Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

Page 1 of 2: Posts 1 - 20 of 23
1 2

winked! 2007/6/12 01:39
I'm thinking about moving to japan... I am an american with blue eyes and light blonde hair. I know I am going to be looked at sometimes but being stared at is generally not something I like. so in america if i notice someone keeps looking at me I wink at them... and sometimes if i am feeling particually brash I mimic a kiss too regardless of gender. I'm not looking to start fights but I won't want to walk over there and say hey stop looking at me repeatedly! so I don't know if I should do that or not...
by apollohay  

... 2007/6/12 10:30
If you have serious problems with looks and stares, then I suggest that you reconsider moving to Japan (or any other region of the world, where white people are a small minority). It is nothing but natural for members of small minorities to earn stares and looks. Just the same with Japanese people in North America and Europe (big metropolitan areas excluded) If you can't get used to it, you better live in a country or region with a considerable white population.

Having said that, most people in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto have gotten used to see white people on the street. You are unlikely to earn too many stares. But on the countryside you can cause more attention.
by Uji rate this post as useful

winking 2007/6/12 10:38
Are you a guy or a girl? And just FYI, if you move to Japan and are blonde, you will be stared at, and not only that, you'll be approached by random people who want to practice English, or even who just want to have sex with you. I have a friend who has had a really tough time here because she hates to be looked at, and it's embarrassing to go out with her because she's made a scene several times by yelling at people who look at her or approach. Especially anywhere outside the big city, people will follow you in stores and things because they're curious about what foreigners buy (well, it's mainly old women without much else to do who do this lol).

I also do the winking/kiss blowing thing if the starers are young people who look fun- playing the flirtacious american girl is a good way to break the ice. However, that doesn't sound like what you're going for- if you really hate attention all that much, don't come live here!
by Kate rate this post as useful

. 2007/6/12 11:07
Oh yeah, you WILL be stared at. Everytime you go out. And often if someone's staring at you and you smile, they don't smile back. So...if you're the type of person who doesn't like that or has an anxiety disorder, Japan is the worst place to go and you could end up having a breakdown. When I went I was stared at a whole lot, and once someone even stopped their car in the middle of the street and started yelling "Do you understand Japanese?!?!" at me, definately my oddest experience. Oh, also I'm not white, I'm African-American.
And speaking of the winking thing, once I was at a fast food place and this Japanese boy kept staring at me..and then out of nowhere he winked. So it seems winking carries on the same meaning in Japan as America, so no worries about that.

Yeah...you failed to mention whether you are male or female. If you're male; oh boy, better watch out. I had a blonde/blue-eyed friend from Finland and the girls liked him SO much, a big group of them got together and made him a fan club. Yeah...talk about creepy. Funny thing is, he didn't seem to like nor care about the attention at all! He look annoyed half of the time.

And if you're female, Kate is generally right. It's not uncommon for Japanese men to want to sleep with foreign women. I often was approached by middle-aged/older men, so it's quite scary. Just remember that since you're different, you will attract both positive, and negative attention. I've heard some stories about gaijin women being attacked in Japan...
Just be careful.

And if people are staring at you to the point you can't take it anymore: Try either staring back for a long period of time, frowning, smiling, asking the person if somethings wrong, telling them that it is rude, saying hello etc...

But smiling hardly works, just to let you know. People stare especially on trains. It was funny, one day on a train this older woman(maybe 40-50ish) kept staring at me. And when I'm stared at, I always take it as a negative vibe if it's not accompanied by a smile. So at first I smiled..to no avail. Then I kind of gave an angry/annoyed look, she didn't stop. 10 minutes into the ride, she suddenly dropped something and didn't notice. I told her and after that she smiled; and didn't stare at me anymore!
by niko-chan (nicole) rate this post as useful

staring 2007/6/12 11:32
If I notice someone staring at me I simply nod my head and say konnichi wa with a smile. They usually realise what they have been doing and stop (or tone it down a bit).

Getting into staring competitions or using other gestures is probably not a good idea.
by koan rate this post as useful

Staring 2007/6/12 14:29
In Tokyo and other big cities the staring is not nearly as bad as it is in countries like India where people will often stop what they are doing and gather in groups to openly observe you.

I am tall and blonde and sometimes people look at me for a bit longer than they would at another Japanese person, but it's nothing like India.

