59 Ways to Tell if You’re a Gaijin
Written in September 2009, the original 59 ways to tell if you are a cynical gaijin or a newbie gaijinkokujin in Japan. Readers quickly pointed out bias toward a middle-aged male, American nikkei-from-LA, elitist, snobbish perspective. It’s undeniably got a cynical tone, an American attitude, and Tokyo-centricity. Readers were also great about offering tips and new lines – the best was “you start stereotyping gaijin like Japanese do.” The immediate feedback is very helpful in focusing on the underlying drivers of humor: absurdity, duplicity, incongruity, bias, and perception.
Incorporating a wider perspective on what it means to be a gaijin in Japan, this list includes contributions from readers, as well as new perspectives on the different types of gaijin personalities you may encounter if you live here long enough.
Written in January 2011, this piece reflects my observations as a newbie in Beijing, China. Everything was new and mysterious. Plus, I was completely, totally, inevitably functionally illiterate in Chinese … with an Asian face. Thus, the Adventures of Invisible Gaijin was re-booted in a new setting.