Losing my racism, completing my transaction

This month, Dr Arudou decides to spin out a blog entry into an article for the Japan Times, on how “racism” at a Canadian bank and at Jamaican borders prove once again that Japan is horrible.

First, at the bank an “Asian gentleman” (I’ve learnt from the comments on his blog that it’s only racist if you categorise someone’s race behind their back, not while they are within earshot) denied the doctor’s inalienable human right to be both Japanese and white, although you’ll note that the Asian gent was denied his right to be Canadian and Asian.

Now, what exactly happened at the bank? According to debito.org and the second eyewitness, there is agreement up until we lose the racism and complete the transaction. However, he then says “Afterwards, I asked the teller”, but if we assume “afterwards” to be after heading to the car then returning to complain (as told by the third party), the teller had already been sent home! If it was after losing the racism and completing the transaction, according to the original telling the manager intervened leaving no opportunity for this exchange. This may seem like trivial quibbling, but as others have pointed out, and even as Dr Arudou himself has documented regarding his returning of his US passport, his reliability as a true record of events is questionable, and not of the degree of rigour that one would expect from an “independent scholar”.

Next, he touches on the Facebook flare-up, but glosses over, indeed backpedals on, the fact that he capitulated by admitting that “I overreacted, and in an unproductive way”.

There is then a ridiculous section of self-aggrandising, talking about how not having had more than a parking ticket then completing a tiresome paper chase to obtain Japanese citizenship is some sort of feat worthy of respect.

We then think of the children:

OK, how will you react the 100th time (or the fifth time in a day) that you hear, “Oh, what cute gaijin kids!”

I’ve told you a million times, don’t exaggerate! And wouldn’t his sprogs have been called “haafu”s? I’m not going give myself nightmares by revisiting his archives to find out exactly how he classified them.

We’re fully formed adults — we can take these sucker punches

But wasn’t this article all about how he didn’t take the “You don’t look Japanese” sucker punch? Indeed he agrees:

But if they articulate thoughts inaccurate, unkind or alienating about us or the people we care for, we should reserve the right to push back accordingly

I’d be confused, but I’m already sucker punch-drunk from reading this guff.

Another thing, with him being out of the country he seems totally unaware of the coverage of two new star haafu sportsmen, the next Usain Bolt, Ghanaian-fathered Sani Brown Abdul Hakim (Ghana Web credits his ability to his Japanese mother), and one of the two Koushien Kaibutsu, some kid with a Nigerian (I think) father. I’m sure he’ll find a way to spin it all negatively (kaibutsu – scary black monster!), just like he has warned Ariana Miyamoto, Miss Universe Japan (respect to her PR team!) that she surely faces “frustration” when she fails to change Japan.

On a side note, Eido’s comment on his lack of negative experiences was deleted from the Japan Times, as was, apparently, a naturalised Japanese commenting on Arudou’s Facebook page that he travels very regularly without any similar bother from immigration.

Finally, as a bonus, here is some Vogon poetry.

Leave a comment ?

67 Comments.

  1. Whenever I see long swathes of Japanese in romaji my internal monologue can’t help but deliver it in a comedy gaijin voice (the same one Debito used when he went on that telly show that time).

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  2. There is a silver lining to this: the comments were shut down after 48 hours. That essentially shuts off pageview and visit traffic to the WordPress page.

    Why is that important? Digital newspapers use comment sections to double or triple the amount of pageviews/visits a page gets to make it look more appealing to advertisers (it means you’re also seeing new ads).

    If you turn off the comments, then visitors lose their motivation to make repeat visits to the page.

    Because the comments were shut down so early, the article didn’t generate enough traffic to get in the Japan Times’ “What’s Trending” widget at the right of the page.

    The “What’s Trending” widget is important for page traffic because it creates a viral loopback effect: the widget is essentially an “ad” for an article present on any JT page that anybody reads (normally you’d have to find the article by drilling down through the menus or via Google News etc). When people click on the What’s Trending Now widget, it creates even more traffic, which keeps the article inside the What’s Trending Now widget.

    And finally, because every JBC article contains an ad for his blog at the bottom, the less article of JBC means the less referral clickthrus to his blog.

    Finally, the beancounters at Nifco will, at the end of the quarter, see nothing but the analytics data. JBC’s performance dropping? They’ll see the graph showing dropping traffic and think: “Maybe we shouldn’t renew that contract next year. Hey, does this guy even live in Japan? Why are we sending checks to America for someone in the ‘[Japan] Community’ section? Whose Community does he belong to?”

