February 22, 2007

え-? vs. eh?

My current slightly jaded view of Japan led me down the slippery slope to viewing the gaijinpot forums. A group of more cynical individuals you are unlikely to find. Most - the few giving useful information aside - are frothing at the mouth at the imminent demise of either NOVA, unfortunate foreigners with police problems or visa overstayers, to name but a few.
The website did help me find my current job, so I'm not knocking the site itself. I have learned a lot and the bubble I must have been living in - namely Hiroshima - has well and truly burst.
Its posters/readers - in what seems to be an all too common trend in the foreign community here (from first and second-hand experience) - are people so keen that others fail (or at least face real difficulties) in order that they may gloat over the juicy details.
This attitude also morphs itself into railing against Japan and all its problems. This bitterness comes from I know not where... being here too long? a run of unfortunate events? real/perceived discrimination?
In some cases it is justified though - namely the reaction to the recently published manga-style comic "Secret Files of Foreigners' Crimes":

Translate as "Should we let those damn gaijin trample all over Japan?!"
It is an insulting, racist/xenophobic rant that people are quite rightly disgusted by.

Is it a change in me or in Japan at present? A good question.

Making a small comparison, here are some sample headlines from crime reports - BBC News UK Edition vs. Japan Today:

"Girl watches pet mauled to death"
"Father of seven in breach of Asbo"
"Police identify 169 London gangs"
"Life for samurai sword murderer"
"Uncle in court over toddler death"

"Elderly couple found murdered in Saitama home"
"Woman indicted for murdering husband, dumping body parts"
"Woman gets suspended term for stealing, killing French bulldog"
"Police raid offices of mobster group over fatal shooting"
"JAL passenger threatens crew with knife, then flees terminal in Kagoshima"

No in-depth analysis required and journalistic bias aside, I'm not sure it's the foreigners that Japan should be worrying about. Just thought it was an interesting snapshot of my two countries.

No more gaijinpot forums and a more positive outlook for me!!!

February 4, 2007

...come home.

Been on a downer this week.
It kicked off with a discriminatory police stop with no basis and left me itching to do something about it. But to borrow a description from the card "we" all carry - "aliens" (registered or not) really have no standing.

Live with it/ignore it/get on with it/if you don't like it, go home/it's the culture/it comes with the job - are a few of the maxims offered up.
Still got to me though and I've been here two and a half years....a bit of temporary Japan sickness me thinks.

Derrida got one over on me too. Finished two out of eight chapters - not bad for a first timer! The library due date and a feeling that I'm out of my depth are sending me to replace the book with something more manageable.

However, all is well now. Last night was a fun-filled occasion with steaks, bear sauce, and mini-champagne. Today - breakfast in bed and blogs with my baby.

With the return of sprout, all negative thoughts are fading fast, being replaced by plans for the future, and studies online (if possible).