The Other Side of Lost in Translation


Five Wishes

How come so many people immigrate to U.S.?
No matter what they say,
the main reason of immigration is always money
as they are seeking out financial opportunities.
If it is realy for a political asylum,
why it has to be U.S.?

Before that war,
many Japanese had immigrated to Hawaii and California.
However, having had a wealthy society
for the last 30 years or so,
Japanese do not come to U.S.
as immigrants of the traditional sense anymore.
Well, some people still come here
to open Japanese restaurants
or to start some other type of business,
but those are the minorities.
Now most of them come here
because they are gravitated by the glamorous American images
amplified by the irresonsible medias.
In other words, they come here for fantasies.

All Japanese, almost no exception, expecting five things
when they come to U.S.

1. Learning fluent English within a few years.
2. Making lots of American friends, which means usually
White and Black
as they do not know much about other races in U.S.
3. Getting an American boyfriend or girlfriend,
again this means usually White, or Black for some girls.
4. Doing something exciting.
5. Having a success of one form or another
including fincacial one and fame, maybe.

Every Japanese, other people too,
come here with these kinds of hopes.
However, most of them quickly realize how hard these are.
For Japanese, learning English is not easy.
Actually they learn the basic English, enough to get by
in their everyday lives, fairly quickly.
But the difficulity starts there.
It takes more than four years for them to understand
CNN news with their eyes closed.
Listening to TV & radio programs can improve
their hearing ability, they need talk to Native speakers
to improve their speaking ability.
But it is not easy to make American friends
if they do not speak good English.
Though Japanese are eager to make American friends,
Most of Americans are not interested in making
Asian friends, or are they?
Therefore most of them do not make American friends,
and do not improve their English much,
and because of that, can not work for American organization
unless they have some sort of special skill.
Some Japanese girls get American boyfriends
because they use SEX.
But even most of those kind of girls
do not have any American friends either.
Once they learn the decent English,
the next thing they realize is not only language
but also the culture and the society they have to learn
to make a good conversation with Americans.
The proper knowledges about
anything that average Americans know is neccesarry
like politics, entertainments, sports, traditions
and even something like old TV shows.

But even if they do not speak good English
and have no American friends nor exciting career,
still New York can be a fun place to live.
Going to clubs, doing shopping, doing some dopes,
they can have a good time with their Japanese buddies.
Then a few years pass very quickly
and the time will come for them to realize
what they are really doing here.
They see the realities like
working in a Japanese restaurant as a waiter
or doing something boring and futureless
for Japanese companies
and their English still sux, sux, sux.
And the most of all, they have very purposeless lives
as most of them come here with only false hopes.

Unlike other immigrants who came here
for financial opportunities.
Japanese go home after about four years.
For other immigrants, finacially making it is
far more important than
being fully accepted by this society.
But Japanese have a place to go back
where they do not have to struggle with their language
nor cultural differences, nor racial stereotypes,
nor legal status: Visa
and still they can have the same kind of,
or even more materialistic life style.
Then why do you stay here?
So they go back, most of them.



Generation Next

Monday, I had a huge cat accident, and fell asleep, hahaha.
Tuesday, rain, rain, rain, all day raining.
Wedensday, in the morning, it was nice
despite of the negative weather forecast.
So I went to NYU around the noon time,
but it started to rain after I had talked to two students.
Thursday, it rained on and off all day,
but I managed to talk to a few students at NYU.
Today, Friday it was gorgeous day, I spent a half day
at Columbia university.
Finally I had a fruitfull day!
I talked to lots of kids.

Questions were like
"Have you ever heard the term called "Generation Next?"

If the answer was "no", I told them the basic definition.
Tech savvy because they grew up with computer, internet,
video game and celphone.
Media(information) savvy because of internet.
More open to race difference and sexual orientation difference
because they have more access to informations
by the internet at the early age.
And this makes them tend to be more liberal and support Democrats.
Many of them think their parents are their heroes.