    This wasn’t an intentional outcome, but it’s a pleasant side effect.

    A request to all: in order to keep from generating pageviews or ad impressions for Arudou’s articles, please read (and write) comments using Disqus’ hosted content:

    https://disqus.com/home/forum/japantimes/

    The above link allows you to see all the comments for all Japan Times stuff without giving them any statistical currency. As a bonus using Disqus won’t count against the ten article per month limit.

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  3. Debito has once again allowed the Joys of Victimization (you know, when being a cantankerous and confrontational asshole can be morally justified because you’re a VICTIM, dammit!)to cloud his common sense.

    The elephant in the room is the undeniable fact that when foreigners in Japan see Caucasians, black people, name-your-visible-minority, here in Japan, we all (yes, even you, Steve Jackboots and blondeintokyo) begin with the assumption that the person is not Japanese, that they come from elsewhere. Why? Because we all understand that it is a rational assumption based upon the law of averages, since 99.9% of the time it is true.

    And when we see people who look and behave like Japanese on the trains we assume they are Japanese, even though there would probably be some ethnic Chinese and Koreans among them. Yes, Steve Jackboots et al, you do it too! Because the odds…

    If you are traveling in Somalia and you meet a blonde haired, blue eyed guy/gal speaking with a Nordic accent you will almost certainly assume he/she is not a Somalian citizen but that he/she is a visitor or perhaps a resident originally from elsewhere.

    Now here’s the hippopotamus in the room: If Blonde-in-Somalia reveals that she actually is one of the incredibly tiny percentage of white folks with Somalian nationality, you will — and this might come as a Copernican revolution to Debito and his ilk — …be surprised! Why? Because, statistically speaking, you should be!

    Would you be outraged? No. But neither was the Canadian/Korean bank teller. Would you deny the possibility? No. But neither did the bank teller.
    He made a rational assumption based on common sense and expressed his surprise — not denial, not outrage — at the result. Like we all do.

    It’s not about ‘Japan’. It’s not about ‘claiming identities’. It’s about reacting normally when something is, by any statistical measure, surprising.

    Of course for Debito it’s really about justifying his bullying and hypocrisy because, after all, he was a victim. Like Rosa.

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  4. While I have the podium, one more thing…

    Those of you who have ha-fu kids… except for those living in Gaijin-y enclaves, hands up if, when you go to the park with your family and you see some other ha-fu kids or family, you become more aware of them, you pay more attention, maybe you are even more likely to strike up a conversation involving where the foreign element ‘comes from’ and their experiences in Japan. You might even say at first, “Look, some ha-fu kids” to your (Japanese) spouse.

    Yeah, I see a lot of hands up. Me too. Because, it’s not something you see everyday, right?

    So, now a question to you Debito dweebs sitting in the back. Why does this behaviour suddenly become racially charged when ‘the Japanese’ do the exact same thing?

    And now a bonus question. Those ha-fu kids are fully Japanese, right? Right. I see you nodding emphatically. And I agree. So, when you rail negatively about how ‘the Japanese think this’ and ‘the Japanese do that’ are you including these fully Japanese people in your assessment of what the Japanese supposedly think and do? Yeah, I thought not.

    Maybe they are not quite Japanese enough for you. Not ‘real’ Japanese perhaps? Take a long recess now and ponder what path that takes you down. You are dismissed.

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  5. @The Apologist: Hey, forget about what these people think of their Japanese children – what about what they think about their wives.

    When I see these idiots going off about “the Japanese this” or “the Japanese that” I always think: “does your wife know how you look down on her and her kind?”

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  6. The good Doctor, on his critics:

    Obviously they take no notice of what I say.

    They are commenting on, and refuting, what he says, would that not be “taking notice of” what he says? Does this guy even know how to speak/write English?

    So I’m not going to care what they say. They could just ignore me. But the fact they can’t, every time, is indicative of how insecure they are about their position.

    And the doctor could just ignore curious bank clerks or geriatric geezers saying dumb things. But the fact that he can’t, every time, is indicative of how insecure he is about his position.

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  7. Ken on another phone

    A small gem from Facebook:

    https://facebook.com/thejapantimes/posts/10152983790558344

    I saw his post on July 4th and commented it was a natural question. I also pointed out his actions hardly reflected the best of Japan. He unfriended me.

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  8. The Doctor’s comment before unfriending the person who questioned whether he represented the best of Japan.

    When you get Japanese citizenship yourself, Charles, we’ll talk more realistically about how you will police others into following your notions of “Japanese spirit” and “best Japanese representation”.

