My friend is reading a book, and it contains the following sentence:


Why does this say 外国人のように? Are foreigners known for a particular gesture in which we raise both our arms...? When I read this sentence, I feel like I'm missing some implication that's required for it to make sense.

I have a picture of the page this sentence is from, in case further context is helpful:

Picture of the relevant page


Looks to me like he's suggesting that this character is holding his hands up in that half-shrugging "I don't know nothin'!" kind of way

Forgive the meme but this is the only picture that popped up in my 15 seconds of intense google imaging:

enter image description here

Whether or not this is 外国人のくせ I don't know, but that's what came to mind for me. Reading over it again I don't think the emotional quality of it is the same but I think the general gesture could be the same.

Either that or the author has his own idea of how foreigners act.

Edit: I'd like to comment that Chocolate's suggestion (from the position of a native speaker) of a pure shrug may be accurate here, although apparently none of us as foreigners immediately associate shrugging with raising of the hands as much as we do with shoulders. However Japanese does have the word 肩をすくめる to refer to shrugging the shoulders. Seems to be a distinction between which way the palms are facing!

Either way the following image describes my feelings adequately.

enter image description here

  • 2
    This is what came to my mind. That or a wide-armed shrug.
    – Hyperworm
    Mar 27 '13 at 0:01
  • Yes I read it. Anyway, looking at Chocolate's comment above I'd be inclined to agree more toward this gesture as a shrugging type thing. I guess I just don't associate shrugging with raising of the hands as much as I do with shoulders.
    – ssb
    Mar 27 '13 at 0:08

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