03 April 2013 ~ 5 Comments

Hi! My Name is Loco…The Lost Chapters (and Comments) #3: Should the Tenets of “Western” Morality Apply in Japan?

Here’s another jewel from the Hunterfly Road Publishing vault. However this one did make it into the book, “Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist”, as part of chapter 3.

I’ve included this post in the series mostly because of the comments it generated at the time. It was one of the more controversial posts of the series and provoked some very interesting feedback (which I’ve conveniently attached to this post, for your reading pleasure.)

So, have a read and brace yourselves!

This Chapter was actually Part 25 of the original (37 part) series.

Enjoy!

 *****

“They are not a moral people,” Patrick said. “At least not moral as we see it.”

“As we see it?” I asked, incredulously. I couldn’t imagine he and I saw anything similarly but I didn’t say so. I just wanted to know how he’d become the most notorious Charisma man in Tokyo…at least as far as Nova was concerned. His exploits were whispered far and wide. His “charismatic” accomplishments were legendary.

“They’re piss poor peasants, practically barbarians…closer to animals than they are to us,” he said.

I couldn’t believe my fucking ears.

“You don’t believe me, do you?” he asked like he were accustomed to having his assertions challenged and thus came prepared to present proof that would satisfy even the most fierce opposition that Japanese people were sub-human.

“Ok, answer me this: what separates us humans from the animal kingdom?” He asked, and folded his arms across his chest.

I was speechless and wasn’t about to engage in this discussion…not seriously, anyway. I just looked at him, trying to decide if he were yanking my chain or not.

I’d seen Patrick several times with different Japanese girls in various locales, and all of them were clearly out of his league. Like this one time I’d run into him at a Starbuck’s in Shinjuku. He was with a straight up Japanese model. She stood out among other Japanese girls the way a Rakim song would stand out in a modern day mix-tape. The prototypical model, flawless in every way, by all appearances. He was sitting there confidently gaming away with his patchy, almost ring-wormy looking haircut, blotchy skin, wearing the suit he’d be wearing every time I saw him. He’d had her locked in a conversation and she clearly couldn’t understand what he was saying well or, I believe, she’d have fled the scene like she’d had an appointment for a Can Cam Magazine photo shoot crosstown 5 minutes from then. But, on the contrary, she was beaming and looked like she wanted to have his little haafu babies right then and there.

“Patrick!” I shouted.

With some effort they both yanked their eyes from one another and looked at me. He registered surprise and embarrassment, and all of the confidence he’d had just moments ago vanished, transforming before my eyes into the sniveling, nervous, twitchy shifty eyed Patrick that almost made me ashamed to share his race…the guy I’d see at the office from time to time.

“L-L-Loco!” was all he’d said.

I’d felt bad, responsible for the depletion of his confidence. Like a cock blocker. So, I decided to keep it moving and pretended to be in a rush. I figured I’d catch up with him another time to find out the details.

And that ‘another time’ happened to be this day, which found us working at the same satellite Nova location. We’d gone to McDonald’s together for lunch and over Big Mac sets I inquired as to his method. I’d wanted to know how this guy, who made even me feel debonair and irresistible by comparison, was able to over-achieve as he was infamously doing.

Only to be told that it had something to do with Japanese being akin to animals???

“Come on, man,” I said. “You don’t really believe that shit, do you? You? As a black man, you ought to know better than that. After all the shit blacks have gone through with white folks thinking like that about us…please tell me you’re kidding.”

He laughed.

“All I know, Loco, is what I’ve learned and what I see… ”

He paused and took a sip of his drink just as a couple of Office Ladies were passing by. One was about to take a seat at the empty table beside ours but the other, after taking a glance at us, called to her–with a little urgency– that there was another table across the room. The other couldn’t understand the urgency until she glanced our way and noticed us. Then she rose and hastily followed her companion to the free table across the room.

Patrick then turned back to me like he’d forgotten I was there.

“Look around us…” he said. “It’s the lunch rush, right? So, why do you think every table in here is occupied except for the two on either side of us?”

I actually hadn’t noticed until he pointed it out.

“You probably think it’s cuz Japanese people are a bunch of racist bastards, right?”

“No,” I said. “I mean, it could be that. But, who knows?”

“I used to think like you…” he said, like a pompous mind-reading fuck. “I used to think that Japanese were racists, or xenophobic, or whatever you want to call it. But now I know better.”

“Okay…” I said, still wondering what this had to do with animals. “So, what’s the real reason, Patrick-sensei?”

“If you were to move away from someone the way they just did, so blatantly, what do you imagine would be going through your mind?”

“I wouldn’t do that…well, I should say, I wouldn’t do that unless there were special circumstances…someone I was trying to avoid on purpose and wanted them to know it, or maybe a homeless person stinking to high hell or something like that. But, I wouldn’t do it otherwise. Not without reason.”

“Why not?”

