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Flying Shogi

Being in Japan as an Asian

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So currently studying abroad in Japan and I had my final exam today for the first semester. I was studying on the Japan Railway(JR) and some high school guys got on and they stood next to me as I was studying. I knew what I was studying is easy to a Japanese person and I overheard one of them saying "this is too easy." I was already nervous for the exam so them looking down on me was not something I needed. As a defense mechanism, I decided to put my study materials away and started random crap in my notebook in English and the same guys were apparently impressed.

Just yesterday there was a speech contest and one of my classmates talked about her experiences as a fellow Asian in Japan. Both of us are in Japan for the first time so it's natural there are things that we did not understand when we just got here. In her speech, she talked about her first time riding the streetcar(市電). She mistakenly put her money in the wrong slot and was judged for it. However, when a fellow non-Asian program participant struggled with the same problem, said fellow program participator was met with kindness. Call me biased after today but I personally don't find it hard to believe.

Another fellow Asian classmate of mine was also looked down upon when his family moved to Japan when he was younger(can't remember when or if he said it or not) but he was not born in Japan. He said his classmates made fun of him because he couldn't read basic Kanji or simple words, which is understandable since he just had just moved to Japan and it was a new world for him. He said that he hated studying Japanese because of the bullying. I unfortunately was not paying full attention since I was MC'ing the latter half of the contest and also had to write comments for all of the speech contest participants. But I did catch the part that he said he started liking Japanese and thus wants to further his Japanese skills through the program.

Now, I'm not saying that Japan is the worst place to be as an Asian person. I've made friends through this program and I enjoy studying Japanese and will continue to do so. I was very excited to come to Japan but I didn't expect Japan to be perfect. I didn't come with high expectations so I can take things in as I experienced them. Sure I expected certain things like being able to eat good ramen. However, this does not mitigate the fact that I felt angry about what happened on the train this morning. To be honest, I have faced discrimination back in the US as well and while I wasn't the happiest camper, I was able to brush it off. I don't know why this experience is sticking with me. Maybe because it's very recent or maybe because I was looked down upon by another Asian person? But it's not like that hasn't happened to me either. Or maybe my I subconsciously expected Japan to be perfect and that image was shattered. Who knows. And thus was my first Tanabata.

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Your illusions were too high, obviously, no country is perfect and each has his great things and his bad things. Discrimination and intolerance is everywhere. Funny is, today I went to the hospital and there was a book with a quote, it said: ''Travelling has fatal consequences for intolerance, discrimination and closed minds''. Wise quote.

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You're right. I mean it's something that I've wanted to do for a long time and I fell into my own trap. Either way, it's something to learn from.

What was the name of the book that came with the quote?

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You're right. I mean it's something that I've wanted to do for a long time and I fell into my own trap. Either way, it's something to learn from.

What was the name of the book that came with the quote?

I think it was a magazine, and magazines often come with inspirational quotes and this stuff. The guy who said that is called Mark Twain.

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I'm teaching in China at the moment and it's apparently the same over here based on what I've heard from a few American Asians I've met. Or maybe even worse since their pay check will typically be lower than a white person who has exactly the same credentials. On the street though I doubt they're intentionally being racist. They just don't realise you're foreign so think you should have more of an idea of how things work.

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This was always a concern I had as I know I'll be studying abroad in Japan in a year. I always wondered how, in detail, it would he like to be an Asian foreigner in Japan because there are so many jvloggers on YT who talk about their experience but not very many are asian and they look clearly like foreigners. I understand full well that we won't get the gaijin card and get a free pass on easy things and eitquette.

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I'm teaching in China at the moment and it's apparently the same over here based on what I've heard from a few American Asians I've met. Or maybe even worse since their pay check will typically be lower than a white person who has exactly the same credentials. On the street though I doubt they're intentionally being racist. They just don't realise you're foreign so think you should have more of an idea of how things work.

I wonder why Asian Americans get paid less. I've heard about this from somewhere before. Have you seen this video before? This guy is venting about his experiences in China. I personally think he speaks better Chinese than I do lol

I don't think the high school guys were being intentionally ill. With regards to being recognized as a foreigner, most of the Japanese people I have interacted with were able to tell me apart since I usually dress in jeans and a business casual dress shirt with a regular T shirt under it. Obviously can't expect this from everyone. I stand out enough that I get stared at though.

This was always a concern I had as I know I'll be studying abroad in Japan in a year. I always wondered how, in detail, it would he like to be an Asian foreigner in Japan because there are so many jvloggers on YT who talk about their experience but not very many are asian and they look clearly like foreigners. I understand full well that we won't get the gaijin card and get a free pass on easy things and eitquette.

I've heard that as a non-Asian person in Japan, the interest in non-Asians seem to be at the surface level, according to some people I talk to. Stuff like "where are you from?" and "why are you in Japan?" There are cases where Japanese people want to practice English too.

I sat next to this elderly gentleman on the bench yesterday waiting for the bus and he was surprised when he learned that I came from America. We didn't talk much but I enjoyed talking with him. I usually don't get questions like these and I do have to appreciate that since these type of questions get tiring really quick.

Edited by Magician Lugh

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I wonder why Asian Americans get paid less. I've heard about this from somewhere before. Have you seen this video before? This guy is venting about his experiences in China. I personally think he speaks better Chinese than I do lol

I don't think the high school guys were being intentionally ill. With regards to being recognized as a foreigner, most of the Japanese people I have interacted with were able to tell me apart since I usually dress in jeans and a business casual dress shirt with a regular T shirt under it. Obviously can't expect this from everyone. I stand out enough that I get stared at though.

