How to Tell You’ve Been in Japan Too Long…Part 3

How many are you able to check off? 


  1. You ask other foreigners what kanji they chose for their 「はんこ」(“hanko”/stamp seal).
  2. You think you should call the electrician to change a light bulb, as your forgot how to do.
  3. You can’t stop saying 「寒い、寒い」”samui, samui” (cold, cold) to yourself when it’s a bit cold, and 「暑い、暑い」”atsui, atsui” (hot, hot) when it’s slightly too hot.
  4. You start saying “eeeh” and “oooh” in front of the TV, just to do like everybody else does.
  5. You realise you need foot massage and hot baths in winter because it’s colder inside your house than outside.
  6. You stare at gaijin, or foreigners/tourists (though you never call them that anymore), in public.
  7. Most of your photos have you doing the “V/Peace sign”.
  8. You don’t feel uncomfortable buying a pack of gum with a 10,000 Yen note(70€/100$).
  9. You are worried because the 「桜」”sakura” (cherry blossoms) are late.
  10. You watch Chinese or Korean movies relying on the Japanese subtitles or dub.
  11. You think it’s alright to stick your head into a stranger’s apartment, if the door is open, to see if anybody’s home.
  12. When in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by rice fields, aren’t surprised to find a random vending machine with no visible means of a power supply…
  13. You think nothing of it when said sole vending machine says “thank you” after you buy a drink.
  14. You stand before a sign on a bridge and ponder the possible meanings of “Bridge Freezes Before Road.”
  15. Engrish isn’t as funny as it used to be.
  16. You spend time trying to figure out what an Engrish word actually means.
  17. You’ve spent the night at a Manga café or Karaoke bar after missing the last train. More than once.
  18. You get a 「日本語が上手」”Nihongo ga jozu ([Your] Japanese is good.)” and feel as if you’re being insulted or patronised.
  19. On a cold autumn or winter night, the only thing you want for dinner is 「なべ」”nabe” and 「日本酒」”nihonshu”.
  20. When you think that coffee goes perfectly well with squid pizza.
  21. You think cod roe spaghetti with chilled red wine is a typical Italian dish.
  22. 懐かしい」”natsukashii (literally, ‘nostalgic’)” comes out of your mouth instead of “what you’re saying makes me so nostalgic (And gazing off into the distance)….”
  23. You no longer pay any attention to what anyone does when you sit down beside them on a train. Let the arse move away from the ‘gaijin’ if he wants to.
  24. All of your December Sundays is reserved for 「ぼ年会」Bonenkai (end of year drinking party) hangover recovery.
  25. You start to get nervous/uncomfortable when there are too many gaijin in a bar.
  26. You’ve started to reserve seats with your wallet / bag. You don’t have the slightest worry that it might be stolen.
  27. You can’t read a book in public that doesn’t have a book cover.
  28. You’re starting to believe that romaji is English
  29. You ask people to “teach” you their phone number.
  30. It no longer bothers you that OIOI is pronounced marui.
  31. You’ve become extremely nostalgic about sakura.
  32. You regularly sleep at school or work.
  33. You remember important dates by the 「平成」 heisei or 「書わ」showa year.
  34. You use a taxi in your home country and you wait for the door to open automatically.
  35. You have accidentally apologized in Japanese in your home country.

Check out part 1, part 2, and part 4 of this series!

One thought on “How to Tell You’ve Been in Japan Too Long…Part 3

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