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Why Japanese stare at GAIJIN?

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  • Why Japanese stare at GAIJIN?

    Hi Folks,

    Please for give me if I am rude, but live in Japan specialy Tokyo last 5 years. And Japanese people seems to cannot get enough of me))))

    In train, walking the street they always stare at me. I have very long nose (must they think) I can hear them always when they talk. To us someone nose or other thinks is big, or uggly not a question. But still I cannot undrstand way they look at me. Most Japanese have small and their nose kind of stick between their eyes. Like someone press that part.

    But Most gaijin specialy from Caucasian look always have nose that fits perfectly on face. Mine is bit big because I have small face but when compare with other Japanese man specialy friend of mine my nose become standart compare their nose specialy one that just come out from surgery. But still they cannot answere my question and always they try to show the big "EASY".

    But mostly Japanese woman yong and old always stare at my face and some Japanese man when they walk next to me I can here like "Woooowwwww. Nagai ne!!!!"

    I like to hear special from Japanese woman or man why Japanese do like this.

    In the train or other place they tald us and teach us that in Japanese custom you shouldn't stare at someone face or eyes.

    I wonder, may be after war (WWII) all Japnse lost their soul and and all the lost soul become ungry and jelous, with no respect for themself and they make all gaijin feel like in Zoo.

    When you walk you fel that more than 5000 eyes look at you, now because of camera in mobile they even do not feel shame and come close (specialy in train) and they take your picture.

    I realy wonder why they doing this, and I will be glad if I learn reality of this attitude.


  • #2
    Re: Why Japanese stare at GAIJIN?

    If you think people stare at you here, you should go to South Korea or espeically a poorer Asian country like Nepal, India or Indonesia. In comparison, people ignore you here -- either because people are too polite to stare, or because they are too cool, or because they have seen so many foreigners they don't care anymore (maybe it's a bit of all three.)


    • #3
      Re: Why Japanese stare at GAIJIN?

      Himmmm, not what I expected. Politeness of Japanese... not from my experience. I know real polite Japanese. But my experience comes from normal Japanese that walk everyday either to go work or shopping. Is it because of my daily mod? No I don't think so.

      But still want to hear from Japanese people.
      Who knows I might be ugliest gaijin that they see))) But I don't care. It will be perfect experience if I learn this Japanese attitude. And will be good source for my next book.

      Malicious Intent thank you for your post.


      • #4
        Re: Why don't Japanese stare at me?

        How come none of the Japanese are staring at me? I want to be noticed!


        • #5
          Re: Why Japanese stare at GAIJIN?

          Hi Keith,

          How do you see yourself? Forgive me saying but ugly like me, than you must get that attention. Or what kind of attention you want to get?

          By the way what is Japanese definition of Ugly? Just being different than Asian? Or something different, that we westerners cannot understand.

          They stare at me and I get stress. And because of stress they stare at me more.
          I think everything, and still cannot found answer.

          Reality, no I donft want them to stare at me.

          Thank you for your post and good luck))


          • #6
            Re: Why Japanese stare at GAIJIN?

            I had the same "problem" during my several stays in Japan... people always stared at me... sometimes, when I was in the mood, i stared back... than they looked into another direction, hahah...too funny. It also happened to me that some japanese woman or men just began talking to me, mostly in subways and train stations when waiting for the next train. And sometimes they wanted to take pictures of me (^^; - but only women, heheh. But of course they did not ask me, no, they asked my japanese friend besides me.... --;; And my friend had to ask me if it is okay for me when they take a photo....^^
            In general I had no problem to get so much attention but sometimes, when I had bad mood, it was really getting on my nerves...


            • #7
              Re: Why Japanese stare at GAIJIN?

              You right and nicest and funny time when I suddenly turn and catch them. Or they try to read newspaper and from edge of newspaper I can see them they are staring at me. When I catch them I wish you can see their attitude.

              I even set up some video from train and outside. Camera was tiniest that no human (no Japanese either) can see but when I came home put it in video it seems all Japanese looking at the direction of camera. I had 3 cameras. One for top part of my tie, and 2 for my shoulder.

              No where on earth you can see such a thing. If you go poor countries yes they look at you because they expect something to help them. But Japanese those stare at gaijin different.

              I am not going to make full time job to learn what it is, but going to be perfect source for my book.

              Last 10 days I saw and small reader comment in Japan Times with similar topics. But most answer came American-Japanese and it was wrong answer because they even alienated themselves from their society and still deny to realize why Japanese stare at Gaijin.

              And next funny thing is they try to teach you be a polite not to stare at someone. May be nobody cares nothing anymore. I mean we can see clearly from their economy.

              Yes you are right when I had bad mood too, or at least daily stress from business, it was really getting on my nerves when I catch them that they stare at me like cc in zoo.

              Thanks for you post.


              • #8
                Re: Why Japanese stare at GAIJIN?

                It honestly doensn't matter much what you look like.
                As long as you are a foreigner, you will get plenty of stares, and whispered comments.
                I stayed just outside of Okazaki for three months last year, and everyday we got looks.

