Life in Japan

The Secret Revealed: How to be treated like a superstar in Japan

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a superstar?
Do you fantasize about a life in Japan?

What if I tell you that you can have both in one!
In this post I’ll tell you exactly what you need to do in order to be treated like a superstar in Japan!
It’s very simple and (almost) everyone can do it!
Are you ready for this super secret tip that I haven’t shared with anyone else yet? You’ll be the first to read this!
You better get a pencil and a notebook! I’m sure you want to take a few notes!

Here we go: *drumroll*

 

The secret revealed: How to be treated like a superstar in Japan

It’s actually very simple!

  • You don’t need to attend an acting school!
  • You don’t have to get plastic surgery!
  • You don’t need any special talent.
  • You don’t even have to look great!

All you need is ….. your DNA!
To be more precise, you need to be a foreigner in Japan!
Even better for you, if you’re a “Western looking” foreigner!

Yes, that’s all!
It’s as simple as that!
And I swear you’ll be treated like a superstar … at least every now and then!

 

You are beautiful / handsome:

Do you know how often I get to hear how beautiful I am?
How long my eyelashes are, how long my legs are, how long my nose is (* that is considered beautiful …).

“Well, maybe that’s because you are beautiful”, you say?

No, trust me. That’s not it!

I’ve seen the ugliest foreign men here and Japanese girls will all squeal and scream: “Handsome guy!

Personally I don’t like being treated like that, so I usually just ignore or deny when they compliment me. But they won’t give up!

Japanese: “You are so tall!”
Me: “But there are so many Japanese girls who are as tall as me!!”
Japanese: “You are so beautiful!”
Me: “I don’t think so! Look at all those beautiful Japanese girls!”
Japanese: “Your nose is so long!”
Me: “Do you want to make me cry?”
Japanese: “Sunglasses look so cool on foreigners, but not on Japanese. It’s because foreigners have a long nose!”
Me: “Ok, I give up ….”smilie

 

When my little brother came to visit, it got really bad. The two of us attracted so much attention it was insane! In every corner young girls and boys stopped, stared at us and I heard them whisper: “Bijin (*beauty)! Handsome!”


And trust me if I tell you that we are just completely NORMAL looking people!

 

Star status:

I know it’s not that we are considered to be stars, but several things Japanese do, make us foreigners feel like we are stars in Japan!

Just today I went to Starbucks and there was a young male cashier. He got really nervous and asked me weird questions! smilie
Even the guy who handed over my coffee had shaky hands! What the hell is up with that?

Girls squeal and run away as if they just touched their favorite idol right after talking to a male foreigner!

A lot of people want to talk to you or even take photos together with you!

It’s THAT crazy at times!

And you know those situations when somebody should be penalized, but isn’t because of their “star status”?
That’s what sometimes happens with “gaijin” in Japan, too! You are not penalized, they’ll forgive you because you’re a “baka gaijin” (* a stupid foreigner) and you don’t / can’t know any better.

 

The truth about the foreign rockstar myth:

What I just mentioned in the previous paragraph has nothing to do with being treated like a star. In fact, most Japanese people just want to interact with you. Even nowadays foreigners are a rather rare sight, especially for those Japanese who live in the countryside. They want to talk, they want to know more about you and your country and they want to take a memory photo, so they can tell all their friends that they actually spoke to a foreigner.

In some sense that makes us little stars, I guess.

Unfortunately a lot of (especially young male) foreigners REALLY think they are rockstars here in Japan and try to exploit situations and people as much as they can, putting shame on us others!

Please don’t turn into one of those big-headed gaijin assholes!

foreigners in japan are treated like stars

 

Like it or hate it:

I’m sure … or maybe I should say I KNOW that a lot of foreigners might enjoy this kind of “star status”, especially young male foreigners. (*I’m sorry guys, I’m not trying to pick on you, I swear! Well, maybe a little …)
And I’m sure those of you who live in Japan have run into them occasionally. I hope you’re not one of them! smilie

People who love being the center of attention might enjoy swimming in this sea of compliments.
For me, it’s rather annoying. I don’t want to be treated like that. It shows me that I’m different, that I’m an outsider.

Of course I love to hear compliments, but the sheer frequency and amount of compliments here in Japan is just overdoing it! I can’t take it seriously anymore and it annoys me.

