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?

84 Comments

  • As I have stated previously, westerners, especially white gaijins from US/Canada, are not looked at as movie stars or rock stars, especially in cities like Tokyo or Osaka. Ordinary Japanese have seen enough of them in the flesh where by now, these so-called “curiosities” are no longer that and are not considered especially special. Indeed, just as there are preferences for blond and blue eyes, preferences also exist for almond eyes and petite figures. This exists in many countries not just in Japan. Many of my Japanese friends, both male and female, pretty much agree on who is beautiful or handsome. Such people may not be their type or preference but all the same they are considered good-looking whether Japanese or western. I have never come across a situation where someone who was ugly or even average looking from a western point of view was considered “O my God he is sooooooo handsome” by Japanese women. Women, the world over, all pretty much agree on who is good-looking although such an individual may not necessarily be their type. For example, women will admit that George Clooney is handsome, but I have heard also that he “does not do anything for me”. So preferences are generally in the eye of the beholder. Further, some people may think a good looking guy is handsome whereas someone else may think he is attractive or just cute. Ratings may go from 7+to 10 but….these guys are basically physically attractive. So I believe Jasmine’s comments in these regards to be way overblown and exaggerated as most of the experiences she relates are difficult to believe without a beaker of salt.

    On the other hand, Japanese women do generally find western men attractive but not necessarily on physical grounds. There are many reasons such as curiosity, genteel manners, english speaking, tendency to treat women more as peers, more romantic, better lifestyle, possible opportunity to live in the US and not in Japanese rabbit hutches, more family oriented, etc. And yes, western men may possess certain physical features which may make them appealing or even “sexy” without necessarily crossing the line and being considered good-looking. For example, tall or blond hair or light colored eyes or more distinguishable facial features like long tall noses may in and of themselves be appealing even though the entire package may not be good looking. White skin or tallness or blond hair alone do not automatically turn one into Mr. Handsome.

    Attractiveness also has to do with preferences and even fetishes. For me, attractiveness or sex appeal of a woman dramatically increases if she has nice legs and wears high heeled mules. she may not be innately good looking but her style may be quite a turn on.

    So there is no wonder that some beautiful Japanese women may be seen walking around with average or even below average guys but they have something that turns these women on. Who knows, it may be that they have a “big unit” and for these women nothing else is needed. When you think about it rationally, there may in fact be little wonder at the couple combinations you see in daily life not just in Japan but elsewhere as well.

    Thus, Jasmine’s provocative headline to her blog…. the “Shocking Truth about dating in Japan” is actually a complete misnomer elevating rather everyday occurrences and normal universal human inclinations to the status of unique and mysterious experiences in Japan at least by this blogger. What is more shocking is that she believes all this or……..is she pulling our collective leg? I think Ken Seeroi got it right. Jasmine? Sounds like an embittered western gal who is largely ignored date wise and cant get, you know……………………….I can understand how such frustration can lead to a fanciful blog. JMHO and sorry if I stepped on your toes but this is my experience. LOL.

  • Hi

    I have not yet been to Japan.

    But in another countries, when people discover I’m a brazilian, they kinda treat me like the party/sexual guy. People just stay so excited to party, and ask me about the women, and think everybody in Brazil party every night and play professional football.

    They’re soooo wrong hahaha.

  • I read this blog and it gave me quite a good laugh, this are all things that I have already heard (and have seen happening to) from all of my fellow gaikokujin friends.

    But I laugh because none of this has NEVER happened to me

    I’ve been living in Japan for over year as a young foreign guy, according to this article that should be all I need to be treated like a star.Yet right now I am feeling pretty miserable in this country.

    NONE of the stuff you describe has ever happened to me

    I have not been approached randomly by a Japanese person at a Starbucks, yet I know guys that get that all the time
    .
    I have never been complimented for my appearance or be asked to be take a picture by some girl in the street, yet I saw this very thing happening to my friend walking right beside me.

    You make it sound that getting a girlfriend is so easy here just for being a foreign guy. yet despite feeling so freaking lonely and going out of my way to try to get a girlfriend, I’ve failed every single time, but I have seen people going out with girls by just being a month or two in the country without even trying

    Hearing, repeatedly, that even geeky, unattractive guys can get a date easily, makes me feel even worse. I don’t think I’m repulsive so there’s just something wrong about me that repels people away

    Oh and I have actually busted my ass learning the language and adapting to the culture all this time. yet guys that can’t speak a word of Japanese and don’t understand or respect the culture have had it easier dealing with people than me.

    So yeah don’t think that just being a foreign guy is all that one needs to be popular here

    • Juan, thanks so much for sharing your experience with us.

      I’m well aware that just by being a (Western) foreign guy, wonderland won’t open its doors. I do tend to exaggerate in my blog posts to provoke in the hope to get a variety of different opinions on the topic.
      I’m very sorry to hear that you’re struggling so much. Please don’t think that it’s your fault or that there’s something wrong with you.
      You know, it can depend on SO many things, it’s really hard to tell.
      It depends on where in Japan you live, how well you blend in … maybe you already seem “too Japanese” in your mannerism and language to be exotic enough for most Japanese women.
      Of course, this could be complete bullshit. Just saying, that it’s hard to tell and please don’t give up! :)

  • We took my sons to Japan as infants to see Obaasan. All we heard was “Kawai”. My children are half Japanese and half “mutt” (mainly Scottish and Native American;0) ).

    I think my hubby was more the rock star having the gaijin wife. He is fully bilingual as was his father and grandfather (both came to US for master’s program at MI Ann Arbor). There was once a very rude man complaining about my family. You could tell from his mannerisms he did not like foreigners at all. My hubby refused to translate, but I’m sure it wasn’t positive.

