Gaijin Drivin’

Driving in Japan!

Driving in Japan! March 2019. Photo by Greg Vessar


Gaijin Drivin’


Drive Gaijin, drive Japan,
but on the left? C’mon man!
No parking space in sight,
stop and use your hazard light!
Finally a narrow parking spot,
better back in on the dot.
Headlights blink many times in a row
Don’t blink back, just turn bro!
Summer or winter tires divine
but wrong season, pay a fine.
Driving to the train station is intense
on one way streets that make no sense.
No horns honk telling others to go,
well…they only honk at my friend Joe!
“Y” plates not a flash in the pan…
Drive Gaijin, drive Japan!


This poem is about driving in Japan and I hope it is taken as lighthearted fun, as that is how it was written. Driving in Japan is like driving anywhere else in the world; once you become accustomed to different traffic laws, signs, and a few idiosyncrasies, driving a car is driving a car. If you are gaijin (see my notes on this term below the poem), driving in Japan, it becomes clear rather quickly that the Japanese are very safe and friendly drivers. I’ve been driving in Misawa for about ten months and there are some things that have caused me to pause, think, and smile.

© 2019 Gregory Vessar  


Author’s Note: I use the Japanese term Gaijin in my poem. It is a term that I personally do not find offensive as a foreigner living in Japan, but I understand that some foreigners in Japan do find it offensive. So, I did a little research on the term. According to Yumi Nakata, an author at the blog GaijinPot, the terms Gaijin and Gaikokujin are both used to describe a foreign person in Japan. So what is the difference? The Japanese use two different words for foreigner: Gaijin and Gaikokujin. Gaijin  外人: The word consists of two Kanji meaning outside (gai) and person (jin) it literally means an outsider. Gaikokujin  外国人: The word consists of three Kanji meaning outside (gai), nation (koku) and person (jin). As you can see, these are different words. Gaikokujin is much more formal than Gaijin, and many people think that Gaijin is a shortened word of Gaikokujin, but that is not necessarily the case. Gaijin is used to describe Westerners, whereas Gaikokujin is for all foreigners, which includes other Asian nationals. If I have offended, I apologize.

Source: Yumi Nakata,


Categories: Japan, Poetry, Travel, WritingTags: , , ,


  1. Loved it! And for the record I’m not offended!

    Liked by 2 people

%d bloggers like this: