Discussion in 'The Front Porch' started by inu, Feb 17, 2013.
I will never return.
But I do miss talking with us.
where did you go to?
Why not Africa?
are you black? are you black and you went to japan to escape racism? really?
I see that your screen name is Inu. Inu means dog in japanese. Why did you choose that name? I lived in Japan for 3.5 years and if you moved to Japan to "escape' racism then I would say that it was a bad choice. Japan is extremely racist, it's just that they don't put it in your face.
Easier for me to answer "Why Japan?"
(1) I always wanted to learn Japanese since I was 9.
(2) I am draw to symbolic glyph-picture like language systems. Even in Asia, I am drawn to Japanese and Chinese (both picture-based systems), dislike Korean (alphabetic). You can see... rules out most of the planet.
(3) I'm an Atheist. The Japanese are mostly non-religious, so I fit in nicely. South Korea is religious... another strike against the Koreans.
(4) Modern economy.
Well, there you have it.
Oh, please... it's never about escaping...
It's about just getting the volume turned down.
Nobody follows me around in the 7-11s here.
Or the supermarket.
Or the [FILL IN THE BLANK].
And when you go to the register, they treat you the same as the 2 people before you and the 2 people after you. If your Japanese sucks (mine did when I first got there), they might have to repeat things or dumb it down, but that's it.
I can always get a taxi. Yes... a TAXI... A REAL TAXI!!!]
I get regular good seats in a restaurant.
People sit next to me in coffee shops even when there are 3 seats free next to me.
(Yeah... go read the above sentence again.)
Now, of course there are things that are the same.
Sometimes the scared looks and such.
The clutching the handbag tighter.
But then, if I am sitting in a park people come up to me with their kids to say "Hi".
Or if their kids run my way, the the parents follow and stand with their kid talking to me and asking questions and stuff.
Old folks come up to me just wanting to talk.. some in English (some are good) and some in Japanese.
(One old lady has kind of adopted me... introduced me to people in her apartment building and everything).
Or if I am in a coffee shop or McDs or in a park or wherever... people just sometimes want to come up and talk.
Some in English.
Others, when they realize that I can speak Japanese, they want to talk in Japanese.
Made some friends this way.
Girlfriends this way.
Normal break ups.
Riding the trains, I am invisible. Just another guy on the train.
People sit next to me because there is an open seat.
Some areas, I am different and new and people want to talk.
And the best thing is... it's ordinary regular.
Racism is still here.
Apartments can be heard to get... and people "hear things" about us "from other sources" (you know what I mean) and that can cause trouble.
But it is nowhere as bad as America.
In the US, the racism knob is turned to to 11.
In Japan, they only have it at like 5-7.
(When they do racism, they are kind of sloppy at it... Whites aren't used to it (I've had some moan to me)... we've had lots of practice, so we see it coming miles a way).
For black folks.
That's a vacation.
But, let's be real. If all they did in America was give you what I have here all of a sudden -- you'd **** your pants and be happy doing it.
It's never about escaping racism.
We never can.
It's just about getting the volume turned down.
Yes, I did exactly what you suggested.
My "3rd eye" was open. That's how I came to realize that satisfying my childhood dream might help me get to somewhere better.
I set the goal: Move to Japan... live a regular life... become a computer programmer again at some time after I get there.
I did "rise up and do something supernatural". I found Japanese classes... joined.... bought Japanese manga and forced myself to learn at a faster rate than my classes. After about 8 months of study, I hopped a plane to Japan with just my rudimentary Japanese and a dictionary (which I found was inadequate). The mission: a kind of scavenger hunt in Japan where I would seek out items and places that I saw in Japanese manga, anime, or movies that were real... and find some special manga or anime items. I succeeded in many of my goals. The big goal of this scavenger hunt: Can I live in Japan for 1 month living like an ordinary Japanese person. Waking up early, eating breakfast in the same places as other Japanese... travel during rush hour on regular trains.
I did have a special pass, so I did ride the in the first class car of the bullet train!!! (I could have done the same thing for the rush hour adventures, but I wanted to do the real life thing).
That's when I discovered that Japan was cool. (Before I came, my office mates told me that I would be treated worse in Japan than Amercia... funny, I was the only Black fellow in the office... hmm....). When I say "Japan was cool", I mean, as soon as I got off of the train from the airport and stepped outside of the train station, a taxi drove up to me and opened the door and waited for me! Yes. I stood there in total shock and awe. I almost couldn't get a taxi to leave the US for Japan.
Then I returned to the US with all of my loot.
This was proof that I could do it... so, I took harder and harder Japanese classes.
Read harder and harder manga.
Changed from anime to Japanese live dramas.
I used to read Japanese manga in Japanese while riding the train... and laughing at the punchlines.
People looked at me strange.
One kid behind me commented about how I was not reading English.
After 5-6 years... studying... doing my best...
Even that I was not perfect with Japanese... I returned.
I taught English first.
I now work as a computer programmer.
Which was my ultimately goal.
I do dream.
I make the plan.
I set time frames.
I execute the plan.
Even when they slip or circumstances change, I adjust and keep going.
And sometimes... I succeed.
I really have to thank you talking with me about this.
If you have questions about more details about this, feel free to ask.
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