a list on the people who see any particular foreigners fitting into any one category, but leaving out 99% of the foreigners here (ie. Chinese, Korean, Brazilian, Indian, Philippino, etc.). I think it's intended as a light, fun article, but it is really just fluff that's been said a thousand times.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

What an asinine article. As many have already pointed out, the same criteria could be applied to western expats living in other Asian countries. Typically the stages are, the honeymoon phase, the hateimus stage,as JT so eloquently puts it, and the acceptance stage. I bet even many Japanese living overseas lament the lack of safety and infrastructure. Think of all the Syrian and other refugees who would gladly give up their right testicle to be living in Japan. The reality simply is, those foreigners who are open minded enough to accept the differences and even quirks of living abroad, as apposed to those who complain about everything because they're losers in their home country.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

In one way or another, any person can fall into any of the five categories, or how many more out there...we have different ways of coping with a new environment. we are not fixed but dynamic beings.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am seriously stumped. Why do people think you must greet another foreigner if passing by?

This stumps me, too. Saying hello to 'Japanese people and foreigners alike' when the situation dictates, fair enough; but why make a point of greeting a total stranger just because they look (and looks can be deceptive) non-Japanese? If I happen to make eye contact with a person, then yes, a quick nod and a smile; but the other person doesn't need to be non-Japanese for that to happen.

Got tired of me speaking Japanese and the person I met answering in English or broken English.

They probably gauged your Japanese ability from your first words, reckoned it wasn't up to scratch and found it less awkward to try broken English? By initially speaking English and switching to Japanese once you have established that the other person is 'totally lost' you are basically starting the conversation off with a slap-down: you're doing to them what you got tired of having done to you. Do as you would be done by?

This is Japan and I assume people speak Japanese. Most folk I meet are more than happy - visibly relieved, in most cases - to be able to hold a conversation in Japanese. Usually easier for all concerned.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

BrainiacSep. 06, 2015 - 07:16AM JST I'd say there is no shortage of the Hateimus Japanicus category posting on Japan Today's discussion boards.

I dunno...the Hateimus Japonicus category could be people who, for family, relationship, work related reasons can not leave Japan even though they'd really like to. But why some people, and we all know who they are, hang around an internet forum for the sole purpose spewing hatred is beyond me.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@wtfjapan. Kudos. Actually, a very-very accurate comment.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The author forgot the Buffer:

the guy who explains Japan to the uncomprehending world.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

youve clearly been assimilated

What exactly is assimilation? What does that mean?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Cleo

It was about greeting people you don't know on the street solely on account of their being foreign. It's the opposite of being friendly, it's being discriminatory.

Oh, Cleo, my lovely Lancashire friend. Yes, it's technically discrimination, but for a good reason. If you met an old lady on a train and gave up your seat to her, that would be discrimination. "She looks old, I should give her my seat". Utterly judgemental. But surely right?

I say hello to anybody who looks foreign. Just because I'd like them to do the same to me. Nothing sinister....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I fully agree, Brainiac !

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think most expats are a combination of all 5. From my own personal experience, and through what I've seen in my friends & acquaintances, each stage lasts a number of months - even years. I've been coming to Japan for almost 20 years, lived for almost 10 straight, and it feels akin to the Kubler-Ross Change Curve (look it up). The Plastic Sensei is by far the most irritating of the 5!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The Plastic Sensei and the Hateimus Japanicus are often combined in one individual. Sometimes they even naturalise, but carry on hating.

There's a famous(ish) one out there somewhere... don't recall his name....

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I must be on of those losses but consider my very lucky, my partner is a 100% Japanese farmers Daugtner. But she consider herself a real winner. She constantly telling me, no Japanese male has a sexy bottom like mine

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I dont think I will ever understand the types that get all starry-eyed and think that they landed in paradise, the one's called here, "The kid in the candy store".

Japan is just like any other country in the world for the most part, it has it's good points and bad. It all comes down to what one makes of it for themselves.

