Monday, September 28, 2009
I get this strange feeling of being an outlaw of sorts in Tokyo. Not only am I a minority by default but i am also kind of unique among my fellow gaijin. I have noticed that there are not a lot of southern people in Japan. If my memory serves me right, I have only met two people from the rebellious south. So I am a rare breed indeed here in the land of the raising sun.
I have experiences that a lot of people here just don`t have. For example, how many people living in Japan can say they have floated down the tug river on a car hood with a small gang of friends drinking cheap wine? I have clear memories of hanging-out at an abandoned poor drinking 40oz, smoking weed, and trying to deal with the shit situation life had handed us. My education on the `way life works` is very different from my fellow Tokyojin.
The uniqueness of my life experience sometimes causes misunderstandings. While this is expected, it stills gets under my skin sometimes. I have to give the Japanese a lot of `benefit of the doubt` due to the fact I am from a different culture. They sometimes don`t understand why I have tattoos, speak with a heavy southern accent, speak my mind as I wish, and enjoy breaking the rules a little(these are just a few things they have a hard time wrapping their head around). What gets them the most I think is the fact that I display an extreme lack of worrying about `saving face.`
I tend to stick to my own individuality even when I should just `go with the flow` at times. It really throws them for a loop when I express an opinion that is opposite from everyone else at the table. I think the Japanese sometimes feel I am disagreeing with them, when in reality I am simply expressing my own take on any given issue. I actually find it a little funny when they all stop talking and look at each other in amazement. It is as if they do not know how to react to an opinion different from the group.
There is also the whole thing of some Japanese finding me to be so-called `scary.` I know I am a little rough, yet that is not what is freaking them out at times. When I walk to do so in a very upright manner or with my hands in my pockets while slightly slouching my shoulders. My hair is also something which gets them sometimes. I wear a pomp which I have come to find out the majority of Japanese associate with `bad people.` Feeling no desire to change my choice of dress or manner of walking, I try to win them over with my `sparkling personality.` It seems the Japanese don`t take well to people who are a little edgy. They seem to like shit eating grins and rainbow happiness, which is not what I am about at all. I have had to learn to show them I am okay just a little different from most people. It takes time but eventually they get what I am all about. A few times I took it as far to explain to them the `greaser lifestyle.` I also have had a few request for knowledge about The American South.
The Japanese are a interesting bunch for sure. They seem to misunderstand people way too easy. You have to give in to them a bit for them to be able to make any attempt to try and understand you. It is strange for sure but I enjoy the challenge.