Gaijin (foreigners in Japan) explained:
Why did the Japanese say “Southern barbarians” (南蛮人- nanbanjin) for the first (Western) European visitors?
Their ships were coming from Macao
Why are there so many Koreans in Okubo, near Shinjuku?
It was the cheapest inner city area, and near the Shinjuku red light and pachinko district where many Koreans worked.
Why do so many Japanese ask foreigners if they have four seasons?
I read an argument that it was because the Japanese used to make such a big deal out of changing their wardrobe 4 times a year, but I’m not convinced. It mainly comes down to education, where the fixed syllabus of both kindergartens and primary schools emphasises starting all topics with a connection to the local area and then expanding out, and making all topics seasonal. The obsession with four seasons is also yet another one of those things that was borrowed from classic Chinese literature.
Why do the Japanese ask “Can you eat sushi” instead of “Do you like”?
It’s a direct translation from Japanese
Why do blonde gaijin women get so much more attention?
If you are going to go for Western women, you are going to be looking for something really different from the Japanese. There is also the influence of imported porno.
Why are the Japanese police so obsessed with checking if foreigners have registered the ownership of their pushbike?
I’m guessing the arrest rate is high, as who can be bothered registering a bike?? Like the British police, the Japanese police are set arrest rate targets.
Why do some people handing out leaflets or tissues in the street avoid giving gaijin any?
With a dedication to a crap job rarely seen outside Japan, they are giving them only to the specific people the advertising is aimed at. With foreigners it can be an assumption you will not be able to read the Japanese script written on it, but it is more often that you are not in that market segment, e.g. not a young lady who might be looking for a job in their hostess bar.
Why is Japanese deodorant to ineffective for Westerners?
The classic explanation is that the Japanese do not sweat or smell as much, and the second might be true in some cases. More importantly, the Japanese equivalents of P&G (Kaoo etc.) obviously have some kind of monopolistic hold on the drugstore market because this is one of the few sectors where Japanese companies produce such rubbish products that not even people in other Asian countries will buy them. Shiseido and Shu Uemura are the exceptions, but again you will you not find them getting a lot of shelf space in your neighbourhood drug store.
Why do gaijin (foreign) guys who could never score at home always link up in Japan?
Popular theories usually mention how sad the average Japanese salaryman is and the gaijin boyfriend being just a fashion accessory, free English conversation partner or novelty item for a Japanese girl to impress her friends with. Other possibilities include the Japanese girlfriend feeling freer due to not being restricted by the Japanese language (no way to say I love you in normal Japanese conversation!) and his family being several thousand miles away. I believe the main reason is that the gaijin male quickly convinces himself that he can throw off his lack of success at home, and so his does- pure self-belief. Any unusual social skills can also be passed off as being a foreigner or other cultural or language misunderstanding.
There is also the general question of why outsiders instantly become better dating prospects, which is possibly tied into the desireability of bringing other genes into the limited gene pools that the often isolated groups of early humans would have been.
Why do the Japanese, especially girls, stare at foreigners?
As a foreigner, you are outside the system and so people feel free in a way they wouldn’t usually (and being out of the loop, you are free too). Also, staring at guys is not seen as a come on as someone who is interested would act coy and avoid eye contact. In Japan, you can tell when a guy in the office fancies you when they never address you directly during work drinks.
Why do some foreigners shun other gaijin, even avoiding eye contact?
Some are wanting to do the whole total immersion thing and/ or trying to make themselves Japanese (good luck being accepted as a local guys!), but most are just confused by the lack of clear rules of dealing with other gaijin of various nationalities and periods of being in Japan when the rules of dealing with locals is so much clearer and therefore simpler.
How do the Nigerian guys trying to pull you into dodgy bars in Roppongi get visas and/ or get away with not having visas?
Protected by the yakuza??
Why are/ were there so many Iranian hostess bars?
They could get visas and/ or lost their jobs in the hospitality trade back home after the fall of the Shah??
Why do some Japanese choose their hostess bar by nationality, e.g. Filipino bar or Korean bar?
They had good experiences in that country they want to reproduce??
Why are the Japanese particularly prejudiced against Koreans and Chinese?
Because some of the second or third generation kids can actually pass as Japanese and so ruin all the national myths. A kind of reverse Stockholm syndrome also seems to make all nationalities detest the people they have colonised.
Why did Roppongi become the gaijin bar paradise?
There used to be an American army base there and it is fairly close to lots of embassies