display | more...
変な外人

Japanese for "strange foreigner". The paradoxical part is that the meaning is the exact opposite of what you'd think! The Japanese expect foreigners to be weird, so going around speaking English, shaking hands, not knowing how to use chopsticks and so on is not considered strange: quite the contrary, it's only to be expected, and the Japanese are usually extremely accommodating and more than glad to offer a friendly lecture on how we Japanese do things.

But the henna gaijin do not fit the mold -- they creep out the Japanese by acting too Japanese, even though they blatantly look like foreigners. Henna gaijin can speak Japanese, use chopsticks, eat natto with relish, know more about Buddhism and garden landscaping than most Japanese people, and even use the elevators correctly. They blur the distinction between gaijin and nihonjin, raising all sorts of the disquieting questions about what it really means to be Japanese. Surely it cannot be merely a question of physical appearance, now can it?

And the sad part is that someone who looks like a foreigner can never, ever become more than a henna gaijin...

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.