Sunday, December 04, 2005

Internationeru - Part Deux

Yes, the title above does have 3 languages in it (sort of... internationeru is more a contortion of English to Japanese... but regardless) to prove just how international I am... lol

Interesting comment on my post last night about the "Japanese Only" sign, I checked out the web site it suggested and it's quite interesting! It essentially chronicles the adventures of a naturalized Japanese citizen in his attempts to get "foreigners" recognized here in Japan. As an official Japanese citizen, he still gets refused service in establishments and doesn't stand for it... there are even law suits involved which is just fantastic! I'll let you check the site out by yourself but you should definately check out the Rogue's Gallery of shops which clearly state that no "foreign-looking" (not to use non-Japanese because even naturalized Japanese citizens are refused entry) person will be served.

I guess the biggest thing which is pointed out here is that while Japan thinks it is international and all-inclusive (or so I'm told by 98% of those I speak to, who are shocked when I relate the few minor cases of discrimination I've encountered) it is still prefectly legal to discriminate based on race. And the effects certainly show. If you take away the English Teachers and Engineers working here on short term contracts, I would say there would only be a handful of "Foreigners" left in Japan! Even my company does not hire non-Japan-born worker full time, keeping even long-term (10+ years) employees on one-year contract and thus impermanent and not really a part of the system...

So today, we checked out Harry Potter, it was great! I haven't read any of the books so I guess I don't know what I'm missing... at 3 hours, I think it's long enough. I wonder sometimes why they don't split these movies up a bit. Yes, Lord of the Rings was 3 books, and Harry Potter will be seven... but they've got more than enough material to make 5 and 12 or more movies respectively...

As proof that Utsunomiya is a small-ass town, within the space of one hour in Bell Mall, we ran into 3 students... and this in a sea of people shopping for the holidays... I can only imagine how many we didn't spot... lol Funny story here, one of the students I spotted was obviously shy and made HUGE bumbling attempts not to be noticed and thus engaged in an English conversation... he even went so far as to hold up a shopping bag to the side of his face as he passed the table as if he were scratching himself or something, it was THAT comical. COME ON PEOPLE!!! You're paying big bucks for us to teach you English so that you can speak English... and who will you be speaking English to? Certainly not your friendly neighbourhood grocer... why are you affraid of even saying Hello?

Following the movie, we headed out to the grocery store and picked up some supplies for tonight's meal of Ginger Pork, Eringi mushrooms sauteed in butter and garlic, Miso soup, rice, and some other thing I can't think of the name right now which is cheese wrapped in some kind of fish pasta\paste thing... Dinner was fabulous!!! Afterwards, we cuddled against the cold under a kotatsu (a weather-lady student of mine said there were rumours of snow tonight) and watched "Don't say a word" with Michael Douglas on TV... good movie! And for all the times I bitch about Japan on here (I love it but I do need a place to vent sometimes :-) ) Here's a positive one... Japan's TV movies ROCK! Commercial breaks are short, and infrequent... I think there's even some kind of "no commercials in the first and last half hour of the movie" kind of rule going on or something... totally ROCKS! Unless of course you find yourself in need of a toilet break... lol

So tomorrow, meeting up with the boys at Tullys and we're heading over to Aichirou-san's place for some fantastically fabulous nabe and a drink or three... should be a lovely afternoon, I will be bringing my camera along...

Busy schedule, China is coming up soon too... for now, it's bed time... g'night.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

glad you liked the site. My opinion of who would want to go in those places anyway does not condone the signs being up. Of course if they want to have their own private little club I think theres better ways of keeping people out then an offensive no foreigners sign.

One thought on your students ignoring you while out shopping is that maybe they see it as not wanting you to feel embarrassed, especially if you are out with a lady. So maybe he didnt see it as ignoring you but rather as giving you your privacy.

I saw you are thinking about Chrstimas presents to send back to your family, so I wanted to offer a few suggestions. One is just go to Yurindo, or someplace like that, and pick out a few interesting cards to send. And when you go to Canada next time you can take lots of presents in your luggage. Another suggestion is send presents that are light and thin such as ukiyoe or wooodblock prints. Next time you are in Tokyo go to the Oriental Bazaar in Omotessando, they have every kind of souvenir you can think of, including lots of ukiyoe. Gifts could include bath salts, incense, sake, sake box drinking cups, maineki neko, weapons such as shuriken or throwing stars, and thos epretty, sugary tea sweets, with tea of course. Good luck deciding.

9:21 PM  
Blogger ZayZayEM said...

To Play Devil's Advocate for a moment:

Japanese is not just a nationality. Its also the same word for language.
It's perfectly okay for a place of commerce to broadcast that it only speaks Japanese.
Just as it would be fine for an American Restaurant to say "English menu only".

Also Japanese government has a good stance on race - "it doesn't exist". But this also means they can't prosecute people who discriminate on a racial basis as the basis for the discrimination does not `exist` neither does the discrimination. They need to put some sort of back pedal loophole in there.
+end advocate+

I'm lucky to be living in a high-density Gaijin area so lack these problems. My only refusal of entry was to an internet cafe (which had signs up in English) which said it was Korean only.
There's also meant to some Old Woman who wanders the streets of my city telling Gaijins to die. But she's balanced out by the Old Woman handing out candy to gaijin (no, thanks).

Speaking of Christmas gifts - I went to Kyoto last weekend and bought what I thought was a plastic ramen set (like you see in restaurant windows) - I'm now 80% sure its just dried ramen that came in a nice bowl --- I'm still going to send it home.

11:57 PM  

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