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How not to be a Gaijin?!?

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How not to be a Gaijin?!?

Postby Youshen » Thu 05.11.2006 1:09 pm

Ok, like I said in a previous thread, I pride myself in not being a Gaijin to any country that I have visited... and some of this is made possible through the way that I conduct myself on my own (not being loud, obnoxious, or pushy, trying to be friendly to all, not acting better-than-thou or demanding)... however, I would like to know if there are certain customs (besides gift giving) that I should know about that could be or could even possibly be considered disrespectful, irreverent, or annoying (typical Gaijin/American behavoirs). You know, the things that I would never know about because they are specific customs to Japan. Thanks.

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RE: How not to be a Gaijin?!?

Postby hyperconjugated » Thu 05.11.2006 2:09 pm

I don't think it's always only up to yourself
whether you are perceived as "gaijin",
no matter how well mannered or how
educated you are on the culture in question.
Unfortunately. I recon Mukade had some
sour experiences being called "gaijin"
if remember correctly...
Last edited by hyperconjugated on Thu 05.11.2006 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: How not to be a Gaijin?!?

Postby Frumious Boojum » Thu 05.11.2006 2:20 pm

Yeah... the only way you can escape being gaijin completely is to change you genetic makeup and/or your entire life history. No matter what, until that happens, you'll never be anything but gaijin to some.
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RE: How not to be a Gaijin?!?

Postby Schattenjedi » Thu 05.11.2006 3:44 pm

OP, do you know what a gaijin is? It's a foreigner. What you seem to be talking about is fitting in well or being a cultural chameleon.
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RE: How not to be a Gaijin?!?

Postby Txkun » Thu 05.11.2006 3:56 pm

Youshen wrote:
through the way that I conduct myself on my own (not being loud, obnoxious, or pushy, trying to be friendly to all, not acting better-than-thou or demanding)...

well... if you are like this, you will be a gaijin but not a "bad" gaijin, no? What I mean is. Gaijin means foreigner. And after all we are all foreigners... but even if you don't do something really in the japanese way no (sane) Japanese will blame you for that. With your behaviour you are anyway showing that you are a caring person. :)

however, I would like to know if there are certain customs (besides gift giving) that I should know about that could be or could even possibly be considered disrespectful, irreverent, or annoying (typical Gaijin/American behavoirs). You know, the things that I would never know about because they are specific customs to Japan. Thanks.

Etiquette is a important set of 'shared' behaviours,
I think reading these can help you a little:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e622.html

Anyway I would read these fast but not try to memorize.
Maybe only what's really rude, but 'discovering' directly from your host family will be the right thing to do I think. They will be pleased to teach you and you'll remember them teaching.
Will be more human than a flat screen and you'll not act like "i-know-that-because-i-read-on-the-net" ;). You are lucky to have someone teaching you :D
Last edited by Txkun on Thu 05.11.2006 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: How not to be a Gaijin?!?

Postby Youshen » Thu 05.11.2006 4:31 pm

Haha, yeah, I get what you mean Txkun.... and I had the wrong impression of what Gaijin means. I thought it was a derogatory word used to talk about certain foreigners that were exceptionally annoying (such as Americans). There is a big stereotype of Americans when they travel to different countries... and I want to try to do whatever I can to let the people that I'm around know that I am want to learn their customs. I want to be sensative and I really don't want to do too many offensive things (doing one or two offensive things is almost alway inevitable due to lack of knowledge of the culture).

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RE: How not to be a Gaijin?!?

Postby two_heads_talking » Thu 05.11.2006 4:39 pm

as was mentioned gaijin is the word for outsider and refers to anyone not japanese. At a certain time it could have been interpreted barbarian or one less cultured, but that isn't the common term..

Also, it can be a derogatory term used to put down those not from Japan. Some people are set in their ways and no matter how well you adapt to their culture, they will still see you in an inferior light. Trust me, you will get over that easily as no matter where you go you will find closed minded people..

Remember that you can only try.

From my experiences in Japan, the people I knew were very forgiving of my mistakes and blunders.. I can look back on it with many fond memories as I tried to learn to do things that were foreign to me..

I wish you well on your endeavors..
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RE: How not to be a Gaijin?!?

Postby Oyaji » Mon 05.15.2006 3:55 am

I agree with all that's been said. With your attitude you'll be fine. In fact I might even suggest to not try too hard. You, and your hosts, will enjoy things a lot more if you just relax and enjoy the culture, rather than be on pins and needles trying not to offend.

As has been pointed out, you will not be expected to completely understand understand the culture (I'm still complimented on how well I use chopsticks, and I've lived here 20 years :D ).

Relax, experience, learn, and enjoy!! And visit a temple and shrine. (Oops, wrong thread. :D )

You're going to have the time of your life.
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