RP speaker in Japan, late 1980s.

There were many tales of discrimination of various types, both for and against ‘outsiders’ (with quite different attitudes towards whites, blacks and Asians), as detailed by Arudo Debito amongst others. Many were flattering, amusing, or mildly irritating, rather than distressing – for example, one Western friend (fluent in Japanese) who had a perfectly normal conversation with an eyes-down shopkeeper until the latter looked up and realized it was a ‘foreigner’… whereupon they suddenly lost the ability to understand any of the Japanese said gaijin was saying.

One experience of my own: I telephoned an estate agent. My Japanese was good, but evidently still had some kind of twang to it.

“Are you foreign? We don’t let to foreigners.”

I fibbed: “No, I’m just from [a remote area], maybe it’s our local accent?”

“Ah, that’s OK then”.