The kanji for ‘open’ and ‘close’ in elevators across Japan have remained disturbingly alike today for almost all foreigners, except Chinese.

Most foreigners living in the country for less than two decades continue to panic when faced with the ‘開’ and ‘閉’ buttons in a lift.

If other commuters try to get into a lift already occupied by a gaijin, the gaijin usually only has a split second to decide whether ‘開’ or ‘閉’ means ‘open’.

Greg Hunt, who attained 8-years-a-gaijin status earlier this year, still panics to this day when met with the 開/閉 conundrum.

“Please be open,” Hunt thought to himself this morning as a stranger was trying to enter the elevator.

Hunt had no time to use Google.

Hunt pressed the wrong button, but quickly realized the error of his ways and rapid-fire pressed the other button in an attempt to undo his wrongdoing.

The stranger managed to enter the elevator; however, was very uncomfortable by the thought of a gaijin retaining his position as master of elevator controls.

Image: TRW