Big in Japan: 33 Reasons Why You’ve Been in Japan Too Long

There is nothing quite like the feeling of walking the streets of Japan for the first time. From the exotic smells of sushi and soba wafting through the air to the blinding neon and crushing urban density of it all, Japan awakens the senses like few countries I know.

After awhile however, it all starts to feel normal, which is of course your first warning sign that you’ve been in Japan for too long.

Think you may have Japanophilia?

Can’t remember what your family, friends and country look like?

Forgetting your Eng(r)ish?

You’ve been in Japan too long when…

…you find yourself bowing while you talk on the phone.

…you don’t hesitate to put a $10 note into a vending machine.

…you start thinking can coffee tastes good.

…you have trouble figuring out how many syllables there really are in words like ‘building’.

…when the first option you buy for your car is a TV set.

…you don’t think it unusual for a truck to play “It’s a Small World” when backing up. really enjoy corn soup with your Big Mac.

…you think the opposite of red is white.

…you buy a potato and strawberry sandwich for lunch without cringing.

…when you squat waiting for a bus to come.

…people stop complementing you on your Japanese, and start asking you where you had your nose and eyes done.

…you think Princess Masako is beautiful and Hillary Clinton is cute.

…you think birds cry.

…you are not surprised to wake up in the morning and find that the woman who stayed over last night has completely cleaned your apartment, even though you’ll probably never ever meet her again.

…you think its cool to stand in the “Japanese only” queue at the airport.

…you develop a liking for green tea flavored ice cream.

…you think the best part of TV are the commercials.

…you think wet umbrellas need condoms.

…your children call you Otosan (Daddy) and Okasan (Mommy).

…you have mastered the art of simultaneous bowing and hand-shaking.

…when you think it’s alright to stick your head into a stranger’s apartment to see if anybody’s home.

…when you find nothing unusual in a television commercial for candy in which a model dressed in a high school girl’s uniform comes up behind another model dressed in a high school girl’s uniform, grabs her left breast, gives a devilish grin, and skips away.

…you think the natural location for a beer garden is on a roof.

…you have discovered the sexual attraction of high school navy uniforms.

…when you no longer find anything unusual in the concept of ‘Vermont curry.’

…you think 4 layers of wrapping is reasonable for a simple piece of merchandise.

…a new foreigner moves to your neighborhood and you know immediately you will get his mail for a while.

…when you get on a train with a number of foreigners on it and you feel uneasy because the harmony is broken.

…when looking out the window of your office, you think ‘Wow, so many trees!’ instead of ‘Wow, so much concrete!’

…you think curry rice is food.

…when in the middle of nowhere, totally surrounded by rice fields and abundant nature, you aren’t surprised to find a drink vending machine with no visible means of a power supply.

…it takes fifteen seconds of deep thought to recall the first name of the President of the United States.

…and when you think nothing of it when that lonely vending machine says ‘thank you’ after you buy a coke.

Think it may be time to go back home?

Click here for more ways to tell if you’ve been in Japan too long…

** This list is courtesy of Will at