Although Japan is technically a linguistically and culturally homogeneous nation, there is a significant population of foreign residents who add a sprinkle of languages other than Japanese to the mix. When two different worlds collide, the results can be interesting and thanks to the popularity of Twitter in Japan, we all have access to a never-ending supply of cross-cultural anecdotes. The following is just a small handful of posts by Japanese Twitter users about their encounters with foreigners in Japan.

When you’re a foreigner in Japan, sometimes you just can’t get what you want to eat…

A foreign guy asked the server to explain what tatsuta-age is (竜田揚げ in Japanese, the first character is the kanji for “dragon”). She replied, “Umm, Fried Dragon.” He ordered curry instead.

Sometimes the simplest explanation is the best…

The worker at a ramen shop I was eating at was trying to explain to a foreigner that you can have as many helpings of rice as you want, so she said, “endless rice.” I nearly choked on my soup!

I was at McDonald’s and the foreign guy in front of me ordered black tea. The girl at the cash register asked if he wanted lemon or milk to go with it, but the foreigner didn’t seem to understand. She tried again…”Would you like lemon and milk? …Leemon aand miikugu?? …Uh, sour and boob?” The foreigner and I burst into laughter!

But a lot of times, you’re simply lost in translation…

Foreigner: How much?
Worker: It’s not hamachi (a type of tuna), it’s maguro (another type of tuna)!
Foreigner: How much?
Worker: It’s not hamachi! I said it’s maguro!!!
Foreigner: *hmm, looks like I have to speak to him in Japanese* kore ikura desu ka? (“How much is this?” in Japanese)
Worker: It’s not ikura (salmon roe)!!! Didn’t I tell you it’s maguro!!!

Actually, a lot of foreigners in Japan can speak Japanese quite well…

I was suddenly asked directions by a foreigner on the street. I immediately said, “I can’t speak English!” to which the foreigner replied, “Shabereru jyan!” (“You can speak it!” in Japanese). You can too, huh?

I was in the smoking room and a 190cm (6’3″) foreigner came in and asked if he could borrow my lighter in perfect Japanese. I replied, “oh, oh, ye…” and handed him the lighter. He laughed and said, “You can speak to me in Japanese, I’ve been living in Japan since before you were born” and handed me back the lighter in a cool fashion.

There was a foreigner at the station who looked distressed, so I went up to them and asked in English, “May I help you? Where are you going?” The foreigner replied in perfect Osaka dialect Japanese, “No, actually I’m not troubled by speaking Japanese, I lost my wallet, but thank you.” I was so surprised.

On the other hand, foreigners who can speak Japanese just can’t get any respect at times…

A conversation with a foreigner in Japanese:
Foreigner: Thank you!
Japanese person: You’re so good at Japanese!
Foreigner: Even you can say “thank you” in English, can’t you?
I laughed so hard!

But often encounters with foreigners can end with some hilarious results…

I was standing in line at the convenience store and a guy who looked like a foreigner cut in front of me. I tapped him on the shoulder and wanted to say something like “Go to the back” in English, but I landed up saying, “Back to the Future” and pointed to the back of the line. “Oh,” he muttered, and went to the back.

But no matter who you are or where you came from, everyone likes ninjas…

While I was working at my part time job, a foreign customer came in…
Me: Welcome! Would you like to order a drink?
Foreigner: Oh, yes. Um, how did you know I was going to order a drink?
Me: …Because I’m a ninja.
Foreigner: Oh!!! Ninja!!!! Woooooo!!
And then he just ran out of the store without buying anything.

A foreigner asked me, “Why don’t Japanese people have their face showing on their Twitter icons?” “It’s because we are the descendants of ninjas,” I replied. The foreigner was so happy with that answer.

Source: Naver Matome
Image: Wikipedia