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From Tokyo to Tel Aviv and a bunch of places in between, this is a chronicle of how a very tall twenty-something-year-old multilingual Midwestern girl makes sense of existing as a cultural sore thumb.

If you have questions about immigrating to Israel as a non-Jewish person, or if you want to say hi without having to post a public comment, contact me!

Definition of terms

Gaijin is the Japanese word for foreigner, short for 外国人 (literally “outside country person”); goy (or goya for a girl) is the Hebrew term for a non-Jewish person, meaning an outsider.

gaijin

In Japan, a place with strict boundaries between outside and inside, being anything but Japanese can be an isolating experience in a culture known for its homogeneity. This isn’t a bad trait, but rather a tough one to adjust to for many individualistic Americans.

The same can be said of life in Israel, the Jewish state, filled with a culture that is loving but very firm on who is and is not technically included.

goy

Both terms can be considered controversial by some — and if forced to choose a descriptor I default to “American” rather than any language’s definition of outsider — but this blog is a friendly place where these words can be used in a lighthearted context.

Expat Women - Helping Women Living Overseas

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