Jumbo jet, micro aggression. And some other stuff

Sorry for the lack of appearance over the last week, but I was busy being micro-aggressed to Europe and back. It’s quite amazing that if you look for it even on international aeroplane travel (where they have many decades of handling people from all corners of the world) you can quite happily find many, many things to ascribe to "microaggression". For instance, even the simple act of greeting you at the final boarding gate, they base their おはよう/Good Morning/whatever it is in Dutch based on your passport, not their or the country’s language, and even the Dutch get microaggressed entering their home airline as the cabin crew seem to use only English or Japanese depending on face colour.

It seems Debito.org needs Tepido.org/Japologism.com as The Other to keep them from eating each other, as this totally overblown thread seems to suggest. I’m waiting for Hoofin’ to weigh in…

I’m wondering if our favourite journalist returned to Japan only on a temporary visa to just give him time to collect his stuff before bidding farewell for five years? You may remember when I mentioned Oishiislurper on Tepido.org; he appears to have received a temporary landing permit to tidy up his affairs, so I wonder if Christopher Johnson got the same?

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  1. @Steve:

    That doesn’t surprise me much at all. Psychiatrists in particular tend to go for the medication first (they tend to have less time on their hands to devote to patients *and* the psychiatry route of education puts a hard emphasis on medication as the answer to problems), though it’s a frequent problem with psychologists as well.

    Psychology/psychiatry has really lost its way, imo. Profit has been put ahead of the patient’s well-being to a far greater extent than any other field of medicine. Not saying that medication *isn’t* the answer in some cases (it is, with certain disorders), but all too often, it has become the answer for every case, and the only reason it’s so is because of money, money, money.

  2. Interesting chart from the Economist on which countries naturalise the most immigrants…


    Japan is around twice the South Korea level*, and interestingly on a par with NZ.

    *Second from bottom…

  3. For that Economist chart, they consider “naturalizations” to be “Which countries have naturalised the most immigrants” but I doubt this is the same thing for the Japanese case. The 2% “foreign-born” is definitely a mistake for Japan. 2 million+ non-Japanese in the country includes Zainichi Koreans who are not “foreign born”. I assume that “naturalizations” also includes Zainichi Koreans and if so, that is not “naturalizing immigrants”.

  4. @Steve:

    Yeah, if the advice to an unhappy gaijin is saying “You can tolerate this situation where you’re miserable, IF you take enough pills.” seems a sad option and doesn’t solve the problem. Might as well skip the headshrinker and use the money to buy your preferred form of self-medication. (Though don’t self-medicate before interacting with law enforcement or using Twitter.) :wink:

    Rather “Were you happier (doing ___ / back home)? Then, (do ____ / go home).” seems much better to me. It’s the root of the problem for some.

    Gaijin armchair activists seem to think different, almost as if they think the unhappy, depressed and even mentally ill should not only stay here, miserable, but have a duty to spend their time trying to Fight The Man and Change The System. Really?

    “The System will never change if people don’t Wake Up, and Get Involved!” implies that if you leave, if you don’t Fight The Man, if you don’t Join The Cause, then you are a quitter, a collaborator, another sheeple who let The Man walk all over you and betrayed future gaijin.

    Trying to guilt the vulnerable into joining up? Recruiting the unhappy and depressed? Seems a bit cult-ish. :???:

    Using guilt to recruit is just a twisted version of the “blame the victim” tactic that they falsely claim their critics are using. :headdesk:

  5. @Mr. Falcon: Thanks for that — the emphasis placed on medicine explains a bit of his game plan, but not his arrogance.

    (what follows is paraphrased and condensed)

    His manner was … off-putting, to state it mildly. His response to a “hey, I’m having problems with some aspects of my life, I’d like some guidance” statement was “either suck it up and take it, or go home, you’ll just become unhappier over time”.

    I told him that I’d put down roots here and that wasn’t going to happen. At that point he stated authoritatively that medication was the only way to fix this problem.

    A bit further on, I told him that I was going to naturalize. He ridiculed me, saying that he was so very much more assimilated than I was … but he would NEVER consider taking Japanese citizenship, and that I was deluded if I thought that I would be able to make a go of it.

    That was it, as far as I was concerned.

    He has clients sign a waiver saying that he’s not liable for anything that happens — that his advice is only a recommendation, that he’s not licensed as a counselor by any Japanese authority, and any medication recommended would have to be procured through an outside entity.

    I’ve been to extra-system medical facilities here before (TSMC, the British Clinic, etc) and therefore know that unlicensed clinics usually have an arrangement with a nearby Japanese clinic or pharmacy to handle medication. Berger’s deal is (or was at the time) with an elderly American GP in Chiyoda-ku who was apparently not authorized by any Japanese authority to dispense medicine.

    With this setup, he’s probably not motivated by profit from prescriptions. He enjoys touting his Japanese professional credentials, but he is not authorized to actually practice. The situation smelled weird at the time; as I reflect upon it, it seems even more dodgy.

    In conclusion: I’ve had a bad experience with this guy, and that experience causes me to immediately question anything that he says on this subject.

