This month’s Just Be Cause

I think I’ll sit this one out here, and instead watch the fireworks that no doubt will appear in the Japan Times’ comments. I will make one comment there (if no-one beats me to it!) to correct facts, then watch and decide how or if to follow on.

I’m also feeling a bit aggrieved that I can no longer predict the URL to get a sneak preview. :razz:

UPDATE: It is here.

Leave a comment ?


  1. @comment666:

    Speaking of ex-pat and immigrant (and posts that didn’t get posted and disappeared into a void, moderation?) experience… didn’t I write about that over here?

  2. “Erm, anyway…I’ve rambled on for a fair while here and I’m pretty sure you’ve got the superior intellectual guns in this conversation….”

    Wow, that’s not ball-slurpingly creepy at all is it?

    What’s unintentionally hilarious here of course is the spectacle of two English teachers discussing how worthy they are as ‘immigrants’ compared to the dirty, rowdy “ex-pats”. And doing it on an English language forum!

    What are they called again? “Gatekeeper Gaijin” or something like that I think.
    Gaijins with delusions of grandeur laying down the rules of acceptable behavior Master and Apprentice style.

    Given that they don’t even have real world jobs, I can gladly say these types only exist in the tiniest of bubbles!

  3. To me it’s not about what is acceptable, but what leads to a good healthy life.

    For me, using English to converse is definitely a part of that. Learning the language of the country is equally important though.

    Isn’t this what you yourself advocate? Is the problem that English teachers aren’t allowed to hold such opinions?

  4. @6810: Ohh.. I thought you were going to bring up the fact the Ken has deleted a couple of posts.

  5. @Greg:

    Yes, I am particularly sore about a legendary screed written by everyone’s favourite world supply testosterone generating, meta-level unreconstructed homoerotic working class everyman hero, iLD, a little while back.

  6. @6810: … that was apparently deleted…

  7. Yes, apparently Mr Ken got a little too fidgety with the delete key on his home microcomputer. And also I used a bad word.

  8. “What are they called again? “Gatekeeper Gaijin” or something like that I think.
    Gaijins with delusions of grandeur laying down the rules of acceptable behavior Master and Apprentice style.”

    And who gatekeeps the gatekeeper gaijin???

    Where would we be without you, iLikedolphins? (Probably up to our eyeballs in English textbooks, I guess.)

  9. @6810: It was a little wordy and fairly pretentious but the sites mission statement was not to do what that other guy does on a regular basis.


    These guys kinda freak me out. I used to joke how this type of person holds the key to the bamboo curtain and the only way through that curtain was for them to give me a quick exam and make sure my intentions were honorable enough for me to stay in Japan. The “Gatekeepers” is a perfect description.
    It’s a form of provincialism I’ve never experienced before. They reject and loath everything about your own country, adopt all things Japanese to the point where they are spooky fanatics. Many of them have only been in their home country and Japan or Korea back when you had to exit the country to get a visa – and that’s it! Who doesn’t go to Thailand? You can fly there from Tokyo for 35.000 yen. I’m happy they’ve found their place in life but they need to get a grip on reality, they’re not the gatekeepers.

  10. @6810: I wasn’t calling your post wordy and pretentious but the missing ILD post.
    ILD: Dude, nothing personal, it was a little wordy and pretentious. Your a working stiff, you don’t need to write like a pompous gas bag. Write from the heart.

  11. I type from the finger. Whither herefort the genius doth come I quiver ken a know. (Scottish proverb).

  12. Chrysanthemum Sniffer

    iLD, you say you have a real job. Do you work in a factory, perchance? How fascinating. DO tell us more!

    Meanwhile, what the is in the water on Debito’s site, lately? The comments discussing this JT piece (therefore relevant to this post, Ken. There I go, obeying the rules…) have identified the biggest gaijin Japan apologist out there, and it is none other than…


    Meanwhile, Debito, supposedly an academic who has attained the rank of “full professor,” of “intercultural communication or something” is telling people off for mentioning academic works on public discourse on his site. Crazy.

