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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Japan: Maybe I've Been Here Too Long

I came across this post and had to share it. I didn't write it and the credit goes to the original poster. It is an interesting insight into a different culture. Lists like this are funnier to the people living them but I believe even my friends not in Japan will appreciate. It offers a glimpse into culture that no travel guide can point out. If you have any questions or comments after reading this, I'd love to answer them. And for the record, a lot of these apply to me.

The 101 Signs You've Been in Japan Too Long

posted by John Spacey, Japan Talk, September 19, 2012

At some point every foreign resident of Japan starts to wonder — have I been here too long? Here are the top signs you've been in Japan so long that you're basically Japanese:

1. When you're outside Japan you still call non-Japanese gaijin.

2. You've continued to work through a shindo 3 earthquake without slowing down or bothering to mention it.

3. You're giving the peace sign in most of your Facebook photos. 

4. You start to get nervous when there are too many gaijin in a bar. 

5. You don't find engrish funny anymore. 


6. You're allergic to cedar. 

7. Most of your vacations are geared towards taking hot baths. 

8. You've started to reserve seats with your wallet / purse. You don't have the slightest worry that it might be stolen. 

9. You get the urge to stare at gaijin. 

10. You bow when you're on the phone. 

11. You no longer feel that 3 seat bars are all that small. 

12. You regularly use a manga cafe as a hotel

13. When your train is one minute late you start to think it's your fault (maybe you have the wrong information). 

14. You no longer remember the English names for most types of fish. 

15. You're curious about people's blood type. 

16. You join Japanese bus tours outside of Japan. 

17. You've started buying those strange English t-shirts. 


18. You can't read a book in public that doesn't have a book cover. 

19. You're starting to believe that romaji is English. 

20. You ask people to "teach" you their phone number. 

21. You own a mama chari

22. It no longer bothers you that OIOI is pronounced marui. 

23. You get annoyed when young Japanese people use informal Japanese. 

24. You've become extremely nostalgic about sakura

25. You regularly sleep at work

26. You've often wished you had a doko demo door. 

27. You remember important dates by the heisei (平成) year. 

28. You start to think that oyaji gyagu are funny (the corny jokes told by middle aged Japanese men). 

29. You can ride a bicycle with a tiny clear plastic umbrella and not get wet. 

30. You can wear a yukata properly. 

31. You mumble Oh toh toh toh when someone pours your beer for you. 

32. You start feeling that many Japanese futon are too soft. 

33. You say heeeeey a lot. 

34. You enjoy cooking your own food at restaurants. 

35. You don't pull over when police flash their lights. 

36. At the first sign of a cold you wear a mask. 

37. You often ask police for directions. 

38. You can sing enka at Karaoke. 

39. When you use a taxi in your home country — you wait for the door to open automatically. 

40. You have accidentally apologized in Japanese in your home country. 

41. You don't feel Shibuya is all that crowded. 

42. You turn your headlights off when you come to a stoplight. 

43. You eat curry rice (kare raisu) at least once a week. 

44. Paying two months reikin (gift money) for an apartment doesn't bother you. 

45. You can hum the don quixote song. 

46. You can do seiza for 30 minutes without complaining. 

47. You can eat Cream Collon without giggling. 

48. You never travel with a toothbrush. 
Japanese hotels always provide a toothbrush 

49. (woman) You go naked at onsen without thinking about it but would never go topless at a beach. 

50. You think Chinese Kanji is hilarious. 

51. You run for the train in a panic because there won't be another one for 1 minute. 

52. You've taken a 3 day vacation that involves a 8 hour (or longer) flight. 

53. You only know the size of your apartment in 畳(jyou). 

54. You think of the "Japanese only" line at Narita as a status symbol. 

55. You don't mind when every channel on television is talking about food. 

56. You get the urge to yell sumimasen at restaurants in your home country. 

57. You started to think that noodles are an ok filling for a sandwich. 

58. You're starting to doubt your English pronunciation of Rs and Ls. 

59. You bought a little plastic chair for your shower. 

60. You have mastered more than one Japanese martial art. 

61. You drink corn soup from a can. 

62. You own more than 8 umbrellas. 

63. You can't take an international flight without buying duty free. 

64. You have used a stranger for support when sleeping on a train. 


65. You're starting to add -san to the names of other gaijin. 

66. You are starting to think natto tastes good. 

67. You chose your bank by its cartoon character. 

68. Your friends back home ask you what "genki" means. 

69. You look for umbrella condoms when you enter stores outside Japan. 

70. You've become very picky about rice. 

71. You think it's normal for people over 30 to read comics (manga) on the train. 

72. You bow when you shake hands. 

73. You think there's food in the basement of all department stores. 

74. You have a gold drivers license. 

75. You're not angry when politicians with loudspeakers wake you up at 8 on Saturday morning. 

76. You complain that young people these days are losing their kanji skills. 

77. You think 20 minutes is too long for lunch

78. You always back-in when you park — no matter what the situation. 

79. When you return to your home country you take lots of photos at the supermarket

80. You started to believe that bicycle related crime is a very serious problem. 

81. You complain about the dangerous lack of vending machines outside Japan. 

82. You have slept standing on a train. 


83. You're starting to think that coffee in a can tastes alright. 

84. You reserve half of your luggage space for omiyage (souvenirs). 

85. You buy kitchen appliances based on the songs they can sing. 

86. You have purchased eggs from a vending machine. 

87. You no longer get lost in Shinjuku station

88. You don't hesitate when you put 10,000 yen into a train ticket vending machine. 

89. You can't use a toilet that doesn't have lots of buttons. 

90. You've asked for an "American coffee" when you're in America. 

91. You believe that there's an onsen to cure all aliments. 

92. You're starting to get Japanese comedy shows. 

93. You think that corn & mayonnaise is a perfectly reasonable topping for pizza. 

94. You know the theme songs for most of the products at your local konbini (convenience store). 

95. You have said the phrase moshiwake gozaimasen

96. You buy sake by the jug. 


97. (man) You never give presents on valentines day

98. When someone is talking you say "unn" a lot to show that you're listening. 

99. You no longer mind having to pay for NHK. 

100. You have a hanko. 

101. You think stoplights are red, yellow and blue


  1. This is hilarious! I haven't lived in Japan in 20 years, but I still bow on the phone and a little when I shake hands. :-)

  2. I didn't know you lived here. Where? Why?