    You’re young. Wait until you hit your 30’s and 40’s. It will probably all die down immensely.

    Another compliment was when we were in a taxi going to Kifukuji temple where his Dad is buried near Akamon gate Todai. (His great grandfather made a huge donation and their plot is the only one with a tree on it. The characters of their last name are reversed on the sticks to confuse the demons as to who is buried there). A student stepped out in front of the taxi and I gasped. My hubby told me the driver said foreigners seem to have more manners and respect than the young generation in Japan (this was in 2008).

    It’s a quirky place and when my MIL passes, we will be back for about 2 months. Hubby and I just started dating when his father died. If you are interested in knowing that process since they don’t have funeral homes, let me know. Just know it took them 3 hours from his death to complete embalm and in a wooden casket for viewing. Eerily efficient.

    • Thanks a lot for sharing your experience, Emori.

      It’s true that reactions greatly depend on various factors. It’s almost impossible to say “Japanese people react in this and that way when they see a foreigner.”
      There are some common patterns, but it really depends where you are, who the people around you are and essentially your appearance at that time as well.
      And, of course, foreigner =/= foreigner. I bet most Japanese people react in a different way when they see a young, blonde, blue-eyed girl versus a tall, scary-looking black guy (for example).

  • wwwwww You right to some extent, I guess.. But don’t you think that when you look at Japanese advertisement, it is on a ton of gaijin? So no wonder Japanese people long for gaijin looks. That why jap girl dye their hair strange colour.
    僕学生なんですけど、このブログを教科書か書籍化してもいいくらい面白いですよ。読んでてお腹痛いです.
    But I’m not one you mention, trust me! I just enjoy comparing a culture or whatever.

    • It’s because you always want what you can’t have.
      If you have brown eyes, you want blue ones etc.
      「隣の芝生は青く見える。」ってやつですね。

  • Very late reply but hey there!! Indeed I don’t look foreigner at all, in fact that I am a southeast asian with a very jomon japanese-looking dad. Perhaps he has a distant japanese heritage, I don’t know. Light brown eyes, very white skin (no yellow undertone),and simply japanese-looking features, but unfortunately I inherit my skin colour from my mother who has light yellow skin. And even though I look exactly like my father with darker eyes, I look very southeast asian due to my skin color. If I decide to bleach my skin I am sure I will look one hundred percent japanese.. Whenever I walk with my dad, I feel like a japanese girl in disguise, with my intermediate japanese skills. I’ve gotten away with various situations in Japan because my dad looks very Japanese.
    I’ve never gotten the foreigner treatment until one day I decided to travel with my two very beautiful half asian-half white cousins…and very stupid of me to take them to inaka areas instead of metropolitan ones where they would not get that much attention. Eyes, they are very beautiful, even in their country they are considered pretty. Asian noses, light brown eyes, light brown wavy hair, and white skin.
    OH MY GOD I had to hide in a UNIQLO store for hours because two seemingly crazy japanese high school boys wanted to take a picture with my cousins and my cousins asked me to hide them somewhere. And.. every japanese high school girl I came across would just whisper things like ‘mite sono ko. urayamashii ne. nande sonnani kirei gaikokujin kyoudai ga iru no.’ loud enough for me to hear. I got countless stares, creepy smiles, people taking pictures without permission, and sometimes I got told I things like this too ‘kawaii’, anata mo gaijin na no ka? sukoshi nihonjin mitai desu keredemo, aura wa chigau da yo ne!’ (WHAT? You can tell that someone is a foreigner by their aura? Are you psychics dude?) too.
    And whenever my cousins spoke in a loud voice than it was supposed to be, everyone would just stop and stare for a really long time then I had to break the ice by saying ‘sumimasen…’ and leaving the room awkwardly.
    Man, next time I go to Japan I won’t take them to places like Shizuoka dan Fukouka. I’ll just take them Osaka and Tokyo… *sobs*

    • Hello Mikita!

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. ^__^
      I often have the feeling that some Japanese people think they are psychics who can read other people’s minds / aura. *g*

      It DOES happen in bigger cities as well. Whenever I got sick of the “inaka treatment” I was happy to get to a bigger city just to realize it’s not much better there.
      But it REALLY depends on a lot of things.

      Anyway, thanks a lot. It was an interesting read. ^_^

  • Such an interesting phenomenon. I think if this happened to me, I’d be terribly amused. As much as they might think ‘baka gaijin’, I would probably secretly counter it with ‘baka nihonjin’. I’m rarely stared at or approached for any positive reasons in my own country. I *am* stared at, however, and I dislike it. To know going in, that when I get to Japan that I should EXPECT stares etc, I might digest it differently. I’d remember the rockstar syndrome and think hmm, this is a much nicer kind of attention than the kind I get back home (which makes me want to throw sharp objects at the person’s face, tbh). I’d take the attention with a grain of salt, but still somehow find it giggle-worthy.

    • Stares are always annoying when you don’t like attention – no matter WHY people stare at you.
      But I agree it’s good if you know beforehand that you should expect staring (like in Japan). Maybe you might even be a bit disappointed thinking: “Huh? I thought there’d be way more staring.” *g*

  • The Gaijin on the right is Giovanni Ribisi, Scarlett Johansson’s husband in the movie “Lost In Translation” !! One of my all time favorite movies. He was also in the TV series “My Name is Earl”.

    I know the rockstar feeling, I used to get that alot in Mexico from the girls. I wish I had gone to Japan though as I really like Japanese women. I will be soon however, and bringing my 21 year old son with me. He really could use some attention from the girls, it would be good for his ego!

    Is this blog still active?