There are some places you visit where it’s relatively easy to blend in and not look like too much of a tourist.
As a white person, Japan is not one of those places.
You could have the fashion down to a T, speak perfect Japanese and go to the most local joint ever and still be 100% gaijin.
It was a little funny to us to be stared at, especially by the little kids, but it wasn’t entirely unexpected.
When we were stopped and asked for our autograph, however, that threw us for a second.
“Should I write ‘Brad Pitt’ instead?” asked Adam as googly eyed school girls held out their notebooks to us.
He ended up signing his own name.
It was kind of fun getting our pictures taken, being constantly “hello’d” and sighed at and told how cute we were.
It was a taste of celebrity, even if it was pretty minor.
A little side note about the school kids – either Japan operates on a “the world is your classroom” system or there is a serious truancy problem here. Wherever we went, no matter the day or the hour, we saw hoards of school children, fully decked out in their school uniforms at various sites, walking around cities and riding the public transport. The few times we saw organized groups of school kids we would be ambushed by them all practicing their English on us reading from their work books.
What an awesome way to learn a foreign language – just go to the tourist sites and start talking!
And you may even run into ‘Brad Pitt’ if you’re brave enough to ask for an autograph…