Gaijin is a word to refer to foreigners, or as the Germans would say Auslanders. Some people think the word is rude and insist on Gaikokujin. Really, in the end, there is little difference between being referred to as a foreign person or a foreign country person.
Sometimes we encounter racism, being the outsiders in the worlds most homogenous society, but often there are benefits. Naturally, the fact that showing up at any event gets us the same attention a celeb gets when they step onto a red carpet, rates high on the list.
Many foreigners use the term Gaijin Crash to refer to when they are in a difficult situation and they act like a loud, tromping water buffalo. They do this knowing that most Japanese people will ‘tolerate’ the behavior from a foreigner. Additionally, many people are intimidated by the overwhelming fortitude of many Americans/Canadians.
Yesterday I was bothered by a loud fan and louder youths on the train. I stuck a couple earplugs in and engrossed myself in a book about Shinto faith. Suddenly I became aware of the fact that the train wasn’t moving. Glancing over my shoulder I spotted a cafe from my stop. A muffled announcement verified my fear. Worrying about the ultimate door closure, I stood up, loudly exclaimed, “Excuse me!” and made a beeline for the door, striking no fewer than four innocent bystanders.
On my way out the door, I realized it was the first announcement and I could have politely exited. Today I couldn’t spot the victims to apologize. Are they in the hospital? Are they afraid to board that car again? Who knows?