"How many hours do you spend on the computer a day?"
"What kind of impact do you think the internet made on you?"
"How do you choose the information among so many trashy ones?"
"Do you support Obama?"
"If so, why?"
"Who pays your tution?"
"How much debt are you gonna have when you finsh your education?"
"I think this situation,
fewer kids can afford to go to schools like this
because of the high tution, will shrink the middle class eventually
and widen the gap of the class. Don't you think the society
with the wider class gap can be more conservative society?"
"This high tution situation also makes more doctors and lawyers
who are after more money jobs, I think,
because they have to pay off their debt.
Don't you think this can make some negative impact on the society?"
"Until few years ago, some media insisted that younger generation
were becoming more conservative.
But now some of them are saying that
younger generation is becoming more liberal
probably because many of them are supporting Obama
beyond a racial line.
So do you think your generation is more liberal or not?"
If you think it is more liberal, do you think ultimately
this society is going to be more liberal because of that?"

Some kids gave me excellent answers, some of them did not.
But over all, I really enjoyed talking to them.
It was a good day for me.



I Can't Stand the Rain

This is my sound track for today.
I can't stand the rain against my window
brings back sweet memory.
Well, the rain does not bring any sweet memory to me,
but still I can't stand it.

Today I planned to go to NYU for the field research,
chasing kids to ask questions.
Then this rain, rain, rain.

Actually I was supposed to go yesterday as well.
But unthinkable accident happened.
I went to bed at 6:00am
and was supposed to be waken up by the alarm at 11:00am.
Instead I was waken by something strange on my leg at 9ish.
One of my cat, Maxi peeded on my bed, ON MY BED.
Finally it started, I had heard cats peeded places
where they were not supposed to pee when they grew older.
You bet I was very upset
and immediately took entire things to the laundromat.
When everything settled it was near noon
and I was dead tired.
I simply could not resist to take a rest for a while
and found myself waking up at 5:00pm.
It was a beautiful cat pee story to tell.
And today it was raining all day,
the TV weather man is saying
we will have more rain tomorrow, yes more rain.
I can't stand the rain.
What a sucky crappy day I had, two days in a row!
This rain is the pee from the heaven.

We are having a strange weather this spring.
It sure started earlier than usual,
but then it has been kinda cold.
By this time of the year, I usually started to wear shorts.
Where is the global warming?

I deserve to hear more of this song.
I love you, Ann. Thanks for the great song.



So Close, Yet So Far

"Raising Victor Vargas"

Last night, like many other saturday nights,
I stayed home, yeah, yeah please pity me,
and I watched this little indie film on PBS.
I had read about this movie before,
which came out a few years ago,
but never seen it.
It is a coming of age kinda movie about a Hispanic kid
who is living in Lower-Eastside
or Alphabet city of Manhattan.
This cute boy named Victor is sixteen
and has a looka-like younger brother
and a younger sister.
All these kids have been raised in a small apartment
by their religious granma
originally from Dominican Republic.
As a young teenager, of course Victor wants a girl
and he met a very pretty one.
Now his mission to get this girl starts
and his granma think he is becoming a bad influence
to his younger siblings because of that.
Nothing-really-happened kinda movie, which I like,
just a description of the daily ordinary life of the people
who live in the poor urban environment,
no drug, violence or excesive sex involved.

I have been living in the Alphabet city for a long time,
between Avenue A and B, to the exact.
Beyond avenue B, east side of avenue B is a pretty much
Hispanic area.
So I rarely go there.
Actually now things are changing, many Whites live beyond B
because the rent has sky-rocketed all over New York.
But, until like 10 years ago,
it was almost exclusively Spanish.
Those days, whenever I walked in there,
kids yelled at me "Chino, Chino".
On snowy days, kids threw snow balls at me.
One day I observed who they threw balls.
They targeted Asians, and White girls sometimes
but never to White men.
I guess they feel that they are bellow Whites
but certainly above ugly geeky Chinese
(all Asians are Chinese for them).
They did not do that out of naughtyness,
that was absolutely racial hatered.

I have been living so close to a Hispanic community
but never had a Hispanic friend.
Then I do not have Chinese or Korean friends either.