“Because that’s a fucked up thing to do to someone…”

“Why?”

“Cuz I wouldn’t want anyone to do that to me. You know, that ‘Do unto others…’ thing.”

“Exactly!” he said, like I’d made his point. “You’d have to have a reason. You wouldn’t do it without one.”

“Okay…” I said. “I’m sure they had a reason, too.”

“Are you?” he asked. “Why? Cuz they’re shy? Cuz they’re afraid of people who look different than themselves? Cuz they’re afraid of the unknown?”

“That’s what everybody says…”

“Listen, Loco,” he said in an exasperated tone like he was trying to be patient with me. “I have a very high regard for human beings…and I think humans have a rather high-capacity for rational thinking….don’t you?”

“Some do…yeah.”

“I believe this is what separates humans from animals…”

“So, you think Japanese don’t have a high-capacity for rational?”

“What do you think?” he said like he was teaching a course.

“I think you’ve been here too long…” And, I laughed. But my heart wasn’t in it. And Patrick knew it. He smiled, took a sip of his coke, looking at me over the lid.

“Okay, big deal! They moved. That’s their prerogative, isn’t it?” I asked. “I mean, I’m sure they had a motive…it’s like fight or flight, right? They decided to fly instead of fight. Whatever feelings of discomfort they might have experienced have been neutralized by moving. The way I see it, that’s basic human instinct.”

“I agree and I disagree,” he said. “I think fight or flight is a basic animal instinct…and maybe children. But not complex enough for adult humans. I think human motives should by directed by morals. For me, I think, doing the right thing for the right reason pretty much sums it up. Assuming they are rational beings, if they had even considered what’s the right reason is, or even our dignity as humans for a second they could never have concluded that moving was the right thing to do. Any other motive is beneath contempt.”

moral

“But that’s some western philosophy, dude,” I said. “You can’t apply those western values universally…can you?”

“I do,” he said. “I have to. It’s the only way to protect myself from the onslaught of offenses over here, in the US, hell, anywhere.”

“Huh?”

“You see,” he explained. “I only allow humans to offend me. Adult humans. And once offended, I respond appropriately, dependent on the offense. But, children and animals don’t offend me. Japanese people don’t behave like rational humans and they certainly have no more regard for my dignity than a child or animal would. So, I don’t see why I should recognize in them something they can’t recognize in me. To prove I’m the bigger man? At what price? And for what purpose?”

“So, basically you’re a predator and Japanese animals, particularly the female, are your prey…”

“Something like that,” he laughed.

“That’s really twisted,” I said. “If I understand you correctly, you’re punishing them for lacking the morals you value.”

“Right! So?”

“But, you’ve let this idea you have of them being animals transform you into an animal! By punishing them this way you’re compromising your own morals, aren’t you? Or did I miss something?”

He thought about it for a second. Then he said, “You missed something.”

“What?”

“That, if I don’t see them as human then the guilt you’re trying to play on doesn’t exist,” Patrick laughed. “I’m no more an animal than a cattle rancher is…Or a big game hunter. I’m just a Sportsman, Loco. Pure and simple.”

*****

  

And Now for the Comments!! 

 

 

G.R. 1

Wow, another great read in the series. Also, what a hodgepodge of mixed emotions in this comment section! I won’t talk about what others have said here, I just want to add a little something. This whole series has been a real eye opener for me and many others, from a unique perspective that never fails to entertain. Just the fact that your posts draw such a flurry of positive/negative comments shows that the subject of racism is STILL very much a grey area, and we are far from accepting each other as one and the same.

Call it xenophobia or racism or Iwakan… it’s still there and going strong. It’s sad that some Japanese believe that this is what makes them a cut above as a society, and that they are afraid other cultures will destroy their heritage and uniqueness. They don’t want to register the fact that everyone will be the same color someday, unless we destroy each other in the process.

We live in a very special time Loco- It’s a time where the people of world are just starting to accept each other due to technology and innovation, and we are caught in this sketchy middle ground between the sordid and the ideal. It’s people like you who raise these difficult subjects and speak from the heart who will truly change the future for the better. Keep it up! And stay in trouble lol

Rose  

Hey Loco – I’ve been reading all your posts (and this most recent series) voraciously.

F*ck the haters. You’re doing something important here. Sorry I don’t yet know how to put it all more eloquently, but I’m just so impressed with your writing.

William

Your post has me thinking about the exchange between you and Patrick. For some reason, my memory credits Akira Kurosawa (or was it Keeyes Beech?) with making an observation that, in Japanese culture, there is no concept of sin, much less an original one.

As a person who lives in Japan, your candid reflections are very much appreciated.

I look forward to continue reading your extraordinary blog.

Locohama 

Thanks for the shout William!

No concept of sin. No religiously conceived guilt. No Judeo-Christian ethics and values.