  6. @Level3: That’s what I ended up doing. Went out drinking more with friends (*not* co-workers), left the firm, found an employer that doesn’t reward sociopathy, and all is well :cool:

  7. Here’s a joke for ya, English teacher walks into a bar. And stays there for 20 years. 

    Seriously though folks, it must be tragic to look down at the chalk dust on your hands and realize that’s the most hands-on you’re ever going to get with life, to never know the throbbing pleasure of riding a gassed up forklift, to never have the thrill of buffing metal to a fine sheen and to never pick fine steel dust powder out of your ears after a long satisfying day. 

    This guy Berger is a prime twat but all the usual suspects rushed to defend him because Voldemort proclaimed his dislike on his big bad blog. 

    The amount of posters on this blog who went to painful lengths to proclimate how far up their own adulthood they really were, all act like silly little children when Debby Darko throws them little scraps from the race-hater’s table. 

    I asked my wife (pure bred Japanese, I had her checked) what she thought of all this seesaw bickering between Caucasians with glasses and turtlenecks and she said the Internet had sucked them into a black hole of tit-for-tat soul-destroying banter and to get out in the sun more. 

    It’s true. It’s pretty good BBQ weather right now. 

  8. @iLikedolphins:

    “Seriously though folks, it must be tragic to look down at the chalk dust on your hands and realize that’s the most hands-on you’re ever going to get with life…”

    Wrong target audience, dude. Did you mean to post that at debito? :wink:

    Besides, the more I read, the more similar this Berger seems to the Japan-hate bloggers. He could change his tone a bit and appeal to them, cause there’s a big market of sad people (perhaps several dozen!) waiting to be tapped that would love to be told “it’s not your fault” and/or get hooked up with meds.

    But they don’t have money and most of them don’t even live in Japan anymore. Forget it. :razz:

  9. @Level3:

    It is kind of interesting to have our own resident George Wendt via Gung Ho, though.

  10. @Steve:

    Bloody hell. That story is depressing in itself. Have you ever read anything by Richard Bentall? Doctoring the Mind is quite disturbing about how far psychiatry has gone down an unsympathetic almost entirely medical model, and how little evidence there is to support a lot of a heavy pharmacological approach. It’s hard to believe that the situation can be quite so bad, but then I keep hearing stories like yours.

    It’s a pity. The article sounded quite reasonable about things you can do to alter your situation and your cognitive approaches. It didn’t sound out of line with other acculturative stress articles I’ve read, and his website emphasises talking therapy. But plainly he’s not walking the walk. I note that he lends his name to The Douglas M. Berger Psychopharmacology Research Fellowship in Japan which perhaps indicates his preferences.

    A bit further on, I told him that I was going to naturalize. He ridiculed me, saying that he was so very much more assimilated than I was … but he would NEVER consider taking Japanese citizenship, and that I was deluded if I thought that I would be able to make a go of it.

    This is absolutely bang out of order. After reading your story I went to see if what was there on the web about him. I found this quote from him:

    All foreigners are somewhere on the spectrum of the “guest” at one end and the “door-to-door salesman” at the other end.

    He’s simply not qualified to make statements like this. If he’s reading from his own experiences like that, he’s clearly arrogant. I have noticed this pattern – people convinced they have done everything to assimilate yet feel pushed out who simply refuse to admit that their experience might only be a personal one. Perhaps Berger’s expectations need modulating. :roll:

  11. The Chrysanthemum Sniffer

    The more I read, the more it is clear that iLD is James Grey.

  12. Ken, any reason my last comment is in moderation? It’s the second time I’ve set the alarm off in recent days.

  13. iLikedolphins

    You guys seem unable to believe that more than the same 3 people exist in the world, even on the internets. It’s all talk and no do when it comes to social activities for you fellas innit? Can’t talk, Tha Blue Herb is about to come on stage. You know ‘real life’ and all that.

  14. @iLikedolphins:

    Well, some of us can’t sleep in on Fridays. Enjoy it! :smile:

  15. iLikedolphins

    Thanks! Up at 5:30am tomorrow though and straight back on the grinder. Nothing like a factory full of loud clanging noises after a bender….

  16. The Chrysanthemum Sniffer

    You work in a factory?! Wow, why didn’t you say so before? You are so my hero now.

  17. uh-huh

  18. @VK: Thanks for the book recommendation. I hadn’t heard of it, but it’s now on my Kindle.

  19. Back on microaggressions, over in Vietnam I noticed that my Japanese colleagues who have lived there for a year or two, when they try to string a sentence more complicated than a food order together get blank looks and rabbit-in-the-headlight stares that many of us might have encountered with our Japanese in Japan. At least my coworkers were humble enough to admit that it was because their pronunciation was crap!

    A “real” microaggression, on the other hand, was on Vietnam Airlines, where the Japanese CA did the 日本語 pre-landing spiel and said (I think, I wasn’t really paying too much attention) that since two years ago no visa was required, without the qualification “for Japanese passport holders”. :???:


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