22 March 2013 ~ 17 Comments

Sh*t Apologists Say About The Empty/Gaijin Seat + Some Intentionally Silly Stuff

First a couple of videos people have shot showing this phenomenon.




Now, this:


avoid-aliensI like the fact that she finds it problematic to assume racism whenever the empty seat is encountered. People who have read my book and blog know that I concur.

However, I don’t think pulling a number like 99% out of the air (unless she did some kind of extensive research and surveying I’m not aware of) is serving her argument at all. That kind of hyperbole pretty much null and voids everything she says after that. But, unfortunately for her, and her supporters, this number is at the crux of her position, her belief system revolves around this arbitrary number, otherwise I don’t think she would have stated it at the beginning of her case, like it’s something the viewer should carry in their mind as they absorb all the conclusions she drew and apologist’ positions she holds based on this mysterious 99%.

And what does this fictitious number say about that bit of compassion and sympathy she began with? You know, the “My condolences to people who actually have truly experienced racism on the transportation system…” If you subtract her 99% from 100% of all visible minorities in Japan then you’re left with 1%, right? And THAT’S the only real number here.

Her condolences go out to 1% of the people who experience this because the other 99% are, as she says, self-paranoid, etc.

I have a feeling most of the people who thumbed her opinion up (and it is an opinion) probably accepted her “data” without even blinking. Which is pretty spooky. So, since she nullified her own argument by fabricating a number and presenting it like it were a hard number, I’m gonna move on to the next apologist video.

Summation: “Embrace the Gaijin Seat, Don’t get offended.”

I bet this guy would have told Rosa Parks: “Now why the hell would you want to sit next to people who clearly don’t want to sit next to you? Hell, go sit with your own people…you’ll be more comfortable, trust me, and so will they. Everybody’s happy!”

Mild exaggeration, but then again, as he says, he’s not African-American, so who knows how he’d approach full-on segregation and discrimination. Based on this video, I really have no idea. There certainly were some African-Americans in favor of this approach (read: Booker T. Washington) and quite a few who were in favor of full separation of the races (Louis Farrakhan, Elijah Muhammad, Marcus Garvey, etc…)

Also, he supplied, as most people coping with this foolishness do, the ultimate coping mechanism for the empty seat: “You really shouldn’t concern yourself with this. You should really embrace the fact that you’re getting a little elbow room on a crowded train.”

I like that he, too, finds it problematic to assume that racism is a factor. On that, he is totally correct! It may or may not be a factor, impossible to know for sure.

I don’t like that he feels essentially EVERY other reason for doing so, no matter what, is acceptable, including ignorant presumptions about your tendencies.

And he encourages foreigners to blame themselves for this!


You’re Fat, you’re Sweaty, you look Sleepy, you look angry, you look unhappy, etc…

He also suggested that if you “look like you’re gonna rob them” no one will sit next you…but I think he was joking…or at least trying to diffuse an issue he’s had to deal with by using humor.

But, I give him credit, for at least he had a sense of humor about it…and humor can certainly make the intolerable tolerable.

Anyway, if you’ve read my book, or my blog for that matter, you know my stance, but I thought I’d share with you guys what a couple of my fellow foreigners here think about it.

And now for some intentionally silly stuff (-;


Funny right? (-;






PS: And if you haven’t read Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist yet, what are you waiting for? A personal invitation? Check it out! It’s available in paperback and E-book version here.

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17 Responses to “Sh*t Apologists Say About The Empty/Gaijin Seat + Some Intentionally Silly Stuff”

  1. AussieOnTheIzu 22 March 2013 at 8:12 pm Permalink

    I’m so glad you addressed these videos. I’ve seen them before and gotten so angry that I could bring myself to flame them in the comments. Basically they are making excuses for and encouraging Japanese people to make assumptions about foreigners on trains and shaming the NJ for “playing the race card.”

    • Locohama 22 March 2013 at 11:49 pm Permalink

      Hey Aussie, believe me, I feel like you feel. I wasn’t gonna touch them because they’re so obviously concocted to be given undue attention…but, I dunno…they’re so foul, you know? Somebody has got to say something. I think YouTube comment areas breed these kind of videos and mindsets. And unfortunately I think their positions represent a good number of the people living here from all appearances.
      Anyway, i know i didnt say much but i felt compelled to say something…smh

  2. Jennifer 23 March 2013 at 11:08 am Permalink

    Haha … this is so timely for me. I’ve just returned from another gorgeous trip to Japan and I was guilty of taking the photo of the gaijin seat, sending it to a couple of friends from my phone and just generally laughing about it. I think it says more about the foreigners feeling this way about it than the other people on the train. I have found myself at times on a crowded subway and when that seat opens up, I’m just more comfortable hanging onto the strap and reading my phone wedged in with everyone else rather than having to shuffle to sit and rearrange myself. It was that simple. I just couldn’t be bothered!

    Sydney, Australia

    • Locohama 23 March 2013 at 2:49 pm Permalink

      Hey Jen! Yeah, japan is a great place for a short trip. Thanks for the shout.

  3. Chris 23 March 2013 at 2:13 pm Permalink

    That fat brother needs to BRUSH HIS GODDAMN TEETH!!!
    I wouldn’t sit next to his dumpy looking teeth whitening needing ass either.