However, there are the Confucius ideas borrowed from the Chinese (among many other things) and he taught of reciprocity, righteousness and virtue. Not to mention social relationships.Confucianism is very evident here, esp when it comes to respect for elders and parents, etc..

Thanks again. and please feel free to comment anytime!

Bored in kanagawa 

Sometimes I wonder if people like MJG even live in Japan.

Locohama 

He lives here! And he has an incredible blog to prove it. He’s a haikyo photographer, and his shoots are off the charts…and he writes gripping fiction! see for yourself: http://www.michaeljohngrist.co…

I really dig his stuff! Non-linear thinking, opened mind and hearted.

I’m really shocked by his comment )-: But I guess I need to get even tougher skin.

Thanks for the shout Bored!

sola 

Wow loco I love this article its plain brilliant, I really enjoyed reading this!

-Sola

Bridget, International woman of mystery 

great writing. keep it up man!

Andy in Tokyo

Loco,

I just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoy your “My Name’s Loco..” posts – please keep them coming. Yours is one of the few Japan-related blogs that I subscribe to these days: it’s fresh, raw and from the heart. If you’re ever in my part of Tokyo and fancy having a beer, let me know!

Andy

Locohama

Hey Andy! Thanks for the shout bruh! And for the love. And i will definitely let you know next time I’m in those parts…in the inimitable words of Arrested Development: …and I am still thirsty (-:

Same to you…if you’re ever in Yokohama, holler!

loco at locoinyokohama dot com

MJG

This is just so distasteful, Loco. This whole thread with you trying to reclaim to word `racist`. I get that you want attention, but still. Every time I see these updates in my twitter stream I think I really need to unfriend you, cos I just don`t want this stuff rearing its head in my life so frequently, especially when I feel we`ve been over this so many times.

People don`t sit next to you. I get it. It makes you feel uncomfortable. OK. How long can you keep milking that cow?

To say to Haku that it`s not a game seems disingenuous to me. You`re approaching the whole thing like it`s a game for your self-aggrandizement. Clearly your charisma man friend approached it the same way- keeping score of what humanity level people have.

Ugh. As to the unfriending, well, that`s obviously my prerogative. It`s clear you`re not going to change your views. I just wish you`d turn your turn your intellect to something more positive instead of this constant harping on about having empty seats either side of you. Why not be pro-active and DO something about i? Organize a positive event to counter-act it- you could call it SIT BY ME and hold flash mob events where you play musical chairs or something, and you set positive examples for the rest of Japan. You could get on the news doing it- as an agent for positive change. Wouldn`t that be better?

This constant airing of old complaints is wearing. I`ll agree that the old chestnut- `if you don`t like this country then leave` is hardly the answer. However- `if you don`t like this country then try to change it` makes perfect sense. What you`re doing now (calling yourself a racist, espousing the views of idiot simpleton `players`) is not going to bring any Japanese to your way of thinking. So get out there and organize some events with a positive message. Be the change you want to see, instead of just crying over how much you don`t see it… I`m sure your Japanese girlfriend will respect you much more for that than for just bitching her people out.

ELSN

MJG, I’m sure the above was an outburst, but seriously?

Why is it Loco’s responsibility to play Sit By Me games, and do you actually think that would change anything? Do you think racism is still around because non-white people just aren’t trying hard enough to change society?

Loco probably isn’t naive enough to believe he has any large influence on most Japanese people’s way of thinking, and thus decides to focus and refine his own first. On his personal blog.

Maybe you should think about why a long-winded self-conscious meditation on race and Japan bothers you SO MUCH that you ask someone NOT to write it. Or remove reminders that it’s being written.

I’m uncomfortable about some things in this series too, but I don’t dismiss them as “complaints.” My god, racism is uncomfortable and painful, that’s the whole point.

Rubi 

My goodness! Sit By Me? Like ELSN said, why is it responsibility of those who endure racism to end it? And why should those who endure racism be ever ready to make nice with people who deny them human dignity?

Locohama

Thanks for the shout ELSN! I really don’t know what to say… Actually I am a bit naïve, though. I do believe that the influence I’ve had on my students, teens and adults, is is going to have an impact. Outside of that like you said I’m just trying to keep my soul intact.

ELSN 

Oh Loco, my bad, I’m sure you have a deep influence on those around you, especially your students (from what I’ve read). You seem to have a growing influence on this corner of the internet too.

Locohama

Thanks for the shout MJG…Yeah it’s an ugly word and I get that you don’t want to see it or deal with it..most people don’t. Most white people don’t even have to, not even here.,.but it’s people who make remarks like yours, that totally discount and marginalize my experience here as “enough already” or reduce it to mere complaining about empty seats (proof positive that either you haven’t read or simply can’t comprehend what’s going on here) It’s almost as offensive as the Japanese foolishness i’ve absorbed into too deep a location to just play musical chairs in a public “Sit By Me” I’m human too PR event. (What silliness…I expected more from you MJG) Anyway. feel free to unfriend me or whatever cuz this is my adventure and if you’re not along for the ride, I understand…dealing with real shit aint for everyone. And if you think I’m going about the wrong way there is definitely a more respectful way to point it out than what you’ve done…At least I hope so. Peace!

