Five unforeseen benefits to being a foreigner in Japan

1 You’re tall


When I visited home last summer, I was surprised by how TALL everyone was. I’m an average height guy, but in Japan, I’m well above average. I had gotten so used to just seeing over crowds of people to find my friends it was a bit of a shock. Gone were the days where myself and a friend could have an entire conversation over the heads of a gaggle of commuters on a bus.


And FORGET about crowding a bar. In Ireland, you have to compete with big guys and… well endowed ladies who are perhaps bending over more than necessary. But here? I can always get myself a drink, by just rising out of the crowds and standing out.


2 Sometimes, being singled out is a good thing


Like the tall guy at the bar, sometimes getting noticed can be beneficial.

At the Jameson distillery tour in Dublin, an extended tasting test is given to the four people who stand out the most from the crowd. When I went there, it was given to a group of guys in kilts. But here? I’m the crazy guy who looks different. Which often means that I’m the guy who absolutely gets given the free stuff when they’re starting to run low.

And station attendants? They’re practically jumping out of the walls to help you out.


3 You get to do things that other people can’t


I’m now writing this at home. It’s almost five PM, and I’ve been home for a while now. My co-workers on the other hand… are probably still there. Japanese people rarely want to appear as though they are lazy, which often results in them working very long hours. Me on the other hand…

quittin time

My contracted hours finish at 16:10, and unless I still have work to do, which rarely happens, I am out that door as soon as I can. My co-workers don’t even question it, they know that foreign people leave early. Sometimes, when I stay late to give an extra lesson, I get teachers asking if I realized that I can go home now, they’re actually worried that I forgot to go home! Understandable, since my normal daily game plan is much the same as Tommy Pickles’


nowcomes   I do spare a thought for my coworkers though…




4 Restaurants remember you.


I have mentioned, before, how I don’t like finding surprise eggs in my food. There is a nice curry place near my house that hides a raw egg underneath their curry sauce, letting it cook from the residual heat.

eggpizza  Even PIZZA isn’t safe!!!

After one mis-adventure, I started ordering my food ‘tamago-nashi’ (without egg). Then, a couple of weeks ago, I order my curry, but forget to ask for it without egg. It’s a small enough restaurant, so I can hear what’s going on in the kitchen. Turns out, the chef recognized me and wanted to cook it without egg, and the waiter disagreed.

Eventually, the waiter came over, confirmed that I didn’t want egg, and got shouted at by the chef.

I can’t be angry at the chef though, he saved me from eggs! Truly, a great hero


5 Pizza becomes a delicacy.


I’ll say that again, pizza is a delicacy here. I don’t mean your fancy, notion-filled pizza, topped off with extra notions.

I'm looking at you

I’m looking at you

I’m talking about good, honest pizza, topped off with more meat than is sensible. It’s something to do with the flour here, it’s never quite right… also, they put mayonnaise on everything!



Truly, there is no hope for them

It gets to the point where finding a good pizza restaurant is akin to finding the holy grail, and foodies from all over the city will flock to you to find out where to get that sweet, sweet goodness.


Here, my obsession with pizza doesn’t seem too crazed. Thanks Japan!




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