I have always felt that Japan is one of the most accepting places in the world. For the most part this is very true. In Tokyo for example, I see just about every color of the rainbow. People usually get along very well in Tokyo despite the mix of cultural and racial backgrounds.
Although, in the end Japan belongs to the Japanese. I have always been mindful that Japan is not my birth place. My `right` to be here is very different from the natives. I have been given permission to live in Japan. I have been given permission to call Tokyo my home. While I am grateful to live in Tokyo, a recent experience left me feeling shocked and slightly hurt.
I must say now that I do not live in the downtown area of Tokyo. I live in Adachi-ku in the Aoi area. Aoi is a little neighborhood which is almost completely residential. Oddly enough, Aoi rest in between Kita-Senju and Ayase which are hot beds of gang activity. Usually, these areas are actually pretty safe to hang out in as long as you do not get in the way of `business.` Recently, I was board and really had nothing better to do than wonder around late at night. I took the 20 minute walk to Ayase station just to see what was happening. Well, it was just the usual all night bars,internet cafes, and pink action. The only thing I was really interested in that night was a cold beer. First, I went to a bar that offered a gaijin staff. It was run by a couple of black guys. Almost no body was there but it was Wednesday after all. I did kind find it a little strange that a gaijin bar was located in a building full of pink businesses. They must have a `special` deal with a local gangs or something.
After having an over priced beer I decided I wanted to get away from that building all together. I wondered around a few streets for a while until a spotted a bar with the English name `Come On.` It seemed like an ok place so I went in. I sat down at the bar and I quickly realized that something was not right. Everyone was dressed in black and looking at me like I was the devil. In fact the entire bar, including the tables and chairs, were painted black. I asked for a beer, in Japanese, but was not given one. Instead, a guy came out from the back took me by the arm and booted me out of the place. After tossing me onto the street he simply said to me, `No gaijin sorry.`
A numb feeling took over my entire body. I was in the most extreme state of shock I had ever felt. It was like my brain knew exactly what had just happened but I was unable to feel the correct emotions. I really didn`t know how to react. I remember saying to myself, `did they really just refuse to serve me because I am not Japanese?`
I walked down the street with this numb painful feeling washing over me. I wanted to kick something. I wanted to tell someone what had just happened. I wanted to do something so I could break the unbearable numbing pain. Sadly, there was nothing I could do but just take it.
The experience does not make me hold anything against Japanese people. This is the first time I have ever been toss out of a place just because I am gaijin. I assume this is a very rare thing to happen. I did ask a few of the locals and while they had never heard of the place they did tell me that it was most likely a gangster bar. I still do not know the correct emotions to feel. I have decided to just let it slid off my back. If anyone else has had a similar experience please share it in the comments section.
1 year ago