So what about what other people think, or how they look at you, or whatever, in the long run none of it matters.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@Serrano, yeah I was wondering that too or what about the iranians? I guess we can't put them in any category since they actually "need" japan to sustain themselves and send money to their loved ones bck home.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If I ever make it to Japan, I'll do my best to avoid being the Kid in the Candy Store. I don't like to cause a scene, so I'll just have to bottle up my excitement. Don't think I'll be able to do anything about my eyes sparkling though. I'd like to become the Secret Ninja, but I've got a lot of work cut out for me yet.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This article should read 5 types of english teachers you'll meet in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think 'hateimus japanicus' is basically a myth. I've never met one in real life but if all you do is read internet comments, you might get the impression that they are the only type of foreigner in Japan.

Not a myth, I'm afraid.  In real life, they are too afraid to express their rhetoric in real life due to their incompetence in the Japanese language to the Japanese counterparts so they choose to express them in such medium as this site.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Can I also bitch and moan about English speakers who like to drop Japanese expressions into conversations in English with native English speakers? I have a friend who constantly dropped 'chigau' and 'ne?' into the conversation until we started taking the piss out of him for it.

You can, because it's dumb.

But it's also amazing how automatic some of these things become - for example I find that when I am home in Australia and someone tells a funny or interesting story I will go: 'Heeeeeeh!' without even being aware of it. Until they look at me like I have just developed Down's Syndrome. Or I will reply or start to say something in Japanese - until I get the same look. It can be tough to crack out of completely.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Stranger - The question wasn't about greeting people you don't know on the street. It was about greeting people you don't know on the street solely on account of their being foreign. It's the opposite of being friendly, it's being discriminatory.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Is 4 male / 1 female ratio gender-accurate?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ Cleo... it was after about 10 years of living in Japan that I switched.... and I had no problems holding a conversation in Japanese at the time. Especially nichijo-kaiwa. Although I do agree with you.... in my first two or three years of learning Japanese that probably was the case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@wtfjapan very defensive response from a Hateimus Japonicus haha.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@wtfjapan you speak for many Japanese, huh? haha. This site is too funny.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is easy to go on about one's business in the urban areas and choose whether or not to greet one of many non-Japanese. Interesting to talk with people of all walks of life on a train ride. Meeting non-Japanese at rural stations with few trains moving can be awkward. There is a time limit it seems. Get in at the beginning or forever hold your peace. It ain't gonna happen after 3 minutes from the initial awkward eye contact. But, one time, I struck up a conversation with a non-Japanese person, and it turned out that we had worked together 20 years earlier and time had taken it toll on us and we were unrecognizable but so happy to know the other was living life with all its ups and downs, births and deaths. Sometimes it seems like we should speak and the other doesn't want to. Particularly if one is a tourist. They will never ask me for directions. So, I do not want to interfere in their adventure. Others obviously have lived here a long time and simply do not want to strike up a conversation. Some reasons are that conversations between long term residents quickly become like a job interview or an interrogation, "What do you do here?" "Are you married?" "Kids?" "farming?" "PTA?" "Place of origin?" "Speak Japanese?" and on and on into the night. Or, the opposite, where they will tell you every minute aspect of their life in Japan and give their credentials, and how many fascinating hobbies they have. Simply exhausting for someone who may be late for a job interview, going on a date, have had a tragedy in the family, a marital fight, kid in the hospital, wanting to enjoy a much deserved day off, got transferred, demoted, promoted, stopped by police, has a hangover, or who seems to be of the same culture or nationality but in reality does not speak the same language. Forgive me for not greeting someone because they are non-Japanese on the train or street or festival or supermarket. I may want to but understand that others may not want to for whatever reason. Or, I may have a headache or be really tired.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As a generalization, it's a pretty good list.

So many Hateimus Japanicus foreigners on this site. I wonder if they'll recognize themselves when they read it.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Forgot the Nathan Algren syndrome.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Hateimus Japanicus :

"wondering why he doesn’t just go home". "make no effort whatsoever to leave"

"You do you know that the Japanese people secretly hate all foreigners, right? It’s true; you can tell by the way they hold their spoons and wear warm hats in winter."

The Message is clear => Hateimus Japanicus is undesirable here and is a paranoiac.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

As long as we don't start arguing with each other.if it really makes you feel better then by all means carry on slagging each other off .

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I can tell what category some of the people in this comment section fall into, just by their replies to this article

StragerL,

I sense some plastic like bits in that post LOL, just kidding..........I hope!

