Saturday, April 24, 2010

These foreigners... (この外人はな。。。)

Well, when I don't have any other bright ideas, I resort to the age-old rants. One of these, as any student of Japan would know, is the gaijin rant.

I will come at this from an American perspective, for obvious reasons.

Japan thinks they know us. Thinks they know us so well that they can discriminate on a broad-sweeping basis, because we are loud, obnoxious barbarians who swear like sailors, wear American flags wherever we can stick them, and do drugs whenever we find the time.

Also, we all have guns. At least two. On us at all times.

We are a great source of comedy. (Admittedly, I also think that this is hilarious.)

And hey, as racist as it is? I can sort of see where Japan is coming from. There are a lot of people out there giving us a bad name.

There are, for instance, a large number of gaijin (tourists and English teachers alike) who don't bother learning Japanese. Ever. That is, admittedly, an American stereotype, but I've seen it in action. They even get pissed when the Japanese people don't accommodate them by speaking perfect English. And we wonder why they're flipping that bilingual McDonald's menu on us a light-speed when they spot our whitey face coming. (I flip that sucker BACK. With a smile.)

And gaijin do have this thing about drugs. What the hell, guys. There were people on my study abroad program who had snuck illegal substances in the country, then proceeded to carry them around during the year. What is WRONG with you people? Japan doesn't screw around with drug charges. But you couldn't hold off smoking a joint for eight peasely months of the year? Excuse me, but I'm going to have to revoke your "common sense" cards.

And there are of course the people who just generally don't want to blend in. (Well, you know, as much as they can. If you're not at least a little Asian, you'll never blend fully.) They're loud, obnoxious, and tend to complain to anyone who'll listen about how awful it is to be a gaijin in Japan.

Well, you moved there, genius.

The problem is? These yahoos are ruining it for the rest of us. There are a number of gaijin (your lovely host included, of course) that have a deep seated love for Japan, and have spent vast portions of our lives devoted to the study of the language, culture and history. We're not just over there for shits and giggles; we want to make a life in Japan, possibly even obtain that fabled Permanent Resident status, and be up there in the ranks with Pa-kun and David Spector. We're devoted, awesome people who Japan should be thrilled to have.

And you know what? Japan isn't helping. The JET programme, for instance. If you want to be an ALT? Having Japan knowledge can actually hurt your chances. They want someone to "expose" to Japan, to really be able to teach the locals about American culture. And if that means you don't speak a damn word of Japanese or know that you're supposed to take your shoes off before going inside, that's fine with them.

And thus the cycle perpetuates itself.

Yes, it's no picnic being a gaijin in Japan. It's not as horrible as some of the whiners would have you believe, but it sure as heck isn't the promised land where the sky rains puppies and chocolates as the weeaboos insist (over and over no matter how many times you disagree.)

(weeaboo (noun): a non-Japanese person exhibiting an obsessive admiration for Japanese anime that often extends to the broader Japanese culture)

All I'm saying is that it would help if you stereotype-gaijin-types would knock it off. Come on. You're embarrassing us over here.

This is Edo, signing off seriously thinking about starting that 外人漫才 (gaijin manzai) duo.

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