Let’s have a time out, and enjoy some funny observations you may have made since you’ve come to Japan. When things that were once strange to you become second nature, you know you’ve been in Japan a long time. Like when...
...you find yourself bowing while talking on the phone.
...you're starting to add “sensei” to the names of your gaijin teacher friends.
...you have mastered the art of bowing while hand-shaking.
...you get blasted by the truck with a loud-speaker and don’t complain anymore.
...you think "white pills, blue pills, and pink powder" are adequate prescriptions from your doctor.
...you think the natural place for a beer garden is on the roof top.
...looking out the window of your workplace, you think "Wow, so many trees!" instead of "Wow, so much concrete!"
...the variety shows on TV don’t seem silly anymore.
...you get a "Nihongo ga joozu" and feel insulted.
...you pull out your ruler to underline a single word.
...in the middle of nowhere, totally surrounded by rice fields and abundant nature, you aren't surprised to find a vending machine that is fully supplied and in working order.
...you can't tell your students the Three Little Pigs story without giggling when you get the part about the hair of their chinny chin chins.
...you buy a Christmas cake (strawberry short cake) on Christmas Eve.
...you utter “yoisho” when sitting down.
...you’re not afraid of the police.
...you no longer get lost in Tokyo station.
...you notice you've forgotten how to tie your shoelaces.
...you go for a drink with friends back home and start pouring everybody's beer.
...you patiently wait outside your taxi for its door to open for you.
...you’re a man, but you look forward to Valentine’s day.
...people stop complementing you on your Japanese, but start asking you where you had your eyes and nose done.
Has any of this happened to you? Not yet? Just give it time… Conversely, can you still remember what it was like when you first arrived? We hope you’re still enjoying it. But it is fun to take a moment and gain some perspective. Do share your thoughts in the comments!