Oh child you're never going to be Japanese. Don't even try you're embarrassing yourself.


How dare you. I'll have you know that I'm turning Japanese. I think I'm turning Japanese. I really think so...


No sex no drugs no wine no women no fun no sin - what's the point?


Are you? Are we?




This ^^^ don't even try. No matter how long you live in Japan, you will never fit in.


> I know a lot of this is in my head but the point is a lot of it isn’t in my head. I think more of it is in your head than you realize...


...Much more.


Yeah, a lot of time it isn’t directed at you per se. They just saw you and it triggered a related train of thought. Furriners.


The most reliable way to make yourself miserable as a foreigner in Japan is to try to be Japanese. There are people who live here who are still at it 10, 15 years in and every single one of them is unhappy. Even if you were born and raised here you wouldn't blend in any better than you did the second you set foot on Japanese soil. Hell, even nth generation Korean and Chinese people who grew up here and are physically, culturally and linguistically indistinguishable from ethnic Japanese are treated as outsiders when and if people find out about their ancestry. Half-Japanese people born and raised in Japan are considered foreign, as are fully-Japanese people who were born and raised overseas (say, a Japanese-American). Even returnees who have spent considerable time abroad can be given the side-eye. Basically, if you aren't seemingly 100% ethnically Japanese and not born and raised here without any significant exposure to foreign people and cultures, then you're not going to fit in. You want to know how you *really* fit in? Be a foreigner. That's your expected role here - to stand out and be different. Do your own thing, because that's what everyone expects, and you can get away with it unlike your typical Japanese.


Maybe not quite as extreme as you say for multicultural kids (depending on where you live), but your advice is spot on. When my kids would come home telling me that someone called them a gaijin, I told them, “You are. And you are Japanese, too. Not half - twice.” I intentionally didn’t say double, since that sounds like ‘Dabo’…


Others in this thread are not being as kind to you as I would like, but they are correct. It won't work. You will always be a bit different here, and will get some stares, but I don't find it nearly as oppressive as you appear to. At least, I don't any more. When I was at your stage in my time in Japan, some Japanese friends invited me skiing in Gunma. It was fun. And, I thought, between the ski cap, wrap around sunglasses, etc, no one will know I'm a gaijin! And I looked forward to that. I got on the lift, and as I got to the top there was the oniisan helping people get off the lift. He looked at me and said, "hello!!" I sputtered and asked, him, how did you know I'm not Japanese?? He said, "oh, you have a big nose....." Basically saying it's not easy, but it's just something to deal with.


*I sputtered and asked, him, how did you know I'm not Japanese?? He said, "oh, you have a big nose....."* The, er, directness of some people here certainly takes you by surprise, if youre not used to it!


Don't blend in. Just do your own thing.


They'd still treat you differently even if you were Asian my man. Better starting getting used to it because it's not going to be changing. Also please share a before & after picture if you do try to to Japanize yourself, would be worth a chuckle.


You won't blend in.


Lol, "if I looked Asian they wouldn't treat me this way". Edit: ask someone of Chinese or Korean descent if they're treated like they're full Japanese. Yes, yes they would. Even being half in this country will still get you treated fairly differently. Just do yourself a favor and embrace that you're different. Use it to your advantage


> western looking > young > coherent Japanese The fact of the matter is, you are rare in this country. If I saw a purple giraffe I would stare at it too and say ‘sugooii’ You are going to need to come to terms with the fact that you stick out. Also, drill it in to yourself that being noticed doesn’t automatically mean being unwelcome. They are completely different things. Realistically most western looking people in this country couldn’t find their arse with both hands so being surprised by you is (statistically speaking) not incorrect. Get to know people for a few years and it will smooth out.


I sympathise. To deal with this I'd suggest taking a look into Stoicism (the philosophy). A key teaching is that you shouldn't worry about things that are absolutely beyond your control. How people react to you before you have even interacted with them is 'beyond your control.' Once you learn to not to worry about this you can focus on the important things that you CAN control. Sounds like hokey BS, but I've found it incredibly useful for stress management and dealing with exactly the kinds of things you mention. All the best!


