A foreigner residing in Nagoya City is saying ‘ussssssssssss’ when he has no idea how to respond.

“I say ‘ussssssssssss’ pretty much on a daily basis,” says 5-years-a-gaijin Bill Winston.

Winston’s gaijin mind operates on the principle that the word ‘gozaimasu’ could feasibly be used at the end of a sentence in any imaginable circumstance that may arise in Japan.

“There’s bound to be some phrase that ends in gozaimasu that is suitable for any situation,” says Winston.

Winston started using ‘ussssssssssss’ after shortening ‘arigato gozaimasu’ to ‘arigato gozaisuuu’, which he then shortened to ‘arizaisuuu’, then to ‘zasuuuu’, and finally to ‘ussssssssssss’.

Winston is quietly impressed with the evolution of his gaijin brain.

Image: Flickr/PatB


  1. I can relate.

    We were in Sapporo, August 2015 with two hours till we were due to head further north, when I realized my charger for my Norelco electric shave had not been working.

    With Wife and son at breakfast I decided to venture forth, speaking no Japanese, but with an iPhone to acquire a replacement charger or whole electric shaver kit.

    At 9am, with an 11am checkout I ventured into a cab. Yen in my pocket I showed the driver a map to a department store. Twenty minutes later we were at a high fashion Women’s Department store just before opening with manager and staff outside bowing to arriving customers.

    I caught the managers glance and made motions of shaving while buzzing, and showing him my phone with a picture.. he made a map that diected me through his store (a city block) BIC electronic store in downtown Sapporo.

    Biggest issue that I was prepared for by my son; each sales girl (maybe 50) was lined up to say Good Morning, Ohio Gazaimasssss,

    After much sake the previous night, my son has mentioned that you can get bye with a Uzzzzzzzzzzz….which I did… 50 Times to each salesgirl, with a very fast bow.
    Or I would miss my connection.

    I have a wonderful memory, and I don’t think I offended any Japanese people, and got my replacement Norelco Electric razor that I still use and cherish.


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