...you keep looking for new copies of Gegege-no-kitaro and Hi-no-tori manga at the local bookstore.
...you have copies of nengajo post cards from a Showa date.
...you claim a seat at a Wendy's by putting your bag on it, fully expecting it to still be there when you return with your burger.
...when you start saving up for a Japanese burial plot.
...you get excited by words like: "health," "soap," "fashion," "image," and "pink."
...you are willing to travel enormous distances just to take a bath.
...you mistake ownership of equipment for possession of skill when discussing your hobbies.
...you expect the elevator girl to announce every floor for you, even if you are alone with her.
...you stop saying "doitashimasite" when the vending machine thanks you.
...you keep interrupting a perfectly good English conversation with regular exclamations of eh, un, ah, heeey, and oh yeah (aizuchi).
...somebody crashes into you and you apologize, insisting that the accident was your fault.
...you watch Rex three times but don't bother to see Jurassic Park.
...you think you know the meaning of "internationalization."
...when you read "lets fit together" at your local sports club and don't immediately think of sex.
...when paying $2000 in gift money to the landlord of your new apartment doesn't make you really angry!
...the English rendition of any Japanese company president's corporate welcome makes perfect sense to you.
...you consider it acceptable to watch a classical concert on NHK BS in mono while the baseball is broadcast in stereo.
...you remember when Kin-san and Gin-san celebrated their 50th birthday.
...you go home for a holiday and ask your dad which rubbish bin to use for burnables.
...you see Japanese people on the street who remind you of people back home.
...you expect to have the plot of a detective story explained to you both before and after the showing on TV.
...you feel perfectly normal stepping out of a bank with $50,000 in cash in a cute paper bag in one hand, and a box of soap in the other.
...you think menchi-katsu, kim-chee, and coffee sounds like a good breakfast.
...you're at an American restaurant and wonder why there's no bottle of Tabasco on the table.
...you begin to spell last names in CAPITAL LETTERS.
...you vaguely think about visiting New Orleans to get a glimpse of "the real America."
...it does not strike you as strange that an attractive, fashionable and career-minded young woman who went to high school in the United States, graduated from Harvard and studied at Oxford has never, at least as far as the Imperial Household Agency can tell, had a boyfriend.
...you are back home and expect chocolates on Valentine's day.
...you have mastered the art of run-walking to create that important busy image.
...you are surprised the urinal does *not* flush automatically when you walk away from it.
...it does not annoy you when a map is oriented in a direction other than north.
...you understand why a young girl, newly employed at a trust association, would comply without complaint to her boss's order to go and get her picture taken for listing in a girlie column in a local newspaper.
...you are not surprised when, after the young girl gets murdered in connection with this, the bank says it cannot take any responsibility because she was acting on her own initiative in what was a personal, non-work-related matter.
...it is worthy of comment when a little English passage on a T-shirt or cereal box is not all that bad.
...you think nothing about a residential building covered from top bottom in white bathroom tiles.
...you're considering buying an ashtray for your bicycle.
...you think that, in a crowd of Japanese, the presence of another foreigner breaks the wa, although for some reason your presence doesn't.
...you start saying things like: "Yes, I can't do this."
...you face driving winds and wade through knee-deep water to get to work.
...you go to a public beach and leave all your litter behind in the sand, for the benefit of tomorrow's visitors.
...when you beat the "obatarian" to the last seat, and actually think you won a victory.
...you simultaneously listen to All Things Considered, watch the NHK local news and read your e-mail messages on the Internet.
...when on a visit some home, you say something like "Wow, a dollar buys so much!" and are surprised to find everyone looking at you funny.
...you stun yourself with the reverberation you put into the "r" of the Bakayarrrrrroh! you let rip at the chimpira who'd just triggered his automatic umbrella too close to your face.
...if the words CM, OB/OG, TPO, and OL all make perfect sense to you.
...when get into the habit of mentioning to people that they're gained weight when starting conversations.
...when you try to get a girl to "teach" you her phone number.
...if you think you're actually worth the salary you earn.
...when the neighbor asks to borrow some nori and you have it in at least 3 varieties.
...you think Budweiser is a famous international beer brand.
...when the footprints on the toilet seat are your own.
...when you pull up to a stop light at a completely level intersection, but engage the hand brake anyway.
...a job arrives at your door on Saturday evening, to be done by Monday, and you don't blink.
...you think there is something vaguely sinister about open spaces, healthy trees and grass.
...you believe that Tokyo has four seasons, even though it rarely snows.
...you hear a new item still referring to the gate crusher incident as an 'accident' and don't blink an eye.
...you are convinced there are no illiterates in Japan.
...you don't hesitate to serve Calpis water to foreign visitors.
...when your daughter goes to swim school twice a week for over a year and she has not been taught to swim and you understand and do not question it and think that run-on sentences with no subjects like this are normal.
...if you remember having to request an international phone line.
...when, on a trip home, you say out loud exactly what you think 'cause that's what people do here.
