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You Know You've Been in Japan Too Long When ...


27 Nov 2003
You're watching NHK and an Enka program comes on, and you don't bother changing the channel.
You bow slightly repeatedly while speaking . . . even when you're on the phone.
You go back to your home country for a visit, and when you go shopping you wonder how much everything would cost in Yen.
After being back in the States,
you wish people wore white cotton masks during flu season like they do in Japan
you take off your shoes at home
you speak English there's a slight Japanese accent
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When you remember the Japanese word, but you can't remember the English. I went into a fish market in Palo Alto and ordered 'hotate' -- I couldn't think of 'scallops'.
When You Go Home You.....

Drive on the wrong side of the road!
Speak Japanese to anyone who looks oriental.

wishful thinking for me :eek:
hey, i spent a lot of money on lessons :)
i've been studying mandarin the past semester though...
You hear the initials "J.R." and you immediately think of trains.

You go back to your country, and . . .
When you get an apartment you try to figure out how many tatami mats would fit in each room.

You can sit through a Japanese porn flick without laughing and thinking . . . they sound like two dogs mating.

You give someone a gift and emphasize that "It's not much but . . ."

When Sumo wrestlers don't seem too strange even with their loincloth (with butt cheeks visible), top-knotted hair, and 350+ pound hot bodies.

You can eat o-mochi without gagging on it or trying to blow bubbles with it, and think it tastes good.
Has anyone had it over New Years?
I have o-mochi year round.
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Ya sometimes I say "unn" instead of yes, also when I got home to the states, when I would bump into people I'd say "sumimasen" or "gomen" ^_^()
I end up getting looked at oddly by people in my school, seeing as my Japanese friend and I will suddenly start talking in Japanese in the middle of a lesson or conversation. Of course, it is an odd sight to see two girls jumping around on a winter day during a fire drill yelling "SAMUI!" over and over... :D 😊

I also say "unn" instead of "yes". I end up saying "hai" or "iie" a lot too...and "arigato gozaimasu" and "sumimasen" and "gomen" and other things.
You don't get fazed out by overly crowded trains or buses.

I do some of these things.. the singing in the shower, the speaking Japanese etc. My fav words are "darui" "mendoksai" and a stern "omae" when people annoy me, accompanied with a look and maybe some other colorful words.

Nothing is funnier than watching some conversations I have with Japanese people if they know English ill normally speak English and they speak Japanese; "So how are you today Yuri?" "元気よ、利恩は?" "Not bad"...
This is a BIG one....

Putting coins in American vending machines, and you have to do it real slow, or the machines cannot handle the money.
Speaking of Sumo...

I always wondered how much it costs for a seat in the first row nex to the ring. It always seems like 100 year old mama&papa-sans are sitting there and a 400 pounder gets tossed on top of them !! Ever any deaths or serious injuries to the old folks ???


You actually drink tea out of your o-chawan (literally, a tea bowl) after a meal.

You never wear shoes inside the house anymore.
Which I think is a very good custom. Keeps all the dirt from spreading around the house.
If you went to a Japanese bowling alley and rented shoes, do they let you wear them inside?

When phrases like " . . . o getto shita!" or mispronunciation of the word "major" as "measure" don't really bother you anymore.
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You para-para dance everywhere you go...in the shower, bathroom, kitchen, office, school, church, hospital, shrine, mosque, synagogue, the mountains, the valleys, the beach...anywhere! :p
In my family we wear slippers or "house-shoes" inside the house ever since.
....when you hold your hand before your mouth while laughing or giggling,
....when you clap your hands furiously in front of you, saying sssuuugooiii, kawaiii and the like, if you're happy, surprised, or so (okay, maybe that's more for girls..)

I'd been only for four months in Japan last year and things like saying 'un', 'soso' ect. are fading away, but I still say 'ita' for 'ouch', and I'm singing Japanese (and other) songs not only in the shower - but that's because of my music-hobby, so it doesn't count.
> ....when you hold your hand before your mouth while laughing or giggling,

And when you point to your nose to refer to yourself.


When you don't think twice about using Y100 coins as if they were quarters to play video games (and drop Y3000 to play House of the Dead to the end).

When you are no longer grossed out by eating various tentacles and other slimy stuff. (And, especially, when you actually begin liking the stuff).

When you find yourself on a river bank that has been covered in concrete and you are thinking that you are there enjoying nature.

When you leave the office at 7pm or 8pm and feel apologetic for leaving early.

When you are on a train where you can literally reach out and touch eight people and are thinking that the train isn't even close to being full yet.