I'd say it's all about appearances. It just looks better if you have someone that looks like they're from a foreign culture teaching your foreign language. It's easy to judge but I'm sure the same sort of stuff goes on in the west. I could easily imagine a dark skinned Algerian getting a job as a French teacher over a white native.

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I'm an expat living in China, not Asian. Now I know China is not Japan, but I think these two countries (and other East and Southeast Asian nations) are culturally very similar inasmuch as they play host to extreme xenophobia and racism by American or even European standards.

This may not be a popular opinion here, but I think Magician Lugh should just chill and get a better bullshit filter. Nothing to be gained when you're living abroad from having a delicate ego.

In my experience Asian-Americans and other Asian-Westerners have the best hand of all the expats. They get all the same privileges as any non-Asian when they definitively play the nationality card, but at the same time get to miss out on a massive amount of harassment.

There are benefits to having the same skin color as the local elite: For example, you aren't the world's biggest mark to every scammer and slightly dishonest dealer around, you don't have the traffic police tap on your window at a red light because they don't believe you could possibly have a fully legal license and registration, you don't get people of all ages descriptions loudly discussing you in pejorative ways about you because they assume you can't understand, and you won't find kids pulling your hair, shouting "fuck you", or randomly running away in fear in public places. That's just real. And everybody knows Asian-Americans, etc., can get the most and the classiest ladies if they have even a hair of charisma. A blue or whatever color passport plus a skin color that won't make everyone stare at her and call her a whore is a winning combination.

As for Asians getting lower salaries when teaching English regardless of nationality, that's a load of crap. I've never heard of it in real life. If somebody is offering you a job at a lower salary than your potential coworkers just because of the color of your skin, don't respond and block their accounts. They are some sleazy company you don't want to be working for anyway, or else a sleazy recruitment agency liable to steal a big chunk of your salary every month on the sly and not deliver on any of their promises. Not even exaggerating.

A real public school will never do this because salary schedules are set very strictly by local governments. And if you're interested in working for a private English training company, you can find plenty that don't discriminate by color. I could even recommend a couple in my city if you're so inclined. The demand for English teachers with real qualifications all across Asia is as high as ever, and if anybody tells you otherwise it's just because they're trying to lowball you, or else they want to limit the competition for their own job.

So buck up, buddy. I hear Japan is a lovely place to be, and it sounds like you'll be going back home and into your old comfort zone before you know it. Eat all those dishes you never heard the name of before, get those language skills up to snuff, network like there's no tomorrow, and take a train or bus somewhere new whenever you can. Use your time well and this'll be one of the best experiences of your life, who knows, you might even want to come back after you have a degree and some work experience under your belt.

Edited by Hero

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It's easy to judge but I'm sure the same sort of stuff goes on in the west. I could easily imagine a dark skinned Algerian getting a job as a French teacher over a white native.

Not the best example bud, since all the Algerians who were native speakers of French all fled to France way back in the 1960s when the Arab nationalist FLN took over and set off a series of massive purges. Not that it matters, since the US, Canada UK, etc. have some quite rigorous non-discrimination laws in place to preempt exactly this situation.

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Hero, thank you for your comment. I have forgotten how privileged I am. I needed that. I have been caught up by my own feelings and forgot how fortunate I am. I have not experienced being approached by the police but it is something that is extremely frightening in a foreign country especially if they suspect you even if you have the correct documents. After seeing what happened on the news to some Japanese and Italian people abroad, my momentary complaint is nothing compared to the lives lost.

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From what I've heard from my brother, who lived in Japan for 2 non-consecutive years (studying one year, teaching english the next), there is some truth to it. He thought there was more expectation for an asian to be more familiar with the culture, better at speaking the language, etc. According to him, he believes he's actually a little more proficient in japanese than his girlfriend, an asian american from hawaii who he met while there (I've never met her myself, so I haven't gotten to ask if she thinks so too). But what Hero said is also true. Police in Japan may stop a foreigner and ask to examine their passport. When this happened to me, I acquiesced without making any trouble, but my brother refused, and spoke to the officer in japanese for a short time. He then explained to me that there's no actual requirement to show documents without any justification given. Don't think it would've been a problem if he did go along with it, but I guess he wanted to make a point of not submitting to any request made. I also know from him that some japanese would make a point of saying rude things about foreigners. But it's worth saying that many japanese were extremely polite, not just polite but downright hospitable and generous (best example was a family who run a shrine invited us, complete strangers, to sit at a table and eat some appetizers with them - true, we didn't stay for the main course), and I wouldn't say I had any problems with anyone for the two weeks I was there with him.

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man I've lived in the Philippines as an asian-american and I can definitively say that getting the benefits of both worlds is nice.

However, be careful outside of the first-world asian countries, that's where you're liable to get in potential trouble.

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If it'll make you feel any better, I'm sure Hong Kong will treat you like shit too, if you're Asian. Unless you are from Hong Kong.

I know a guy who's white, but married a girl from mainland China and they live went to Hong Kong. When the guy was by himself at restaurants and bars, they treat him like a king. They constantly trying to make him comfortable. They even offered him free drinks. When he had dinner with his wife, they were met with crappy service. They don't seem to like other Asians too, but I don't know how much truth there is to this.

I am Chinese, but grew up in America. right now I'm working in China, and it is just strange. Xenophobia is very weird in that while people might hate you, you also get extra perks by being foreign. I'm told the African folks living there offer to help Chinese locals make police calls because the police gets here faster if they think a foreigner is in trouble. If it's a regular Chinese citizen, they'll take their time. I'm not saying this is necessarily a good thing, I just want to show how non-nonsensical xenophobia can be.

I'm an expat living in China, not Asian.

What city do you live in? I'd love to make some new friends that I can talk to more fluently. Or hell, talk about Fire Emblem.

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