Ni-hao Attack

This theme is one thing I have really really wanted to share with people since I came to Barcelona.

When I am walking in a street or a supermarket or whatever else, sometimes people talk to me “ni-hao (你好),” which means “Hola” in Chinese.  At the time when I have just arrived in Barcelona, I didn’t like that people said to me ni-hao because I am not Chinese.  I always replied like “NI-HAO.  But excuse me I’m not from China, I am Japanese” with a big smile.  However in my head, I was like “Hey hey, could you please don’t label all Asians are from China?  It’s like asking to all Europeans if they are from the U.S.  And also if you have nothing to talk besides ni-hao, don’t talk to me.  I don’t like human bei… OK stop Rumi, calm down…”  People’s reactions were deferent, some people said sorry for their mistake, some correct themselves and said “konnichiha” (which means “Hola” in Japanese) or other asked me to tell them how to greet in Japanese.  But I was not very happy about that thing, because I couldn’t understand what kind of reply they wanted for what reason.  (I am sorry but it’s a dark side of me, now you knew it.)

Time passed a little, 1 or 2 months later, I didn’t know why but my idea had changed a little.  Or maybe, I almost gave up of fighting against that ni-hao attack.  In that phase when strangers said to me ni-hao, I pretended like I was Chinese and replied them ni-hao (with my wrong pronunciation.)  At that time I was OK about it because I noticed that China is a big country with a huge population, so if people see me it is natural that they may suppose that I am from China.  It is all about the probability, the theme of a number.  And also I was telling myself that the reason why people talk to me is they are just curious about me. (I know, it’s not.)  Actually, without correcting all the little shits but simply saying ni-hao was much easier and less stressful for my life.  (A life tip, yay!)

However, one thing happened to me 1 month ago.  I went to a local music festival alone (wait, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have any friends, it’s just because I wanted to see my favorite band, ok?), and I guess I was an only Asian at that festival, because I didn’t see any Asian looked people except me (and everyone was with friends… EVERY FUCKING ONE.  I was totally alone.)  Anyway, I was watching my favorite band in the first row right in front of the stage and I was so excited and super happy… until one guy behind me started the ni-hao attack.  I was just ignoring him because I really wanted to concentrate in the show, but the guy kept saying ni-hao with no reason so I couldn’t stand it anymore.  I turned around and told him, “No ni-hao to me.  NO.”  But you know, we were standing right in front of the stage so I was kind of screaming stupidly and he couldn’t get any of my words because of the great rock music.  I knew he was just drunk and maybe he won’t even remember it, but it was a thing for me.  (However, the show was awesome.)

Since that day, I have been thinking of a counterattack against next ni-hao attack but still haven’t got any good idea.  Respond in other language like “Привет” or “สวัสดีค่ะ?”  Well, not bad but it would be a bit awkward and it seems that I’m mean.  Insult secretly in Japanese with a big smile?  Alright, but it would make the situation even worse if they know Japanese, and also I don’t dare to try it…

After all, I think I’ll just say this in an emotionless voice with a weird smile as always :



*Hey you! (yes you!)  Thank you so much for reading!  In this article I don’t mean to say that I hate China or Spain or the whole world, neither I’m not trying to insist that I’m an anti-racism something something.  What I wanted to do is simply share my personal experience.  I have been wanted to share it and also wanted to know how everyone think about this story.  If you have any experience/opinion or if you already got a good tips for this subject, please leave your comment!  🙂





  1. Pingback: Animals in Spain | Hi it's me, Rumi
  2. Hachi Ko · October 27, 2016

    I’m laughing so hard because I have some similar attacks even in my country xD


    • hiitsmerumi · October 27, 2016

      Really? Even in your country? That’s hilarious LOL


  3. Marzie · October 20, 2016

    That is how I feel every time people greet me in Arabic. urghhhh, For them the whole middle east speaks Arabic. And it´s not that I hate Arabs or anything but it´s about self identity and giving information to people so they know there are other languages in that part of the world. Each time it happens to me I just explain them the mistake they are making and tell them we greet differently in Iran.


    • hiitsmerumi · October 20, 2016

      Thanks Marzie! Yes, I don’t know if you remember but I also misunderstood your language before. (Sorry!) Telling people your identity and language is good thing because they can learn new culture! (Sometimes I’m too lazy to do it though haha)


  4. Hà Thu · October 19, 2016

    Hello. Long time no see! This is the first time I read your blog. Sorry (^ ^). I faced the same situation when travelling abroad (not in Japan, thank God). Ignoring them is the best way!
    Buenas Noches!


    • hiitsmerumi · October 20, 2016

      Thank you Thu-san! Yeah, I remember you told me that when you were in Japan some Japanese asked you the direction LOL And yeah I sometimes ignore haha スペイン語がんばってね!ありがと!


  5. Alberto · October 18, 2016

    Jajaja! Pobre Rumi! (ríete tú también, por favor!)

    No es la primera vez que oigo esto. Pero en España hay muchos más chinos que japoneses y para mucha gente “es lo mismo”. No voy a decir que no tenga importancia, pero no puedes hacer nada… Yo ni respondería. O los sorprendería respondiendo en español.
    Y por cierto, yo he sido americano en Japón :p


    • hiitsmerumi · October 18, 2016

      Gracias! Jaja exacto, no podemos hacer nada para parar eso. Algunas veces les respondo en español y es un poco awkward, pero también es divertido para que ellos se sientan awkward. (sorry for them! LOL)


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