Saturday 5 February 2011

How to be an annoying gaijin...

Part I of many I'm guessing, and there are millions of sub-categories. The drunk gaijin... The obnoxious drunk gaijin... The 'my white ass is too good for you' gaijin... no really, there are literally a lot of ways a gaijin can piss people off in Japan.

I've found myself being an annoying gaijin by accident lately, I've sort of grown out of a lot of the categories like getting drunk and vomiting in taxis and such (although I am going out on the piss straight after work tonight...) and I would like to think of myself as relatively culturally aware and sensitive to the fragile infrastructure that keeps the Japanese boat un-rocked. However without even knowing it, I may just be turning into a bit of a Japan know-it-all... *shudder*

As many of you will know, this last week was 'setsubun,' the bizarre bean throwing festival where Dads dress up as a devil and scare the shit out of their kids. Oh, the kids are supposed to throw beans at devil Daddy as well... I think some ancient Japanese dude was on acid when he decided this would become a tradition to live on for the next million fucking years. There are also other weird traditions on this day, such as eating big arse sushi rolls without talking, (I think some clever housewife invented this one though, have to shut up the whiny husband and kids somehow!) and hanging sardines speared with leaves on your gate... Errr, maybe acid dude was still high with that one.
I have no idea why these things have come about, (and don't really care, not complaining when it means store bought sushi rolls and no cooking for me!!) and you know what, Japanese people don't have a fucking clue either. I've asked. Many times. And I usually get lots of teeth sucking followed by a "Hmmmm Japan has a lot of interesting festivals!"

Still, despite nobody having a clue about the original meaning of setsubun, every bastard LOVES to tell you what happens on the day. The first year I was here, it actually was interesting. But, you know, after the 6th time around, I find myself finishing people's sentences and reacting with a fake smile and a knowing nod. It's not intentional, it just happens I swear! But the funny thing is, I fucking hate those people, you know the ones who know how to read and write 5 million kanji, have ninja costumes hanging in their rooms, pretend to really love natto and actually know all the words to the Japanese national anthem... Oh hang on, no J-bastards even know the anthem, either that or they all fall asleep before it's over...
But anyway, point being, I hate the smug gaijin who feel the need to be a walking Japan encyclopedia. I think it's even more important when you're teaching English, the poor buggers are doing the best in a language that's not their own and here I am with not even an "Ehhhhhhh, really!?" when I hear about a devil being smacked with beans after sneaking into the house. I really am going to have to make more of an effort with my surprised face and noises, talking about a festival for 50 minutes and getting paid for it isn't so bad afterall I guess.


  1. It must be annoying. I had a student try to tell me that Hiroshima and Nagosaki were bombed in WWII - wasn't sure whether to let him talk or to explain that the rest of the world knows that!

    I did wonder why they had that giant sushi at the combini though.

  2. Hmmm, I DO like natto, actually....but there are many says I hate Japan, so I think it evens out.

  3. ", I fucking hate those people, you know the ones who know how to read and write 5 million kanji, have ninja costumes hanging in their rooms, pretend to really love natto and actually know all the words to the Japanese national anthem..."

    Oh, we'd get along good.
    I usually call them...the (japedophile foreigners)"greasy sticky handed manga freaks who dream of bangin girls wearing the same outfit their students are wearing while yankin it to some freaky website between kanji studying"

    Great writing..
    On my blogroll!!!

  4. The national anthem here is like 30 words long, so that would not be much of a challenge to learn... But fuck me if I do that.
    Hope they don't force your son to sing it when he gets to primary school.

  5. So, you mean, I should stop dressing like a ninja?

  6. forgot to eat the sushi :( But just as a note ... I used to be one of the vomiting in taxi annoying gaijin!!! :D

  7. Well, you can make your own version of the tradition? Have SIL be the ogre/"oni" and throw stones at her instead of beans and scream "SIL Out, Happiness in"?