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  9. Must make it a lot easier to get those higher degrees, when you can just delete the results that don’t agree with your hypothesis.

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  10. I don’t have a problem with someone writing about Japan while not living in the country – after all Donald Keene did so successfully for most of his life, and has only moved here again at an advanced age.

    Still, that doesn’t excuse our hero’s evident ignorance about what has been happening on the ground in Japan.

    Take anyone – and I probably mean literally anyone – who lived in Japan ten years ago, plop them down in Tokyo or Osaka today, and I guarantee they would be amazed by the number of foreigners they’d see.

    It’s not even the Westerners who stand out most, it’s the groups of Chinese and South East Asians.

    Anyone writing about current trends in Japan ought to demonstrate they know what those current trends are.

    No-one would be foolish enough to make any claims about Damascene moments for the entire Japanese population but it does make a heck of a difference.

    I raise this point because Mr Micro-Aggressed wrote his original post to show how Canada excelled in treating his pain compared with Japan.

    I have a strong suspicion that a white guy kicking up a fuss about a comment from a bank clerk would get full attention in Japan these days.

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  11. @Justin Thyme: Debito Arudou could not recognize current trends even if he lived here. He never could. I recall him complaining about how “Japan would never change” and someone pointing out, with actual examples and references, ways in which Japan was in fact changing and becoming more accomodating, and Debito’s response was a dismissive “Yeah, right. Life in Japan just keeps getting better and better, right?”

    Of course, when you are a paranoiac who thinks the university that employs you has installed card locks on the doors to track your movements, or has installed security cameras to watch you, as Arudou Debito famously claimed about Hokkaido Information University (just trying to help the web search crawlers out here…), well then I guess life never will get better for you.

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  12. A few comments:

    @Orudo
    I don’t know how many Debito drones have a Japanese spouse, but it is clear that there is a pervasive air of hush-hush tip-toeing ‘present company excepted’ regarding the fact that DA is one of ‘those Japanese’. But not really. I mean, he’s Japanese when it suits their propaganda purposes but not when they are denigrating ‘the Japanese’ hive. Then he’s, well, different.

    @Ken
    I’m not too interested in the who’s-really-who demographics of Planet Debito, but, imo, stylistically sweetandlovable is definitely not SJ. Nor is SJ the same person as Jim DiGriz. He is however, stylistically, rhetorically, and idiolectically most certainly Fight Back. A few who post here are also readily identifiable on Disqus but, again, it doesn’t really matter.

    @Havill
    I agree not to give the JT (and Debito in particular) clicks. But how about hitting his venom and the false representation of those of us who live in Japan where it hurts most?

    When he mentions that he was asked by some newspaper, commission, journal, public service radio etc. for an outline or interview, or to speak at a conference, people should send a well-written, calm, reasoned, comprehensive response to the organizers regarding why we feel that Arudou Debito (Dr.) should not be given a public podium under the guise of human rights activist or foreigners-in-Japan spokesperson, and include a few of his more egregious self-penned examples of racial myopia and bigotry for good effect.

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  13. @The Apologist:

    I really don’t think he’s offensive enough to merit that kind of action. That’s the sort of thing you would do with Holocaust deniers and people giving lessons in how to get away with rape.

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  14. @VK: Yes, it would only serve as more “proof” that the “haters” are out to silence him. :roll:

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  15. Ken on another phone

    @Sixth Sense: Just for the record, I agree too.

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  16. Debito is done. I, for one, have set my sights higher:
    The Japan Times.

    Take out the Japan Times, and Debito’s last bit of credibility is gone. It also ensures that nothing takes Debito’s place. All Debito is left with is a 1990s themed crufty blog and self-published books.

    The Japan Times is vulnerable. Very vulnerable. It’s printed circulation used to be near 50,000 to 60,000 just a few years ago. It is now down to close to 20,000.

    That’s not just bad. That’s pathetic.

    Additionally, its rank within Google News’ white-list has dropped so its stories don’t get featured as much. That means less referral traffic, which translates to no digital future.

    Finally, the New York Times is regretting hooking up with its prom date of desperation. It was a marriage of convenience: NYT wanted a print press and distribution network in Japan for cheap. And JT wanted the NYT brand name associated with it.

