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.

+++

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“).

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26 Responses to “You’ve been in America too long when…”

  1. Lilly_Phrilly July 28, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Haha, thought this was funny. Off on one thing though. I’m American and I never have or have seen anyone blow their nose in public. Even way back in elementary school (as little kids with no concern for hygiene), we would ask the teacher if we could go into the hall to blow our noses cause we didn’t want to do it in the full classroom. I accidentally walked in on my coworker blowing her nose the other day (she didn’t think anyone else was in yet) and she freaked out and apologized for being gross like 20 times.

    Umbrellas, mostly true. If it has been raining a lot during a time people will start carrying them more. But other than that they just deal with getting soggy. (I never used an umbrella consistently until just a few months ago, and I only got it cause it had a cute design :3 Since there is so little public transportation in America, we all have cars to drive everywhere and deal with the one minute of rain to walk from the parking lot to the door.

    But man, so right about Tshirts I laughed so hard XD

    Like

    • tokyo5 July 28, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      I have seen American people blow their nose in public before. I don’t think it has as much of a negative image there as it does here.

      Anyways, that’s the image Japanese people have of America.

      As for umbrellas, I never owned one until I moved to Japan.

      And I know that Americans wear T-shirts year-round … I did when I was growing up in America.

      Like

  2. Bryn December 26, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    That list could also be titled “You know you’re still too American, even though you live in Japan when….”

    I still do all those things (except blow my nose in public, that’s gross. But I’ve noticed a lot of Japanese people PICK their noses in public, and that’s disgusting too!) I never carry an umbrella, I regularly jay-walk, I’m wearing a t-shirt right now, even though it’s 66 degrees (FAHRENHEIT) in my house and I always thank everyone who does anything for me, even the department store greeter who welcomes me into the store.

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 26, 2011 at 11:12 pm #

      >I still do all those things

      You’re with the U.S. military on an American base in Japan…so I guess it’s normal that you’d still act and think “American”.

      So, I guess I’m not very American-acting at all anymore…I don’t do any of those things.

      Like

  3. sixmats December 26, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    I found that living in America list really funny since my family is visiting from the US now. My dad said he was freezing, but he was wearing a t-shirt in the house. Put a sweater on!

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 26, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

      >My dad…was wearing a t-shirt in the house.

      Japanese people don’t have that image of Americans for nothing…they really do it.

      Is this your parents first visit to Japan?

      Like

  4. Shaun December 24, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    This how we are taught to cross the road in the UK.

    Super lame ads but it does teach you how to cross a road. To me this jaywalking law is basically treating adults like children.

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 24, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

      >Super lame ads but it does teach you how to cross a road.

      Well, of course, America and Japan have children’s programs that teach various things including road safety, too.

      The street in that English video you linked is very narrow and has little traffic…a big city such as Tokyo has a lot of traffic and the roads in America are much wider—therefore, it might be easier to cross roads in England.
      Just a theory.

      >To me this jaywalking law is basically treating adults like children.

      There are many laws in every country that are “common sense”…but some adults act like “children” and need to be treated as such.

      Like

      • Shaun December 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

        >There are many laws in every country that are “common sense”…but some adults act like “children” and need to be treated as such.

        Too true.

        Like

      • tokyo5 December 26, 2011 at 12:33 am #

        >Too true.

        Yeah, it’s an unfortunate reality.

        Like

    • tokyo5 January 3, 2012 at 2:06 am #

      Have you ever looked at Cracked.com?

      I like that website.

      Well, by chance, I learned from that site that the “Green Cross Man” from the video you linked above is David Prowse.
      And David Prowse was Darth Vader in the Star Wars movies (not the voice of Vader, that was James Earl Jones…but he wore the Darth Vader costume).

      So, he went from being the “Dark Lord” Darth Vader to a crossing guard superhero. Kind of a step down, I’d say.

      Like

  5. Mr Sands December 22, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    I thought jaywalking was illegal in the US.