Furthermore it can be hard not to become too full of yourself if everybody constantly tells you how “great” you are!

 

A word of warning:

Because foreigners are considered to be somewhat exotic, handsome, beautiful, cool or [enter whatever you can come up with] there are some Japanese who like to hang out with you.
However, that’s not because they truly want to be your friend! It’s because they want to show off with their new exotic “accessory”!

For you guys out there, it means that many of you might have it easy to get laid. Congratulations!

There are even Japanese who are considered to be “gaijin hunters“. Be aware!

I know this all sounds a bit harsh and hard to believe and certainly not all Japanese would treat you like that, but I want you to realize that this is something you might have to deal with when living in Japan! And it’s certainly not just my imagination. Other people have described the “Rockstar Syndrome” in Japan as well!

 

How about you?
Have you experienced such a treatment or does that sound completely off?
If you’ve never been to Japan, what do you think about it?
Would you love being treated (at least a little bit) like a star?

85 Comments

  • As an American “Caucasian” (whatever that means) guy here in Japan, you are spot on in your assessment. I see so many ugly foreign guys here that have a smoking hot Japanese girl attached to them and I feel like I should be of service to my fellow man and crack a bottle over their head. Joking aside, it seems the only requirement to be handsome in Japan is to be ghostly white, tall and skinny, Has no basis in actual attractiveness what so ever. I find that foreigners who are actually attractive (considered to be so in their home country as well) do not fair as well as the ugly foreign guys. I have seen many very handsome guys get completely rejected only to the ugly guy with the shotgun nanpa (pickup) method make the deal. It is a strange paradox indeed.

    oh boy can I tell you some stories about gaijin hunters. They are shallow and quite disgustingly dirty. To be frank, I would over generalize that most have some sort of STD and regularly have unprotected sex with a different foreigner every weekend. This is part of my many reasons for not partying in Roppongi any more. Well that and to many said “big-headed gajin assholes” foreigners to deal with.

    I enjoy my rock star status very much, but I am humble about it. I will talk to anyone who has the courage to approach me man/woman ugly or not. I really enjoy making new friends every time I go out. Now, as you accurately said, the hard part is getting past the accessory aspect of practically every new friendship. Unfortunately, most new friendship do not last longer than a single night here in Tokyo.If you can get past that as well as the huge wall everyone has, not to mention the fact everyone acts busier than they actually are, then it is possible to make a true friend here. It just takes time.

    Anywho, great blog piece. Keep them coming!

    • JG,
      Thanks a lot for your comment. It just confirms a lot of what I have experienced, so all I can do is nod. ;)

      There certainly are some good points about the “rock star status”, but I personally don’t like it very much. I’m glad you can enjoy it and I’m delighted to hear that you’re humble about it. There should be more people around like you! And now you can give me the bottle, because I want to hit some people’s heads as well. *sigh*

  • Forgot to chime in on foreign women here in Japan.

    I think the reason you do not see Foreign girls with Japanese guys is two fold.
    1. Japanese guys are extremely too shy to approach them.
    2. Foreign women are not generally attracted to Japanese/Asian men for various reasons.

    What I would really love to know is your opinion on dating another foreign guy as a foreign girl here in Japan? As a foreigner myself, I find foreign women in Tokyo to be highly unapproachable. Excuse all my generalizations, but most of the foreign (western) women I see out and about always have a pissed off look about them. Unlike the US, I find it intimidating and almost impossible to approach a foreign girl here in Japan. I have always wondered why that is. It would be a nice break to be able to date another foreigner here in japan from time to time. I really miss having in depth meaningfully conversations with someone I am dating. I speak Japanese very well and unfortunately, Japanese girls fall short in the conversation department.

    • I interviewed some foreign women who are dating (or even married to) Japanese guys. You can read that blog post here.
      I think that’s a stereotype a lot of Japanese guys seem to have. The foreign women who live in Japan often are attracted to Asian guys.

      After 6 years here in Japan, I think I personally would prefer to date a foreign guy here in Japan, rather than a Japanese guy (probably for the same reason you mentioned).

      I wonder why there are generally almost no foreign couples (apart from the tourists) here in Japan. The very few I know of already came here as a (married) couple.
      I don’t know of any “foreign relationship” that started here in Japan, so I suppose it’s rather rare.