Stop giving a damn. People will like you or hate you for so, so many reasons. Be a good person. Make friends with the older folks in a neighborhood. You'll be accepted in no time. Tldr: don't be a dick and get drunk with the local elderly population and make sure they get home safe. You'll be fine. Lawn golf is surprisingly fun.


You're worrying about pointless, unimportant things.


Bruh... I have been in Japan for over 15 yrs, I'm 3rd gen Japanese, and I still don't blend in. I get stares everywhere I go, and I just go with it. Unless you're 100% Japanese, you're not going to blend in. You will be a gaijin no matter what.


Ah, the honeymoon period is over! Give it a few months and it won’t bother you as much. Don’t try to blend in or to look Japanese. One, it doesn’t work - they can still tell; two, they’ll actually respect you less (it’s like the older guys who are in their 80’s, but still insist on dying their hair with that boot-polish black. It doesn’t fool anyone, it just looks foolish). I haven’t spent time in Tokyo (I’m a west Japan guy), but it seems like Tokyo is more obsessed about gaijin than the countryside or smaller cities. Maybe it’s because so many westerners head to Tokyo.


The short answer is: you won’t. I get it’s annoying, I truly do, but try to just let it go and enjoy your year, most people don’t mean harm and are just a little ignorant.


Accept, ignore, move on. Get used to being different and appreciate the benefits it can bring, while also reconciling yourself with the fact that some limitations will remain.


I think I got more 日本語上手s visiting Tokyo than where I live in Aichi, I think maybe because people don't expect foreigners to speak Japanese in Tokyo? Like everyone else has said, just don't worry about it. You're never going to blend in, people just want to compliment you for learning a language that they probably see a lot of people not understand/try to use.


Wear a kimono whenever you leave your house and lecture other foreigners, especially white foreigners on the proper pronunciation of every characters name in one piece


I'm Asian and still being started at 😅


Don’t be so self-conscience about it. My husband got the same kind of treatment whenever we went to the US to visit my parents. People would say some mind-numbingly stupid things to him in relation to him being Japanese.


しょうがない You don't blend in here, and you never will. Just run along with the local norms and culture to the best of your ability (and willingness), and that's it. Live your life and don't be bothered by people staring at you for not being a local, because that won't stop.


Hi OP, I went through this when I lived in a big city in China many years ago. The staring affects people differently. Some people mind it and other don’t. It really got to me too to the point I would hyperventilate a little bit. At the time I would wear a hoodie or hat and kind of look down at the ground, that way I could not see the people looking at me and only look up when needed. I also would wear headphones so I could not hear people talk about me. But after a while, I believe around the 3 year mark, I started not to mind it. Keep at it, you’ll get used to it, it just takes time. As others have said you will always be a foreigner, whether you have been there for 1 year or 20 years, and you begin to see yourself operating and evolving within that system, which is fine, it’s just life. And because of those experiences in China I don’t feel anything when walking around Tokyo or anywhere in Japan now really as well.


The Japanese attitude towards foreigners is really weird and anyone who’s been here long enough knows that. You will never blend in so don’t try to! Just realise that they’re only acting like that because it’s japan. There’s nothing wrong with you and there are millions of people over the world just like you, and some even here in Japan like me. Shake it off!


Whenever I read these kinds of posts, I wonder if I'm doing something wrong (or right, as it may be). I live in the Tokyo 'burbs, but I never get stared at, receive 'gaijin' grumblings, or anything of the sort. People will often sit next to me on the train, even if other openings are available. I obviously stand out, as I'm taller and heavier than the average Japanese dude, and I dress like an American (T-shirt, jeans, and sandals in the summer). Maybe it's just an age thing (I'm in my mid 40s)? I generally feel invisible when I ride the trains or walk around. I'm a pretty observant person and love to people-watch, so I doubt it's just that I don't notice it. Maybe something in your behavior or way you carry yourself is just weird and sets off people's inner alarm bells that you're obviously TRYING to fit in, instead of just, you know, being yourself. It's like when kids are nervous and overcompensate by trying to look relaxed, and just end up drawing more attention to themselves. In any case, water off a duck's back is the way to deal with it.