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

1 type of article about foreigners you'll read in Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

we are all human beings, whatever the differences, we are all yearning for a better life, whether you are japanese or not. the article seems like it is categorizing people like they are different and so have to be treated as such...reinforcing the idea that 'others' are something like a mess, not a good ingredients for a diverse environment.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

there are only two types for non-Japaneze here, those getting some action so to speak, and those wishing they were getting some action.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I am seriously stumped. Why do people think you must greet another foreigner if passing by? Perhaps you may not come by many foreigners in your daily life but I am sorry this isnt some sacred secret little country where we acknowledge each other based on thinking the other is a foreigner. You may think the other is a foreigner but is actually not one. Also, did you greet everyone in your home country as you passed by? If some one extends a gesture or says something sure, can reply back and a possible convo. I feel like people who make this statement expect some sort of high five and then have a talk about the wonders and magic of Japan and how special, etc. they are!

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I don't really appreciate being steryotyped.

Good to see I don't fit into 1 of those 5 dumb catergories.

Then you haven't been stereotyped, have you.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I'm a dichotomy.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I'm a dichotomy.

If "dichotomy" somehow means hypocrite in Greek, then yes.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Obviously I did not take the time to read the over 120 previous posts, so I apologize if my comment is redundant, but it seems to me the "author" missed possibly the most common type of foreigner in Japan -- at least on who is predominant here on JT, and that is the "I'm Stuckus in Japonicus". These are the thousands of folks, mainly men, who are either trapped in Japan because they are married to a Japanese woman, most usually with children, and cannot leave due to the unwilingness of the wife, or, the guys who take such great pride in having learned Japanese, and have a mid-level position at a Japanese company as a result, but cannot leave Japan, because neither their langauge skills, nor the business skills they have acquired, are transferrable to anywhere else. So they populate sites like JT defending Japan because they realize their fates are tied to a country that really does not want them, and a political and economic model that is broken and at least a decade behind the rest of the world, and they'll never get any higher in their Japanese company than they are right now. Plus all the contributions they are making to the national pension system won't be nearly enough to enjoy a decent retirement. But, at least they can take satisfaction in knowing the live someplace "safe".

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@wtfjapan Yawn, thats the best you got. Try again. Anyway im black and never encountered that situation, so dont speak on behalf of all of us. I dont sympathize with privileged white people like yourself.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

youve clearly been assimilated and are either now Japanese in thought and mind, or you could be a black Plastic Sensei, either way you still have NFI yawn! see a hundred like you LOL

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The only rule you need to remember is the 80% rule. 80% are disfuctional in their own society...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Mr. Grumpy says that this "list" is seriously oversimplified for the consumption of the proletariat. Fails to identify that genus of foreigner who actually excels in Japan within their selected fields. Also seems to be a bit of whitewashing going on here. Perhaps you should use the word "Whitey" or "Anglo-Saxon" rather than foreigner.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

But there are others who will happily renew their contract with their employer, extend their visa for another year, and make no effort whatsoever to leave, yet continue to bitch and moan about all the things they hate about Japan

This is because there is nothing worthwhile for them to go back to. They are essentially the undesirables or losers in their home country.

-2 ( +7 / -10 )

Of course there are NO "Hateimus Japanicus"!!!

NO, NO, NO! NOT AT ALL.

All there is very well intentioned gaijin whose only purpose is to criticise (constructively).

They want to elevate Japain to greatness, just like the countries they've left behind, paragons of social justice and greater human endeavours!

Thing is Japan is ALWAYS WRONG! And Japanese don't know any better. Hence the misunderstood "Hateimus Japanicus” must show their though love for Japain.

Nothing wrong with that, they're solely schooling Japain towards real enlightenment.

Hateimus Japanicus; what's that???

