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Monthly Archives: April 2012

April 29th One Year Ago…

On this date, I was sitting in a plane both anxious and excited about my Eikaiwa teaching interview in Chicago. Having never been to the Windy City, I was increasingly excited–and maybe even hopeful to catch a glimpse of Oprah or the Sears Tower.

I remember riding the elevator up to the lobby with fifty other interviewees dressed to please and hoping for the best. My competition looked stiff. “Mission Accepted,” My favorite childhood character would always say to a challenge. So, I walked in the room graced it with a smile and…well…mingled.

I met some amazing applicants and good friends. A few who I still talk these days. I won’t get too into the minced meat of the group interview but if you’re curious please shoot me an email in the meantime I managed to actually enjoy my first trip to Chicago despite the high pressure.

You know just meeting random people at the Sears Tower and riding the train. Didn’t get a glimpse of the Harpo though.

Mattemasu!!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Looking Back

 

Golden Week is Here!!

Super excited for the week long vacation of traveling. Hopefully, I’ll have plenty of stories to share with you during the collection of Japanese holidays this week.

I must say at first I thought the working holidays and time off in Japan was a bit unfair but looking at a desk worker in the States vs Japan, Japan has 13 additional holiday vacation days than the U.S. I must say it’s great to get a day off for two different Green days and Kid’s day. I mean KID’S DAY!! Americans don’t even get off for Veteran’s Day!

Happy Golden Week!

Mattemasu!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Real Happenings

 

Why dig up dirt?

Why not? Five years ago, I was a typical Japan fanatic who wanted to learn as much about modern Japan that a college loan and humble scholarship could get me. I read the beautiful writings of literary Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata and the quirky and disturbing tales of Haruki Murakami. And what Japanese culture class would be complete without academically disecting the latest anime.

But then something else was also included in the curriculum: Struggle and Success of African-Americans in Japan (1993). The documentary painted a mostly daunting and yet slightly optimistic set of experiences for African-Americans during Japan’s Economic Bubble. It was a far cry from the oh-so-happy adventures of the popular Yan and the Japanese People (1984) series of the fair-skinned artichtect living in Japan.

No, not all off the experiences were bad and many would stand to tell me that the many hardships black gaijins faced wasn’t a black thing– Most popular arguments are 1) all gaijins are discriminated against and 2) Japanese are racists. Here is why I raise the black card on this issue:

-Black stereotypes mostly created by the media and white soldiers stationed on American bases.

– 1980s Conservative Prime Minister, Yasuhiro Nakasone, collectively didn’t care to share Japan’s wealth with minorities anyway but he riled American’s and minority Americans stating that blacks, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans were the causes of America’s low intellectual level.

-On the flip side of the Diet aisle, Liberal Democratic Party leader, Michio Watanabe made a financial jab at blacks in 1988 stating. “They use credit cards a lot. They have no savings, so they go bankrupt.” He further stated that Japanese might commit suicide rather than enter bankruptcy.

-Oh and this one has always been my personal favorites:

Oh Japan and your lust for making everything cute.

So after reading, watching, and learning all of this I thought how on earth could I, a black female student who loves Japanese culture, was at a loss for words and very confused. By the time I watched Struggle and Success, I had already made friends in Tokyo. I refused to believe this sort of attitudes were still prevalent when I was treated with such warmth and respect.

Six months in, I’d say I’m doing pretty well. I still have yet to find a Sambo doll to keep…for historical purposes of course. (^_^)

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2012 in misoPOW!, Real Happenings

 

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