They even treat Japanese returnee students different. As a teacher, I see it sometimes. If they detect a Japanese person has fluent-sounding English, they’d be like “whoooaaaa” either in a good way or sarcastically out of jealousy. I’m Asian-American but not Japanese. This girl at a cafe nearby me and my friends talked smack about me and said I was trying to show off my English because she thought I was a spoiled girl who could experience living abroad. OP, you don’t need to fit in. Would you want to teach the younger generation to always aim to be the same as everyone else? To be even more blunt, white guys have it relatively easier than the recent migrant workers from developing countries who are trying to make a living in Japan just to send money to their families back home.


Act like you know where you are going. Don’t make eye contact with random people on the street. Don’t talk loudly. Wear muted colors, imitate the fashion of the people around you but only to the extent that it suits you. Basically ignoring everyone and following my own path works for me. I know I don’t look the same, but I act the same as everyone else on the train and get treated the same.


\> I worked hard for years to get my Japanese to this level (studying for N2) and I can communicate quite well. Hmm, with only N2, I highly doubt you can communicate beyond the typical 日常会話. If you could converse about abstract topics in rapid Japanese whilst juggling the art of 遠回し to avoid offending other people, then your acceptance rate would increase significantly. But remember this, my dear child, you'll not be a purebred, embrace your racial attributes and realize it's actually a gift. I don't know how many times I got discriminated against because I'm not white.


It’s funny you should mention this because just tonight my housemate told me that I have a “gentle way of speaking Japanese that would never hurt anyone.” My Japanese is far from fluent but I’m at a high level in a traditional Japanese art form so most of my Japanese input is older Japanese ladies that speak in a more polite way.


It doesn't matter what you do to your physical appearance, if they know you're not 100% you'll get teased about it. I heard even half-japanese people who look a lot japanese get teased about being a foreigner when people know about it. It's really a societal thing. I heard it's gradually improving over the years, but at this point you might as well embrace the gaijin identity.


A lot of us go through this phase. Just cope with it; you will never have any control on what people around you are doing. Just don’t get paranoid and overthink this. The fact is that over 99% of the japanese people do not give a fuck about you and your presence.


It comes with so many more advantages than disadvantages. Why would you WANT them thinking you’re Japanese, your life would be so much harder. Getting stared might make you anxious, but who really cares. Embrace it.


On a more positive note: Maybe you are just attractive Also, maybe start journaling? Why you care about blending in and so on. Let's be honest you will always remain a foreigner in Japan (and any other country that doesn't have international population).


Are you black from the west? You know the drill. Are you white? Best of luck


I had the exact same thing when i came here at 24. 10+ years later and no one looks at me anymore. Kinda sad actually. japanese people may not agree about a lot of things, but one thing they all can agree upon is that there are two types of humans: nihonjin and gaijin. You are a gaijin, so are 99% of the ppl posting on here. Being a gaijin has its perks! Most people feel like they have to accommodate you as a guest, and will do nice things for you they wouldnt do for japanese. On the other hand, old japanese men with small man (probably small ****) syndrome will go out of their way to try to make you look stupid in front of others for being a gaijin in japan. The longer you are here though, the more youll just get used to it all, and the less weird it will seem. Always gotta take the bad with the good.


Fuck it? *shrugs*


I’m sorry you’re having this experience. It would be helpful to focus more on being happy with yourself and having self acceptance rather than fitting in.


you're not japanese and you never will be but who gives a shit lmao why do you want to erase your identity. it's all in your head my man. stop giving a shit. live your life. people in japan are the same as people anywhere and you will eventually find your own friend group and vibe with them and then you will forget all about this shit. no one around you really cares that you're a foreigner past the point of thinking "oh look a foreigner".


It’s not them, it’s you.


😂 you will never blend in. Most of this sounds like you being a drama queen. Get a grip ffs.