  • Always a fun topic! As a 14yr vet of the party/fashion scene here, I thought I’d chime in. For the sake of cultural accuracy, I find many stereotypes expressed are often just convenient ways for people to generate interest and a way to force the chaotic patterns of life into tidy, labeled, easily understood packages. In doing so however, these “sound bites” are often lacking for accuracy. To hone in on one of the more salacious of the page view drivers is the “ugly foreigner with hot J-girl” myth. Yes, of course there are exceptions, but in my “boots on the ground” PU experience I’ve found that-if forced to stereotype-it’s largely the opposite situation. Of course Tokyo being the world’s largest metro area, the supply of potential dates is geometrically higher than smaller american cities and I’ll also grant that “gaijin superstar” status provides you a better than boring status among certain segments of the population. Overwhelmingly however, I’ve found that most of the age-old rules apply, where the hotter guys get the hotter girls, the less than atractive pair up and each side slightly exoticizes and inflates the other’s charms so that when looking at it from afar, we as foreigners feel the “ugly gaijin” is making out like a bandit. Meanwhile the J-guys on the scramble corner joke amongst eachother how gaijin go for ugly J-girls. Furthermore, being so homogenous, large segments of the population and culture are “beyond the reach” of most foreigners. Superstar J-girls largely stick with their Japanese counterparts. 俺の2¥

  • Show up and be a white foreigner. A non-Black non-white like arabs and latinos might do fine too. If you’re Black, you’re nothing but a super piece of shit. That’s all of asia, not just japan. Black folks waste time and money trying to get to asia.

    • @Rockwell:

      Hey, estupido, do not talk about Latinos if you do not know who the bloody heck we are. Latino is a cultural term, not a race. Latinos we can be white or non-white. If you think whites are only blondes with Anglo-Saxon facial features, you are death wrong.

      I am a euro-mestizo, meaning that in my admixture is mostly Caucasian, thus I look more Caucasian of the Mediterranean type (Spanish, Italian, etc) than Indigenous though I do have a couple Indigenous features. Latinos range from blonde to black Africans.

      So do not tell me that myself who is 2/3 Caucasian and 1/3 Indigenous is going to be the same as an Afro-Latino like many Dominicans and Puerto Ricans or an Indigenous Latino like many Peruvians and Bolivians.You are ignorant, so shut up before talking about Latin American and us. We are multi-ethnic like the United States.

      Also, Arabs are technically white as even though they are of a dark olive on average, their facial features such as soft hair in texture, projecting noses, hairy bodies, and cupid bow lips are only found on Caucasian people. Caucasian people range a lot in physical appearance, not only Blonde Anglo-Saxons are Caucasian. Be more cultured as you sound very naco (uncultured/low class in Mexican slang), mate.

      Cheers!

  • I stayed in Japan for about 4 months. I honestly found people were a bit cold towards me, about the same level as back home, and certainly never experienced the kind of superstar treatment people describe here, from either men or women. If you’re wondering, I am a (relatively) young caucasian male. Maybe this is a Tokyo thing?

    • Although I know there are exceptions, I mentioned in my very first post of this series, that the things I describe here are usually only experienced by people who have lived in Japan for a certain time and not by tourists or short-term residents. ;)

      And yes, I also think it has to do with where you live!
      I’m ALWAYS surprised / shocked to see how many foreigners there are in Tokyo! It’s a completely different level compared to other big cities in Japan and even more if you’re used to the countryside with no foreigners around at all. ^^

  • Hello! :)

    I just found your blog and I would like to say that it is really interesting and match my own thoughts. I am a female student of japanology in Germany and I know what you are talking about.(^^)

    This kind of idolizing foreigners (typical white males) is a very critical thing. Suddenly they get a lot of attention just for how they look and just like you said, because of their DNA. They suddenly think they are like THE KING in person, a sexgod or the coolest guy in the world . ;)

    And it is SO annoying. I really don’t like those guys who enjoy this, take it really serious, or go to Japan just BECAUSE of this attention. Unfortunatly my normal-looking boyfriend was one of them when he worked in Japan for a time. He thought every woman adores him and everyone loves him, just because he is a german guy. He wanted to hear as many compliments as he can get from women. It was kind of sick and of course he left me. It was really sad to notice, that he is one of those “Otaku”. This is the reason why I have really negative feelings about the “rockstar syndrome”. It is so true….

