Yesterday I got up and went to my old school Konan to see my favorite office people ever, and my three good friends from the school. Before the body of this post let me tell the rest of the Konan people... Wow the summer people have it easy. Their B class would have been behind our A class. Ok but, the meat of this post comes from what I don’t like to see in Japan: stupid gaijin. When I see people who are angry and frustrated due to their deficit view of foreign cultures and languages I wish they would have their passports revoked. Waiting for the train there was a white guy complaining rather loudly and animatedly (for a perturbed dork) to his apparently Japanese girlfriend who was nonchalantly eating a teriyaki burger from McDonlad’s. He was complaining about some sort of miscommunication about meeting the girl I assume, but all of his complaints were of his own mistake it occurred to me. Of course I’m just reporting what I overheard of the argument and can’t be sure of the whole situation at all. He seemed to be complaining about not being able to understand how to read the names of the train stations and having the count the stations to get from one point to another. This is just stupid. I cannot read all of the Kanji of the station names, but I can remember what the symbols look like, also there are the station names written in romanji throughout the trains and the stations. Counting the stations between stops is a good tool to use for navigation, but relying upon it solely is laziness. A second complaint is that he did not know of Namba station. Now, he looked somewhat like someone who has a job here, but even a small attention to ones surroundings in Osaka will make you very aware of Namba one of the towns 4 largest train stations. His third complaint was about the supermarket and its two isles of food. This struck me as just silly as, thanks to the map I carry with me, I knew there was a decently big market just on the other side of the station. Also the guy’s way of getting his point across to his apathetic girlfriend was repetition and increasing the volume of his voice. This guy, who looked like he never was able to pull a girlfriend in his native country, was crying. It was an adult cry of “everything here is different and I cannot cope with it through the me first English-only worldview that I have burdened myself with.” It makes me sad to see a 30 year old man crying like a little baby over stupid easily solved and understood cultural differences like this. Instead of learning from the differences in this foreign culture compared from his native culture and using those differences to build frames with which to live he instead has chosen to cry. I don’t feel bad for the girl, she could be training him or keeping him stupid on purpose to maintain control over him, and then outbursts like this are part of the game and her attitude towards him is the sign of her knowhow. It is stupid to get angry over things that can be so simply solved, but to make these things simple it takes a change of the way one views a foreign language and culture from an exclusive to an inclusive one.
I might seem a bit harsh and mean to the guy in this post, he might be a nice person. Who knows. It is his manner that I am critiquing which made me see problems in his adjustment to Japan, and maybe his choice in girlfriends too.