When I saw this movie,
I thought these kids are not realistic,
They seemed to be too sweet.
They live in a poverty and not nice neighborhood
but it seems not to effect them at all.
But then, it dawned on me how I could tell that.
I do not know about Hispanic people.
Some kids are bad enough to threw snow balls to me and laugh
but some kids might be sweet like those in this movie.

I realized how close I live to them,
then how far I am really from them.

ラベル: ,


Negative Reactions to "Racism in Tokyo"

Wow, tokyocooney's video "Racism in Tokyo"
is getting viewed a lot for such a short time
and also getting lots of negative comments
from Japanese.
Obviously they don't get it.
They do not understand why this is funny.
Well, this is a type of joke
Gaijins can enjoy among them.
Then why does this video have a title in Japanese
which obviously attracts Japanese viewers?

I wrote about this video on the post below this
and said that it had gotten my nerve a bit.
It was because I had to go through
a real hardcore racism here in U.S.
while Gaijins in Japan complained and joked about
trivia things like being stared.
That is a luxuary to me!
But still this is an understandable joke.

However, most of Japanese do not understand
this kind of joke and they can be offended
because they understand the situation itself.
Most of Japanese feel like staring Gaijins
because they are curious about different races
and they love love American(or European)
cultures so much that they feel
they can see them in or behind Gaijins.
Therefore Japanese feel like they are the one
who is scolded by that Black woman
when they see that guy in the video is scolded
or they fell like they are bashed.
In other words, this video is too close to them.
You know, people want to be loved by whom they love,
not to be bashed.
Japanese staring toward Gaijins is actually
their LOVE and longing for the glamorous America.
That's why some Japanese are so upset with this Video.
I heard that some Japanese had been upset
when they had seen "Lost in Translation" as well.
There is the Japanese old saying
"可愛さあまって、憎さ百倍(Kawaisa amatte nikusa hyakubai)"
which means that your hatered can be amplified 100 times
when you are betrayed by someone who you adore.

Also the guy in this video is very nerdy and creepy,
very stereotype of Japanese.
I know, for Americans,
that is the way Japanese men are suposed to look like.

But in a very sarcustic way, I enjoy this commotion.
It is very interesting and entert...., hahahaha.
Some comments from Japanese are so so stupid.
I get the same kind of comments
if I write about the racism against Japanese in U.S.
for Japanese media.
Some Japanese do never ever like to know
that they can be descriminated in U.S.
because they love America so much.
So they always hate the messengers.

Thanks Kevin!

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Racism against Gaijins in Tokyo vs Racism against Asians in NY

This is the video that tokyocooney made about Racism in Tokyo.
He is a writer & comedian who lives in Tokyo,
originally from New York, and makes fun videos
about his experiences of living there as a Gaijin.
I really enjoy his videos, actually love, love his videos.
However, this latest one got my nerve a little
even though I do understand this is supposed to be a humore.
Gaijins in Japan often complain about
being treated as a novelty in Japan,
and how annoying Japanese always make comments on
how well Gaijins use chopsticks.
Also how annoying it is
whenever they get stared by Japanese in public spaces.
In case you do not know, Japanese stare Gaijins
because Japan is, even not completely so,
a very homogenized society.
Therefore people are very curious about
someone lookig different from them.
Also as Japanese media keeps feeding them very one-sided
glamorous images about American (and European) cultures,
whenever Japanese see Gaijins,
they see those images behind Gaijins
and tend to be gravitated to them.
But gererally speaking Japanese treat Gaijins nicely
because of those kind of longings for Western cultures.
However, that is not always the case
if you are non-White foreigner,
especially the ones who came to Japan as a cheap Labor.
Well, I have to add Blacks are included to the Gaijin status
as long as they are from U.S. or Europe and educated enough.
The younger generation of Japanese loves new Black cultures.
Hispanics are included too
if their facial features are close enough to Whites
as most of Japanese cannot tell the differences.

I guess Gaijins in Tokyo have no clue
about what it is like to live in New York
as an Asian who speaks crappy English.

