Monday, 15 September 2008

Respect For The Aged?

One thing that really irks me about Japan is the accepted racism and xenophobia that a foreigner WILL face here.

From the moment you step off a plane at Narita, all foreigners are electronically fingerprinted for security reasons (of course).

Welcome to Japan!

Japanese people look kind and generous, but under the surface at the end of this camping trip I was disgusted by the reaction of the ugliest discrimination.

As a permanent outsider of Japan you will ALWAYS be referred to as a "GAIJIN" (outside person).

This didn't bother me when I arrived. As I didn't know what it REALLY meant, I accepted it as being outside of this monoculture society.

Now I realize that this term is used in the derogatory sense to insult. Overreaction? Let me explain..

The place where we stayed was close to an official camping ground we were intending to stay at. There was no one at reception so we instead camped down by the road nearby.

On our last day there we decided to take a very brief shower there. We didn't sneak in. We were observed by other Japanese without question.

Getting back to our tents two Japanese guys from the camp ground drove up to our area and questioned our use of their shower facilities. The other guys with me said it was no problem IN JAPANESE, that we were prepared to pay for using them.

You think that would be simple enough. Story over, right? No..

Typical of Japanese people not being able to make individual decisions by themselves, they called the caretaker of the camping ground (not the owner) to sort out this "really difficult" situation.

Shortly after this elderly man drove up in his 4WD and proceded to tell us what we did wrong and how "THIS IS JAPAN" and showing us what ugly Japan is all about. We said we'd pay, but you think this was it? No, of course not.

He called the police, constantly referring to us as GAIJIN. As everyone knows the only trouble in Japan is because of foreigners.. Hmm.. sarin terrorist attack on the subway.. Japanese.. serial killer in Akihabara.. Japanese..

So anyway, here comes the police. That sounds singular doesn't it? I mean SIX policemen! Two police cars and two scooters.

This is a major issue here! We have three gaijin take a fricken shower! No wonder Japanese have a warped idea of the "dangerous" foreigner. The onlookers must think there is something BIG going down.

In my opinion there should be a law against building fugly orange houses on the beach like in the picture above.

The younger policemen are reasonably sympathetic towards us, but a few of them use the same "Japan's rules" verbatim to smack us on our wrists.

They even bring up the camping in a National Park rule (There aren't any "No Camping" signs here). During our whole time here we saw two or three police cars going up and down the road, and not ONE of them came to tell us we couldn't camp here.

After this farce was over, the caretaker demanded 2400 yen for our two minute showers. (The rent for the DAY is usually only 300 yen!) Although he said earlier it wasn't about money, it showed everyone what a piece of Japanese s**t he is.

This is NOT an isolated incident here. I think this is an attitude largely held by a lot of the elderly population here. Respect for the aged? The only thing I can thank you for is this day off.

Oh another big thank you to the number of YOU JAPANESE that refuse to sit next to me on the train because I am GAIJIN. The arm room and place to put my bag is appreciated.

I thought it was an exaggeration, but to encounter this first-hand makes me really HATE this place.

Sorry for the venting. I like the people I work with and teach, but I just want to be treated respectfully, and not like the criminal they make us out to be.

Any comments?


fuf said...

that's an awful incident you have