But what about the flip side of the coin? Tourists and exchange students usually have plenty of tales to tell about these folks, and they truly are the salt of the earth.
In fact, long-time foreigners are wary of spending too much time standing still and spacing out in public in case a Helpful Hito mistakes them for a traveller in need and asks them if they need directions it can get embarrassing if you were just contemplating what to have for dinner, or killing time until a friend arrives.
I think we all knew this one was coming at some point.
The phenomenon of the Gaijin Hunter is one that almost every foreigner who has lived in Japan will be familiar with. In fact, quite a lot of people who have spent an extended period of time here will attest to having met, and possibly having Tokyo gaijin hunters been ensnared by, at least one Gaijin Hunter.
On the arm of or with your arm around a GH, you become nothing more than gaijin arm candy to be shown off in public. Then, one night at a work night out, they open their mouth and a torrent of grammatically perfect, flawlessly pronounced English gushes forth. Your work buddy, who has Tokyo gaijin hunters sat through months of your garbled attempts to not totally butcher the Japanese language, is actually fluent in English and once spent a few years living overseas!
These International Ninjas conceal their worldly knowledge often for a variety of reasons, which might include not wanting to stand out or wanting to avoid looking like a show-off. Some English teachers who work as ALTs in Japanese schools notice this phenomenon when they have kikokushijo returnee students in their classes. Despite having lived abroad with their parents and subsequently learning to speak fluent English, these kids tend to hide their abilities or goof off in English lessons to avoid standing out in front of their Tokyo gaijin hunters which is kind of a shame, when you think about it.
Whatever their motivation, the International Ninja will usually reveal themselves at some point, although it might take a bucket of beer or the forging of a close friendship to get them to drop their ninja disguise and talk American TV shows with you.
We love it when Japanese people are interested in foreign countries and Tokyo gaijin hunters, especially if they happen to be interested in our specific country and culture. They frequent gaijin bars and sometimes morph into Gaijin Huntersand frequently talk about how Japanese society is rigid and unyielding.
The English Vampire tends to be a subset of Tokyo gaijin hunters Wannabe Westerner. The English Vampire is a person who cold-approaches foreigners they spot out and about for impromptu English practice. Their intentions are benign enough — they simply want an opportunity to test out their English, and you are the lucky foreigner selected for the task.
Unfortunately, English Vampires can be a little blind to the fact that not every foreigner walking around is dying to stop and chat in English. Perhaps this one is just an inevitable result of being a very visible minority in a very homogeneous nation.
The people who immediately hand you a knife and fork and whip away your chopsticks in a restaurant. Some of this, admittedly, is perfectly innocent and goes back to the Helpful Hito, who would rather accommodate you in your foreign language than subject you to the struggle of trying to speak Japanese. The problem is that this mindset ignores the fact that many foreigners can, in fact, speak Japanese and understand the intricacies of Japanese society. By-and-large, the reverse is often true especially Tokyo gaijin hunters tourists passing throughbut treating everyone as a clueless tourist does a disservice to those who have Tokyo gaijin hunters studied hard and attempted to integrate into society.
Perhaps we should try to appreciate the sentiment behind this over-accommodating behaviour rather than taking it as a personal affront and source of irritation. Read more stories from RocketNews Nov 15th ThursHigashi Azabu, Tokyo. Real Estate Japan Inc.
How about the obassan in the suupa that acts like she's in the national museum and needs to spend twenty minutes inspecting every vegetable while standing smack dab in front of you in the famously narrow Japanese supermarket aisles?
Or the "I can't survive unless I have a Tokyo gaijin hunters hanging out of my mouth" salaryman who always happens to be standing next to you? You forgot the "gaijin gawker" They stop in their tracks, stare for an extended period, and follow you with their eyes as you walk by. Yes, these are some of the people that you might meet. When fresh off the boat in Japan, I was floored the very first time I encountered a person who flat out told me that he wanted to be my friend because Tokyo gaijin hunters wanted to practice English.
I responded by mumbling something vaguely about free English teacher is not being a solid premise for friendship — a bit one-sided. Tokyo gaijin hunters one of the many people I met who refused to speak to me in Japanese even though knew I was studying the language.
Before coming to Japan I had always heard that Japanese people were indirect.
You forgot to add the 'hateimus gaijinus', the Middle aged pachinko dweller, who always seems to spit, soon before you pass in the street, and grumble something about 'gaijin' Could be a moody antisocial person, or undiagnosed Tourette's syndrome. In my 6 years of living in Miyakoji-mura Tamura, the mountain house was 22km from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, and I lived there for one year and then the outskirts of Koriyama city for the other 5 yearsI never once encountered any of those types.