...when you visit Tokyo and make a bee-line for Kinokunia and the Virgin mega store.
...you read the store name "WARE HOUSE" as "WA-RE [our] house," instead of "warehouse."
...you think those clear plastic umbrellas keep you dry.
...when you have no problem with a pencil case that proclaims "the Earth is not only for a human."
...when you use the word "sharp-pen" and can't remember the English name [it was 'mechanical pencil' last time I checked].
...when you begin all sentences with: "ano-ne"
...you plug your waapro into a consento and consider a pipe cut and don't understand why your friends say you speak funny.
...you hate Dave Specter because he speaks better Japanese than you.
...somebody asks directions, you don't have the slightest idea where they're talking about, but you give them directions anyway.
...you have an irresistible urge to state the obvious.
...you can't have your picture taken without your fingers forming the peace sign.
...when you have a heated discussion with four other people, and you all have the same opinion, but you take turns actively stating that opinion again and again, getting more and more excited in the process.
...you have a favorite "sha-bo" that you like to write with (this means a combination "sharp-pen" (mechanical pencil) and ball-point pen).
...(for males) slightly embarrassed by something when in company, you reach behind and put the flat of your hand behind your head, give a little smile, a sharp intake of breath, and start, but do not finish, a small bow.
...after your shower, you catch yourself pulling on your shorts with the towel still wrapped around your waist.
...when you ask your wife if the rice cooker has been set for breakfast
...your yukata sleeve snags on the keyboard when changing disks.
...when, back home, invited to a diner party, you try, *discretely* to take off your shoes
...when back home, in a public place such as a restaurant or a coffee shop, you are really disturbed by the sound of the conversations in your native language.
...when you believe that buildings are made by incubating the site in blue plastic sheeting for nine months.
...after breaking your wari-bashi apart, you clash the two together to get any splinters off.
...when you rush home from work to catch the last few minutes of sumo.
...you first let yourself in and then (from the inside) knock on the door and shout "hello".
...you walk through your neighborhood, and a house that was there yesterday is gone without a trace, and you don't blink.
...you think the refined way to eat spaghetti is without a spoon.
...if you remember when the foreigner you saw most often on TV was Roy James.
...if you know who Roy James was.
...if you remember that Roy James was Japanese of Turkish ethnic origin.
...when you begin to think the holiday that falls on December 25 is spelled, "X'mas".
...when you hear Christmas songs in February and don't have a "Japan attack."
...when you always say 'Christmas song' instead of 'Christmas carol.'
...when the Christmas music in the stores does not make you feel at all sentimental like it used to.
...you've discovered that the real meaning of fatherhood is never being able to take a bath by yourself.
...you don't even do a double-take at seeing, next to a display of whistling kettles at Seiyu, a device for testing the whistle of a kettle before buying it.
...water and sewage lines are to be laid under the same road, and you fully expect the road to be opened, closed, bitumened, and then opened, closed and bitumend again within one month.
...when reading a novel where the main character finds himself in Tokyo, you think to yourself "Cool! Tokyo!"
...if you've written "XYZ" on the message chalkboard in Shinjuku station that appears in City Hunter (Hi, Adam).
...if your only desire is to go for a long drive with Paul Harvey or Rush Limbah on FEN.
...when you mentally convert your dollar assets into yen to figure out your personal wealth.
...if you can remember when Kirin was advertised as coming from the sparkling waters of Mt Fuji.
...you think people abroad would snap up a book with "too long in Japan" quips.
...you have learned the art of riding a bicycle while holding an umbrella over your head.
...when you spend 200,000 yen for two nights and three days sight-seeing in Kobe (travelling from Yokohama, two adults and one child who still travels and lodges free) and don't get angry.
...when you use phrases like "abundant nature" in letters.
...when you buy a ski rack for your car, but you don't own any skis.
...and a true story: When you are visiting relatives in the States (and when you think of it as "visiting" and not "going home") and the phone beside the bed rings early one morning and, in a daze, you pick it up and mumble "moshi moshi." And then when the person on the other end says something in English about "is this the right number?" to half-knock you out of your daze and you mumble "hello hello."
...you are turned away from a club because you are not Japanese, and you are not offended.
...you think it 10 visits to the dentist to fix a tooth is reasonable.
...when NHK warnings about landslides, heavy rains, lightning or fog make you feel reassured that someone is benevolently watching over you.
...you decide to take a foreign visitor to see an old temple, a kabuki play and Ginza.
...when the first accessory you buy for your motorcycle is a flip-up license plate holder.
...when the next thing you buy for your r is a clock.
...when a "bike" is never a bicycle, always a motorcycle.
...you think "white" is the color for cars; except for Ferraris, in which case it is "red."
Wednesday, March 26, 2003
You've Been in Japan Too Long When... (page 3 of 4)
...you keep looking for new copies of Gegege-no-kitaro and Hi-no-tori manga at the local bookstore.