Locohama

Actually, MJG, I am a little put off by your comment. I mean, sure, most of your comments here have been critical, but almost always respectfully and reflective of having read the post and absorbed it to some extent. You’ve understood my motive, my intent, and when clarification was needed, I could count on a comment from you saying so.

So to receive a comment like this from you, someone I considered an especially discerning reader, has given me pause. Considerable pause. I mean, if some commenter just popped in here, and hadn’t been around since damn near the beginning (like you have) I would not give their criticism as much weight.

Two years into this blog, I am, and the majority of it has been about kids and work and schools and Yokohama, and yes some of it deals with the elephant in the room. My posts on the foolishness I have to endure here can be a bit more intense, I admit, (and typically the only ones you leave your long thoughtful comments on) but to malign them as “constant airing of complaints”??? To throw this whole series under the bus as “self-aggrandizement” and my want for “attention”??? And to call me “disingenuous” when I tell a reader that I’m seriously dealing with racist feelings that I haven’t had to deal with for years (and he must have thought was some metaphor for unhappy or something)…Man, MJG, you’ve really fucked me up with that.

I’ve re-read your comment about 10 times now trying to decide whether it’s I who have gone off track and undertaken something too unwieldy for me, or have you just decided that you don’t like my approach to this issue, nor having to see the word “racist” claimed or reclaimed (not sure what the hell that meant) on your feed or wherever so you’ve decided to trash the whole thing?

Maybe it’s my ego that tells me if you read it thoroughly you could not possibly feel this way. I mean, I’ve attracted quite a few trolls (as you might imagine) but I wouldn’t say there has been any added attention. And I really don’t understand how describing ones life experience, the highs and lows, can be held up as aggrandizement. Of course I might be guilty of a bit of that (what writer isn’t?) but not to the point where I feel it’s a remarkable characteristic or a distraction from the point of my writing.

I really don’t know what else to say about your perplexing comment except to reiterate for u and other readers hopping on a train well underway: Loco is trying to figure out some things. Thinking aloud and in print. You’re welcome to read and comment and trash if you like. Just be respectful if you can.

Ken Gtwo 

People have their (mis)perceptions of Japan, and they simply hate to have them tampered with. I find some of the Japanophile/Japan Fetishers react even more negatively than Japanese people upon hearing the gory details of what really goes on “on the street” here.

It’s funny. You teach, work alongside, and interact with hundreds (or possibly thousands) of people here for years, but you’re still somehow not qualified to talk about what goes on around you on a daily basis. Like you must have mis-interpreted the same shit over and over and over again. It can’t possibly be real. It can’t possibly be true, so therefore there must be something wrong with you.

It’s real refreshing to hear someone boldly tell the truth about the unseen underbelly of Japan.

Thanks Dude!

MJG 

Was I disrespectful? I thought I was simply direct. Perhaps though seeing your cheerful ‘coming out’ as a racist so many times in my feeds annoyed me. Loco- I don’t like you calling yourself a racist. It’s true I haven’t read every article in this series, because the title always turned me off, like a celebration of hate. So I’ll focus in on that one word. Do you really think of yourself as a racist, or is it just an exaggerating headline to get attention?

If you really think that way- then it just saddens me you haven’t been able to find a better way to focus the hurt you’ve obviously felt from people refusing to sit or stand next to you. I mentioned a SIT BY ME event as the first thought in my head, but it’s not the only possibility. The answer is plainly not to call yourself a racist though. You’re not going to win over any hearts and minds with that attitude.

As to whether changing hearts and minds is your responsibility or not- well, you’re the one who gets hurt, while the Japanese who offend you presumably are unaware of the hurt they’re causing. You can hardly expect them to change behaviour they don’t know is wrong. You, or someone, has to educate them if it is to stop. At least you’d be doing something and wouldn’t feel so powerless, a feeling which I think has been leaking through these blog posts for 2 years now. Empower yourself and try to make the change or find a way to deal with it yourself. Anything else, I’ll confess, seems just like bitter and powerless complaining to me.

On the other hand If you don’t truly consider yourself a racist and are just using that term to get attention, then its quite distasteful.

NB- I’m not debating whether Loco has had these experiences or not, nor whether they are hurtful or not. He and I have settled that question before. I’m a white guy in Tokyo and haven’t shared his experience, but that’s subjective and only he knows what he felt. What I’m debating is the way he’s dealing with his experience, and his subsequent self-appellation of racist. There are better ways.

