10 February 2010 ~ 21 Comments

Conversation 2/09/10: Everybody knows

Conversation with a Japanese friend at a café in Yokohama

Me: Can I ask you a question?

Friend: Sure. Go ahead…

Me: Well, last week my student told me that a staff person had asked her if she were 100% Japanese

Friend: Really? A staff person? Why? Does she look like a foreigner?

Me: She has long dark hair and a suntan and sometimes she wears Hawaiian accessories. Jewelry and whatnot…

Friend: Sou desu ka. Ja, the staff maybe think she wants to be like Hawaii’s people.

Me: Yeah. and??

Friend: Well, the staff was probably…oseiji…do you know oseiji?

Me: Yeah, you mean like flattering or ass kissing…

Friend: Sou sou sou sou! Staff do it all the time!

Me: But, how is asking someone if they are purebreed or pure blood ass kissing? I don’t get it.

Friend: Well, we are Japanese. Almost Japanese want to be like another people.

Me: What? Japanese don’t like being Japanese?

Friend: No, we like our culture…but we like another cultures too.

Me: Huh?

Friend: Your student…when she tell you that, her face was happy deshou?

Me: Kinda…I mean it was more like indifferent…not happy, not disappointed.

Friend: If she tell you the story that means she is happy. If she didn’t like it she don’t tell you about that, I think.

Me: That makes sense…but why does she like it?

Friend: She wants to look like Hawaiian, so the staff oseiji to make her happy.

Me: I guess I understand. I had the wrong idea…

Friend: Japanese is very difficult culture.

Me: Sou da ne. So if I say to a Japanese person that they look like they are mixed with another people’s blood it’s ok?

Friend: Yes.

Me: It’s confusing. One time I told my girlfriend she looks kind of Chinese and she almost started crying…

Friend: Eeeeee! Never Chinese! Japanese people do not think Chinese are attractive.

Me: What? So if the staff person had said my student looked a little Chinese then…

Friend: Ohhhhh No! They never say that! Everybody knows it’s rude to say Chinese!

Me: Everybody?

Friend: All Japanese know!

Me: Why?

Friend: Muzukashii kore (this is difficult)

Me: Do Japanese people hate Chinese people?

Friend: No, we hate no people. But, eeto ne, we think Chinese people hate Japanese people so…

Me: So, what?

Friend: So…that’s what we feel.

Me: Paranoia’s not a feeling.

Friend:Nani sore? (What’s that?)

Me: Betsu ni nani mo nai (It’s nothing, forget about it.) What if the staff say she looks mixed with white?

Friend: Oseiji! White people are very attractive to Japanese people. Japanese people like blond hair and blue eyes…

Me: Most white people don’t have blond hair and blue eyes though…

Friend: Don’t care. White people are kawaii…Japanese people think white people are more beautiful than Japanese people.

Me: What about black people? If the sales staff say you look mixed with black…

Friend: Eetoooo ne…If customer is B-boy or B-girl, it’s ok.

Me: If not?

Friend: Not oseiji…normal Japanese people don’t like to compare to black people.

Me: Normal? Nevermind…Why?

Friend: We are so different…

Me: I see.

Loco

Love this song, and this movie! Pump up the volume!

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21 Responses to “Conversation 2/09/10: Everybody knows”

  1. mwerneburg 10 February 2010 at 9:10 pm Permalink

    I love the tone you adopt when asking these questions. No slant, no wasted words.

    > Me: Paranoia's not a feeling.

    This dialogue was hilarious. But I'd argue that paranoia's been the guiding principle of this past decade.


    • Locohama 10 February 2010 at 11:22 pm Permalink

      mwerneburg, thanks for the shout and the video!Past decade is not giving paranoia its due, Maybe the last century or millenium is nore accurate lol

  2. areason2write 10 February 2010 at 9:32 pm Permalink

    no wonder you are going loco – what a complicated culture – how are you supposed to figure out that matrix……………

    • TheKatalist 10 February 2010 at 10:18 pm Permalink

      Yo B! This is very similar to the "I got Indian in me" syndrome that Blacks used to say all the time back in the day. You know it kinda relates to the good hair bad hair phenomenon.
      I think quite a few Black people would be delighted to hear that they looked "mixed"….don't you? Oh but not with Chinese!! NEVER! LOL!

      • Locohama 10 February 2010 at 10:21 pm Permalink

        Sho nuff, you right about that Kat!
        But don't front: Even Chinese would be hot: My baby got chinky eyes and good hair LOL
        thanks for the shout!

    • Locohama 10 February 2010 at 11:20 pm Permalink

      Hey reason2 (-: Long time no see. Missed ya! Yeah, it's the Matrix and then some. But, i guess most cultures have complications. For example I know many black people who feel the same way about white people. They think blond hair and blue eyes are just dreamy. Some even go as far as to alter their own appearance to bring themselvescloser to that ideal of theirs. It's kind of disgusting to see but oh so human.
      Thanks for the shout! Sorry i haven't been to your blog in a while, but I gotta day off tomorrow so i'll do some catching up on your incredible stories from the East. Holla at you soon (-;
      Loco

  3. yearoftherat 10 February 2010 at 11:11 pm Permalink

    Oh no! What should I do?! I am mixed with Chinese. DX lolol

    White people kawaii – that would explain the rising phenomenon of 14 yr old Beckii Cruel.

    some america in japan reading lulz http://nymag.com/daily/fashion/2010/02/tokyo_aber

