You know those, “You know you’ve been in [place] for too long when…” jokes?
Kayo from Osaka Life found some “You know you’ve been in America for too long when…” jokes written by Japanese people.
These jokes are an excellent insight into the cultural differences between the United States and Japan. If you don’t understand why a Japanese person would associate these behaviors or ways of thinking with being in America too long, do ask in the comments, and we’ll get some explanation.
The original Japanese links are here, and here.
Kayo translated a bit of the first one.
You’ve been in the U.S. too long when…
…you wear a T-shirt even in winter.
…you blow your nose in public.
…you don’t wear skirts any more.
…you feel you’re lucky when the train has arrived 5 minutes late.
…you think it’s natural to say thank you to a cashier in a supermarket.
…you use paper napkins like water.
…you are not surprised when you see a very fat person, and you feel you are slim.
…you don’t mind using a dowdy umbrella.
…you don’t even carry an umbrella.
…you feel uncomfortable when a shop staff bows to you.
…you go across a street when the light is red but there are no cars.
Here I have translated those in the second link of “you know you’ve been in America too long” jokes. I left the Japanese in for those so inclined.
Disclaimer: I just blasted through these translations as fast as I could, I don’t think anything is wrong, but I didn’t go out of my way to make them production quality or anything. I’ve actually got a real translation job I’m supposed to be doing at the moment… This is how I procrastinate…
You don’t feel inconvenienced even if you don’t handle actual cash for an entire month.
When you’re able to drink blue or green colored soft drinks without hesitating at all.
When the fact that your waitress is wearing shocking pick nail polish doesn’t surprise you one bit.
When you’re watching a Japanese movie or television show, and for some reason you feel something isn’t quite right… After a while you realize that it’s because everyone is driving on the left side of the road.
When you receive compliments from others you’re not humble at all and just say “thanks”.
When you have your glasses or contact lenses prescription adjusted, and the strength of the new prescription doesn’t surprise you at all.
When you’re not excited or impressed at all when you see a real gun.
When you’re amazed at the cleanliness of the toilets in Narita Airport.
When you begin to think that you haven’t completely brushed your teeth unless you have also flossed.
When you start eating Oyakodon with a spoon.
When don’t think anything of young girls wearing camisoles that completely reveal their bra straps. To the contrary, when you let your guard down you find yourself doing the same as well.
When you’re back in Japan at a public toilet and realize that the people around you aren’t letting the water make a splashing sound when they’re peeing.
When find the the date format of, “2007/10/01” a little strange.
When you see a size 30 cm women’s shoe in the shoe store and you don’t even respond, “Geez that’s huge!”
When someone tells you that, “American food tastes bad”, you think, “really?”
When you’ve got pictures decorating your desk at work.
When, for the past 10 years or so, you’ve had no idea what year it is according to the Heisei calendar.
When you leave a space of about 50 cm between you and the person lining up in front of you at the supermarket.
When your “skirt to pants” ratio becomes 1:4 (meaning you own 4 times as many pants as you do skirts, for girls of course).
When you have completely lost the habit of dividing up your trash.