    The NYT wishes it got the deal The Japan News (Yomiuri) got. Yomiuri changed its name, not for the reasons Debito claimed in his article last month, but rather because overseas readers can’t remember/pronounce the word “Yomiuri” and phrase “The Japan News” performs better in internet search: the obviously consulted a SEO and branding expert when they did the name change. That makes, from a search engine perspective, The Japan News competitive with the Japan Times (which benefits, branding wise and SEO wise, from a name that sounds like a marquee paper like The New York Times). Now, when people search for japan news on the web, they’re just as likely to get the Japan News as the Japan Times. Smart move.

    Also, the Japan News paired up with The Washington Post (which, unlike the NYT, now has a sugar daddy: Amazon). The NYT wishes it got the deal Yomiuri got.

    The NYT is worried about its image being sullied by the Japan Times’ journalism quality, which is why the Japan Times volunteered to do periodic self-reviews of its content, which it publishes. It didn’t mention in its last article about its self-assessment about ANYTHING in the Community Section, good or bad: it was censored.

    Here’s how you can help:

    Never directly attack Debito. However, every time he or somebody else makes a factually provable mistake in an article, which he does often, be sure to point that out. For example, when he comments about events or crimes in Japan and mistranslates something or misreports news events, be sure to point out the error. Of all the writers for Japan Times, Debito’s articles are the easiest to find factual errors. That’s because Debito is driven by ideology rather than accuracy and his editor is too cowardly, weak, stupid, or lazy to correct him. That’s what I’ve been trying to do.

    The Editorial Board is watching. And so is the New York Times. Ben Stubbings doesn’t realize it, but he’s contributing to JT’s downfall long term (and the loss of his own job) by not doing his job and actually editing Debito for accuracy when he ventures from pure opinion to stating current events or facts.

    If the New York Times pulls its co-released paper because of either falling circulation or perceived damage to its brand name, the JT is in big trouble. The Japan News has something that JT doesn’t: a tie-in with a name brand paper that tourists, the primary consumer of the Japan Times (paper under the hotel door, anyone), really want.

    Finally, Japan Times has one final weakness: it needs to fly under the radar of Nifco’s shareholders. Nifco breaks out its quarterly reports into three sections: the huge and profitable plastic parts parts, the big bed and furniture biz, and the small money losing section it calls “others”.

    The newspaper biz is tucked/hidden into “others”, consolidated with M&A, which is a loss leader, without breaking out the numbers so its investors can’t directly see how much money Japan Times loses per quarter.

    Now, if someone were to buy enough shares to attend the annual shareholders meeting and ask a question regarding exactly how much money JT makes or doesn’t make, and if it isn’t making money and newspapers are a hopeless biz in the 21st century and what is a profitable plastic parts company doing with a losing biz like JT that’s not part of its core competency… JT would be in big, big trouble. Nifco’s shareholders would be aware and the board would have to do something to show they’re not wasting their money. Nifco’s CEO could no longer keep JT as a vanity project without answering to shareholders which weren’t paying attention.

    My guess is Nifo would sell the paper to a tourist / travel company or a big English chain, and they’d keep the brand name but convert the paper into a pure commercial ad for tourism or English education, removing all journalism and commentary.

    Anyway, just a thought.

    Dust off your resumes, JT editors reading this. That paper isn’t going to be around (at least in its current form) long enough for you to retire there. And don’t blame us when it happens. JT was already rolling down the hill towards the cliff. I’m just suggesting we give it a little extra push to speed up the process.

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  17. I want the Japan Times to change, not go away. Pluralism in the media is a good thing. The problem is the monotonous bunch of pretentious ageing “Japan Hands” that infest its comment, opinion and community pages, the Peseks, Kingstons, and anyone associated with the truly execrable JapanFocus.

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  18. @All
    What you say makes sense.

    I don’t want to make AD a martyr or legitimize his fans’ paranoia, although I certainly do feel uncomfortable when some otherwise well-meaning organization or media source give him the ‘foreigner in Japan’ podium under the misguided belief that he is a scholar/activist who is serving the interests of non-Japanese in Japan.

    But yeah, letting him shoot himself in his own foot seems to have worked thus far.

    @Havill
    Interesting dope there. Thanks.

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  19. @VK:

    Something will appear to replace it. It may be a combination of more than one news source. It may be The Japan News enlarging. Who knows? One thing I do know: In the 21st century, it probably won’t be a English newspaper in Japan.

    I’m a fan of newspapers myself, but I also understand the realities of today’s market. I don’t know what it will replace the JT, but if there’s an information void, someone will fill it. It just won’t be a traditional newspaper.

    Even if nobody do anything, it’s still running on borrowed time. So there’s no reason to feel guilty for accelerating the process and putting it out of its misery.

