How to tell you’ve been in Japan too long… Part 2

Welcome to part two of: How to tell you’ve been Japan too long!

How many can you check off?
How well have you assimilated to the Japanese daily culture? 


  1. You take your shoes off in the dressing room of a clothing store.
  2. You look for people in front of a train station who distribute paper handkerchiefs/tissues.
  3. You make a loud “haaah” after each sip of hot tea.
  4. You mutter “yosh(i)!” when lifting heavy objects or reaching the top of the stairs.
  5. Bakeries are your best friend (and you’ve probably gained about five kilos from all their chocolate muffins and character-shaped melon bread).
  6. Even when in your home country, you have the urge to pour your neighbour a drink when their cup is empty, before you can even think about getting your own.
  7. You are more scared of police officers on bikes than police officers in cars. Or worse, those just standing on the side of the road with their light-sabers batons.
  8. You don’t pull over when a police officer behind you has their car lights flashing.
  9. You are tongue-tied to find your words in your mother tongue.
  10. You wonder what 「お土産」omiyage you’ll bring back to your colleagues and friends before leaving for your holiday/vacation.
  11. You point to your nose when you say/ask “I”.
  12. You say ‘「すみません」sumimasen’ whenever you want to apologize for things that might happen or maybe not.
  13. You buy gifts for classmates or co-workers whenever you leave town, even if it’s just for a few hours.
  14. You hide from the NHK (TV) man routinely.
  15. You know that you will probably never actually pay for your NHK/TV service, unless of course the NHK guy decides to break into your flat and verify that you “do not have a TV,”, and no longer worry about not paying it.
  16. You read English words and start reading with Japanese pronunciations (e.g. ‘date’ rhymes with ‘karate’ and not with ‘plate’).
  17. You actually dream in Japanese at times.
  18. You return to your home country and drink soup directly from the bowl when you think no one is looking as it’s so much easier.
  19. You select shoes based on how easily you can get them on and off.
  20. You can name all the members of SMAP.
  21. You aren’t afraid of someone stealing your umbrella at an office when you leave it in the holder on a rainy day.
  22. Even if they stole it, you have, like, seven more umbrellas at home. :p
  23. You expect all shops to have umbrella condom (plastic bags) dispensers.
  24. You have a collection of Purikura at home.
  25. You answer “「はい」hai!” even when speaking English to non-Japanese friends.
  26. You can fall asleep on the train and wake up at your stop.
  27. (Men) You don’t even need an actual restroom to pee in public, but only an outside ‘urinal’. (Even in places like parks)
  28. You believe no party is complete without a trip to the karaoke.
  29. Someone says “mansion” you picture a one or two bedroom flat in a 400-unit apartment building.
  30. You can convert katakana back to English without having to first sound it out ten times slowly.
  31. You start wondering if the policeman in front of you will check you’re bicycle registration just because you are a “「外人」gaijin (foreigner)”.
  32. You go back to your home country and are surprised to see so many “gaijin”.
  33. You explain the difference between a Shintō shrine and a Buddhist temple to your Japanese friends.

    Check out Part 1, Part 3, and Part 4 in this series!

2 thoughts on “How to tell you’ve been in Japan too long… Part 2

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s