TOPHow to Talk to Gaijin: Advice for the People of Japan

How to Talk to Gaijin: Advice for the People of Japan

By Alec Jordan

Okay, here’s what I’ve discovered does not work when meeting women. Gazing at them, silently but intently. Discussing their breasts. Touching them, pretty much anywhere. I know, you’d think these methods would be great, but somehow they aren’t, which is weird. Whatever. Let’s not talk about how I know this.

A Tokyo Weekender exclusive from Ken Seeroi, Japanese Rule of 7

So I was in a little Japanese bar the other day, just standing there having a glass of watery shochu and some chewy dried squid, when a short Japanese man positioned himself next to me. He just stood there, seemingly transfixed by my presence, and I wondered how long it’d take before he’d try out some English. I checked my watch.

To his credit, he had remarkable powers of concentration. Thirty seconds, a minute, minute ten, then finally, when he could contain himself no longer, out it came.


Japanese people are rather predictable in this respect.

I replied in Japanese, which is something of a self-protective reflex, like ink for a squid. “Konnichiwa,” I said. Next, he’ll ask where I’m from.

“Oh, your Japanese is so good,” he said in Japanese. Whoops, forgot about that one.

“Want some squid?” I continued in Japanese, then took a big bite. “Izzz derishus.”

“Where’re you from?” he stammered. Okay, now I’m batting a thousand again. He started sweating profusely.

“Jus’ down the street,” I answered, chewing like mad. “Ha ‘bout you?

“No, I mean, what country? Where were you born?

“Oh, uh, ’merica.”

He grabbed my hand and started shaking it. He wouldn’t let go. “I’m so glad to meet you,” he said. “So glad.”

“That’s my my squid-eating hand,” I said.

Gaijin Disguise
Gaijin Disguise (Photo: kalleboo/Flickr)

I looked at him, then at my squid. Tears were welling in his eyes and he was positively shaking. I mean the Japanese guy. The squid was doing fine, although granted, the ink ploy hadn’t worked too well for him either.

“Let’s take a picture!” said the little man, and out came a phone.

“M’kay,” I said, “jus’ lemme finish chewing.”

I must be in half the photo albums in Japan. I wonder if Japanese people ever get together and say, “Oh, that dude? Look, I got a picture with him too!” Actually, I’m pretty sure that happens.

I think this is why women get breast-reduction operations.

Meeting Japanese Women

Now, to be honest, I might only be talking to you because I like how you look. I mean, if you’re a woman. Sometimes it’s like your personality can’t even escape the gravity of your own hotness, like this amazing goldfish who’s saying all this brilliant stuff but who’s trapped in a fishbowl and everyone’s all like, “Awww look, it’s moving its little mouth like it’s trying to say something.” Yeah, sorry about that. It’s probably better if you’re a guy, really, because then we can just talk about baseball or something. Actually, then I can’t notice how you look at all, because that’s how people turn gay. So how ‘bout them Dodgers?

But what I’ve learned is you have to be careful when talking with women. Even if I know that you know how fabulous you look, we have to both talk about art or dogs or some nonsense. Your smoking-hot body isn’t good for initial conversation, unless maybe you’ve got breast implants, and then for some reason we can talk about them. But apparently women don’t like random dudes blurting out how amazing they look, any more than I do. It’s all very confusing.

So to the nation of Japan, I have one simple request: Quit staring at my tits. And by “tits,” I mean “whiteness,” just to be clear. I mean, sure, I do a lot of push-ups, but they’re called “pecs,” if you must know. Anyway, if I can’t stare, then neither can you. So stop buying me drinks and gently touching my arm, cause y’all are creeping me out. At least pretend to like me as a person, and just do whatever you’d do if I looked “Japanese.” Talk about the Dodgers or something. Okay, if you’re a hot Japanese woman, maybe we can work something out. You tell me how well I use chopsticks and I’ll laugh and pretend like you’re saying something brilliant. See, now everybody’s happy.

And in next month’s installment, we’ll investigate conversing with the visually-impaired, and explore how “Nice cane” and, “You walk as well as a guy with eyes” can be a great opening lines.

Main Image: Chris Lewis/Flickr