Craig note- “(Expat) Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!” (Enjoy!)
“I hate Living In Japan.”
Over the years, I have heard this from more foreigners than I can remember. These bitter, bitter, bitter misanthrope throw all of Japan under the proverbial bus. I laugh out loud every time I hear it.
It`s a lie.
Certainly, there are aspects of Japan that one might “hate,” but to say something so, so, so asinine as, “I hate Japan” is truly laughable. I don`t love everything about Japan. It is better to specifically identify what one dislikes rather than casting aspersions on the entire country.
“I hate people who don`t stop at stop signs.”
“I hate people who push me down the stairs at the train station.”
“And, I hate cats.”
Nobody hates everything about Japan.
And, even if someone really, really, really does hate EVERYTHING about Japan; well, that`s why they make airplane, dude.
Nothing or nobody keeps you here.
That`s the truth.
“I`m fluent at Japanese.”
Recently, I heard this from a new foreign English teacher. We were out drinking at a bar. He made it well-known that, “I have mastered Japanese.”
Perhaps, he has, but…
Five minutes later, he asked me, “Hey, what`s this kanji?”
The foreigners who become proficient at Japanese never, ever, EVER have to tell you that they are “great” at Japanese. It`s clear to everybody in the room.
Whenever somebody tells me how their “wonderful” level of Japanese is, I divide by half. The exaggeration(s) of one`s lingustic abilities borders on the surreal.
Truly, it becomes a sport here to be “better than another foreigner at (Japanese)…”
But, that is for another post…
“I have saved (X) amount of yen.”
A few years back, I was out with a group of expats. We were chucking down a few beers at a local bar. The subject of money came up. One of the guys openly asked, “How much have you saved?”
The question went around the table, and the amount(s) people threw out got bigger and bigger AND bigger. And, finally, it was my turn.
Everyone got silent.
I said, “I have saved enough to buy this beer, but it sounds like it should be on you rich folks.”
And, everybody laughed.
Later, I went out with an expat, and we stopped at a 7-11 to get some money out of the ATM. accidentally, I saw his account balance.
It was shocking.
(I was standing behind him.)
The balance was barely 1/3 of the lofty figure he threw out while drinking. After, I got my money out of the ATM, the expat INTENTIONALLY looked over my shoulder at my account balance.
“Wow… Why didn`t you say anything at the bar?”
“I was honest.”
“I have saved enough to buy this beer.”
My English teaching job was much, much, much better than most of my pals. And, my apartment was free. Too, I had been living here for several years.
It adds up.
(Trust me, Bill Gates has nothing to worry about any time soon.)
I have never felt the need to rub money (or anything else) in other people`s faces. I keep my lights on and (above average quality) beer in my little fridge.
That`s enough for me.
Sadly, the envy that some foreigners harbor of other foreigners is greener than my morning Japanese tea.
But, that is for another day…
Grey, Grizzled, And Gaijin
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“Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn’t that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.”- Marilyn Monroe