Thursday, February 21, 2008

Open Letter to Foreigners

Dear other foreigners living or traveling in Japan, I can’t help but notice a saddening trend that I feel compelled to address. Why is it that when we bump into each other on the train, in the grocery store or wait idly at opposing crosswalks you visibly and uncomfortably avert your eyes and refuse to respond to my presence? Explain yourself. I suppose I kinda get it. I mean honestly, I didn’t come to Japan to make more white friends either. But c’mon. Where’s the camaraderie? Is it too much to ask that we simply make eye contact, however fleeting? Maybe we even exchange a head nod, yeah? Can’t we telepathically acknowledge each others’ existence and say, Wasn’t it hard to leave our lives behind and come to this crazy upside down land, but damnit aren’t we already better people for it? Shouldn’t we welcome the brief reprieve from living inside our heads in a congested country where we can’t verbally express ourselves, and embrace the opportunity to cling to one another and excitedly ask, “Remember Chili’s? Remember Dane Cook? Remember the Alamo?” Shit. We’re all goofy looking white people with a lost twinkle in our eye. Let’s be secret friends. Affectionately, that other white guy P.S. This letter does not apply to Morgan, the affable American who bid me good morning at Mister Donut, nor does it apply to the somewhat creepy (in a good and humorous way) Canadian fellow who initiated conversation on the train. Thank you, gents. You make me feel at home.

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