    People who take this really serious are so trivial in thinking. Of course they get attention in a country with a small number of foreigners, it is a normal thing. Why do they get so big-headed, it is unbeleavable for me. :( I could never be like that.

    I always read about male foreigners in Japan who told the world how many girls they get and it’s like heaven ect., so thank you for your critical blog.^^

    • I’m so sorry to hear what happened with your ex-boyfriend.
      It will happen to almost every foreigner in Japan, but the thing is how you deal with it.
      Personally I feel rather uncomfortable if I get so many compliments (for pretty much nothing at all). I love compliments when I really worked hard to achieve something, but most of the compliments you get from Japanese people are different. They just want to be nice. There’s no reason to become big-headed. *sigh*

      Vielen Dank. Freue mich immer, wenn ich sehe, dass ich mit meinen Ansichten nicht ganz alleine dastehe.
      It’s always nice to read the opinion of a fellow female German! ^___^

  • Oh, du bist ja auch Deutsche, habe ich eben erst gelesen^^” Das ist ja lustig. Ich denke ich werde ein Fan von deinem Blog. :D

  • You know, I get a lot of compliments from my Japanese instructor, and we have animated conversations about literally everything, but she says that it’s because I’m a very intelligent man (“You really seem to know a lot about my country” is usually what she says).

    I’m fortunate to have made such good contacts with Japanese people, especially my language partner, who is a great conversationalist, herself. I’ve had a lot of fun with them both. I feel like I’d enjoy all of the attention, too–I tend to relish the moment when people are stroking my ego, and I will always admit that.

    • I don’t want to spoil the fun, I just want to say that in my experience most Japanese people will compliment you no matter what.
      It’s hard to find people, language partners, co-workers or even friends who will be plain honest with you.

      When I was still learning the language I asked people many times to tell me when I make mistakes, when my pronunciation is off or to tell me how I could improve my handwriting, but most of them were only saying nice things. Of course, it’s great to hear that and it’ll certainly boost your confidence, but if you’re trying to learn or improve something it’s not good at all.

      I noticed that mostly young Japanese people who used to live abroad for some time, could jump out of that typical pattern. They were “brave enough” to criticize me when necessary. I really appreciated that. :D

  • I can understand that. My language partner was a bit insistent that I call her “Mai” with no honorifics of any kind beyond our first meeting. I feel like she was trying to “get into character” while learning the language (something I do as well with Japanese). Pardon the expression. :ehehe:
    For the most part, she was very casual with her Japanese, which was quite relaxing after being in class, learning the formal stuff, plus she caught onto things I was saying in Japanese (badly or incorrectly), and corrected me the Japanese way: “Did you mean ________?”
    To be a bit casual about it, she is fun to be around, because she learns quickly, and when she doesn’t understand, she’ll ask me about it (doesn’t happen often. she’s that quick of a learner :D ).

  • Yes. She’s a wonderfully nice girl. Unfortunately, she’s returning to Kyoto when the school year is over. It’s unfortunate. I’m thinking of giving her an album of photos that I took with my camera for her to take back with her. :D

  • :thumbup: very true, i’m an asian though with average looks and i get that kakkouii and kawaii compliments every now and then. they also dig your personality though, because japanese men are often times reserved. an open mind and different way of thinking kind of interests them

  • You are called beautiful almost every day, yet you say you are not? Well, I am quite handsome and was a model some years back and was tested for a movie part as a result of my looks. I am a successful businessman here in Japan and am very well educated as a lawyer. I can assure you that I am not complimented on my looks or height every day. In fact, most people in Tokyo don’t give me a second look. I don’t get too many stares either. I may get the odd stare sometimes and if I get a compliment it is no more than I would normally get in the US. While Japanese women are friendly, they usually do not swoon or regard me as a dream boat. They are usually open to my approach but I need to demonstrate game. I don’t think it is my looks that make me successful with women, although I wish it were that easy, but my personality and open attitude. I like meeting people and it is a necessary part of my job. Unlike you, my experience in the Tokyo dating scene is not any different than it was in the US. I read accounts for laughs about guys who are fawned over by Japanese girls even though they were losers in the US. Most of these accounts are by western women who can’t get a date in Japan and are lonely, frustrated and envious of their western male counterparts who mostly shun them in favor of Japanese women. Why is that?