  4. 12345 11 February 2010 at 12:34 am Permalink

    HOW COME NO ONE FINDS THE CHINESE ATTRACTIVE? LOL….JUST KIDDING..I KNOW TONS OF CHINESE PPL WHO ARE SUPER HOT…I VISITED SHANGHAI A FEW YRS BACK AND DAMN, SOME OF THE MEN THERE WERE HUNKY..ALSO..CAN'T FORGET ABOUT DREAMBOAT CHANG CHEN(THE ACTOR FROM THE TAIWANESE MOVIE "THREE TIMES")…AND HIS CO-ACTOR, THE GORGEOUS SHU QI. ..BUT SERIOUSLY….THIS REMINDED ME OF MY TIBETAN GRANDMA WHO USED TO SAY "THE ONLY NICE THING ABOUT THE CHINESE ARE THAT THEY HAVE PALE SKIN"…AND NO, SHE ISN'T RACIST…SHE WAS JUST BROUGHT UP TO BELIEVE LIGHT SKIN AS BEING AN INDICATOR OF BEAUTY…AND BEFORE ANYONE GOES ON ABOUT COLONIAL/BRAINWASHED MENTALITY AND WHAT NOT..LET ME TELL YOU…MY GRANDMA NEVER MET A WHITE PERSON OR SAW A WHITE PERSON UNTIL SHE ESCAPED INTO EXILE WHEN SHE WAS ABOUT 22 YEARS OLD..I HAVE NO CLUE WHY LIGHT SKIN IS CONSIDERED SO DESIRABLE…MAYBE IT'S ABOUT WANTING WHAT YOU DON'T HAVE……TO AN OUTSIDER, MOST ASIANS MIGHT LOOK THE SAME BUT TRUST ME…YOU HAVE TO BE AN ASIAN TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE…TIBETANS, THAI'S & FILIPINOS ARE TANNED…THE JAPANESE AND KOREANS TEND TO BE FAIRER THAN OTHER ASIANS FOLLOWED CLOSELY BY THE CHINESE… SLIGHT DIFFERENCES IN FACIAL STRUCTURE TOO DISTINGUISHES ONE ETHNIC GROUP FROM ANOTHER…

  5. Michael in LA 11 February 2010 at 10:05 am Permalink

    Loco – do they still have the cosmetic surgery ads on TV over there for "Whitening" eyes? I still remember them well…

    I agree with reason2, navigating the nuances of Japanese culture has to be very confusing…

    • Locohama 11 February 2010 at 10:09 am Permalink

      Hi Micheal! Thanks for checking in (-; Actually I don't watch a bit of Japanese TV so I couldn't tell you. I used to watch it but I got so fed up (no pun intended) with all the friggin food shows (oishii deshou! Oh OISHIIII") and disgusted with their humor, especially the occasional minstral shit the comedians do. I just watch American TV on the net!

      • Cedric Domani 11 February 2010 at 8:21 pm Permalink

        "My baby got chinky eyes and good hair " lmao

        BRUCE LEEROY!

    • Matt 11 February 2010 at 4:16 pm Permalink

      Friend: Well, we are Japanese. Almost Japanese want to be like another people.

      Then why am I spending so much time learning this hard-ass language? So I can speak to members of a culture who wish they were members of another culture? ARGH. I should switch to French; at least they're not trying to act like someone else (though I sometimes wish they would. Zing!)

      Oh, btw, first time caller, long time listener. Great blog 🙂

  6. Rune 11 February 2010 at 10:34 am Permalink

    Mr. Cohen is a lyrical genius.

  7. Mythirdeye 11 February 2010 at 8:31 pm Permalink

    Hey Loco! You know you're in an atypical place when even ass-kissing is complicated! Oseji… this part got me:
    "Friend: Not oseiji…normal Japanese people don’t like to compare to black people."

    So they would rather have a das wunderkind Aryan race baby than a mixed Chinese or black baby?
    If you took a newborn black child from Brooklyn NYC and brought him/her to japan, they would learn Japanese at exactly the same rate as a "pureblood" Japanese child. The kid would grow up with all the mannerisims and traits of any Japanese person… Would he/she still be treated like a gaijin on the train?

    I guess this is the challenge of embracing another culture… If it were easy I'm sure you'd be bored to shit by now, that's why you went to Japan and not to Canada haha

    You're doing great! Belated congrats on the 200 post mark, keep em comin

  8. mwerneburg 12 February 2010 at 1:14 am Permalink

    > The kid would grow up with all the mannerisims and traits of any Japanese person…
    > Would he/she still be treated like a gaijin on the train?

    Yes of course. My wife's got two cousins in their mid twenties who are half Danish. Only fluent in Japanese. The more Euro-looking of the two (who would never be mistaken for a Caucasian in Europe) is always taken for a foreigner here in Japan. He told me a garage even wanted "his gaijin card" when he took his bike in for a look. Your hypothetical child would never be taken for Japanese on the train.

    Upside? He'd be given enough room on the train to breath, at least. ;^)

    • Ryuga 13 February 2010 at 1:15 am Permalink

      White people kawaii? So, that means a big texan with a bushy moustache like me is considered CUTE?? What the tits?

      • Locohama 13 February 2010 at 2:14 am Permalink

        You wouldn't believe what's considered cute here dude! If Mickey Mouse, why the hell can't you? Or I for that matter?


        Loco!

  9. brian | No Debt Worl 13 February 2010 at 12:59 pm Permalink

    I talked to a Japanese female who said that she's considered ugly because she was not the clear, porcelain complexion so many of her countrywomen aspire to be. It's their way. The need to conform is very strong there. I think it is understandable as a homogeneous society. If you stand out you're not part of the "Collective". Almost sounds Star Trek Borg like…

    Normal Japanese people? So Japanese folks who are into hip-hip and Black men, what are they considered?

    All that said, still GREATLY enjoyed my time there. Would go back in a heartbeat!

    • Locohama 13 February 2010 at 1:57 pm Permalink

      You said itm Brian…or rather she said it and you got it. Thanks for the shout
      lOcO


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