With just over a year here in Japan, and almost 1 yr in our current home I felt it was time to re-exam my path, set some goals. Even though it is said “Man plans, God laughs”, it is good to have a direction in mind. Then roll with it. I also had a birthday come up. “Time becomes more precious, when there is less of it to waste…Bonnie Raitt.”
With everything from the past lives’ of planning gone, and being here, in Nihon starting over, at this age, requires mediation, work, faith, and planning. With thinking of one’s future, one has to understand their past.
Japan is an interesting place for me to be. I never had any past dreams or plans to live in Japan, much less retire here. I am defiantly a foreigner here but I feel strangely comfortable. I have lived in other places for short times, Hawaii, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, in all even though I liked them, did not feel as comfortable to my spirit as Japan.
I have noticed that the blogs with more talk about race and fun places of Japan those have more readers. (With the right title I will get a lot of hits on this post ) There is kind of a theme I picked up. Many “Whites” who do not like Japan, who stay or leave, say one thing is because they can never be other than a foreigner. WTFukoshima! Really! Duh! I guess for me it is common sense. However I guess some “Whites” feel once they are there, ( wherever that is), they should be “part” of the inner group. I have not read any “Black” site state this as a problem. They do not like the being stared at, avoided sitting next to, crossing the street to avoid, parts. For me, I have encountered none of that, at least that I am aware of. I live here in the somewhat countryside where they are not used to seeing “outsiders” even less those of my Hue, yet I rarely get stared at or told they do not speak English if I ask a question. Most people I encounter are very helpful, some have even started conversations with me if they see me with my Yumi. I am pretty sure I deal with different people than those of other “gaijin”, who are teachers, or salarymen of some sort. It is interesting to read their perspective. Maybe I am less sensitive or something. Here are a couple of links to others “race” experiences in Japan both Black and White:
Anyway for people of Color from the States, perhaps because we live everywhere as an outsider, even at “home” it is a way of life.
International views of the current “race” problem in America – Ferguson
Sometimes it is being the only Black with a group of Chinese, Philippines, Mexicans, or Caucasians. Sometimes it is just being a person of color in America. As for me, even within the Black Community I feel an outsider. There is the “not black enough”, or you are one of those hippie types groups. Groups within groups. Part of, yet not part of. Once I understood that, I followed my heart and interests, not the group. My brain is wired different, I was not raised with a sense of Africa, perhaps (because of the mixed bloodline, Church, both?), but a sense of human. “We All are God’s children” is what I was taught, back in the day!
Flowers have different colors, types, scents, but they are still flowers. This is normal life for me.
Japan for many people of color, especially from the states, Japan levels the playing field more than ( not fully level, just more level ) at “home”. ( example this video
from Bill Cosby
) So that combo perhaps is why I am most comfortable here. Still Mexico in a way had that sameness, yet I felt more a outsider there. Perhaps it is a cultural interest factor, that balances the harmonics. However I had that in Singapore but felt no sense of “fitting”.
So all that was just some reflection, leading to I like life in Japan. For me it is working. Many Japanese from Japan, in the states said I would have no problem living here. lZ has said it is beyond her hoped expectation that I could adapt. For whatever reason, past life, studies, interest, power spot, it is working and has been overall a positive experience. Both the people and the place. I do not miss being in the States. I do not have that Japan honeymoon mind, as I have seen/felt some negative as well. However, that is life, one day is sunny, the next cloudy, you deal with it. Jerks and stupid people live in all races, countries, groups.
While on the race topic. In my “circles” of living here there are several groups of people, the Kyudo, Sailing, City gardener blue collar worlds. Many Japanese I meet have never met or spoke with an American, much less one of color. It is a basic exchange, Give respect, receive respect. I think they see me more as the “American”. Rather than the “Black” I could be wrong. What am judging by is they ask, where are you from? I say CA, without thinking, they say ohhhh America! I think being a man of color is second to be an American.
Awww yes, I do recall two times people responded, strongly surprised to just seeing me. Both followed with smiles and relaxed, not fear and escape.
Other than that I can recall no negative “racial” based negative encounter, unlike in the “Land of the Free”. There are some stories I can tell from the life there. Also with the craziness happening with the police , it is a good place to be FROM.
Anyway, that is my Race post, now back to my regular programing