  13. Actually there are a lot of ‘real’ jobs out there that don’t involve heavy duty factory work but it’s just fun to imagine these English teacher “Gatekeeper Gaijin” types patting each other on the back because they’ve upgraded to the Kana version of ‘Japanese for Busy People 2’ and now they’re ‘real immigrants’, not like all the thousands of “ex-pat” English teachers out there exactly like them!

    Maybe it’s the all consuming need to differentiate themselves that drives the Gatekeeper phenomenon. That’s beyond my pay grade but I can still get off imagining how much their eyes light up when they run into a potential new Padawan at the Geon school they’ve been slowly growing old at for the last 17 years…

  14. @iLikedolphins: English teachers are “Gatekeeper Gaijin”? On the contrary, Cruzin threw life is more like it. Or they have painted themselves into a corner with a wife and kids.
    6810 will disagree but the ‘Gatekeepers’ I’ve met aren’t just participating in Japanese society but are fanatics about it. Like I said, it’s a bizarre extreme form of expat provincialism I’ve only seen in Japan. They have a limited world view, it’s Japan and evil America. Have you ever met a more well traveled people than the Japanese? I know a Janitor who travel’s overseas every year, last year it was Switzerland because the currency was favorable to the yen. Switzerland doesn’t use the euro. Smart huh? I never thought of that. I should of went to Switzerland. Anyways, I would never denigrate the man because he’s a janitor, there’s nothing wrong with being a Janitor, it’s a real and honest days work. My point is, you just don’t see the working class where I come from all that well traveled and in Japan, I do. One would think this would influence these ‘Gatekeeper Gaijin’ to spread their wings a bit. They must be a little embarrassed when they are around their friends and they are just boring. Japan isn’t all that interesting to the Japanese I imagine.

  15. “The Japan Times : all the news without fear or favor.”
    does that motto appear in the web version?

  16. @Chrysanthemum Sniffer: I now understand even less…

    @iLikedolphins: I told you not to tell anyone that I said you were a genius at fingering my quiver! :facepalm:

  17. Back at JBC, I tried to make sense of the conclusion:

    So I end this month’s column with a caution to outside observers:


    Abe can (and will, if left to his own devices) undo all the liberal reforms that postwar social engineers thought would forever overwrite the imperialist elements of Japanese society


    if you allow your opponent to accomplish his plans, you will lose. If Abe is not kept in check, Asia will lose

    So, Abe is the opponent of outside observers, and his plans are to undo all the liberal reforms and return us to the warmongering imperial Japan. However, the outside observers have to keep him in check by…doing what exactly? Skipping over observers being passive by definition and “a note of caution for” being a bit more what he means than “a caution to”, we are left with…quite frankly, I haven’t a clue. My only wild guess would be popular movements to boycott Japanese products and services? :???: Anyone else care to offer an opinion?

  18. @Ken Y-N: Gaiatsu.

  19. The Chrysanthemum Sniffer

    You could start a blog, I guess.

  20. @iago: I was going to say gaiatsu myself, but it’s a vague catch-all. What pressure should one apply where?

  21. @Ken Y-N:

    “Come back in six months and tell me how right I was!” :?:

  22. Greg,

    I believe you are referring to the infamous ‘Gatekeepers of Kyoto’ sect. The dudes who wear those Japanese man dresses and shit. You are indeed unfortunate as I personally have never seen one wandering outside the factory gates. Gatekeepers do come in many guises though, it’s a common enough personality disorder.