                I assume it's because they don't see too many foreigners and they are curious.
                Some contemplate whether or not they should try out their English on you. Others distrust foreigners/Gaijin, and some others wonder how much Japanese you really know. There are lots of reasons, but they all stare. ^__^

                Japanese are usually always outwardly polite, but they aren't particularly "P.C".
                I wouldn't give it much thought.

                You can make a game out of it like we did. A lot of guys on bikes will look blankly past you while heading towards you. Yet once they are behind you, 9 times out of 10, they will turn to look at you, when they think you won't see them.
                Often, if you turn around just after they pass you, you will catch them, and surprise them. Then they look away in embarrasment.

                It's good for a few laughs, but that's about it. It just illustrates the fact that almost all Japanese stare at the foreigner in curiosity. I really don't think they can help it.

                It shouldn't bother you really.


                • #9
                  Re: Why Japanese stare at GAIJIN?

                  Does anyone give a toss really?


                  • #10
                    Re: Why Japanese stare at GAIJIN?

                    Mirrored sunglasses. Now that is fun!! I am talking mirrored sunglasses here. Don't think they really make them any more after they found out that they actually fry your retinas. But look hard and grab a pair.Make sure they are true mirrors. So you can see them but they can't see your eyes. Then where them everywhere. Never take them off.It is especially fun on the train. When the seats are arranged facing each other. Just point your head directly at the seat across from you. You can move your eyes and check out all of the action. The stares will almost be non-existent. You turn the tables. You were nervous before. Now they are nervous because they can't see your eyes! Have some fun! Life is short play hard!


                    • #11
                      Re: Why Japanese stare at GAIJIN?

                      At the onsen they all only look at one thing!


                      • #12
                        Re: Why Japanese stare at GAIJIN?

                        Why? Maybe it is a godzilla thing. Like they are trying to breath fire on you or something.
                        Cause they always have their mouths gaping wide open.

                        AT LEAST CLOSE YOUR GODDAMN MOUTHS


                        • #13
                          Re: Why Japanese stare at GAIJIN?

                          Try this everyone.

                          It`s an experiment that one my old sociology teacher taught me.
                          Some may have already done this but for those that have`nt it`s
                          a blast.

                          When approaching an elevator try to position yourself so you are going to be the last person in before the doors shut. (DO TRY THIS AT 6PM AT ANY ELEVATOR LOCATED IN ANY TRAIN STATION.)You might wind up with a umbrella through your Jatz Crackers.

                          Now the human condition automatically makes everyone, well 99.99% of the population turn around and stare at the numbers or the door.

                          Now this takes some confidence people, but I assure it`s worth the effort. Dont turn around, stand there hold your ground and make conversation
                          in either English or Japanese, it doesnt really matter.
                          How ya doin, great day, how was lunch, those sort of simple questions.

                          Most people faced with this in your face confrontation regardless of how polite just crumble, they literally hope for a hole in the earth to swallow them up there and then. they will regress, turn away, do anything to avoid any eye to eye contact.
                          With that experience most of those Japanese people are going to take a rather uncomfortable memory away with them, and if just one remembers it next time he or she stares at a foreigner well there you go.

                          It`s also fantastic entertainment value, For best results take another Gaijin
                          friend. Of course dont hinder people on there way out. It`s the best fun you can have in an evelator without having to resort to sex or expelling
                          bodily gases.

                          Let`s face it most Japanese think we are crazy anyway, so a friendly gesture of impulsive conversation is`nt going to change that view.

                          Have fun, But take care there are limits, You dont want the police to have to explain them to you later on.


                          • #14
                            Re: Why Japanese stare at GAIJIN?

                            Raceace, would people react favorably if someone like that stepped into a full elevator in your own country?
                            I think the tendency to keep quiet and avoid eye contact in elevators is a natural trait of most people around the world (unless you're five years old).


                            • #15
                              Re: Why Japanese stare at GAIJIN?

                              "Oh Hypertokyo sheep of the world unite!"

                              As I clearly stated, it is an experiment for those who have the confidence to try it!

                              Yes I have done it many times in Australia, New Zealand, America and Japan with identical reactions in both countries.
                              I would not suggest someone try something that I have`nt tried myself. "I practice what I preach" no pun intended!
                              Confidence is a trait that people from the west have in abundance so pushing the edges of the social envelope is not an excruciating exercise.

                              As you have repeated, "I think the tendency to keep quiet and avoid eye contact in elevators is a natural trait of most people around the world"
                              This was my intention to show one doesnt always have to follow
                              the unwritten rule.
                              Besides when was the last time you saw sign stating the code of conduct
                              on an elevator door!

                              However with the importance of the Japanese personal space bubble
                              makes the reactions so much more interesting.

                              Five years old, That hurts, I`ll have you know I`ve just had my seventh birthday thankyou! huh.

                              Step out of that comfort zone and challenge your self to learn something about human nature, It is life lesson that will serve you well.

                              Kind regards
                              The raceace.....but getting slower.