January 16, 2015

One sided love...

I have to remind myself I love Japan.  "Remember you love Japan."  Because if I don't the overwhelming fact that Japan doesn't love me will start to weigh heavily on me.  And I don't mean me in particular as a person.  I mean what I am, and what that is in Japan can be summed up in one word: foreigner.  Or in other words: outsider, you don't belong here.

Japan has a long history of being a closed country.  You can read more about that here.  Shockingly that mentality has stuck with them through in to 2015.  I shouldn't be surprised I guess.  I mean if people are still persecuting gay people and frowning on interracial relationships in 2015 then I guess Japan can still be unwelcoming to foreigners.  There's only one problem with this, Japan, and it's much much bigger than me.  In 2020 Japan is going to have more foreigners in the country than they have had since probably the last time they hosted the Olympics which was in 1964.  These people will be here stimulating Japan's declining economy which will no doubt help the country, so common sense would state you can't just treat a massive influx of people like crap. 

This all stemmed from yet another bad experience I've had as a foreigner in Japan.  A company (which I won't malign here) boasts English speaking representatives as part of their customer service and should therefore have said English speakers ready to serve right?  First, I was lied to about the number of English speakers available that day.  How will I know right?  I'm just a dumb foreigner who can't speak Japanese (their assumption not mine).  I was told there was only one English speaker on staff that day, so I would have to wait at least an hour.  Fine, I said.  During the hour and a half that I waited, I counted three English speaking customer service representatives (helping other foreigners there before me). Three!  Two of whom it apparently took to help an overly chatty foreigner.  I can be patient to a point.  That point begins to blur when one of their English speaking representatives helped a long line of Japanese speakers all with numbers AFTER mine.  Bad bad customer service. Now if your company can't help people using English fine.  I understand.  I don't expect people to kowtow to me and my first language.  However, don't boast about having English speakers on your website if you aren't going to treat them with the same level of respect as native Japanese.  That's what I have a problem with, being made to feel like second class or lower class.  I work in Japan.  I do my small part to stimulate the Japanese economy.  I pay taxes.  I am in this country legally.  Yet, because I was not born here I am continually made to feel inferior.

I recently got married to a wonderful Japanese man.  I love him with all my heart and soul.  I am saddened to think that someday our future children will not be accepted in Japanese society.

Perhaps some of this stems from minor homesickness as I recently returned from a trip to my hometown.  I am always stunned by the vast cultural diversity in America.  Part of reverse culture shock.  I was also amazed by my husband's view of my home.  I got to see things from his perspective, and it was like looking at things through new eyes.  I think he really fell in love with the place.

Japan, I love you.  I really do.  It's really hard to love something that doesn't love you back.  It's 2015.  Japan, you need to start changing.