When you are you in the middle of Tokyo and feel like you don't want to leave your apartment because there's nothing to do.
When you say "Yosh-shyo" like an obaasan everytime you stand up.

I read that in a comic and realized I do it all the time........ 😌
- When you are tongue-tied to find your words in your mother tongue.
- When you consider any city apart from Tokyo as "countryside".
- When tempura is really a dish for "gaijin" (and you don't consider yourself as such anymore)
- When you finally start enjoying some Japanese TV programs.
- When you plan your next holiday back home as a Savanah expedition.
- When you want to travel, but have no time because of your work and are reluctant because foreign countries are so dangerous.
- When you sell your futon for a bed, because it's cool (even though you've slept all of your pre-Japan existence in one, but you can't remember)
- When you know exactly the percentage of the opening of cherry blossoms near your house, and watch attentively their development day after day, then talk about it with anyone you meet.
- When you think it is reasonable to pay 3000yen for a taxi rather than walk 30min to go back home after the last train.
- When you wonder what omiyage you'll bring back to your colleagues and friends before leaving for your holiday/vacation.
You know you've been in Japan too long when...

...you select shoes based on how easily you can get them on and off.
...you answer "hai!" even when speaking English to non-Japanese friends.
...you can name all the members of SMAP.
...you think any lunch costing less than US$10 is cheap.
..."Ohio" no longer means the state.
...you recognize TV celebrities' voices without looking up -- even if you don't speak Japanese.
...you don't freak out when the salad arrives with octopus legs all over the top of it.
...you no longer hesitate to drive halfway into the right-hand lane to avoid the cars parked in the left-hand lane.
...every weekday morning, you arrive at the train platform at the same time as the train.
...your noodle slurping can rattle the windows next door.
...you think of anything less than 1000 yen as "small change."
...you don't think twice about sitting on the floor barefoot in an expensive restaurant.
...you no longer insist on "holding it" until you find a western-style toilet.
...you can back into a Japanese parking space -- without your passenger getting out and guiding you in.
...you look forward to winter in your Japanese house so you can store beer and frozen foods in your bedroom and bathroom.
...you can fall asleep on the train and wake up at your stop.
...any of your children under the age of 16 have a cellular phone.
...you no longer marvel at the strange English on soda cans and billboards.
...you can name more than three sumo wrestlers.
...you stop turning on your windshield wipers before you make a turn.
...you know your height, weight or shoe size in metrics.
...you know your birthdate by the Japanese imperial calendar. (Showa 39, baby!)
...you no longer look puzzled when new acquaintances ask your blood type.
...when you open a kids' comic book, you're surprised if there's no nudity.
...you would not only settle for Taco Bell. You would actually kill for it.
...you only lock your doors if there are lots of "gaijin" around.
...people ask, "Do you want to go by car?" and you respond, "No, I'm in a hurry."
...you can't remember saying 6 bucks was too much to see a movie.
...when someone says "bed," you think of an inch-thick mattress and a pillow stuffed with beads.
...your kids care less about Christmas presents than they do about New Year's money.
...your daily knowledge of the exchange rate would make a commodities broker proud.
...you think it's OK to wear white socks with a black suit.
...you like to eat "Christmas cake."
...you can tell the time in five time zones simultaneously.
...you can name the lineage of at least three emperors.
...you can recognize your stop when the train announcer says it.
...you can recognize anything besides your stop when the train announcer says it.
...you don't mind peeing in a public restroom with the cleaning lady standing next to you.
...you don't mind peeing in a public restroom with women other than the cleaning lady standing next to you.
...you don't even need a restroom to pee in public.
...you crawl back into your house to get your coat, rather than take your shoes back off or walk on the floor with shoes on.
...you bow to inanimate objects.
...you walk around humming the song, the crosswalk signals play.
...you make up your own lyrics to go with the crosswalk song.
...you know the real lyrics to the crosswalk song.
...you stop trying to get into the driver's side of your friends' cars.
...school uniforms turn you on more than lingerie.
...when someone says "breakfast," you think of fish, soup and pickles.
...you walk into a room with chairs and choose to sit on the floor.
...you think they mean your neighbourhood whenever you hear U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name."
...you start believing you can blend into the crowd.
...even at 60 km/h, you can tell whether your car will fit between the lamppost on the right and the car parked on the left.
...you can tell good sake from bad.
...you believe no party is complete without a trip to the karaoke box.
...you'll eat anything with an "Mc" in front of it.
...you believe that a tie is an acceptable ending for a baseball game.
...you'll spend an hour coming to the point when making a business call.
...you let your eye be drawn toward any female whose hair isn't black.