You have two choices- you can get really irritated by it and react, or you can ignore it and live a lower stress life- it's up to you. If you let it get to you you will have a hard time in Japan, I predict.
by Sira rate this post as useful

haha! 2007/6/12 21:43
I am a male and 22 and 5'8". herteralsexual too. I know I made it sound like I have some weird phobia but its not really the case. If they are staring at me I just don't understand why they just won't strike a conversation with me. I know most japanese are considered to be shy but I am somewhat shy too but only cause i worry about offending people. I am super friendly. I was thinking about what you guys said and maybe i should have a few cards in my pocket saying in japanese " you should try talking to me sometime" and then have my e-mail and phone number (if I decide to get one) and then just walk out or away. I'd probably only do that to people around my age though... if it looks like a business man i'd give him a regular card (maybe he has a job for me?haha). as far as people walking up to me and wanting to know stuff about me and practice english thats fine that i don't mind... just plain staring at me while i'm say.. reading a book on a bench and they have been there like an hour looking at me... just a little creepy but if i am walking down the street and peope stare at me i don't mind so much cause before you know it i'll be gone on to some other street or shop. I live in america where every race is represented so different people i don't even really look at i look at everyone just to see who is around me but then i move on to do my own thing. So yeah... i don't want to be overly rude or cause a scene and I understand I am in thier country and I need to follow their rules and customs so thats why I asked. oh yeah by the way I may like girls but I don't think I want a fan club or random women trying to have sex with me... has anyone seen lost in translation haha!
by apollo rate this post as useful

Staring 2007/6/13 06:42
I am blonde & blue eyed. When I was in Japan, the only people I ever noticed looking at me/staring were teenagers. In the city, I was not treated special or negatively, just another tourist. In the small towns, shops owners always were interested in where I was from & why I was in Japan.
That said, if people looking at you/staring at you bothers you that much, you need to reconsider going to Japan or any other country where you are a minority. And winking at or blowing kisses to people you don't know, let alone causing a scene, is even more rude and impolite than the people staring at your. You need to think about your actions and how the fact that your also representing your country while you are there or in any other country. Reinforcing stereotype is just the type of negative behavior we don't need.
by c rate this post as useful

What? 2007/6/13 08:23
This question and the answers always confuses me when this subject comes up. I'am blond and blue eyed, I don't live in what you would call a big city, more like a large town. NOBODY stares, they may look but they don't stare. NOBODY has ever asked me to practice english with me and NOBODY has ever asked to take my picture. Where are you people going and what are you doing to get this kind of attention? I am one of two westerners in this whole area, even when we hang out together nobody seems to care or even notice. I think this is one of the great misconceptions about Japan. People don't care, your not special or different here it's no big deal. In 4 years of living here it's never been an issue.
by Redrum rate this post as useful

Japan 2007/6/13 09:53
If you go to Asakusa or the area in front of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo there are people that hang out there waiting for tourists to practice their English on- an older guy and then a bunch of junior high school kids came up to us when I took my father to Asakusa a few years ago. My Dad was happy to talk to them.

It doesn't usually happen to me in my daily life- the most I get is something like a group of school boys or drunk university students yelling "Hello, what's your name" at me because they think it's funny, and even that is pretty uncommon.
by Sira rate this post as useful

My 2 yen's worth 2007/6/13 11:20
Like Redrum, I cannot really recall ever having been stared at in Japan, unlike my experiences in places like Hong Kong where people really did stare quite unpleasantly.

However, in response to the suggestions of how best to deal with strangers that seem to be giving you more than just a friendly glance, I would also suggest that winking or blowing kisses will simply reinforce any preconceptions that foreigners are rather weird and should be given a wide berth. A simple "konnichiwa" will go a long way to show that you are human too, and maybe start up a conversation.
by Dave in Saitama rate this post as useful

Clarification 2007/6/14 06:26
I should also clarify that I never found any one truly "staring" at me while in Japan. The teenagers I mentioned were a couple of instances on the train and it mostly consisted of them glancing/looking at me then talking & giggling. I actually thought it was kinda funny. Even in the small towns, nobody ever stared. Everyone was very polite even if they were a little surprised to see me.
I did have one instance when walking to a park when a young child (8-10 years old) made a point to say hello, how are you, in English. I stopped and talked to him for a second and complimented him on his English skills. He is father thanked me & they walked on. To me, it was a pleasent experience.
by c rate this post as useful

hi 2007/6/14 17:28
Just take it as a compliment :) people are in aww of all things "new & different) (unless they are very racist, which i doubt).

