Someone died and made me king, prince and dictator-for-life of all gaijin. As my first responsibility, I have 12 tips for gaijin…
-1. Yes, I have changed a lot of my opinions here. I was wrong. I was bringing a lot of baggage and history from west of Japan. None of that belongs here; it is completely out of context. You need to…
0. Leave your politics at home. Japan is neither the post bellum southern United States nor contemporary eastern Germany. When something you don’t understand happens, and you feel a gnawing suspicion of racism, seek first to understand. Case in point: Japanese people kept asking me whether I could speak or read Japanese. And it annoyed the heck out of me, “what the questioning my literacy are you doing?”, I thought. It turned out they were just being nice, trying to look out for a brother, because too many stupid gaijin have come here with nothing but a shaky grasp of hiragana to their name and proceeded to fumblingly live here in ignorance for years on end and I’m not bitter. Three weeks ago [at the time of writing] I was in Korea, and I didn’t know Korean, and I was more grreeeeeatful than Tony the Tiger for people who could speak English. I know hangul now, so next time I won’t be a total noob. Speaking of gaijin…
1. That’s right. “Gaijin”. It’s not a racial slur. Get it out of your head that it is. It means “outside person”. You are an outside person. It’s OK; it’s not an insult. Gaijin, gaijin, gaijin, gaijin. Yes, I know it sounds like 怪人 and 害人, just get over it. What, you think putting a “國” in the middle will make the world better?
2. Learn Japanese. For crying out loud, what the front were you thinking coming to a country without knowing its language? Who do you think you are? If you’re going to live here, learn the language. And for crying-out-loud learn to read. It is not OK to be illiterate. I don’t care how many “kanjis” there are — find a freaking way: illiteracy is illiteracy is illiteracy. Do not ever expect to be treated like a full, adult member of society without such a basic skill. Yes, it’s like being a child again. Humble yourself…better yet, enjoy the journey, if you actually just plug in, it doesn’t take that long.
3. If you don’t like it…uh, leave. Were you brought here naked and beaten on a shipful of strangers under duress? Are you being held against your will? If it sucks so much here, go home — you know, where they speak your precious language and eat three square meals of fat every day…
4. If and when the cops stop you…why not ask them WHY they’re stopping you? Ask them if they don’t like gaijin. Give them a candy (I mean it), tell them to sit down (I mean it), and talk this thing out. What’s that, you don’t know Japanese? Go back to step 2. Pig…Policemen are problematic in every country in the world.
5. Leave the country. Not forever. Just for a break. Go back to your country or better yet to another foreign country. It’ll clear your vision like nothing else. Then come back to 日出国 refreshed and with a more lucid perspective.
6. Stay away from foreigners. No, poor word choice. Just, avoid clumping with foreigners…Still poor word choice. OK, here: go make Japanese friends! Hello? In step 2 you learned Japanese, right? Now go use it with people who speak it, champ — that’s what it’s for. Japanese is for communicating with Japanese people…other than your girlfriends…此れ下さい and 有難う do not count.
You see, the problem is that…Japanese people are often shy and quiet compared to other peoples of the world. And so this allows a lot of gaijeen far too much space to “fill in the blanks” and project what they think Japanese people are thinking. Which is dangerous because they’re filling in the blanks wrong. Let me give you an analogy — talking to gaijin trying to figure out how Japanese people are thinking is kind of like when guys try to get woman-advice from other guys, or women try to take man-advice from other women. Guys, you’ve all read Cosmopolitan once or twice, I’m sure. And I’m sure you found that stuff was whack. Stop being led in the dark by other blind people. You need to…
7. Ask Japanese people. If you have a problem *ask*. If you don’t know something, *ask*. People are dying to tell you; they think you’re the most handsome, beautiful, good-looking, desirable, attractive glass of something in the room (see step 1) — go google “外人” right now, dude, whether you are man or woman you will find that people want to bed-you-right-now-to-day ベッドイン today! Japanese people L-O-V-E foreigners, even the people that don’t like foreginers L-O-V-E foreigners; they want YOUR GAIGENES IN THE CELLS OF THEIR BABIES! They want dark skin and “high noses” and rhythm and brown, curly hair! They want your gaijin ideas in their companies! They want your gaijin language skills spewed all over the text they read. They want your gaijin face on TV. They want your gaijin voice in their music. Refer to step 2.
8. “Wah, waah, waah. I’m gaijin and Japanese people don’t accept me”. Oh yeah, I forgot about the warm reception and full, unconditional societal inclusion that Japanese people receive in your country. There are fourth- fifth- and sixth-generation Japanese-Americans right now being asked “how did you learn English so well?” in their own country. Those slant-eye jokes are funny *any* day of the week, and those concentration camps were practically resorts, those families had a ball. Dehud, we get to use health insurance here, are you kidding me?
9. Tokyo people are not Japanese people. OK, they are, but they’re special. Tokyo is (1) a very big city, in (2) a first-world country. That means people are going to be colder than Queen Elizabeth on a Wednesday morning in northern Scotland with no shirt on; I’m not saying I have evidence that she does that, I’m just saying that my friend’s friend saw her and…Anyway, that’s what cities and first-world countries do — make people frigid. A trainful of lonely people. Weird, huh? If you’re from a more “agrarian” country, like me, this may come as a shock. Chill…Japanese people don’t hate you. They’re just far too busy and stressed out from working 37-hour days, to even put a smile on their face. That’s where you come in.
10. Stay the heck away from Tokyo (the London of Japan). If you live there, start looking for a home elsewhere. Saitama and Chiba do not necessarily count. You need to be at least 60 train minutes away from Tokyo should you ever wish to know happiness. I’m not saying Tokyo’s bad. I’m just saying it’s dirty and smelly and overpriced. I have good friends you actually like squalor, odor and high prices, so they Tokyo it up all the time.
In closing, Japan may not be perfect. But it’s pretty durn close. We all came here of our own free will with anime sparkling in our eyes…(except for some Koreans during let’s just say “the first half of the 20th century”). Anyway, we all came and remain here of our own free will. It’s easy to fall into the trap of seeing everything that’s not right and how no one’s reaching out to us and letting us “fit in”. But let’s ask ourselves this: how much have we done? How much are we really trying? How much have we reached out? What are we contributing to Japanese society — what have we given? And if something is wrong, have we tried to go and tell someone? Have we asked a Japanese person? Or did we just run and whine about it to other gaijin at a gaijin party in a gaijin establishment using our gaijin language while eating gaijin food? [Cue poignant ending] I know what my answer to all those questions is. What’s yours?…[pregnant silence…]
BTW for anyone who has dry/”ashy” skin — have you ever tried using olive oil on your skin instead of store-bought lotion? Dewd…it’s the wiping bum with silk feeling all over again…mmm…Olive oil + skin = win.