Sorry, this might sound like Gaijin bashing.
I do not bash them but I guess I envy them sometimes.

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Animal Rights

This is the pic of the poster with Pam Anderson
I recently got from PeTA
for the article I wrote about Animal Rights.
Those Japanese lines are saying "Let's be Vegetarians."

A while ago, I got "Live in Japan" album of late great Laura Nyro.
She said to her audience
"Is there any Animal Rights movements in Japan?"
I laughed because it did not exist there 14 years ago,
in which this album was recorded,
and still does not exist there now either.

When I met a vegetarian for the first time,
I could not help asking her why she had become the one.
She said "not so much about health issue,
but I think eating animals is very cruel
because I grew up with so many of them."
I did not believe her or could not,
I thought simply because she did not like the taste of meat.

A few years later, I got a kitty
and a year later she had five kittens.
Well, I was amazed about how close they were to humans.
They had individual personalities and emotions just like us.
And then I felt ashamed of myself
about the way I had felt toward that vegetarian girl.

In U.S. middle class Whites are educated
and tend to be libral and generous.
However, I gradually learned that
those are probably backed up
by the huge gap of between rich and poor
just like ancient Greece had a democratic society with slaves.
Despite of that, I definitely appreciate those qulities of them.

Then I wonder why
Japanese does not have this kind of generousity.
At least they have been enjoying to live
in the wealthy socirty for more than 30 years.
Five or Six reasons I can think of
and one of those is the stupidity of Japanese media.
They just do not do any enligtenment
for their readers and audiences.
I believe they have obligations
to introduce and inform about new ideas to people.
If they do not have to do that, then who else?

So for the latter half of the article,
I was indulged in bashing Japanese medias
and that made me feel gooooood!

I myself am not a vegetarian,
but I consume a very little of meat and fish.
I do not say all of us shuld be vegetalians,
but so many lives of animals can be saved
if we cut back the comsumptions of meat,
fish and other animal products
to the half of the amount we do now.
And that would be great for our health and our environment
if we replace them with veggies and fruits.

It is not easy for people who live in poor nations
to understand this concept, that's for sure.
They are struggling to survive every day.
But most of Japanese aren't.
Then it is the time for them to learn this idea
that they do not have to eat meat because they are not poor.
Otherwise, they are the people of the mentality of the third world.
Actually many of them are.
I am sorry this expression might be prejudical
against the people of developing country.
But you know what I mean.

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Obama: Aquittal for Whites

A few Month ago, I wrote the article,
which was about Why Obam was so popular
among middle class Whites.
I wrote it is because voting for him was
like buying a letter of aqittal.
Sorry, I do not know what exactly they were called
that people bought from church
during the midieval time in Europe to aquit from their sins.
Each time I go to a Korean grocery store,
the deep inside of me saying
"I'm so sorry, so sorry about what we had done
even that happened before I was born."
"That" was more than sixty years ago.
Blacks had been lynched until '60s.
Then why not White feel the same way,
especially the ones who are educated.

Of course, I know that is not only one reason
why Obama is so popular among middle class Whites.
But, isn't that guilt play some role in this???
I love to ask this question whn I will do the field research
in the nex week at some colleges.

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There's A Boat That's Soon Leavin' For New York

I'm free, finally free.
I had finished the piece about Animal Rights a few days ago,
actually it was about Animal Rights and stupid Japanese medias.
I am very proud of the work I did
and now I am moving on to the next subject
which will be about "Generation Next"
and probably about the issues of college tutions as well.
I am plannig to do lots of field research for this project.
Well, mainly I will go to some colleges like NYU and ask students questions.
Anyway, I will talk about them some other time.

Instead, today I like to talk about what it is like to live in U.S.
as an Asian who speaks crappy English.
Yes, this is the beginning of "The Other Side of Lost in Translation vol.1"
a.k.a. The Other Side of Gaijin Stroies.