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Elizabeth, go easy on bitching and moaning. It's a good old British tradition, but here you bitch and moan only in very close friends and family members. Doing so in a broader public context can be seen as a sign of character flaw. It's sad and frustrating, but that's the way it is. No wonder suicide rates are high and nasty bullying persists in Japan. Suppressing ones emotions has its ugly side effects.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@wtfjapan you speak for many Japanese, huh? haha. This site is too funny. ask any black man living in Japan if any Japanese wants to sit beside him on the train/bus. I know many african black men in Japan, dont know of any that havent been a victim of "Fearimus Gaijinicus" from Japanese. why would a gaijin need to speak to Japanese to know if there being feared/mistrusted. You can see it the the faces body lanuage of Japanese. Im white but when I sit near a Japanese woman there bag suddenly seems to be more tightly pulled closer to them, this is much worse if your black. whats funny is somebody like you clearly has NFI

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

You do you know that the Japanese people secretly hate all foreigners, right?

Quite bizarre English there and you have me stumped. I would say American and he listens to Big Sean "You Don't Know." It is iffy, but you have me stumped.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I know a lot of Hateimus Japanicus are concentrated here on JT.

-3 ( +11 / -14 )

I liked the article, have friends /acquaintances in all mentioned categories. I just think that the name "secret ninja" is not good. Ninja means secret, there were no "non-secret" ninjas.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Fox Sora Winters. How old are you? You need to get out more. Your comments make it sound as if you think Japan is somehow different from the rest of the world. It ain't really. Kinda reminds me of a Romanian I once met in Cambodia. She seemed in awe and somewhat scared of Japan because of it's ''futuristic technology''. At any rate, you could try being a ''secret ninja'' just about anywhere in the world. @Peeping Tom. I hope you're being sarcastic. Such comments are typically made by those whom you would regard as an example of ''hateimus japanicus'' par excellence. Kind of like how the early European settlers tried to ''enlighten'' the rest of Asia because they didn't know any better.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

It must be terrible for a Brit to live in Japan, a non-Commonwealth country apart from France, where his ways are not the norm.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Phew! Glad I'm not one of those 5 examples.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I think 'hateimus japanicus' is basically a myth. I've never met one in real life but if all you do is read internet comments, you might get the impression that they are the only type of foreigner in Japan.

They exist, unfortunately they seem to have all the free time in the world to post their whinings and bitchings.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

lucabrasi: Spot on. Britain's (maybe that should be England's) greatest gifts to the world are football, sarcasm and complaining.

2014 World Cup final, Germany over Argentina, 1-0 in extra time.

How'd people stay awake for that one?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I find it hilarious that the Hateimus Japanicus here on JT seem to hate being called out on it.

Look at all them downvotes on comments that call it out.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

I like it when foreigners finally have to retire and move home. You know the ones...they think they know everything about Japan, but learned absolutely nothing.

When a Japanese friend asks me, well so and so is going home, how many years did he live here anyway?

I tell them to ask him how many words in Japanese he knows. If he know 27, he has been here 27 years, if he know 31, he has been here 31 years.

I do not understand how someone can move to a foreign country and deliberately not learn a thing about the place, but try to come across as the expert. Quite odd deshoka

-5 ( +4 / -10 )

If you’ve long dreamed of coming to Japan, the thought of hating everything about the place may seem nigh-on impossible, but you’d be amazed at the number of foreigners living in Japan, mostly in the urban hubs, who spend a significant amount of their day being angry about pretty much everything the country stands for. Some, admittedly, are just incredibly homesick, never quite got past that initial culture shock phase, and just want to go home. But there are others who will happily renew their contract with their employer, extend their visa for another year, and make no effort whatsoever to leave, yet continue to bitch and moan about all the things they hate about Japan.

foreigners come to japan with the delusion thinking that japan is good in fact when zainichi go outside to spread japanese culture ,,, they can't say to the people japan is extremely bad and tends to kill hikkomori ( and monitoring citizen by yakuza groups that's not a bad thing if you are saying it in a straight way like north korea )

even south korea has no popularity outside and they use to beautify japanese history , product ,etc

Where is the camaraderie of the shared experience of living in a foreign country? I get the impression that many of these people are of the Plastic Sensei variety. They want you to ignore the obvious and assume he is just another Japanese person. I don't get it.

He don't want to destroy the japanese national image in the world but he realizes that he can't because he has also filthy human desires , while is keeping himself silent I am sure that those hikkomori mentality was shocked by the true japanese identity as if there is a meteorite had hit their paradise , many of them sometimes back to america to take sleeping pill over the shock of evil asia

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

I can tell what category some of the people in this comment section fall into, just by their replies to this article!

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

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