25 April 2014

Dislikes in Japan: Being Ignored

So just some day before I decided to start a new category here on my blog called "Dislikes in Japan". I think that there are plenty of bloggers out there who bring up all those positive things about Japan. But for me.. I want to cover it all. Not just the fun part. But also the reality. The reality of a foreigner, spending time in Japan.

So this is my first post about dislikes in Japan. And I'd like to bring up the frustration of being ignored (simply because you are a foreigner). I know that this is something that not all foreigners experience. So if you are a foreigner in Japan, who can't agree with me at all. I do get that.

Anyway. Something that has been bugging me for quite some time is how ignorant japanese people can be. A lot of the time when me, and honey have been visiting for example shops. And the salesperson start a conversation with "us", they won't even look at me. Seriously, not even glance. Ok. I do get it. I'm a foreigner. But the salesperson doesn't really know whether I'm fully capable of understanding what he or she is saying. Well, the truth is that I don't understand. Or well, sometime I can understand most parts of a sentence. And sometime I wouldn't understand a bit of what a person just have said. But should that really matter?

I find it really discriminating, and if not, even racist to be ignored like this. I am a human. Just like you. And I DO exist (I'd like to tell them). Would looking at me, if so even for a second, be that harmful for you? We foreigners aren't some kind of deadly disease.

Not only does it happen in shops. It happens in restaurants as well. The waiter/waitress will just automatically assume that I'm some kind of stupid foreigner. And yet again.. I'm being ignored. It doesn't happen all of the time. Of course. But I'd say that it's happening way too often.

I've never seen this kind of behaviour here in Sweden to any non-swedish-looking person. And hopefully I'll never have to see it. Maybe it sounds silly to some of you, to care about something like this. But when it happens, over, and over again, it ain't too fun. And it kinda makes you feel useless. Or at least that those kinda people think that you are useless. Hm..

Well, I've got to say that it's quite interesting to see, and experience things from a different point of view. To be a foreigner in Japan, has made me EVEN more sympathetic about how foreigners in Sweden feels. And I can now understand some of their frustration. Even though we might have different problems to deal with. Being a foreigner is hard. Fun, and interesting. But hard. 

All of the good things outweighs the bad points of Japan luckily. At least for now. lol.
Have you ever experienced anything like this in Japan!? Guess it isn't too uncommon. Especially if you're going/hanging out with someone japanese.


  1. Yeah, welcome to Japan. I've heard a lot of it being sort of racist. My bf is half-Japanese and half-Swede, and both his parents now live in Sweden.
    My bf told me that when his dads new Japanese wife was in Sweden to visit, and she went to the supermarket, people talked to her in Swedish, and she was like "Why? It's obvious I'm not Swedish!", and that is a great example of how people don't get treated differently based on apperance in Sweden, since we have so many immigrants from all over the world. It's a good thing, and more countries should take that in consideration, that just because you look Asian does not mean you can't speak Swedish when in Sweden (and so on.) :P

  2. Haha I know right!? I kinda thing that Japan takes racism to a whole other level. Lol.
    Oh, you're bf is half swede half japanese? That's nice! :)

    Japanese people are in some ways living in their own little world. And therefor they find things shocking when they go out to see "the real world".

    I'm happy that Sweden is an openminded country (most of the time). And that we don't judge people by their ethnicity (again most of the time).

    When I was visiting some relatives of my husband, for a big family dinner, the neighbour next door shouted out loud "Gaijin!!!!!". I was like wait whaaat!? Although this was countryside of Japan. I still don't find it acceptable. Japanese people often like to excuse themselves by saying "shouganai" about these kind of incidents. But whenever they are the victims, or foreigners do a honest mistake, it's all of the sudden unacceptable.

    Japan, the land of double morals. Lol!