    The comedy vids…I don’t know about you but they look like the kinda folks I mean mug and they get the fuck outta my way…I don’t know much more about them?

  4. MarkS 24 March 2013 at 12:24 am Permalink

    I’m curious if there is a corollary to the Gaijin Seat? That is, do you find that when you take the only available seat that the people next to you then get up and vacate their seats?

    • Locohama 24 March 2013 at 12:41 am Permalink

      Occasionally but that’s rare…maybe it has happened to me, on the train that is, 10 times in 9 years But they do make it clear how uncomfortable they are with the sitcho almost every time. Also keep in mind that while we are focusing on the empty seat on the train, this phenomenon is EVERYWHERE you go. Cafes, buses, walking down the street, supermarket, barbershop, public toilet…just want to make sure people don’t fixate on the trains too much. This is the Japanese style everywhere all day every day. You just have to develop a tolerance, turn a blind eye, or excuse/rationalize/defend/condescend to it like those in the videos above do…and even I am guilty of doing as well (thus the title of my book) (-; thanks for the shout

  5. Chris 27 March 2013 at 8:44 pm Permalink

    As usual I enjoyed reading this, the seat situation continues. Then I got down to the videos and have to say the chic with the witch hat on….can I video slap her? Really STFU.

    I’m sure it doesn’t matter to her but her videos of the empty seats does not show those trains when they are full and that is THE LAST seat on that car.

    Of course if you ride the train during the middle of the day you’ll see more empty seats. But I’m here to tell you the gaijin seat exist.

    • Locohama 27 March 2013 at 10:47 pm Permalink

      Hey Chris-san!
      Yeah, I really think she was just trying to get a rise outta people with her misinformation campaign. You know many YouTube people will say/do anything for views. She was a sarcastic example of this. Or maybe she really does believe what she says…I don’t which is worse.
      That’s why I didn’t bother really to further dissect what she said. What’s the point? She doesn’t make an argument that could make people actually stop and think. She’s just reiterating what apologists/denialists already believe. Anyone who hasn’t experienced this might take her word for it. Anyone who has experienced this, however, will see her for what she really is. She could never change minds and hearts with a hoax like this.
      Anyway, thanks for the shout yo.

  6. Cedric Domani 12 June 2013 at 6:17 pm Permalink

    Hey Loco. I haven’t been on your blog for quite some time now, though I’ve always been a fan. Got the book too.

    I was a little disapointed that my video was featured on your page as an example of stuff apologists say. First off, the video was supposed to be sarcastic. I should have put a disclaimer at the beginning. My bad.

    I DO NOT condone the behavior of japanese people when it comes to making NJ feel like crap. And yes, better laugh at it because, really, what are you going to do about it? right? I’m new to japan (4 yrs in) and I’m still trying to figure out how to respond to certain things.If you have any solid suggestions for someone who hasn’t been in country as long as you, let a brother know.

    Secondly, to even suggest that just because I’m not African-American, I have no exposure or have little knowledge of segregation and racism is ludicrous. C’mon now, how many brothers you know haven’t experienced it? It follows us like bad credit.

    Hope that cleared a few things. Keep up the good work.



    • Locohama 13 June 2013 at 12:07 am Permalink

      Thats you C? Wow, didn’t know, man lol. But c’mon you know you sounded like you were apologizing for it. You certainly didn’t make it sound like you weren’t serious. You sounded, like I said in the post, that you were using comedy to make your apologetic approach to this. You sounded ljust like the girl in the previous video. I stand by my position that your video is apologetic and rationalizations for and yes condone Japanese idiotic behavior. If that was not your intent, you need to make a new video. Otherwise accept what you’ve created and embrace the fact that it states unequivocally that you DON’T find the gaijin seat problematic AT ALL, ANNNNND people who do need to get over it!
      If that’s not your position then pull the video, cuz the message is loud and clear, albeit humorous.

    • Locohama 13 June 2013 at 12:11 am Permalink

      And kind of contemptuously too… You had an edge at the beginning of the video. If Anyone who thinks microagressions are bullshit and hold people like me contempt and find us oversensitive and delusional watches your video they are gonna LIKE the fuck out of it! LOL and my bad if I sounded like I was suggesting that you didn’t know about segregation and discrimination. I used that bit of hyperbole to make a point.

      • Cedric Domani 13 June 2013 at 7:03 am Permalink

        Hey Loco!

        Yeah it’s me C. I understand what you’re saying a 100%. None of my other videos are serious and I didn’t think people would take this seriously either.(Pulling a BB gun in the middle of it should have been an indication).

        Microagressions are no joke, and if you get it in Yokohama, imagine me living in the country.At times it’s downright open hostility.
        In any case, I’ve pulled the vid. I didn’t have an agenda while posting it other than make light of the issue but I see how it could get misconstrued.




        • Locohama 13 June 2013 at 6:40 pm Permalink

          Sorry Dude. Just calling it like I see it

  7. Taro 3Yen 25 September 2013 at 6:58 pm Permalink

    Be sure to check out the latest cartoon about the “Gaijin Seat” at POLITICOMIX:
    TOKYO 2020 FAQ: Train Men

    • Locohama 28 September 2013 at 12:45 am Permalink

      What a great cartoon…Roberto is the man!

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