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  20. Tokyo salamander

    @havill

    Sure, pointing out debito’s inaccuracies and mistakes and discussing ad infinitum/nauseam with Steve Jackman, Blondein tokyo and the rest of the clowns there while you and all the others give JT the kiss of life a.k.a web traffic which is exactly what they desperately need right now will speed up the process of JT’s end… <_<

    If you really want to see both debito & JT fade away do this simple thing. wait, just wait, by the end of this decade no one will remember or even care about debito, JT or any of these irrelevant 20th century relics.

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  21. @The Apologist: BTW, I pointed out the SJ/sweetandloveable because of the meat-puppet-like similarity, rather than anything to do with writing style. However, I agree that working out who is exactly who is not really useful, just knowing that he seems to be using meat-puppets on Disqus is enough. :facepalm:

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  22. @Tokyo salamander:

    As I mentioned in an earlier post: if you read and write comments through the Disqus system, it gives JT neither pageviews nor ad impression revenue.

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  23. Tokyo salamander

    I stand corrected, you’re right, i guess i missed this part of your post.

    havill said:

    “A request to all: in order to keep from generating pageviews or ad impressions for Arudou’s articles, please read (and write) comments using Disqus’ hosted content:

    https://disqus.com/home/forum/japantimes/

    The above link allows you to see all the comments for all Japan Times stuff without giving them any statistical currency. As a bonus using Disqus won’t count against the ten article per month limit.”

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  24. This bit set me thinking:

    OK, how will you react the 100th time (or the fifth time in a day) that you hear, “Oh, what cute gaijin kids!”

    Yes, it’s exaggeration, as Ken points out, and no, I’ve never heard 外人の子供カワイイ, but if ever anything, ハーフ, but there’s something weirder going on. Of course, one can worry about the excessive value placed on beauty over the content of someone’s character, and I can imagine that some people without children might imagine to themselves that something like this might get grating after a while, but…well… How do I actually react? I smile, inside and out. What kind of parent doesn’t smile at people saying your kids are cute? Do I get tired of it? No. I don’t think I ever will.

    So what happened in the Arudou household? “Don’t ever let anyone Japanese ever tell you you’re beautiful. They’re just being racist!”

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  25. So I know this guy, he’s a gaijin but he married a local girl and they had a sprog. Cute kid, half but not that Asian looking and to top it all off she’s a ginger.

    He takes her down the park and some dessicated bint gets all excited raving about how cute the “Gaijin-chan” is. Of course he takes it all horribly and moves his family to Australia, as recommended by the fucktards on Fucktards.org

    Within a week the tires on his wife’s car have been slashed and someone has spray painted “Gooks go home” on the windscreen. But at least no one is calling his ginger beast cute the wrong way.

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  26. @ilikedolphins: shitthatdidnthappen.txt

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  27. Apparently this situation like the one Ilikedolphins mentioned it’s not that uncommon in Japan, you can read a similar story here:

    “Gaijin da!”
    http://blue_moon.typepad.com/blue_lotus/2012/02/gaijin.html

    Now, i fully understand that this might be very upsetting for some parents, moving to another country just for that however reaches new levels of paranoia.

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  28. @ravekido: Wait, 7 year old calls a toddler “gaijin”, mom gets upset, flees in tears, writes 1000 word blog post about terribly racist children?

    I guess I don’t get it.

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  29. @ravekido:

    Gosh. There’s someone with issues.

    Title of blog: “A Fish out of Water: A Canadian in Japan”. OK, so right off the bat your blog is an exercise in alienating self-talk. Basically, if someone’s email address or blog says “LookatmeIminJapanImspecial” even after years here (and she’s been here for “a decade and a half”), you know they have issues. She updated her blog in 2015. It’s called “Still A Fish Out of Water”.

    Then there’s this:

    I thought I had more time to figure this all out. My son is barely one year and five months old, and at this age he and his peers are a long way from noticing that some people look different. Surely I have a year or two to decide what labels I’ll use, and allow others to use, and how to react when people use the wrong ones.

    :facepalm: Look, you have ONE label to decide for your child. It’s called their NAME. Everyone wants their little mini-me to be special and unique, but how about waiting until you find out that they love Tinkerbell or trains or playing dancing games or whatever that you find out what makes them different? Why obsess about their ethnicity? Isn’t that a really feeble way of being different? Doesn’t that just encourage everyone else to keep pointing out the difference?

    And there’s this exercise in Why Can’t These People Read My Mind?

