17 February 2009 ~ 10 Comments

Conversation 2/17/09: This is not America!

At a Ramen Restaurant…

Student: This is a famous ramen restaurant…

Me : Oh really! You know I walk by here every day and never noticed it.

Student: It’s owned by a North Korean!

Me: A Korean? A North Korean? You mean South…

Student: I mean North. North Korea.

Me: Wow! Did he Defect?

Student: Defect? Nani sore?

(Student whips out a handy electronic dictionary)

Student: Oh! No, he was born here.

Me: He was born where? Here, here? In Yokohama?

Student: I don’t know. He was born in Japan.

Me: Then…isn’t he Japanese?

Student: No.

Me: Has he ever been to North Korea?

Student: I don’t know

Me: Can he even speak Korean?

Student: I don’t know.

Me: Ok…this is delicious by the way. Thanks for showing me this spot.

Student scratches head and smiles.

Student: Everybody knows he’s North Korean.

Me: Ok…I’m sure he is. Only, in America, if you’re born there then you’re American.

Student: This is not America.

Me: That’s for sure…American Ramen can’t touch this!


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10 Responses to “Conversation 2/17/09: This is not America!”

  1. areason2write 18 February 2009 at 8:52 pm Permalink

    this is too funny – we take for granted the things we think we know don't we – nothing like living as an expat to shake our world up a little

    • Locohama 18 February 2009 at 10:31 pm Permalink

      Yep, you said it!
      Good to hear your voice, so to speak (-:
      gotta catch up on your adventures in Asia later tonight
      Looking forward to it (-:


  2. TLR 19 February 2009 at 1:06 am Permalink

    Too FUNNY! The Japanese the ethnocentric capital of the world. One time I overheard a japanese aikido teacher say that you could not possibly understand this you are not japanese… GRIN…


  3. LB 20 February 2009 at 1:51 am Permalink

    He was almost certainly a Zainichi. A curious animal – born and raised in Japan by parents born and raised in Japan by their parents who were born and raised in Japan… And yet they won't take Japanese citizenship. OK, granted, there are a few who cannot naturalize, as they have criminal records, but most could naturalize very easy if they wanted to. But they won't. They are the "Special Permanent Residents", the one group of foreigners in Japan that gets all kinds of special concessions (and wants a whole lot more, like the right to vote, the right to come and go as they please without visas, etc.) because they scream the loudest and the Japanese are just sick and tired of dealing with the loudmouthed crybabies.

    They insist they are "Korean". They run their own schools (although those are becoming scarcer), the ones run by Chosen Soren (the North Koreans) refuse to become accredited as they think it is a "plot" to make them "Japanese" (the ones run by Mindan, the South Koreans, did get accredited). Then the North Koreans complain because they can't get into state-run universities, which require a high school diploma from an accredited school. I never did understand why, if they are so against the Japanese education system, they would even want to go to a state-run university, but there you have it.

    There are also Zainichi Chinese and Taiwanese, but not as many as Koreans. Oh Sadaharu, for example, is a Zainichi Taiwanese. All the Zainichi are descendants of people who were Japanese citizens up until the end of the war, but were stripped of their citizenship at the behest of GHQ. They didn't get a say in the matter. Most of those people who were still in Japan when that happened were people who had been here since well before the war, were settled, had businesses, some were even elected officials. I guess back then folks thought that they would quickly retake Japanese citizenship, but actually very few did.

    That is changing now, and in a couple more decades as Zainichi alive today either naturalize or die off, there will probably be none left. But for now, there are a few thousand die-hard holdouts.

    • Locohama 20 February 2009 at 2:52 am Permalink

      Well, thanks for the lesson on J-K relations…wow!
      That's deep!


  4. Vin 26 February 2009 at 10:33 am Permalink

    "Me: Then…isn’t he Japanese?

    Student: No."

    Ah, Japan. Boldly progressing where they've always been for 2000 years. 😀

    • Locohama 26 February 2009 at 7:42 pm Permalink

      Yo Vin!
      There has been progress though. Little things like I've met a few divorcees…there was a time when the women would stay in f'ed up marraiges for life…
      Who's to say America or any western country is the ideal anyway? I try to reserve my judgements these days and just roll with it. I find I learn more that way. Soon as put up the Western mental block, knowledge has a hard way to go to get where it needs to be: in mind
      Sukoshi zutsu ne


      • Francisco 25 May 2009 at 9:56 pm Permalink

        I was born in East LA, but i dont really ever consider my self american my parents were illegals and came to this country not speaking a word of english.
        so i knew spanish before i learned english i also lived several years in mexico on and off even people around me treat me as a mexican first, like immigration officers asking to see my id's or people in office buildings getting me a translator even though i am speaking english to their face, i had to take many tests to see if i could speak and read english everutime i ace the test but i got to retake it every year for some reason

        my point is just cause you were born somewhere does not always mean people will treat you as one of their own or even consider you one of their own, sometimes you prefer to stick to the roots of the people that came before me like i always say "where does the history of my people come from?"
        Blood is always gonna be thicker than the ink of some documents

        well thats my 2 cents on the subject

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