Locohama

MJG, maybe that’s the tone you always use so you can’t even hear yourself anymore, but yes what you call direct sounds distinctly like condescension. And since you haven’t read the series I won’t get into it because clearly you don’t GAF. But all your questions that incited your outburst are addressed in the series, in parts 1 & 2 a matter of fact. But anyway… To be respectful, All you had to say from the start was: “Loco…I haven’t read your series so i can’t speak to its content. All I can say is I don’t like the title because I find the use of the word “racist” distasteful.and it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t plan to read it based on that feeling. I respect you too much to stand on the sidelines in ignorance and spit at you, though, so i’m just gonna refrain from commenting at all”

Something like that, MJG, would’ve been fine with me!

MJG

You’re right, that’s what I should have said.

Rubi

I’m curious as to why you see his title as a cheerful coming out or celebration of hate. If the word “racist” were exchanged for “alcoholic”, would you -after repeatedly seeing the title in your feeds- have developed the same impression?

Also I want to push back against this idea that the only acceptable ways to react to experiences of racism/xenophobia/iwakan are those that make members of the majority feel comfortable. Especially since these posts are less an anti-racist campaign and more a deeply personal exploration of race and race in Japan.

Would I be correct to infer that the way Loco is dealing with his experiences for the past two years has prompted you to do the more effective things you allude to? Perhaps you could describe the things you’ve been doing to challenge the views and behaviours you’ve seen in some of your Japanese counterparts?

Chris Ballard 

Dear MJG

We are both white so I feel we have this natural connection. Can you feel it buddy? I got my “White” card, i know you got yours too. ;)

Let’s be honest. There are 2 kinds of colored’s.( Blacks, negro’s or whatever they call themselves nowadays) The ones who have been arrested and convicted and the ones who never get caught for their crimes.

I understand your wanting to un-friend him and stuff. Who the fuck is he anyway? Expressing his own views on his own blog. Dude is batshit crazy! It must be all that reefer the colored’s smoke. They mix it with the baby’s milk and give it to their infants. That’s some nuts shit right there.

Anyway, we both know that his descriptions of racism in Japan are way overblown and his experiences might have never really happened . Yeah, I got your little zinger at him in the other post. Remember I’m white too. I see your points ;)

The depiction of Japan as an overtly racist society can’t be proven. I ain’t buying it. The looks I get? The security guards that always follow me in shopping centers, the random police checks, The fathers who grab their daughters hands and bravely position themselves between me and their Princesses, the local clubs that refuse me entry because I’m not Japanese, the constant staring, the smiles and tatemae which disappears when I’m next in line, the empty seats next to me. The black trucks screaming for me to get out and my neighbors lack of unease about it. The possible next prime minister says stuff like

“It’s very admirable that people exercised their freedom of choice and free will in such a time of crisis,” he said. “I like Americans but they’re somewhat like single-celled organisms.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-25/japan-ruling-party-s-ozawa-says-americans-are-single-celled-organisms-.html

What I’m really trying to say is, you got your head way up in your ass son. Your all fucked up. If you ever made that final zinger re:girlfriend to my face I would put you down in one brass punch. I’d then smash your camera into fucking pieces. Or steal it? Who knows?

Locohama

Chris, youre illmatic! LMMFAO!!!

Hawaiibadboy

“Be the change you want to see, instead of just crying over how much you don`t see it… I`m sure your Japanese girlfriend will respect you much more for that than for just bitching her people out. ”

Crying??… would be what you’ll be doing if I ever got lucky enough to scratch your chin with my brass knuckles. Of course I would then pick-up your camera to snap shots of you picking up your own teeth.

How can you have your own head up your ass while sucking on Japanese dick at the same time?

“Every time I see these updates in my twitter stream I think I really need to unfriend you,”

No MJG!! Noooooooooo!!

Please give Loco another chance! PLEASE!!

He didn’t mean to talk about HIS feelings. (between just you and me…I think…you know…the coloreds…they smoke a lot of that weed and it messes with em”) Don’t tell Loco I said that please.

You gotta rethink this un-friend stuff.

What if Loco goes the other way?? Rejects your advice and keeps blogging on HIS blog about how HE feels?? WTF then?? What are we gonna do??

P.S.

I was not serious about the brass Knucks comment. I’d actually just smash the fucking thing on your hands while you were feeling around on the ground for your teeth.

Sorry for the confusion

Peace and love and ignorant bliss to you and yours.

XWH

I’m sorry if this is off-topic, but I honestly didn’t know you were white! This is the former WH btw, but vox got shut down.

Locohama

“what if Loco goes the other way?” WHOA, Horse! Loco only goes one way…the way of the afro-samurai! Ask my shorty! She’ll tell u! LMAO

Thanks for the love, bruh, as always!!!

Chris Ballard 

I did 2 posts by mistake :( I thought the 1st try hadn’t made it?

Anyway..

Clowning on MJG is as easy as…

Shooting fish in a barrel.

Actually, it’s as easy as just looking at fish in a barrel.

