Archive | 10:06 pm

You’ve been in America too long when…

19 Dec

Many people who live for an extended time in another country make “You’ve been in (such-and-such country) for too long when…” type jokes.

They can be interesting to read because you can tell something about their native culture by the types of things that they find peculiar about another country.

I found a list titled 「日本人がアメリカに長くいすぎたと実感するのはこんなとき」 (Roughly: “You’ve been living in America too long when… (by Japanese people)”).

It’s a list of things that Japanese people who have been living in America for a long period find unusual about American culture.

To tell the truth, I’ve been living in Japan longer now than I lived in America so I can understand the Japanese people’s reactions.

Here is some of the list:

You’ve been living in America too long when… (by Japanese people):

◎ you wear a T-shirt even in winter.
◎ you blow your nose in public
◎ you don’t wear skirts any more.
◎ you feel you’re lucky when a train is only five minutes late.
◎ you  say ‘Thank you’ to a cashier in a store.
◎ you don’t carry an umbrella.
◎ you cross a street when the light is still red.
◎ you wear your shoes indoors.
◎ you understand measuring units such as Fahrenheit, miles, gallons and inches.

If you’re unfamiliar with Japanese culture, you may find that list confusing.
I’ll try to explain them a bit…

◎ About “wearing a T-shirt in winter”…foreigners, especially Americans, have an image amongst Japanese of wearing T-shirts all year–even when it’s cold outside.
◎ Regarding “blowing your nose in public”…it’s considered bad manners in Japan.
◎ About “skirts”…Japanese girls wear them more often than Americans do. Generally speaking.
◎ As for “feeling lucky about a train being ‘only’ five minutes late”…public transportation in Japan is extremely punctual. Announcements and apologies can be heard in train stations in Japan if a train is even a minute late.
◎ About “thanking store clerks”…people in Japan, especially Tokyo, don’t usually do that.
◎ “Umbrellas”…people in Japan use them. I know when I lived in America, I have no recollection of ever seeing anyone use an umbrella.
◎ About “jay-walking (crossing before the light changes)”…most people in Japan wait for the light—even if there are no cars on the road.
◎ About “shoes indoors”…in Japan, people take their shoes off when they enter a house.
◎ About “measuring units”…Japan uses, as most other countries do, the metric system.

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Then, of course, there are “You know you’ve been in Japan too long…” jokes, too:

(The cartoon images in this post were found on “Google Images“).