Weekend tangent: Another blogger comes around, sees beyond “molehills”

mytest

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.  Since weekends are usually times for people to relax (and hits to this blog reflect that; most of the traffic seems to come at the beginnings of weeks, tapering off during Saturdays and Sundays, as people find better things to do than spend their lives behind computer screens), let me devote this Saturday’s entry to a pleasant afterglow I had yesterday morning.

Linking to Debito.org was a blog by a chap named Kelly Yancey.  He’s going through a bit of a bad patch at the moment, it seems, and I hope he snaps out of it.  (Kelly, if you’re reading this, things will get better over time — stick with it; avoid grand conspiracy theories, and do what you can to fill your world with sympathetic people and pleasant things.)

Anyway, the afterglow was from this section:

Since coming to Japan, I have come to appreciate Dave Aldwinckle’s complaints and the hard work he has been doing to try and bring the injustices in Japan into the forefront. Whenever I get worked up enough about something that I want to bitch about it on my own blog, I just need to go hit his debito.org to commiserate.

When I was sitting in the comfort of the U.S.A., Debito’s stories seem farfetched and, frankly, unbelievable. More than once I thought he was making a mountain out of a molehill. However, I now realize that he doesn’t have to go digging to find examples of racismdiscriminationinjustice, and hypocrisy…it turns out there is just a lot of material to pull from here in Japan.

Unfortunately, while brave individuals like Debito are trying to recitify the situation, apologists still abound…

http://kbyanc.blogspot.com/2009/03/racism-in-japan.html

I like hearing that.  There’s just no convincing some people that there are issues that need to be addressed regarding treatment of, and, yes, discrimination towards, people who are NJ or who look NJ.  Especially when many of the dismissive are either unaware (which Debito.org tries to fix with as much reportage and substantiation as possible), or incredulous because they just haven’t experienced the discrimination for themselves.  But when it does happen to them here in the end — and it’s systematic enough that sooner or later it probably will — then people generally react in two ways:  either 1) they refuse to believe it out of spite (plenty of people don’t like to admit they were wrong; this is the wrong approach, for it will just make you bitter and eventually drive you out of Japan), or 2) they capitulate, face up to the issue constructively, and find ways to deal with their feelings that bring things to a resolution.  

Like Kelly has.  Thanks for coming out and saying so.  It makes the years of effort creating and maintaining Debito.org feel that much more worthwhile.  

Now let’s do something about resolving things.  We need everyone’s help, and let’s hope even the diehard apologists come round someday.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

6 comments on “Weekend tangent: Another blogger comes around, sees beyond “molehills”

  • But why are you fighting discrimination whats the grounds? Because you are having identity issues, some UN law, or because its ethically and morally wrong according to universal values?

    — I’ve been writing about this for more than a decade now, in recent years almost daily. If you haven’t reached a conclusion yet about my motives, by looking at my actions and my record, there’s not much else I can do or say.

  • I don’t think Tom was criticizing you, just being a “noob”.

    Anyway, I still appreciate the site. It is very much a needed forum, although it is true that one can reach an overly negative image of Japan if it is read out of context.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Kelly has a written an article that is personal but, at the same time, is easy to relate to. I especially liked this line:

    “if you can’t understand the language, you don’t know when people are making rude comments.”

    That is something I have said to myself in both Japan and China many a time.

    Personally, I see only two courses of action: try your best to roll with the punches and get on with your life in the face of the ignorance of others, or give up and go home. It sounds easier said than done, but I’d choose the first, of course. Giving up and going home would mean giving those racists what they want…and I don’t think they deserve the satisfaction.

  • `While less blatant, the rampant tendency for strangers to clear their throats or spit when they become aware of my presence suggests the racism runs pretty deep.`

    I have also experienced this but I am just wondering…why DO they clear their throats?

    `try your best to roll with the punches and get on with your life in the face of the ignorance of others, or give up and go home.`

    Some of us don`t have that option because we ARE home. I don`t think there is anything wrong with responding to rude comments. After all, they wouldn`t comment infront of a `normal` Japanese. I am lucky though because although i live in Tokyo I speak kansaiben so that might give me an advantage because people here think kansaiben is scary….

    some guy today today said 外人は出ていけ(Somone complained before that I don`t inlcude translations so this is `gaijin ha deteike` or `Gaijin Gotta Leave` as he passed me outside Shinyokohama station and I turned around and said なんやねんおまはん喧嘩売っとるけ?買う人はおるもんやから言葉気ぃつけた方がええで。(Who the hell are you? You trying to sell me a fight? you should be careful with what you say because there are people that will be glad to buy it from you.)

    It probably wasn`t very adult of me to say that especially in a public place but hey, I don`t graduate until June so technically I am still a student lawl

    言うまでもないけど(It goes without saying) he ran off like a little pansy because like somone touched upon in the blog above in the comments section, a lot of the people who bully foreigners are cowards who aren`t even liked by fellow Japanese people.

  • I can appreciate the “coming around.” actually I used to be pretty right-winged in most of my ideas…and still in some because I just cant help it. Being half Nikkei in the US, I felt 100% Japanese…until I went to Japan and especially after I got married and couldnt change my last name officially or be put like a real person on my husband’s koseki…I guess you dont think about things until something happens to you *sigh*

  • Hey Mr. Arudou…please contact me if you get this message, I am looking to contact you to discuss some ideas I have for a non-profit as well as hopefully get some advice for you on networking points in regards to those in Japan who may be optimistic at the idea of positive social change (not only in regards to foreign relations)…but contact me if you can.

    -DC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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>