To be honest, clowning on MJG is as easy as

Being in a room somewhere near the barrel of fish..

It’s just….it’s just too fucking easy. This is what it must feel like to beat up a handicapped child.

Not cool. So, I’ll stop.

Again, sorry for the multi comments :)

blackchild

Good old white privilege. Thanks MJG for letting us all know that you are tired of hearing about things you don’t have to deal with.

じゃn – John – Gian

I can understand your point of view, or as Loco would say -“I feel you”.

But I think, that if you give him the time he needs, he will make his point.

Moreover, if you read carefully, you’ll find that Loco here is just reporting something others said, and what happened to him, dressing it with his emotions and point of view. I don’t think he’s a racist: he’s trying in anyway to get the dark thoughts out of his mind, yelling out, and writing it down.

That’s my IMHO, and I, as Odysseus said -“am nobody”.

Rose 

If it offends your delicate sensibilities so much, stop reading. It’s not that hard.

Loco is doing important work simply by having this series of posts be so open, honest and introspective. He’s not only calling out the racism he sees in Japan, but the racist tendencies he sees in himself. We readers should be doing nothing but encouraging him. And if you can’t do that, then kindly STFU.

Xamuel 2 comments collapsed Collapse Expand This series is amazing O_O Keep it up!! Not sure where I stand on the philosophy raised in the post, but one thing’s for sure, the salarymen certainly *work* themselves like animals :P When your creepy buddy isn’t exploiting the women, their own bosses are -_-

Ken Gtwo

“salarymen certainly *work* themselves like animals”

I’ve often thought Japanese people (particularly in crowded Tokyo) submit themselves to conditions, which from my point of view, seem less than human, and remind me very much of “modern” farm animal conditions. The trains, the cramped spaces, the lack of comfortable environmental controls indoors, etc.

There’s a transfer point in Shimo Kitazawa where you go from the Keio to the Odakyu line, Odawara direction. The Keio Inokashira line is always packed in the evening. The way down to the Odakyu line narrows and descends as you go. I call it “The Chute”. When I go that way in a crowd, I am reminded of an animal auction barn from my childhood, where animals were herded into the auction ring, or back out into narrow space. I often let out a MOO! or pig squeal when going through there at night with friends after a few drinks.

WC

His logical is scarily whole and self-supporting.

Will Loco find a flaw in this logic? Will he convince his friend that Japanese are humans? Find out next time on ‘Hi My Name Is Loco And I Am A Racist’.

Locohama blogger, writer, teacher, not necessarily in that order 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand Thanks for the shout WC…Tune in Tomorrow (or Wednesday) indeed lol

XWH

Hey Loco, thank you for not being afraid of telling it like it is.

btw, the guy you linked to about the haafu (http://japanesecultureandlangu…, wtf? who does that guy think he is?

This is WH (workahostess), but I had to move to a new place because vox is getting shut down (sniff). Got you on my blogroll though!

Haikugirl

Oh my. I don’t really know how to comment except to say that I hope I never meet the guy you were talking to!! Also, nice to read a blog about a controversial topic. I can see you’re not afraid, and I like that.

Locohama 

Thanks Haikugirl…don’t be mistaken though. it’s scary out there!! very!

drop a line any time (-:

Loco

Ken Gtwo

That’s some heavy shit. I have heard similar talk from others, and in my darkest Japan hours have even entertained such notions.

The most rational explanation I can come up with is that GENERALLY Japanese people are trained from childhood to only care about their in-group (so they might even treat an out-group Japanese person similarly). And GENERALLY the highest that in-group concept can go is the “family” of Japanese people within the nation of Japan (i.e. not beyond Japan’s shores.)

I think humans basically share the same sense of moral obligation towards other humans, but they generally find it easier to exempt themselves of said moral responsibility towards those outside their in-group, and that seems particularly true of conservative/traditional/exclusive type groups of people (A lot of Japanese people, American Neo-con/Teabaggers, various religious fundamentalists, etc.). So in a sense these folks ARE looking at different others as non-human, or less than human, and therefore not worthy of moral consideration.

I think your colleague just sees that in Japanese and decided just to turn the thing back around on them. (Or at least that’s what I think about the times I’ve slipped into such thinking).

I haven’t read the whole series yet, so apologies if I’ve missed or repeated something from other posts/comments.

PS: How that relates to race is, race is a kind of in-group.

Locohama

Thanks G.R.!

I love the way you put that! Racial Deconstruction may indeed be the resolution of all the nonsense. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Produce Stand

He would be an awesome villain , trying to pull you into the dark side!

Locohama

Thanks PS! If he were a hollywood villain they’d probably screw it up and have him played by Jamie Foxx,

C87

Great read as always.