    A group of the kids was sitting on and around the slide while two moms watched, which instantly pissed me off because the slide is S—-‘s favourite piece of equipment and they were hogging it without even using it. I hate playground equipment hoggers! The moms also failed to greet me, which would have been easily rectified with a cheerful “Konnichiwa!” from me, but seeing as they were slide hoggers I didn’t bother.

    First of all, enough with the passive-aggression. Say hello. Secondly, and a pro-tip here: did it occur to you to let your little precious try to climb the slide, and, if need be, politely ask if the kids would get out of the way?

    Then the crime:

    That’s when one of the boys, maybe seven years old, pointed at us and said “Gaijin da!” (A foreigner!) and when the other kids failed to show interest (credit to them) he tapped his buddy and repeated “Ne ne, gaijin iru yo!” (Hey, there’s a foreigner!).

    So we’re dealing with one kid. One kid. One seven year old kid. One rude pointy seven year old kid who sees a blonde foreigner with a blond child who cannot yet speak.

    I didn’t react right away because I was kind of trying to figure out if he meant me or S—-, or how he meant it. Because you know how sometimes kids just point out mundane stuff without meaning anything, like they’ll see a dog and go “look, it’s a dog!”, then point to the sky and say “look, an airplane!”? I’ve been called “gaijin” by kids that way plenty of times, and it’s not a big deal. That’s just how kids are. But the way he said it, and the look on his face, made it obvious he wasn’t just pointing out a curiosity. He meant it in a bad way.

    One preternaturally evil seven year old kid who should be perfectly aware of the complexities of race and ethnicity, goddammmit. The funny thing is, earlier in the piece she said this about the G-word:

    Friday wasn’t the first time, but the other times involved adults who didn’t really mean it in a bad way

    :headdesk:

    So she goes over to give a smiling lecture on how her son is not a gaijin but Japanese, ideating about how it will go…

    And maybe the kid would say, “Huh, I guess he IS Japanese” and accept it in the way that kids are able to quickly process mind-blowing new information. Or maybe he wouldn’t get it at all, but at least he would have seen that we are human beings with real feelings and stuff, and the other kids would see how nice we are and what an asshole the other kid is, and the moms would feel guilty for not saying anything and also be impressed with my quiet dignity and stellar Japanese skills and next time I saw them at the park they’d greet me and make their kids get off the slide and play with S—-.

    But disaster strikes:

    But that’s not what happened, because as soon as I opened my mouth one of the other kids poured a bucket of water down the slide, soaking the kids in its path and making a big mess, and they all started laughing and shouting and the moms started scolding and nobody heard me

    I mean, srsly, didn’t these people Read My Mind and know I was about to pour my heart out?

    Then there is this brilliant piece of cognitive dissonance. First:

    The moms’ scolding technique was the typical useless Japanese way that involves gently saying “Dame” (No) and “Yamete” (Stop it) a lot, so of course all of the kids ignored them, which made them fuss more, which made one of the boys yell “Baka!” (literally “idiot” but kind of an all-purpose slur that children definitely shouldn’t yell at adults) back at the moms

    But then this:

    I did notice the remaining moms going over to the slide to respond to the commotion, and got to see that the boy who’d called us “gaijin” had a vile woman for a mother, which somehow didn’t console me. He also called her “baka” and told her to shut up when she yelled at him (no ineffective Japanese style fussing for her), so she dragged him off the slide and slapped his head several times while continuing the yelling. It’s not actually all that rare to see parents hit their kids like that here, but it’s certainly not the norm and I couldn’t help thinking that if they were perfectly comfortable going through this routine in public, it must be at least as bad inside their home. (emphasis added)

    So the mother who doesn’t follow all this “useless” parenting practice but gives them a good old fashioned wallop is the one who produces the rude pointy child who says “Gaijin da” and gets ignored by his “buddies”? Perhaps the other mothers aren’t quite so confident about telling her to her face she’s a bad mother? Maybe that’s what’s going on?

    And this is the best bit: remember, she’s not even managed to say hello, or let them know she wanted to use the slide, or indeed engaged in any communication with them, and no one has let the child know that he’s saying something wrong:

    The little brat was still staring at us so I said “Mou, ‘gaijin da’ wo yamete yo!” (Stop calling us ‘gaijin’!), which is probably completely incorrect (both in grammar and politeness level) but I just had to say something. So of course all of the moms turn around and stare, and now I’m the crazy gaijin who runs around crying and yelling at kids.

    Yes, that’s exactly how you come across. It was one seven year old kid with a mother who obviously has discipline issues being yelled at again.