Japanese medias have been feeding Japanese
the super Glamorous images of American cultures for a long time.
As the result of that, majority of Japanese are quite in love with America
without knowing that it is very very one-sided love, unfortunately.
Also Japanese medias keeps creating images that
these feelings are quite mutual,
which means America loves Japan too.
And of course that is far from the truth except some American Otakus.
Just think of it, any not-beauty-queen girl,
who fell in love with a cutest boy in town,
tend to have a very wishfull thinking like
he might not love her yet
but probably be fond of some of her, just something of her.
Any positive imagination can please her a great deal
and that's exactly what
Japanese medias have been doing to Japanese,
a full of distorted imagination of being loved by America.

Many Japanese in U.S. says "I'm Japanese"
whenever they introduce themselves right after their names,
sometimes even before their own names
as if they believe they are instatly respected and loved
if they say this magic words, "I'm Japanese."
Of course any Japanese knows there is a thing called racism in U.S.
and what happend to Japanese Americans during the War.
Yet they like to or tend to believe
they are liked more than any other Asians by America.
I guess most of people prefer to believe something more positive
and Japanese media are sure not to tell Japanese
the negative aspects of this story
because they know those do not please or entertain Japanese.
And they keep informing them about the latest fashion, music,
movies, musicals, Hollywood stars, star athletes,
new clubs and super trendy restaurants in New York city.
Japanese simply believe all people in New York
live in tall buildings and have great views.
Despite of so many informations about New York
flooded in Japanese medias,
they do not have a clue about the realities of this city.

I had grown up in a very rural area of Japan and hated it.
Then when I was eighteen I came to Tokyo
and entered one of the most famous school.
I met many smart kids with very sofisticated tastes there.
For first two years or so, it was a blast, that's for sure.
But then I was lost
because I did not know what to do with my life.
And one day it dawned on me that
it would be a wonderful idea to go to New York city after the college.
Tokyo showed me so much, then New York can do even more to me.
New York is the capitol of the world, isn't it?

Then I got on the board of the boat for New York.
Well, it was the airplane, of course.
But I like the song from "Poggy and Bess" called
"There's a boat that's leavin' soon for New York."

There's a boat that's leavin' soon for New York
Come with me, that's where we belong sister
You an' me Kin live that high life in New York
Come with me, there we can't go wrong sister
I'll buy you the swellest mansion
Up on upper Fifth Avenue
An' thru Harlem we'll go struttin'
We'll go a struttin'
An' there'll be nuttin'
Too good for you
I'll dress up in silks and satins
In the latest Paris styles
And de blues you'll be forgettin'
You'll be forgettin'
There'll be no frettin'
Just nothin' but smiles
Come along with me, that's the place
Don't be a fool. Come along, come along
There's a boat that's leavin' soon for New York
Come with me, that's where we belong, sister
That's where we belong

Hello, New York, here I come.
I was one of those stupid Japanese who got on the board
with only tons of glamorous images of this city
and had absolutely no idea what is really waiting for me.

To be continued



Gess what

Believe or not, I still have not finished my writing.
Come to think of it,
I have been just blaming my depression for my laziness, hahaha.
In other words, my favorite kind of justification and excuse.
And I have wasted my precious 10 days or so
for reading a bunch of Gaijin blog craps.
They really did renew my internet addiction, a big sigh.
Having seen some of them before,
they had not grabbed my attention much.
Then why this time?
I do not know.
I will do that analysis later.

You may ask what happened to my deadline?
Well, it is usually 7th, 8th or 9th of the month,
but this month Japan is having Golden Week,
early summer or late spring vacation season.
So my editor had asked me to submit my writing much earlier.
However, having been too busy to work on the other article,
he had failed to send me a lay out design before Golden Week started.
Usually that design can be a great reminder of the deadline for me
or more like, "pusher""alarm signal" or "do or die notification".
So no design, no motivation to write, simple is that.
But I guess it will come very soon, possibly tonight.
Nowehre to run, nowhere to hide any more.

After finishing this I will write about what it is like to live in this city
as an Asian who speaks crappy English
here, on this blog thing.
"The Other Side of Lost in Translation" will start.