    First of all, in my experience, relatively few really good looking people are complimented every day on their looks unless they are celebrities. My girl friend who happens to be Japanese is a real head turner but she is hardly showered with compliments on how fantastically beautiful she is. If you enjoy such compliments, it is probably very likely that you are at best normal looking and Japanese want to be nice to you and make you feel good. Obviously, they do not need to do so for good looking people. They know good looking people know they are good looking so they choose to compliment in other areas. So even though you may be annoyed, you should understand that most probably in your case, a Japanese person saying you are beautiful is like the meaningless greeting “how are you”. Usually Japanese don’t know what to say upon first meeting a foreigner and are flustered so they may comment on your height or looks even if they are indeed very ordinary looking as is probably your case. Even you admit this.

    Your own validation on your looks probably gives a reason why you are mostly dateless. Unfortunately, if you don’t look hot guys usually won’t give you a tumble. Looks are a top priority with guys. I think you are very intelligent and probably very nice. You probably have a good personality. But, would I bother dating you when there are so many hot girls around? No, shallow guy that I am, I admit that hotness rules. Does not mean I stay with a girl who just has hotness but if she doesn’t she does not pass the smell test to show what other attributes she may have. And I sincerely doubt you would get significantly more attention in your home country
    Sorry but if you are not hot in Japan you are likely not hot anywhere else.

    So here is the good news. Almost any girl can be an 8. And that is hot enough for most guys. It allows you to move past go. Hit the gym. Dress well. Wear heels. Don’t complain and be envious of others. Smile and be inviting. Give off positive vibes. You will be amazed at what these improvements bring. As you get to be more attractive, you may find that the number of compliments decline but…… you are getting more dates and physical outlet/satisfaction(if you know what I mean)which will more than make up for your obvious frustration in being bereft of male companionship and not having your natural urges fulfilled but getting meaningless compliments every day.

    Jasmine, try it and I am certain that within several months you will be a changed woman and will be looking to get someone to take over your blog because you won’t need it as an outlet for your frustrated vents. Just friendly advice. Regards, Gorgeous( yes, I have been referred to by that appellation)George

    • Thank you so much.
      Getting advice from a former model who is super handsome and one of the smartest people out there. A laywer? Wow!!!
      I will immediately follow all the things you have suggested. Thank you so much, George-sensei.
      I don’t know what an ugly, fat Western girl driven by jealously who only runs this blog out of furstration would have done without your wisdom!!

  • In the larger cities, especially Tokyo, which is just as cosmopolitan as Paris, London and NYC, white foreigners do not attract much attention because they have become rather common-place. Most men that I know do not at all enjoy the Charisma Man or rock star syndrome. There are no girls stalking them or fawning over them. They and I are pretty much treated as we would be in the US or other western locale. Most of us are pretty fit, tall and reasonably good looking. So it is hard to believe that sub-professional types like English teachers or head hunters who are also unremarkable looking and losers in their home country could suddenly enjoy such status. Indeed there are the very rare exceptions where a good looking Japanese girl may be accompanied by such guys according to my experience.

    Recently, I asked my Japanese girl friend who is extremely hot(and speaks very little English)whether Japanese women in general think a foreign man is good looking simply because he is white. Do white foreigners all look alike such that Brad Pitt/Johnny Depp/George Clooney handsome look a likes are indistinguishable from ordinary or even ugly whites? She said that this is absolutely ridiculous. Of course, Japanese women are discriminating enough to distinguish the grade of men’s looks. For example, she thinks Sean Connery, even today is very handsome. She loves Harrison Ford. She thinks that Pierce Brosnan is suave and good looking. Adrien Brody, no, because his nose is way too big. Matt Damon? Boyish looking and cute but not her type. Russell Wong? Very attractive. Nick Cage? Very unattractive. She also loves old movies and found Cary Grant to be beautiful as were Robert Taylor and Gary Cooper. She loves suave looking men like Roger Moore, who we met once on a flight to Nice and pretty men like Alain Delon. There are quite a few good looking Asian men but not as many as there are western men. But it is not nearly enough to be white to equal good looking as you probably exaggerate. So Japanese women are little different if at all from their western sisters in evaluating good looks. They know who is hot and who is not. While Charles Bronson was very popular here, it was not because he was considered handsome but manly and strong.

