Was watching the excellent BBC comedy ‘Little Britain‘ recently and in some way the Daffyd character reminded me of how many of us gaijin act in Japan. No I do not want to be the “only gay in the village” like he does, but there is a kind of anti-racism here when we see fellow gaijin trespassing on what we consider to be our patch. I don’t think I could live here with just Japanese friends but theres a certain sense of awkwardness when we see one another around the city.
Japan is 97% Japanese people and the other 3% is mainly made up of other Asians so we definitely stand out and when we see each other we never know whether to say hi or not. I don’t see why we should acknowledge each other just because we have the same skin colour and are in a country away from home. Just because we’re in the minority here it doesn’t mean we are going to have an instant bond or whatever. It may be ok in the sticks but not in Tokyo.
Particularly among the men, there is often also a negative view of each other especially if they are with a J-girl as is often the case here. Some of these so-called ‘charisma men’ come to Japan and go from zero to hero. For the record, ‘Charisma Man‘ was a funny comic strip based on a Canadian guy who worked in a burger bar and was a bit of a loser with the local women but when he came to the ‘land of opportunity’ he became a playboy with the girls who were almost ‘fluent in braille’ and just loved the idea of having a foreign boyfriend.
When I was back in the UK I used to hear about bands who were fairly cr*p but made it big in Japan (i.e. ‘Shampoo‘) and I never could understand why. Something similar applies to these ‘Losers Back Home’ (also known as LBH’s) who come to Japan to reinvent themselves as cool N*va teachers or whatever. While this may be true of some I don’t think everyone should be tarnished with the same brush.
This is in no way intended to be disrespectful to Japanese women who are very kawaii (cute) and kirei (beautiful) but maybe there is a proportion of LBH’s coming to Japan purely to find themselves a woman and I guess there’s nothing too wrong with that. Without getting too philosophical I believe (or is that hope?!) there is someone for everyone in this world and if that means going to Asia in the name of love then why not!
Personally I came to Japan to see friends and continue my travelling as I was tired of just travelling so working and living Asia’s most developed economy appeared to be the next best option and inevitably I ended up getting a Japanese girlfriend.