Locohama

Thanks, as always (-;

Jim Haku

That is some Klan-type bullshit thinking. This dude sounds like just a misogynist who has found a race-based ego-saving justification for it, which is bizarre given his own race. You play to his self-flattery a bit by saying he’s “punishing” the girls. If we’re talking consensual acts between adults among whom non-committal sex and birth control aren’t moral issues, then HE is just someone exotic to have sex with. It’s really an equal transaction but he’s gotta make it some bigger thing where he is the dominator. Maybe people don’t sit next to him in diners because he gives off a creepy predator vibe because he IS a creepy predator. (In his own mind, which he thinks of as positive.) This guy is a wreck if he’s not a sociopath.

Locohama

Well, I don’t know how the Klan think so i can’t comment on that. Care to expand on that? He does have some misogynistic ideas. And though I couldn’t get with him then (6 years ago) on his philosophy I can definitely empathize with some of his thoughts and feelings now (for some reason) ..But I am a racist so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised

thanks for the shout haku

Jim Haku

You said it yourself…blacks were treated as sub-human. If he were straight-up raping girls, he would using the lyncher’s justification. It might even be sub-Klan thinking if you buy their lines about only being against the mixing of races. If you really think this way you’re kinda being an asshole by continuing to live there. Are you really gonna be like, “maybe the Klan has a point”? You can’t give into that bullshit. I don’t think you are a racist or I wouldn’t bother. All people are animals, not every action is logical. Japan has a different intellectual history and a different way of dealing with feelings. This guy’s theories are easily tested by trying his game on some Japanese-Americans, see how far that gets.

Jeff

Nah, I don’t think he has racist thinking, at least from what i’ve read in this series (notice that I use the word “series”, Loco? i make sure not to miss an episode ;-) ). Patrick just sounds like hes playin’ the game, and his thinking servers as a confidence booster to ultimately help him win bigger, IMO. I’ve never been a player in my life; I get so nervous that my voice turns into a pre-pubescent teenage squeak just trying to ask a girl on a date or something. I can only assume that it takes a hell of a lot of confidence to go after many girls, one after the other. I’m sure its a big rush for those who enjoy it too. I would assume that if Patrick were a minority in some other country, he would divine up some other logic to help strategize his situation and modify his thinking to boost his confidence. I’ve known a couple players (known, not friend-ed) who think of the silliest things just to boost their confidence in bagging woman.

Anyways, thats my take. I’ll be waiting for the next installment. Same Loco channel, same Loco time.

Locohama blogger, writer, teacher, not necessarily in that order 3 comments collapsed Collapse Expand Sorry to disappoint you haku. Maybe you thought this was some kind of game show. this is the real world. I’ve been trying to explain that and I think you’re finally getting it (a little) cuz you called me an asshole. Not that leaving here would be a solution. I’d still be a racists…only in another country…Nope I think japan is actually the best place to deal with this if it is to be dealt with. Can’t run. No I’m not a shitkicker like klans people (my girl and some of my best friends are japanese) god i feel funny saying that, I’m a poser as I mentioned several times throughout this series (you’ve been following closely?) and the purpose of it is to hopefully uncover something useful in resolving my issue…if not, maybe I’ll help some reader work out theirs…if not, at least it”ll be entertaining or engaging. You seem to think that intelligent people can’t be racist posers. YOU ARE WRONG! That’s like saying the same thing about alcoholics or drug addicts or AIDS patients. Intelligence is irrelevant. If you don’t want to be bothered anymore I”ll understand. Hell nobody likes a racist. Even if he’s just a relatively “harmless” poser like me. Believe me I know how you feel. I used to HATE the motherfuckers until I looked in the mirror one day and saw one looking back at me…Now I gotta deal with this shit…or else!

Peace

jason 

Back in one of my sociology classes in university, the general conclusion was that EVERYONE is racist, at least after that stage of early childhood when kids will play with anyone and everyone equally and have no issue with what they look like. It’s programmed into every culture in the world to trust the ‘we’ and distrust the ‘they’ and easy to define things like pigmentation are one of the easiest ways to categorize people in that way.

That isn’t to defend racism as having value (In the modern information age, I don’t think it benefits anyone in any way) but it is something we’re all socialized into to a greater or lesser extent from the outset. Of course, walking the multicultural walk is a lot harder than talking the talk. My (japanese) wife and I are both good at intellectually recognizing when something is a cultural difference, but we aren’t always so good at suppressing our instinctive reaction to cultural values being challenged long enough to discuss something or find a compromise.

The reaction thing is a perfect example. Moving away from something we find frightening or even simply out of place is not an uncommon behavior pattern. If I notice a large unattended bag or the like on a train, I get the hell away from it, it’s out of place and I want none of that. The problem is accepting that the majority of the population of a nation of reasonably intelligent human beings can be ignorant of how those responses could feel…

But it IS true. Most Japanese have never stopped to think of something from another perspective. It simply hasn’t been necessary for long enough that it’s a basic part of who they are. Growing up in a country that is as multicultural as the USA, coming to someplace that’s 97% comprised of one ethnic group is surreal. Dealing with their reactions to things can be traumatic simply because of things we are equipped to deal with that they aren’t.

