Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Semi-funny thing happened to me yesterday.

I was standing on the platform, waiting for the train to come.

There was a caucasian man standing in front of me.

As we were waiting for the train, his caucasian woman friend, came by and said "hi".

They then proceeded to chat as they waited for the train to come.

The man turns slightly around looking at me and "whispers" to his friend loud enough for me to hear...."slowly sneak in front of me"...

In actuality, letting his friend cut in front of him (and me!)

I smiled at him and said, "you can let her cut in".

This shocked him...

An Asian that spoke English...

He then turns to me and says, "Are you really "Japanese"?"

And while a few years back I probably would've been insulted by this, I found it a bit hilarious...

He then said, "where did you originally come from?"

I said, "From Hawaii".

His face relaxed and said, "ah okay, now it makes sense. I thought your pronunciation was a bit too perfect."

I said, "shh...I'm undercover"

Since moving here, I have gotten used to being seen as a Japanese national who speaks perfect English, instead of as a foreigner.

Most Japanese who meet me for the first time, often are disappointed because I do not look "foreign" enough (meaning I do not have the blonde hair and blue eyes they associate with foreigners).

I have often heard from other foreigners how they are gawked at on the trains by Japanese because they look "foreign".

But have also seen Japanese treat them more hospitably, because they do look "foreign".

I remember when we called the police to have them check on an apartment on another floor of our building because their door was ajar...the policeman asked for my name and when I said, "Kathy"...he looked puzzled and said, "is that your real name?"

Satoshi had to then explain that I was a "foreigner"...sigh.

But anyway, I digress...the train arrived and we all boarded while having a nice chuckle.


Kalin's Mommy said...

That was a good laugh! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

When I was in college, I had a part time job in Waikiki-McInerny's, in small resort shops located in hotel lobbies. This was waaaay before (in the early 70's). What used to offend me were the Caucasian tourists asking if I was Chinese, Japanese or Korean because if I replied Japanese, they would go on a spiel about how their good friend or neighbor married a Japanese woman and how sweet and kind she was, did everything for their friend or neighbor, even laying out his clothes in the morning, etc. So, I started replying that I was American. Hahaha, they didn't know how to respond to that!

Rowena said...

I am rolling on the floor. would've loved to see the look on that guy's face! in my case, I'll never be seen other than a foreigner but that's okay, as long as they don't ask me to be a babysitter or housekeeper.

alibaba37 said...

Hee hee, that is funny. One of my best friends growing up was fluent in Spanish, but she looked black to most people. I would love when she would catch someone talking about her/us in Spanish and then go off on them. LOL. I like that you're undercover.

KirkK said...

Very funny Kat! The same thing has happened to me in Korea and Japan too. And in a similar vein; in Japan when they find out my last name (Japanese), there's often a lot of surprise as well.

K and S said...

glad I made you laugh Jalna :)

you are welcome Mich :)

so funny V!

agh Rowena, reminds of the Jehovah Witnesses' that come to our door, and talk to me through the intercom asking me (only by my voice if I am Filipino)...WT?!

Me too, being undercover has its benefits sometimes, Alibaba37 :)

I remember once in NYC, Kirk, a lady was going off in Chinese at me and no matter what I said to her, she just kept going, finally I had to hold up my hand to her and walk

Take care everyone!

Rowena said...

WHAT? oh that's priceless! I get asked if I am thai, chinese, indonesian, or japanese, but italians don't ask if I'm filipino, only the filipinos ask that. Haha!

K and S said...

There was even one bozo Rowena, that asked me through the intercom if we had children, and when I told him in English, "he had no business asking me that", I was out of his English conversation range...ha!

Take care!