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 23, 2011 at 12:21 am #

      Yes, it is. And it’s illegal in Japan, too.

      I would guess that jaywalking is illegal in most (if not every) countries…isn’t it illegal in England?

      Like

      • Shaun December 24, 2011 at 1:10 am #

        It’s not illegal in most of Europe as far as I know. It’s just crossing the road. I’m surprised to learn it’s not legal in Japan.

        Like

      • tokyo5 December 24, 2011 at 1:45 am #

        >I’m surprised to learn it’s not legal in Japan.

        Well, I’m surprised to learn that it’s not illegal in Europe! 😉

        In Japan, pedestrians are required, by law, to cross streets at pedestrian “zebra” crossings. And if there is a pedestrian crossing signal (“red/green man”), they must wait for the green signal.
        Even if there are no cars approaching, it’s still a bad example for children to see adults jay-walk.

        Like

    • tokyo5 December 24, 2011 at 1:47 am #

      >I thought jaywalking was illegal in the US.

      It is illegal in America…but the reason that it’s on the “You know you’ve been in America too long…” list is that, compared to Japan, jay-walking is more commonplace in America.

      Like

  6. Yuki December 21, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    You are very Japanese! I wonder if you can’t tear the gift wrapping but open it very carefully now 🙂 Because I am impressed by a dynamic American style of opening gifts.

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 22, 2011 at 12:45 am #

      >I wonder if you can’t tear the gift wrapping but open it very carefully now

      Well yes, I live in Japan and opening wrapping paper on gifts carefully (rather than simply tearing if off) is considered good manners here…

      Like

  7. Yuki December 20, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    Very funny! This list is very convincing. Especially ‘T-shirt’ and ‘skirt’. We Japanese often wonder if Western men don’t feel cold wearing only a T-shirt in winter.

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 20, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

      >We Japanese often wonder if Western men don’t feel cold wearing only a T-shirt in winter.

      I’m American…but I suppose living in Japan for many years has affected me—I can’t believe it when I see visitors in T-shirts in cold weather.

      (Also, whenever I watch a Hollywood movie, I can’t help but notice when there’s a character wearing shoes with their feet propped up on a table or on their bed or sofa…it feels weird to me to see that. I guess I’m not so “American” anymore, after all).

      Like

  8. Blue Shoe December 20, 2011 at 1:54 am #

    Heh, nice list. I especially like the ones about T-shirts and thanking cashiers.

    I wouldn’t say Americans don’t use umbrellas, but as Bartman pointed out, many people driver everywhere…so there is minimal need for an umbrella.

    Wondering about the jay-walking one, though. When I lived in/near urban areas in Japan, I noticed people crossing on red all the time.

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 20, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

      >I wouldn’t say Americans don’t use umbrellas

      I’ve never used one in America…and I didn’t know anyone who did. As you said, it’s because America is a “car culture”.

      >I noticed people (in Japan) crossing on red all the time.

      Really? I think most people here (in Japan) wait for the cross-signal to turn green…even if there are no cars on the road.

      Like

  9. gigihawaii December 19, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    Hilarious! I enjoyed both lists!
    …and what’s wrong with thanking the clerk? It’s a great habit to have!

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 19, 2011 at 11:58 pm #

      >Hilarious! I enjoyed both lists!

      Thank you.

      >what’s wrong with thanking the clerk? It’s a great habit to have!

      Nothing at all.
      Just in Japan, store clerks thank customers, of course…but it would seem awkward to people in Japan to do the opposite.

      Like

  10. bartman905 December 19, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

    Great list – funny and true!

    With umbrellas, that is so true with us. We seem to drive everywhere (especially if you like in the suburbs) instead of walking/taking public transit so the umbrellas stay in the car.

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 19, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

      >Great list

      Thanks.

      >the umbrellas stay in the car.

      I didn’t own an umbrella at all when I lived in America. I bought my first umbrella ever when I came to Japan.

      Like

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