    Look, it’s more stressful being a foreign mother than a foreign father here (who woulda thunk it – women in “getting a tougher deal” shocker). Mothers have to do a lot more of the parent-socialising and occasionally arcane rule-following around kindergartens and elementary schools, and that can be a shock to people who arrived here as adults, which is most of us.

    But still, toughen up and stop obsessing about your son’s ethnicity (and by extension, your own) so much that a seven-year-old can set you off. Your child – who is gorgeous, by the way – will pick up on what looks to the outside world like nervousness, shame and embarrassment at your looks and where you’re from, no matter what is actually going on inside your head. You ask “How would the boy feel if I pointed at him and said “Look, an ugly boy!”. Or called his mom a bitch or laughed at his dad for being bald?” With the greatest respect to the ugly, bald and bitches, these are not the same thing. Being ha-fu is cool. Teach your kid to be happy with his difference as well as with his being part of the group. That’s what you have to work out, not any labels.

    Start by changing the name of your blog. Grow a pair of lungs.

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  30. @ravekido:

    (Sorry, the way I started out that it made it look like I was saying it was your blog. It isn’t, obviously)

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  31. “The moms failed to greet me”.

    They don’t know you. You don’t know them. Why the fuck would you greet each other?

    We had an Asian lady at our kindergarten like this. The mums tried talking to her a few times but she had seemingly convinced herself out of the pack without realizing it was all of her own doing.

    If you’re a paranoid insecure weirdo, people notice. They probably don’t want to be your friend. The Japanese are ruthless like that.

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  32. Parents acknowledge each other in playgrounds a lot. It’s not weird to say hello.

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  33. @VK:

    “and am utterly frustrated by the fact that I am unable to defend him. So all I can do is raise him right, and one day he will proud of who he is and able to deal with mean people all by himself.”

    Or, you could, you know, learn enough Japanese to defend him! :roll:

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  34. @Sixth Sense:

    Absolutely. But even better – how to introduce him, how to ask nicely if he can use the slide, how to stop fretting about the word ハーフ, it’s a word people understand without malice and it would painlessly explain the blond hair in a Japanese kid.

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  35. It’s awkward and decidedly foreign to say ‘konnichi wa’ to a group of moms who obviously know each other and are chatting and don’t know you, especially in a loud ‘genki’ gaijin voice.

    They may respond but they’ll still think you weird. I may give a nod to other parents or mutter a subdued greeting under certain social circumstances but that’s not what this Western cow-heifer breeder is doing.

    This is why you don’t go to ‘professional’ English Teachers for advice on life in Japan, they just don’t have a feel for the details but they still believe they know what that are doing. A dangerous combination indeed.

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  36. Yes. Make sure you carry a decibel meter to check the volume of your “social greeting” so that it isn’t too loud. Sage advice there from iLD, a man who colours in his children every morning with yellow felt-tip pen to make sure they fit in.

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  37. Me. Hundreds of play ground-with-child experiences in Japan. Check.

    Several ‘gaijin’ comments by other kids encountered. Check.

    Case: My oldest. Grew up without any stigma or care about his ha-fu looks. Gets along swimmingly with just about everyone. Check.

    Case: My ‘current’. Doesn’t care. Gets along well with everyone. Check.

    How did I manage this magnificent parenting feat without being defeated by ‘Team Japan’?

    Simple. I talk to the ‘gaijin’ curious kids in Japanese. And I talk to them normally. Yeah, I was born abroad but now I live in Japan. And my kids are from Japan. My kids then talk and, of course, they sound like any other Japanese kids out there. Five minutes later, the kid who was initially conscious of the ‘gaijin’ starts playing with them and soon forgets about the whole gaijin thing.

    Result? My kids develop no stigma and concern about the way they look or their heritage. They learn how to accept and manage it. The Japanese kid gets a little cognitive rewiring in the process. Seriously, it’s not that hard.

    BTW- Why is it in these ‘someone noticed I was foreign, and thought my kids were too, and it was so horrible’ anecdotes that the one mouthy kid suddenly becomes associated with ‘Japan’ and his friends and family are cast as the great Other:’they, them’? Just who is building the racial-psychological barriers here?

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  38. Definitely I have a lot more experience of Japanese social situations due to my job. Teaching English takes you out of the real world and into forced social situations. That’s why a lot of Gaijin on Japanese interactions come off as awkward.

    The idea that Japanese parents are running around screaming hello to every stranger in the park with kids is laughable. As always, social interactions are far more complex. VK’s heart probably skips a beat when he manages to spit out a greeting, feels great that he did an ‘aisatsu’, clicks his little heels together.

