Icon wrote:I was taught gaijin is insulting, that the correct word was gaikokujin.
It is. I came across it in a business report that I was translating the other day (they were pointing out that an employee of a Japanese company at an academic conference in America was not Japanese...why?!) and I was actually quite pissed. At first I was reading it in Chinese for some reason and thought it meant an external contractor or something, and then I stopped and reread and went
As for the microaggression stuff, it's annoying as hell but you can try educating. I completely agree that it's an expression of a very deeply rooted us vs. them mentality, so I hate some of the more sweeping stuff: 'Oh, all foreigners like McDonald's, right?' 'No, I'm buying McDonald's for my Taiwanese husband, and I have no idea what most foreigners like because there's millions of them.' Or to 'You foreigners...' 'Wait, me and who? Who are you talking about? Americans? French? Iraqis?'
In my pet peeve of the day, I was drinking a slushie walking into the building this afternoon when an auntie who I see around a bit said 'Oh, you shouldn't drink cold things. It's bad for you.' The guards then chipped in with 'Yes, ice is bad for women.' It kind of solidified my fear that when we do have kids I am going to be a bitch incarnate. But this would fall under 'Neighbours showing me friendly concern and me not appreciating it' rather than any kind of aggression.
IronLady is 100% spot on the money in that the rules for social small talk here are different, and stuff we wouldn't dream of saying in the west is what you're expected to say. If I go to a shop I haven't visited in a month or so and the boss tells me I've put on weight I don't think 'You bitch!' but I think 'Really? Hmm, if a few other people tell me that maybe I need to eat more vegies.' (Similarly but the opposite if I get enough 'you've lost weight's in a week.) If the person knows you it's concern, if they don't know you they won't tell you you put on weight. They might tell your fat or skinny but...well...if you don't like it, don't be fat or skinny.
And to pick up from a long-forgotten snippet at the beginning of this thread:
People stand on the right in escalators in London because if you don't you will find yourself tutted at and then eventually smashed headfirst into the bottom of the escalator. I swear the UK is one of the very few places were courtesy is enforced with group violence o.O; (teenagers and chavs notwithstanding. They don't count.)