...your long distance phone bill looks like some countries' defence budgets.
...it no longer takes you three minutes to position chopsticks in your hand before you can eat.
...you answer the phone and freeze in indecision between saying "hello" or "Moshi Moshi."
...you choose "Moshi Moshi."
...you smile and wave at other foreigners who -- had you seen them back home -- you would have hidden from.
...when someone says "mansion", you picture a two-bedroom flat in a 400-unit apartment building.
...the only room you'll call a "bathroom" is one with a bathtub in it.
...you mutter "Yoshi!" when lifting heavy objects.
...you're startled by any dog larger than a Pekingese.
...you suck air through your teeth before saying "no" to anything.
...you assume any other foreigner you run into speaks English.
...you can't even have a family picnic without an opening and closing ceremony.
...you believe any enclosed shelter is worth $1500/month, if it's close to a train station.
...you can convert katakana back to English without having first to sound it out ten times slowly.
...you stop being friendly to clerks and cashiers.
...when someone says "biking," you think of a buffet.
...you bow and bob your head up and down furiously when on the phone with an important customer!
...you start off with.."Sa, Ne.." while formulating a response to a question.!
...you notice an improvement in your Nihongo when you start ordering "hotto doggu" instead of "atsui inu"!
...you hold your hand up and bow when you walk between two people.
... it's easier to get a taxi in Japanese when you've had too much to drink.
...you can buy a train ticket anywhere in under 30 seconds.
...you don't wait for the sashimi to stop moving before you eat it.
...you can find an address using landmarks instead of looking for the numbers.
...you actually know which chef to cheer for on TV's THE IRON CHEF! And...you don't cringe at the sight of the main ingredient! Mmmmmm...fish bladder!!!
...you can actually identify a state in the USA by what kind of product it's famous for. Thank you, AFN!
...you know the real price of that Asian vase in the fancy-schmancy import store....and know you could have had it for 100 yen!
...you wonder where the little tray with your tea and candy are while you are waiting at a place of business.
...you don't pass out in the produce aisle of your local grocer when you see a melon that costs $16.00!
...at 5'4"....you feel tall!
...you can find the humour in Japanese panel shows on TV!
...you think nothing of driving a vehicle with the model name...Royal Saloon, Blue Bird, Cherry, Minca...(what happened...no room for the "r"..Minicar?) And let's not forget the model with the name of...uh....how shall I put this...it's...Spanish for "Lady of the Evening"!!!
...you want to put a "green and yellow butterfly" symbol on your newly licensed teen driver's car!
...you devote an entire website to it.
...you feel more than slightly annoyed if anyone directly says "no" to you.
...you don't even question the fact that the words may be, how about later, perhaps this, and interesting are all forms of "no" or "that's bad."
...kabuki is more entertaining than any movie.
...you recognize every actor on the kabuki stage and can name them.
...any distance less than three miles is not so far to walk.
...you realize that you haven't had to pay for tissue or band-aids since you got to Japan.
...you think that a school with 1,000 students is tiny (even though it's more people than live in the town you grew up in).
...you think something is wrong with that gaijin who doesn't have a Gameboy.
...the teachers in English class stop making the class humble by asking you to read the literature.
...the teachers in Japanese class stop trying to make a fool out of you by asking you to read the passage in the textbook.
...you have long since stopped looking for the English translation of the stops on your train route.
...you think that 800 yen isn't such a bad price to get to school.
...you have forgotten, what does capacity law mean?
...when on the phone, you don't use complete sentences. Who needs verbs?
...you have a slight stomach ache, and your friend urges you to visit the hospital.
...you will pay three US dollars for a page of sixteen stickers with your picture on them.
...all of your business cards have your sex and blood type on the back.

[NOTE: I can't remember where on the internet I found this, so if anyone knows and can give credit, please do so!]
... when you refer to your nose when you say "I."
... when you think Y4000 is a reasonable price for a nice melon
... when you stand in front of a taxi and wait till the driver opens the door
... when you cut the air with your hand (like a sword) when you want to cross a group of people
... say sumimasen whenever you want to apologize for things that might happen or maybe not
... when you wish you have a fan in summer to cool yourself on the street
... when you look for people in front of a train station who distribute paper handkerchiefs
... when you miss the phone ads in the phoneboxes (do I?)
... when you prefer walking in geta while your wife calls the psychotherapeutic (well, actually she didn't, but warned me so)
... when you start loving natto and uni

I have been to Japan for more than 2 years (and some time for holiday) and started to do some things you pointed out above, that is about ten years ago
, but some of these behaviors I still like - and make me somehow unique to my friends?! I also like to sing Japanese songs in the bathtub
I am too sentimental.
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