    Meanwhile the natives smile benignly but he’ll never be taken seriously.

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  39. Something tells me Dolphins is feeling particularly insecure today. Can someone please give him a pat on the back?

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  40. Note the Heifer-Breeder originally wrote the other mothers ‘failed to greet her’.

    Failed.

    Because in Japan Aisatsu is Very Important.

    She read it in a book. Hell, probably the same one VK read.

    And what’s with the foreigners in here always trying to turn every fucking thing into a ‘teachable moment’?

    Look, if a loudmouth kid runs up and calls you or your sprogbeast a ‘gaijin’, you have 2 options only, ignore it or tell it to fuck off. That’s it. You don’t have to bond with the little natives for your wee kiddies’ sake you well-meaning fuckhead.

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  41. http://thejapanwanko.sub.jp/?p=134

    Might be somewhere for Adrian if he’s job-hopping?

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  42. KT88 (disappointed, shakes head)

    iLD, seems to happen every summer… Is it the heat? The downtime? Excess grog? You’re reading like a post streaming service, re-release of your greatest hits on physical media.

    I know you’re more Japanese than Japanese, but it’s ok to use the aircon. No need to die like a war survivor in an aluminum shed house with aircon that you don’t use cos you don’t like it!

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  43. Yeah, I work really hard, even in the summer so taking my kids to the park is basically a walk in the park for me.

    You get the Doucunts posting stories of chastisement and regaling the locals over there and then you get the reverse opposite angelic do-gooders posting the most unbelievable shit about how they are gratuitously ‘assisting’ the natives on the path to Western Enlightenment and it all just comes back to Mr Ken’s giant cock-swinging battle with the Great Pony-tailed Troll under the bridge, leaving me wondering where the normal people are…

    Seriously , can’t you people with your years of ‘experience’ in Japan and fantastic kanji translation skills ever just once come up with a story in which you act like a regular, normal, native Japanese person would in a given situation?

    Because right now you’re all looking like different shades of twats in a given color.

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  44. Beneaththewheel

    Stopping my lurking to say I don’t get the hate you have for the Japan Times Eido.

    It’s not the Guardian or New York Times, but I like that the voice is there, even if the community section has quite a few horrible pieces.

    I mean this in a sincere as-friendly-as-can-be way, but do you have any ulterior motives?

    Similar question with your praise of the Japan News.

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  45. @KT88 (disappointed, shakes head): He’s just the cutest when he’s acting big and mean, isn’t he? I’d like to put him in the genkan for people to ooh and aah over when they visit. “Lookit his cheeks going all red! :oops:”

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  46. @Beneaththewheel:

    Re the Japan News… not saying I admire them so much (although I am biased towards WaPo… being my “home paper” — I was born in D.C.) as saying they have a better plan for relevancy. As much as one can have for a traditional newspaper in the 21st century.

    If you removed the ads, Sports, Community, and all the wire feeds (Kyodo, AP, AFP, etc) from the JT, the actual original news/journalism/opinion writing being done by the JT is less than the front and back of one broadsheet piece of newspaper. One piece of (large) paper!

    They really aren’t contributing much to keeping the world informed… there’s very little they do that can’t be easily replicated in a heart beat by another publication.

    In a tiny niche market like English reporting in Japan, the quality and coverage might improve from consolidation and pooling of resources and market. It certainly can’t get worse.

    I don’t categorically hate everything in the JT because of its name — Every once in a while, I myself come across something in the JT that really impresses me. For example, I thought the article by Shawn ODwyer (who is attacked by the right wing as being a Dolphin-hugging Japan hating left wing extremist) last week on Kimonos and American Culture Wars — was fantastic.

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  47. Adrian had one of his comments deleted by a JT moderator and he’s been on the warpath ever since.

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  48. KT88 (just watching, waiting)

    @Simon: I like his brand of mean but he has been known to tread water from time to time and the timing and timbre of his work is consistently meh during August.

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  49. @Ken:

    ilikedolphins wrote:

    Adrian had one of his comments deleted by a JT moderator and he’s been on the warpath ever since.

    Let this be a warning to you Ken. Don’t ever delete one of my comments. :mrgreen:

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  50. @havill:

    And speaking of journalism about Japan, I see that my favorite j-journalist, Martin Fackler, has listed himself as “ex-NYT” and “on sabattical” on his twitter profile.

    Probably got poached by the Japan Times. Or RocketNews24.

    With him out an Tabuchi on defacto hiatus, I wonder who will take up the j-coverage for iNYT?

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