Just go home. Seriously. If you can’t stand it. It is what it is. Learn to deal with it or bounce. These are things that will never change. Also, the way you perceive situations plays a big part. People in Tokyo DO NOT! look/stare as much as some people say. That’s just bullshit. Countryside, yes, I agree. Tokyo? No! My tip to you if you want to stay is to not act like a typical American. That will help you.


Just wear a t-shirt that says "I identify as Japanese", and bang; Bob is your mother's brother. No, forget it. You're a gaijin and will always be, even if you naturalise. You're a minority, with all the good, bad, and ugly that goes with it. You'll just have to deal with it. Grow a thick skin, that's the best way to stay sane and happy here, or anywhere else for that matter.


You could learn to embrace the dark side and gaijin smash your way into women’s skirts while dancing and singing “I’m a unicorn.” I had a few friends who did that. Not really my recommendation. My only recommendation is to always wear a condom. The feeling will pass. As in, you’ll learn to give less fucks about what other people are doing.


You need more than N1 to blend in. Too soon right now. Even if you have achieved native level fluency, you will still not blend in among the masses because of your skin color and facial features. You can however, blend in within your circles.


Hahahahaha No.


I’ve never found “just stop caring about it” particularly useful advice. It is true though that this is something that probably isn’t going to change no matter what you do, so do to try to stop thinking if it as something you can change. Think instead about what you can do to insulate yourself from it on bad days (mask, sunglasses, hat, long sleeves), notice where you feel more comfortable and head to those places more often, come up with some bland phrases you can repeat without thinking when people ask the same questions repeatedly. You can’t blend in but you can improve your resiliency and you can find places and people that fill up your reserves when other things in life deplete them.


First, congrats on working for the N2! Everybody’s expectation, experience, and environment will be very different. 14 years ago, I started in Saitama and now live in Hokkaido with my family and I absolutely love it, despite some hardship along the road. Like some commenters said, don’t try too hard to blend in. Be considerate, be kind, and be yourself. I may be naive, but I believe that if Japan is right for you, things will fall into place eventually.


Wow, 14 years! That’s quite some time. If you don’t mind my asking—what wound up bringing you to Japan, and what nudged you to stay?


Well, at that point (27 years old), I had worked and studied in several countries and had already enjoyed myself a lot. I was ready to find a place to discover, and settle down. Somewhere with a rich culture, good food, and peaceful. I wasn’t disappointed. Even if I started in a metropolitan area, I tried to mingle mostly with Japanese people rather than hang out with foreigners. I met my future wife, lost my job, found another in Hokkaido, a place I felt would suit me better than kanto. And that’s it. Stable, decent paying job, friendly neighborhood, lots of nature, low key social life, plenty of place to play for the kids. I am not saying I will stay here forever, but it would take significant changes in my environment, health, or job for me to consider leaving.


I’ve been here 3 years. To some of us, we might feel like we’ve “earned” the right or something to be treated or seen as just another bloke. But nope, you’ll often be someone’s first time seeing a real foreigner. I wish I said it didn’t bother me when someone says “日本語上手” or “お箸うまい!” but it does. We all deal with it our own way.


Embrace your difference. You can even learn to take advantage of it.


"The Vapors".... are an English new wave and power pop band that initially existed between 1978 and 1981. They had a hit with the song "Turning Japanese", which reached No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart in 1980[4] and No. 36 in the US Billboard Hot 100.----------------You should listen to this song.


Just be yourself, don't exasperate over blending in or not. *I’m not fat or have weird hair, or wear weird clothes, but they still stare* Some people stare (its not a uniquely Japanese thing) especially when you are foreign. Much of the time (not always) its not malicious. In particular, I find its young kids and elderly men who stare. As for weight, its no big thing (no pun intended) and I dont know what weird hair or weird clothes are. Maybe a peers thing? There are a lot more suits in this country, thats for sure & it takes a bit of getting used to. Dont try too hard and you will be grand. Ignore the stares ( I know, not always easy) as its their problem/curiosity, not yours.


For what it's worth, no other country is much different.


Your Japanese isnt as good as you think it is