Dont worry, you will be too busy looking at all the pretty Japanese ladies to notice :)

ps : i dont think its the Men that stare, usually the girls.
by Bella rate this post as useful

More than Hello 2007/6/21 16:49
A simple hello may suffice but at the same time I would want them to know that I actually speak Japanese(hello is a bit basic). I say this because sometimes the people who stare at me want to talk to me, and they don't say a word until they hear me speaking in Japanese to another person.
If I were to say something like いい天気ですね。。 would that seem odd? I mean, in California it would be fine to say that to a stranger. But I'd feel pretty stupid if they ignored me...does that happen?
by niko-chan (nicole) rate this post as useful

People don't really stare 2007/6/21 21:09
I have been in Japan a couple of times now, the first time being two years ago. That time I was with a club (me, three other boys and two teachers). I didn't notice too much staring, mostly little looks. Just like myself when seeing new people. If I see a new person, I'll look what he/she looks like then start doing something else.

Of course, if you do something stupid, or wear stupid or funny clothes, you will get people's attention very easily. One boy in our group bought a t-shirt with some funny text in Japanese. To make himself look even funnier, he wore a Den Den Town west where ever he went and had a big hat.

When he had his normal clothes on (that's a white shirt and jeans) he didn't get any attention at all.

I guess it's the same in many other countries too. If you act weird and look like you don't fit in, you will be stared at.

Of course, in the countryside westerns aren't so usual, and you will collect some stares, but if you show the people that you are a normal person like them, just a bit different looking or dressing, they will stop staring at you.
by Kalle from Finland rate this post as useful

Japan 2007/6/22 11:57
Any staring will probably happen from a distance, Nicole, and it is unlikely that the starer wants to talk to you- in fact a nightmare of many Japanese people is that a foreigner will start talking to them, even if it's in Japanese. Anybody who would openly stare at you is probably not someone you want to talk to anyway!

It is very unusual in Japan to talk to strangers unless there is a necessity. The local vegetable shop lady might say "ii tenki desu ne" to me while she is putting my purchase in a bag, but to say that to a random person on a train platform for example would be quite unusual.

Don't get too hung up on the staring thing. Enjoy yout trip to Japan without worrying about that too much and just ignore any staring- that's the best policy in my opinion.
by Sira rate this post as useful

. 2007/6/22 15:01
I don't have too much of a problem with the staring, I just felt that this time around I'd look at it more positively than negatively. (Generally, when people stare at me in any country, I tend to get a bit angry because I think they may be thinking ill of me.) I already know that its more of a curiosity thing than anything else though. It didn't really ruin my experience in Japan last year and won't phase me this year either. :)
What I find to be really odd though is the fact that people never stare when I'm hanging out with other foreigners. And the staring is very, very unnoticable when I'm with Japanese people. Because of that I used to be confused of the reason behind the staring.
by niko-chan (nicole) rate this post as useful

Fun 2007/7/24 13:52
It's fun to read about that everyone has diffirent experience of stares and looks in Japan.
I have been to Tokyo twice and no one ever stared at me. Although I don't have blond hair but dark brown and blue eyes. Some people are looking more than others of course but not like starting at me for 5 minutes.

One weird thing happend about looking/staring.
When I was walking in Shinjuku, 3 "host boys" (or what they are called) was walking behind me and after a while they walked faster so they came in front of me. Then one of them looked back at me for a couple of seconds, said something to his friend then they both looked at me and then walked away..
Do anyone know what this was all about? (I'm a boy)

by Carl rate this post as useful

Duh 2007/7/24 16:33
If you don't want to be stared at so badly, don't go somewhere where you are GOING to be stared at.

Simple as.

Don't go to another country as the outsider then complain about how they treat you if you already knew what reception you were going to get before you even arrived.
by Kelly rate this post as useful

Carl 2007/7/24 18:39
Could've been anything from "Damn, that foreigner walks slow" to "hey, we were walking behind a foreign guy" to "wow, I want that guy's shoes" Doesn't sound like anything in particular.

The weirdest experience I've had with a host guy was when I was in Umeda- two were walking together, then one of them saw me, got a strange look on his face, then turned tail and drug his friend away muttering stuff in his ear.

The funny thing was, the look was one of recognizing someone you don't want to see, and I was sure I'd never met this guy before, so I think it was just mistaken identity. He probably thought I was some Russian bar girl he'd done wrong XDDDD
by Kate rate this post as useful

Page 1 of 2: Posts 1 - 20 of 23
1 2

reply to this thread