Mar 18, 2013

Gaijin interviews gone wrong

If you don't already know, In Japan tv companies have a obsession with interviewing foreigners.

Anyone who has lived here long enough knows they can be easily interviewed.

I go to a language school, so often tv crews come to the school to interview people because they know theres lots of bait foreigners there.

Today was supposed to be a fun day. My last day of school and we go on a field trip to the FIRE DEPARTMENT!!

Yeah, sounds boring. But we get to do some earthquake simulator ride where it is like a real earthquake. As soon as I found this out I was so excited because  not once, but actually maybe 10 times at home or around walking I have always though...

'I wish there was some kind of place you can go where theres a building and you can pretend its a earthquake and actually feel what a large earthquake feels like so that I am prepared for a big one.'

Well there is a place, its called the Fire department. XD

Anyway, there was TV crews waiting outside the school and they followed us from the school to the fire department.

They interviewed me the whole way there, it was ok at first, but I though

'wow this interview is pretty long!'

They got really annoying, they just wouldn't stop with the questions, and they filmed the whole time we were trying to learn about fires and safety. They were on us like paparazzi.

My teachers had to keep pushing them away because I was so distracted, I didn't hear what the firemen were even saying.

When everything was over, they were waiting outside for everyone to start walking home so they can follow again.  I wanted to talk to my classmates and just walk home in peace, but they came up to me again and started where they left off More and more questions.  Some questions were ok. but the questions just got more personal.

Whats my bfs name

Where does my boyfriend work

What company does my bf work at

Where was the old company I used to work at

Where is the CURRENT Job I work at

To all these questions I politely said, sorry but I don't give that information.

In response to all these questions were answers like

'why not, its ok, just a little bit tell us, just his first name, just what type of business, just the station name, its ok you don't work there anymore so its ok'.

Its fine they asked these questions, but I told them multiple times that I am not interested in giving that information.

どこに住んでいますか?doko ni sunde imasu ka - (Where do you live?)
すみませんが言えません sumimasen ga iemasen - (I am sorry I can't say)
なんで? nande - (Why?)

What?  WHY?  Because its my personal information I don't want to say where I live. They asked me where I live multiple times and I finally made up a place.

Then they asked.

Can we come there.....

They wanted to come to my house, and do a little house tour interview.  Sure sounds fine, when its clear that I am interested in giving them information, but by now my voice and tone and body language all indicated that I was not interested in giving them any information and that I was getting annoyed because they are following me on the street while I am trying to walk home.

If you don't know, its common in Japan to also do house interview tours, this is fine for people who are interested in showing, but if someone says no, it means no.

So first my response was

I am sorry, but I am busy, so no.

Then their reply was

'but you said you don't work today and that you are going home after so it means your not busy'.

Now I started to get pissed.

My reply was a little more ferm and went something like this
'I am sorry but I don't want to film my house on a TV show, my boyfriend and I care about our private information and I am not comfortable with this'

Their reply was.

'Why, lets call your boyfriend and see if its ok'

I was scared so I called my bf and told him. They talked to him on the phone. After they got off phone I still told them No, no no.

Then I got even more angry because they were so persistent. It was so rude.

I was scared. By this time the other students were long gone, it was just me and 2 men with cameras following me like stalkers. And I already expressed I wasn't interested politely.

I started to use more casual strict Japanese at them, telling them I am sorry, but I am NOT interested in them coming to my house. I don't want to do that.

They kept asking why.

Then I said.  Just call my boyfriend if you have more questions. I don't want to give any more information I am busy, I have to go.

I wrote down his phone number on a paper and gave to them. It was so weird because when they got the paper, they said his name out loud, on camera. AND VIDEO TAPED THE PAPER!! :S why do that. That is kind of strange.

I then left quickly and ran away from them calling my boyfriend again, who was livid that they were so rude, didn't even give information or get permission to do anything, and bothered me.  He was also angry that the school allowed this to happen.

Sadly, stuff like this happens all the time to foreigners, because they don't care to do proper business way. Its actually rude to come up to someone and start asking them all these questions without proper introduction and valuing ones personal information and valuing their privacy. Once someone says they don't want to answer, pressuring becomes rude. But they do it because they don't care.


  1. I would have snapped, violence would have ensued.

  2. Shoulda yelled Chikan!! pointing at them and threatened to call the police. I'm sorry you had to experience that, Mira-san. :(

  3. Next time, phone the police :)

  4. Wow that is so weird and scary. I am sorry that happened to you.

  5. why didn't you give them a fake number? lol

  6. That would be a hard situation to handle. You're on camara so if you stop it like a normal person, you're the mean gaijin who yelled at an innocent reporter who was doing his job. If you are too nice it last forever and they give out your personal info, for people to harass you. If you're too nice or too mean it could have bad consequences, you probably handled it right though.

  7. wow, how rude can the Japanese get!!? I though that they r thrmodt polite people on asia.why do u gave them ur bf phone number?! now ur bf is gonna have to deal with them, lol. just ignore yhem next time and don't give out any contact information!

  8. This is a trick to deflect persistent questioners: simply repeat "no I'm not interested" again and again and say nothing else.

    If you relent even a little bit they'll keep it up. If you repeat "no, I'm not interested" each and every time eventually they'll get bored and give up. But if you relent even a little bit they'll be encouraged (depending on their past experience) and continue.

    Try it. It works.

  9. I saw you once on "you nani shi ni nippon he" Was it this one? Actually I really love this bangumi! ^^"

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  11. They also tried to interview me a few times.
    Mostly at the beginning. I think, it was really obvious that I was new in Japan and a foreigner - rouning around all excited, while taking pictures all the time, blonde, always dressing up and wearing make-up.
    But since I was still new and not used to speak a lot Japanese, I always refused. I am still wondering why they wanted to do the interviews in Japanese... o__o"

    But they were only creepy once. When Iwas looking for some new cable in Akihabara. 2 men with a big camera wanted to take an interview with me. They didn't even look like a real tv-crew, more like "typicall otaku" (like out an movie or something: big belly, untidy hair, crumbled clothes, only t-shirt and short pants - ok, it was hot like hell on that day, but still....). When I refused they were still looking at me, so I hurried up going into a store (^ ^;)

    Now I am most of the time with my japanese bf, so they seemed kind of scared XD