Enough of them have grown up in international school, lived overseas for a while, or simply gotten to know a few foreigners well enough to NOT react the way that the others do, and those exceptions serve to highlight the rule. Even though they are the majority, the people who react badly to us stand out even more in light of the fact that some of them treat us like we expect to be treated.

Before I left the states, I worked as a volunteer teacher in an exchange program for Japanese students to study English at my university. During one of my classes, two of the girls in the class came up to the main teacher and I and asked a question that kind of floored me at the time, “Why do you have racism in America? We don’t have anything like that in Japan…” Now, I was a student of Japanese history, and knew enough bits of culture to KNOW they were a mile off base… Burakumin neighbourhoods, third generation Japanese residents of Korean descent who will probably never be granted the rights of citizenship, exclusion from arranged marriages for even the slightest hint of non-wa Japanese descent, etc. etc. etc… That’s without even touching on their reactions to foreigners on their own soil today…

What they were really asking about was hate crimes, which you do see decidedly less of here, at least making it into the news… But nevertheless, that degree of ignorance of their own history and culture is pretty normal here. I think it is easier to recognize racist behavior in others than in yourself, and I suspect that’s one of the things going on within Loco’s current series of posts. I think he’s describing the process that led to that realization.

This has turned into a major ramble, but I guess my main point is that everyone is racist, the only question is how aware of it we are, and whether we deem the behavior unacceptable enough to warrant fighting against that tendency or not.

Locohama 

Well Said Jason! Thanks for such a well thought out and respectful, considerate response. I would agree with most of what you’ve said esp: “The problem is accepting that the majority of the population of a nation of reasonably intelligent human beings can be ignorant of how those responses could feel…” and ”

Enough of them have grown up in international school, lived overseas for a while, or simply gotten to know a few foreigners well enough to NOT react the way that the others do, and those exceptions serve to highlight the rule. Even though they are the majority, the people who react badly to us stand out even more in light of the fact that some of them treat us like we expect to be treated.”

Statements like those let me know I’m not alone (cuz damn I feel isolated sometimes…like I’m ona of a precious few who can see this elephant in the room and think it shouldn’t be ignored)

It’s enough to make you feel paranoid, I swear…thanks for telling me it aint just in my head (-:

 

*****

Well, that’s about it for part 3 of the lost chapters. Hope you enjoyed it! I’ll be doing another in the days to come. Look out for it (-;

***If you’re wondering why I pasted the comments inside this post, it’s because they’re from a comment system called “Disqus” which I don’t use anymore, mainly because I had so much trouble transferring my comments to and from Disqus. Now most of the comments from 2010 are in Disqus limbo and can’t be accessed unless I turn on Disqus again… )-; ***
 
 
 

Loco

603676_10151453960259299_1134124145_n

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.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

5 Responses to “Hi! My Name is Loco…The Lost Chapters (and Comments) #3: Should the Tenets of “Western” Morality Apply in Japan?”

  1. Brad 3 April 2013 at 6:44 pm Permalink

    Good read!

    • Locohama 3 April 2013 at 9:14 pm Permalink

      Thanks Brad! Glad you dug it

  2. Chris 3 April 2013 at 10:52 pm Permalink

    I tried to warn everybody bout’ dem colored folk.

    Now look…HE WROTE A GODDAMNED BOOK!!!! ;)

    Oh man…what fun…I was so wound up I double clutched and threw 2 comments.
    Awesome!!! :)

    • Locohama 3 April 2013 at 11:53 pm Permalink

      Lol but they wouldn’t listen to you would they? Man I get that all the time!
      Hers’s to double clutches and awesome posts (and books of course)! May there be many more to come from both of us!

  3. rayray 22 May 2013 at 1:10 pm Permalink

    that’s an interesting take. There’s one thing i’ve learned about Asians, from living around them and from being one as well, which is that we are somewhat taught to rely heavily on stereotypes to base our opinions and judgements. Likewise that the Golden Rule doesn’t really apply in most Asian cultures.

    Living in downtown LA as a newly arrived immigrant, there was a sort of sense that was ingrained in you; to be cautionary around African Americans (this was prior to the riots). It wasn’t taught through word of mouth or by any explicit means (maybe sometimes it was), but it was more learned through watching the motions and actions of others around you.

    Undoubtedly, I believe what you experience in Japan are the results of this same kind of learning and stereotyping, emboldened and amplified by the fact that there are very few African Americans to prove this type of thinking to be contrary to reality. Undoubtedly, while fear and stereotypes probably attribute much to your daily experiences, I believe the follow the herd mentality found in Japan make things much tougher.

    I’m curious, do you see this happen to other races (besides Caucasian)?


Leave a Reply

*

%d bloggers like this: