The colorful wolf

June 21, 2009

Three kinds of Japan

Filed under: Daily Life,japan,Thoughts — randy @ 15:59

I went cycling yesterday because I wanted to find the thing in Japan that I had been missing for so long. It’s hard to describe this, but I’ve always categorized Japan in three different categories: anime Japan, gaijin Japan and work Japan. It’s not the actualy locations in Japan that can be split up like this, but it’s more like you can look at any place here in three different ways. Allow me to explain.

I like the countryside of Japan because for me it’s like anime-Japan. It looks like a Ghibli movie is taking place right there. Nothing bad or boring ever happens. Things could happen there that only happen in anime. It’s the feeling you have when seeing the pyramids, or the Victoria falls. It’s something out of a book or out of a movie. It’s almost like it’s not real. Japan is beautiful if you can see it like this.

Fairytale Japan

Fairytale Japan

Gaijin Japan is different. Gaijin Japan is the Japan that us foreigners experience here in this country. For me, it includes going out to Tokyo for drinks, going to manga cafes when missing the last train, staring in wonder at capsule hotels and girls in maid costumes, and other Tokyo adventures like buying strange stuff in Akihabara, crossing the busiest road in Shibuya or admiring the view in Odaiba. Taking pictures of all the weird drinks they sell at vending machines, nightly conbini trips and midnight ramen would also fall in this category. Japan is so fun and exciting if you can see it like this.

Gaijin Japan

Gaijin Japan

Finally, there is the Japan that Japanese people see most of the time. Salaryman-Japan slash work-Japan. In this kind of Japan, the weather is bad, the clouds are dark and you work from early morning to late at night, unable to take your mind off of work for even a second. This is the daily-life Japan mood. If you were in a gaijin-Japan mood or a fairytale-Japan mood you would see many beautiful things, but if you’re in a work-Japan mood you would just be tired and want to go home. The longer I stay in Japan the harder it is to get out of this mood.

Work Japan

Work Japan

Most foreigners never really experience the third Japan, which is a good thing. If you stay here longer, Japan is just another country with similar people and similar daily lives as any other country. I just hope that all of you people having daily lives in your own countries also get the chance to see the beautiful and weird side of your countries. Don’t work too hard!



  1. Interesting blog. I see you live not too far from me. Got my own blog of life in Japan.

    I know the work Japan very well. I rarely see the gaijin Japan. But I do occasionally see the fairytale Japan.

    Comment by jaydeejapan — June 22, 2009 @ 3:40 | Reply

  2. Ah, it’s a wonderful distinction to draw – great photo choices as well. With tourists, ignorance is bliss. They are able to visit a place and see it in a new, fascinating light, but never stick around long enough to appreciate the bullshit. Is one better than the other?

    Time to get out of my computer chair and go explore more of China 🙂

    Comment by b — June 22, 2009 @ 12:45 | Reply

  3. daag…
    wat ik me af hebt het over er alweer een goede nieuwe film uitgekomen die ik nog nie ken??

    Comment by shanna — June 22, 2009 @ 18:32 | Reply

  4. Nah, niet echt. Er is een film bij gekomen: maar die is meer voor kinderen geloof ik.

    Comment by rheide — June 22, 2009 @ 19:00 | Reply

  5. i like Fairytale Japan the most
    and Work Japan the least as you might have guessed

    Comment by wooj — June 24, 2009 @ 23:43 | Reply

  6. You make some interesting distinctions in this entry–I’ve never quite thought of things that poetically. I would add at least a forth category–the Japan that people who essentially live in both worlds (somewhat Japanized gaijin like myself, for example) are capable of experiencing. Come visit my blog at http://www.jfilmlove.word sometime if you like, and keep up the good work.

    Comment by wizki — September 30, 2009 @ 15:12 | Reply

  7. Sorry, just go to wordpress and type Eigalove–you’ll see the blog then!

    Comment by wizki — September 30, 2009 @ 15:15 | Reply

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