The encounters I had were the odd "Harro! I did meet and make many English-speaking Japanese friends but that Tokyo gaijin hunters my own doing and they were all down-to-earth and genuine human beings.
Perhaps it was down to living in such 'inaka' locations. One other reason some of these International Ninjas aren't forthcoming with their English fluency and international mindset — empathy toward non-Japanese people who are trying to navigate the waters and fit in.
These are the people you want as your friend. As someone who enters Japan from another industralised country at first everything seems relatively normal to us but, understandably, after a few weeks of adjustment we get questions about Tokyo gaijin hunters you encounter. Oddly enough, if you ask questions perhaps of some of the "helpful" types you seem to get the same expanations, almost as if there are rehearsed. It is at that point that I realised that in reality the people I meet generally have no idea how things work.
For them it is all down to some aspect of a presumed culture. This careful managing of how you should think about and understand Japan I found rather irritating and a bit creepy, to be honest. And it still exists, for example in how tourists should "enjoy" their visit.
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And you too have to therefore be pigeonholed by your own culture, which they also presume to know already and just need you to confirm. This is all in good fun, I Tokyo gaijin hunters, and it is a little humorous, I suppose.
However, I would note that all of the categories define Japanese by their relation to foreigners and things foreign.
Which, looking it at it as a foreigner, probably is natural. How about this group: The Japanese we all see and know across Japan. They may or may not speak any English.
They may or may not have an interest in things non-Japanese. They are just busy living their lives everyday. Going to work, taking care of their kids, being polite and civil to everyone Tokyo gaijin hunters non-Japaneseand just living life in Tokyo gaijin hunters. Usually male and in a group, this type cannot help but loudly blurt out some vaguely-remembered phrase from their JHS Sunshine textbook when Tokyo gaijin hunters with a foreigner.
This makes their utterance a total non-sequitur and impossible to respond to, but it helps them to maintain their perceived status level within their group. Alone, this type shuns non-Japanese out of anxiety. I've met all the types described, mostly in the first couple of years I was here maybe newcomers emit some kind of pheromone that attracts Hunters, Wannabes and Reminderersbut they are few and far between especially in the inaka, and these days In connection to the previous article "noteworthy types of foreigners" I wonder what types of Japanese "non-westerners" encounter while living in Japan.
The six mentioned here and good and true, at least to me, and I've encountered all of them but does a Korean living in Japan ever meet the Wannabe Westerner, perhaps mutated to Wannabe Korean?
What is the commonest reaction when a Japanese encounters a fashion model from Kenya or Brasil? How do Japanese behave around faithful Muslim women casually doing their shoping? In other words could we please have, at some point, an article not written by and for Tokyo gaijin hunters but at the very least from a different viewpoint?
Or is there to be a followup with "5 types of girls you'll probably like to meet, or not, in Japan", "5 types of salariman you really hate", "5 types of wonderful obasans" Sorry about sounding all ebony and ivory but after having lived in Japan and several other countries besides my home country I've found that people are pretty much the same wherever you go.
Possible exceptions here are the nondescript blue-grey suit wearing businessmen staggering arm in arm to the station. Not sure where this would be classed I was a bit dumbfounded not that we were actually talking Wasn't there when Tokyo gaijin hunters first loaded the page and then later typed my comment.
Should have reloaded the page before posting the comment. Sometimes foreigners don't speak English at all though. I know many Vietnamese people living in Miyagi that cannot speak English but have studied for two years at a Japanese school and passed the N2. They are often met with people speaking English to them because they don't Tokyo gaijin hunters Japanese.
Or people that have never met will ask if they speak English instead of Tokyo gaijin hunters if they speak Japanese. Likewise, I have heard stories of people visiting Australia I have never gone myself and the locals greet them by saying "ni hao". They are asian so the assumption is that they must speak Mandarin.
This upsets my friends, so I tell them that it is the same with foreigners here. The idea that you can just go up an start talking to anyone that looks different in a specific language is rude at best and racists at worst. If you hear someone speaking English or see them on a park bench reading an English book or something, then that is different, but to just assume foreign equals English is rude.
This is Japan so people living here should be 1. It is best to approach someone with a Japanese greeting and then ask about their English ability. If we live in a country we should be trying to learn and use the language of that country.
We should also greet people in that language. There's an area of Beijing where I'm regularly greeted in Russian by Russians. I've never thought it rude that they assume I speak Russian I don't. There have been a few occasions where I was walking Tokyo gaijin hunters some kids pointed at me and said,"Uwa!