    So either your experience is extremely unusual or you exaggerate too much or you are panning western men because they either rejected you or worse just ignored you.

    If you think good looking men have it real easy here, I can tell you that it is not necessarily true. I have been told by Japanese chicks a number of times, after my personality won them over after initial disinterest(and before my gf), that because of my looks I was thought to be a playboy and had many girlfriends. So they were not interested. I would never be faithful due to their perception that I was really good looking and could attract any girl. Counter intuitive you would think if all women really felt that way. But logic is not necessarily important in the game of romance. Now, I get very little interest when women see me with my gf because they think they cannot compete with her! But I had to really work hard to get her to date me and win her over.

    So I find your experience quite strange and rather dubious as well as arrogant toward your fellow western men of whom you seem to be obviously jealous as well as your looking down on Japanese women as no more than bimbos and so stupid so as to not be able to distinguish among western men. I think that is really sad and worse pathetic. I could be wrong about you and if I am I apologize. But I don’t think so. Regards, George

  • You are the only woman blogger I have read who seems to be showered with compliments on how beautiful you are and that in big cities you are stared at even more than in the countryside where you live. You claim that you are now annoyed by the frequency of such compliments for whatever reasons. Frankly speaking, I have never heard of such a thing.

    I know a number of good looking western women who receive the odd compliment here and there about their good looks but certainly not in the frequency that you seem to receive. These women are very stylish and can speak Japanese in varying degrees. They are “universally” attractive both in their home countries and Japan. And yet, they are not showered with the “you are so beautiful” compliments like you claim to receive. Why is that? Are you so outstandingly beautiful like a movie star? Is that why you are showered with beautiful compliments enough so that you find it annoying? According to my experience which trust me is much the same as other relatively long term residents, many western people both male and female, have not enjoyed the rock star syndrome. We are relatively successful in professional and executive positions. We dress well. We are reasonably good looking and thought so in our respective home countries. What is it about you where your “beauty” is frequently complimented? Or do you wildly exaggerate like many western males who like to brag about the notches in their belts and how many times they have been complimented? In what language do they compliment you? What specific words do they use? Kawaii? Utsukushi? Kirei? Meidatsu? Eiga star? Sugoi bijin? Do they just come up to you and say….. Gee I just had to tell you, you are so beautiful?

    And why do you put western guys down because they are seen with claimed beautiful Japanese girls? Japanese girls go OMG he is so handsome but you put both them and the guys they praise down by saying… Nothing special just ordinary or slightly unattractive in our country. Seems pretty nasty. It’s like saying to these girls….gee you don’t know what you are talking about….boy, do you have bad taste in western guys! Why deflate them? What have you gained? Seems very much like you dislike these girls and the objects of their compliments because you are jealous and have been possibly rejected or even worse completely ignored.

    Me thinks you protest too much and wildly exaggerate. Your “experience” such as you claim is a figment of your imagination. Showered with beautiful comments? I really doubt it. Unless you receive them mostly from DOM.

    But anyway, as a work of fiction, I get a kick out of reading your blog. And why are you seemingly obsessed with looks? Could it be that you are exceedingly insecure about your own and thus find it hard to accept compliments? I think you need help.

    Good luck.

  • Georgieboy,
    As a lawyer with incredible hot girlfriend, I wonder why you spend so much time on this blog? Do we have to draw conclusions about your current mental state? Do you need any help?

    @ Jasmine
    Nice blog. I live in Japan for almost a year now. I get compliments about my looks occasionally, but not as much as you, it seems :p. So I don’t really care. I don’t hang out with many foreigners so I don’t know about those rock-star dudes. But if they are as you describe them, I would stay away from them anyway.
    What bothers me more is when people say how well I can eat with chopsticks. Even from people who know that I am here for a while. *sigh
    Viele Grüße
    (Bin auch aus Deutschland)

    • Hallo! Danke für den tollen Kommentar! ^___^

      I don’t hang out with these kind of guys, either, but I know they’re out there and you just run into them from time to time. I noticed that most of them are still very young, though.

      I know. I just got deaf to these kind of words: “Oh, you can use chopsticks?” “Oh, you can eat natto?” …. *sigh*

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