  23. @iLikedolphins: A Japanese friend and I were having coffee in my neighborhood in Tokyo and he pointed out this foreigner who became notorious for being a gatekeeper by… get this – finding trash that didn’t belong where it was supposed to and opening it, finding the address and returning it to the dumper that dumped it. I never witnessed it but only heard rumors. I did see him go into a pachinko parlor one day, the doors opened and the noise and a plume of cigarette smoke came out. I thought the rumors must be true, he mad.
    My friend confided in me that many Japanese leave their home towns and come to Tokyo to escape the more oppressive quality’s of Japanese culture. They feel more free. I thought to myself how surreal it must be for him to witness a foreigner doing such things. Taking it on to himself to be that guy digging threw someones garbage. The oppressor, sticking this nose in others business. Foreigners are supposed to be so cool right?
    Also, at a rec center I used to go that had a vending machine for the honor system for entry. Anyone could just walk in. So this gatekeeper in the literal sense walked about making sure everyone payed up, everyone but the enormous black man who worked out with his shirt off and wore purple Lycra tights. I showed my ticket once and said “What about that guy?” he just slithered away like the little freak that he was. A little petty I know but he drove me nuts.
    I don’t mean to complain but these guys are beyond Japanophiles they become a type of fanatic.
    I feel better, I’ll stop harping on about it.

  24. Thanks for sharing Greg. Those guys could have easily been English teachers too. Guys with real world experience tend to know what the deal is in Japanese culture and they don’t retard out like that but ‘dream assistants’ seem to lose their way pretty easily. I think it’s because they get all their philia from outdated and badly researched books as well as the usual Internet forums.

    I remember one Gatekeeper online getting furious at gaijins who went to Japanese weddings and didn’t pay the required “¥20,000” gift money. That made me laugh. He was so adamant that was the way it was done in Japan, when he really didn’t have a clue. I think it was the same guy who said he didn’t want people to be out of pocket for his own wedding so he only ‘charged’ them “¥13,000”!

    Man, English teachers suck at everything, right?!

  25. Scene: Dimly lit interior. Two white men share a reasonably priced chicken meal at Torikizoku.

    Acolyte1: Hey man, life here has gotten so much better since I clicked with my new mentor.

    Fob2: Really? Who is it?

    A1: He goes by the name VK. It’s like his Internet call sign, he’s totally in touch with Japanese cyber culture and shit.

    F2: Cool bro. What does he do?

    A1: Well he started out as an ALT in Gunma in the late 70’s and worked himself all the way up to the enviable position of Professor of Charisma at Sakura Ladies College of English and Haberdashery!

    F2: Awesome dude! Do you guys hang a lot?

    A1: Yeah, he’s got a private kindergarten dance class on Thursday evenings so we usually go for a drink together at Hub after that.

    F2: Uh-huh.

    A1: Yeah we hang out and talk about learning Japanese and stuff. I’m so gonna do it one day, he speaks Japanese real good. He told me that me and him were like ‘immigrants’ and the other guys in Hub were like ‘ex-pats’ and that they were different and shit.

    F2: I hear ya.

    A1: He even orders his pint of whiskey and coke by calling it ‘whiskey and cola’ just so that its easier for the Japanese bartender to understand. He says the “wh” with a kinda unusual ‘f’ sound too, really Japanese style, and he likes to shoot the breeze with them you know? They must love him because they can’t seem to stop giggling about whatever it is he’s saying.

    F2: Powerful.

    A1: He’s like taught me so much and he gave me this great book, the Handbook for Newcomers and Immigrants, he said he doesn’t like the guy that wrote it but that it’s got lots of good information in it, and that’s like us, right? Immigrants.

    F2: Wow, sounds like this guy couldn’t get any more immigranty if he tried!

    A1: I know, right?! Anyway we got so wasted on Shandy Gaffs the other week that he put his arm around me and told me to call him ‘Senpai’, you know, like the Japanese do? That was a pretty good feeling.

    F2: Nice.

    A1: Man, he even reads the news. News about Japan! He knows all this crazy shit, like who the prime minister is and stuff…

    F2: Deep!

    A1: Don’t get no deeper!

    (They high five)

    A1: You know, he won’t even be Facebook friends with anyone who isn’t JLPT Level 3 or higher. That’s just how he rolls.

    F2: You guys party all night, right?

    A1: No man, he’s gotta go home, he’s got kids.

    F2: What, biracial ones?

    A1: Yup.

    F2: You mean…..

    A1: Yup, that’s right. He let his alabaster sperm swim right up an Asian lady’s vaginal tract.

