Heading to California tomorrow for a month: Blog updated less often


Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  Off to the California Bay Area for a month from tomorrow on business.  Not sure what my Internet access will be like, and it’s summertime anyway, so let’s all take it easy.  My next JUST BE CAUSE column comes out in the Japan Times on Tues, August 5, anyway.  Topic:  Making the case that “Gaijin” is a racist word.

And a personal confession to make:  I’m actually not looking forward to going to The States.  It’s not just that San Francisco is pretty cold (think Kushiro cold) and grey during August.  There’s something I call the “Christmas Syndrome”, in that whenever you try to celebrate Christmas (especially when everyone around you doesn’t understand what the fuss is about), you feel all that much more pressure to be happy, and wonder why you’re so glum.  The seasonal expectation of being happy actually makes it worse.

Same thing with a trip to the US.  Yes, I was born and raised there.  But going there I feel inchoate pressure to feel some kind of link with the place, some feeling of “at home”. I don’t.  I’m afraid twenty one years in Japan (and eight years of a failed and arrogant US presidential administration) have made me unable to feel any real affinity.  So I’d much rather stay in Hokkaido and enjoy the summer, or go to some other country (Canada would be nice) than head back and be a foreigner in contemporary America.  Ah well.  As they say, it’s my made bed to sleep in.

Anyway, enjoy your summer, everyone! I’ll still be writing Debito.org, only probably not every day. Check back in from time to time! Debito in Sapporo

9 comments on “Heading to California tomorrow for a month: Blog updated less often

  • A man in Japan says:

    Look, I know this isnt the right place to ask for this sort of thing but is there a counseling number I can phone about living over here? I dont know if I can take living here any more, Im fed up with all the fucking looks I get, getting treated like a criminal and just everyone thinking that they are better than everyone else on the planet. Im sick of it.

    I need a phone number I can call that doesn’t cost anything as I have no skype credit left. Please.

    –If you’re becoming emotionally or psychologically impacted, I suggest you get out of here as soon as possible. Meanwhile, consult with International Mental Health Professionals Japan at http://www.imhpj.org/ (also refer to Handbook page 168-9)

  • My experience was that people had mostly switched to Gaikokujin. I can’t even remember a time when I, or the group I was with, was referred to as Gaijin. I think it’ll be depreciated soon enough. I always make a point to never use it myself.

  • Debito, good man! Bon-voyage and try and get some R & R. You deserve it! (I don’t know where the heck you get your energy from!) I understand your feelings about the Bay area in August, and entry into the US under this failed administration. (Do you get to be fingerprinted? My advice: Bite your tongue. These trigger-happy nimrods have guns and tazers! Everything that moves during this upcoming Democratic Party Convention will have them twitchier than ever!) I have a standing invite to go to Walnut Creek, but cite your exact reasons for declining.

    As for titles, when referred to as a “Gaijin” I always correct the speaker and tell them that I an an “Uchu-jin” and that I have a Japanese Government issued certificate to prove it. Takes a while for it to sink in, but they get it eventually!


  • A man in Japan says:

    Hey thank you Mark Mino-Thmpson, I saw that one but I just wasnt sure if they took these sort of things on. Well thanks again Mark, I feel better today than yesterday but I will keep that number handy just in case…

  • Michael Weidner says:

    Theanphibian Says: “My experience was that people had mostly switched to Gaikokujin. I can’t even remember a time when I, or the group I was with, was referred to as Gaijin.”

    I suggest you don’t come to Hokkaido then. I get reffered to as “Gaijin-san” on a daily basis….including by my employer. And if that doesn’t strike a cord, this should; I’m a city employee.

  • I think sometimes we need to focus on the positive to help endure the negative.

    And yes Debito, Canada is nice. I’m canadian and I really like it here. Come visit us one of these days. Canadians are very welcoming and open minded, you’ll see 🙂

    About Gaijin, although it’s a racist word I think sometimes it can be used innocently without meaning any harm. I heard Gaijin used in the Tora-san movies, for example (episodes 24 and 41)



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>