    F2: Wow.

    A1: Wow, indeed brother.

    F2: So….He talks to the kids in Japanese too?

    A1: Oh, no way man, come on, he’s an immigrant but he’s not crazy!

  26. @Greg:

    I think you’ve misunderstood what 6810 means by gatekeepers. He means people like Arudou (and ILD, funnily enough), who want to act as everyone’s “Japan” expert, and are deeply obsessed with how other gaijin view them. They’ve basically turned up to be a celebrity foreigner.

    But the uberjapanning people you talk about are just weird. I’ve only ever heard about people like that, never met one in real life. It’s also really not healthy – it’s one of the archetypes that crashes and burns. Among the anti-Japanese rants you get over at and places like that, there’s often people who claim they became as “Japanese” as they could, apparently speaking flawless Japanese and following every obscure social grace to the letter, who then become disenchanted when they’re not immediately made head of the company or treated like a cargo-cult god. They cry racism and flounce.

  27. Says the guy who gives tips to everyone on everything from how to be humble with the police to how to best study Japanese to be considered a true immigrant!

    Ahhh, the irony of an English professor who doesn’t understand irony. It’s ironic isn’t it!

    lol :lol:

  28. absolute beginner

    ILD revealed!

  29. Which one is me?

    Phil or Dallas?

    The guy on the left looks good for 51 years old but. Short fucks.

    These boys need to come down the factory to see exactly how ‘wimpy’ Japanese men are!

    “My philosophical, emotional, sexual and intellectual needs”

    ewwwwww, ewwwwwww, ewwwwwww, just ewwwwwwwwwwwww!

  30. The Chrysanthemyum Sniffer

    Has anyone noticed that the advice these guys are giving essentially applies to “scoring” anywhere? So they basically are less embarressed to hit on chicks in Japan because they see them as less threatening. Orientalism Alert! Notice that they barely mention the character of their targets, unless it is about their needs.

    I used to think that Charisma Man turned into Charisma Man when Japanese people saw him. Now I realize it happens when he sees Japanese people.

    “ewwwwww, ewwwwwww, ewwwwwww, just ewwwwwwwwwwwww!”

    Wasn’t it you who mentioned alabaster sperm?

  31. @VK: I got it but the term Gatekeepers was just so suitable for these lunatics that I had encountered that I couldn’t contain myself. You summed it up so much better than I did in one post than I did in several rants, thanks. I think it possibly has to do with mental health issues in the foreign community and should be addressed somewhere but it’s so hard to show compassion when the person is an absolute f*ck-wit. I think there are these lost souls that stumbled into life in Japan and I guess feel they’ve found themselves.
    When I was young and adventurous, I arrived as a tourist in Fukuoka from a stint in Korea and hitchhiked to Tokyo. I experienced incredible kindness by complete strangers and fell hard for the country. Obviously I stayed, so I understand how it can alter someones life but to become a fanatic.. I have to assume they have a personality disorder.
    Ok, the subject is tired. How Cathartic that was. Now I understand why Weibo is so popular in China.

  32. Hey VK!

    I could give you fashion tips or advice on how to talk to women but that’s not really exclusively Japanese is it?!

    Of course the unintentionally mega-hilarious thing that’s going on in the background is that the phrasal descriptor I engineered to describe VK’s horrendous twattishness is now being taken aboard and commandeered by VK as a heavily-breathed dark choco noir-ish kernel of deep seriousness that he needs to expound to select padawans.

    Debito Arudou is the Gatekeeper! Debito Arudou is the Gatekeeper!

    I know this, I know this and I will tell you how I know this! Gather round my minions and I shall advise you! :mrgreen:

    What a prat! Is that what they say? A prat, isn’t it?

  33. @Greg:

    I think it possibly has to do with mental health issues in the foreign community and should be addressed somewhere but it’s so hard to show compassion when the person is an absolute f*ck-wit.


  34. Hey Professor Charisma…..

  35. The Chrysanthemyum Sniffer

    Can you guys hear something?


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