Spare a thought for Western Man Trapped in Japan.
In Japan, it’s a familiar refrain: “Men have it easy — especially foreigners. They are males in a highly conservative patriarchal society, so they enjoy all the benefits: status, money, career. On top of that, foreigners often attract a lot of Japanese girls.
“These Western men do not really have to learn the language or try to fit in. Their Japanese girlfriends or wives will take care of the majority of things for them. Their careers, especially teaching ones, also may not require Japanese proficiency. They are never subjected to sexual harassment, abuse or sexism.” But is this the full story?.……
It’s not the full story and this legendary article above chock full of whining anecdotes of cultural oppression (overly complimented on chopstick usage etc) by white guys ‘trapped’ in Japan has a lot of unintentional humour. In many ways, it almost seems like a parody of our parody of Charisma Man. However, it also has all the elements of sub-par expat-white-guy-in-Japan fiction and/or memoir.
It’s inspired us– inspired us to start our own collective Japan Subculture Research Center original novel. Your contributions are welcome! Together we can build the ultimate bad expat novel in Japan. The choice is yours.
ABYSMAL MAN IN JAPAN aka MOBY DICKHEAD
Call me Cebastian.
…..or call me CJ, as in “See Japan”.
Call me CJ-kun (君)…if you’d like.
Some years ago–never mind how long precisely –having little or no yen in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me in America but a fondness for anime, sushi and cute Japanese girls, I thought I would travel about a little and teach English in the floating world.
With only a copy of MAKING OUT IN JAPANESE, a bag of Green Kit-Kats, and lots of sunscreen to make sure I stayed a pale outsider in this land of wheat coloured people, an iPhone preloaded with Tinder, and ratty jeans and a dingy “FUCK THE POLICE” t-shirt so I could fit in with the locals, I set out to Japan to find myself and penetrate the mysteries of that far and distant country.
I had brought my Oakley dark sunglasses with me as well; I would need to shield my delicate blue eyes from the hot blazing sun of the orient. They don’t call it the Land Of The Rising Sun because it’s Denmark, you know. And the sunglasses made for the flat faced people of Nippon, I was sure would not fit my craggy and deeply marbled handsome Western face.
I was ready as I’d ever be.
On the plane, as I scratched my hipster beard, I wondered: Do Japanese people shave a lot? Would my tattoo that read 肉食 (Meet People) charm the natives or alienate them? I regretted leaving my copy of JAPAN: CULTURE SHOCK behind but then again, I could figure it all out on my own. My future girlfriend would teach me, just as she would teach me the intricacies of their ancient Altaic language and perhaps the language of love.
It was a long flight. I barely had space to sit in full-lotus position in deep zen meditation until the beautiful flight attendant, Keiko, touched me lightly on the knee, with geisha-like grace, getting my attention. She giggled with her hand covering her mouth and motioned me to come back towards the rear end of the plane. Perhaps she was also a student of Zen….
The critics are already raving about Abysmal Man In Japan
Let me play a sad song on my tiny violin for the poor white men!!!
There’s a common thread with miserable gaijin men here: Refusal to learn the language. Expectations that everything, including women, will be handed to them upon arrival. Smug self-importance and the general belief that they are somehow “above” everything and everyone because of their white male-ness. Like, bro. No one is forcing you to stay here if you’re single. You don’t like the working conditions (that, ahem, even your Japanese coworkers are subjected to)? GO HOME. I don’t even want to touch the ridiculousness that this article insinuates white male foreigners somehow have it worse than Japanese women, poor Japanese, non-white immigrants…–Kat Bee
8 thoughts on “Are you a white guy? Now Write Your Own Bad Expat Novel Set In Japan! Here’s how”
I am asked to leave a tenured university position to return to a university in Tokyo to help the VP make a new “global” programme. This intention is not communicated to the existing Japanese professors by the senior management and Board. Thus, as could be expected, a not so subtle campaign ensures the newbie gaijin is shut down, and the possibility of a serious competitive program is terminated. The Board puts his tail between his legs and now tells me to shut up. A few years later, a new English (language focused) programme emerges under the facade global. It is been developed by the Japanese faculty. What was the statement in the article? Something about been seen as less than the weakest Japanese link? Note: I was asked and did not apply! A Japanese colleague explained it this way: Japan does not want outsiders to tell them how to do something or reach a goal; they expect the guests to do what they create – whether it is good, bad or ugly. Thailand, on the other hand, has no qualm about allowing guests to develop to get to the goal.
That is amazingly awful. The article is parody but the glass ceiling and discrimination in Japan is a serious problem. Would you like to write up your experience, we’d post it.
If your English teaching ability is as shitty as your writing, it’s no wonder you were shut down.
Kids, let’s play nicely.
Ugh. Japan sure does seem to be a magnet for creeps and other undesirables, doesn’t it? I lived in a dorm when I first arrived nearly 10 years ago, and there were maybe 3~4 normal folks out of the whole lot. This is precisely why I don’t have many foreign friends. They spend too much time bitching and moaning, or engrossed in weird obsessions. You know, my Japanese isn’t great, but I’m making an effort to learn. Sure, I run into the occasional troublesome situation, but that happens everywhere. I love living in this country, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I’m with Kat Bee on this one: If you don’t like it, GTFO. You’re probably an obnoxious, disrespectful, annoying piece of garbage anyways.
If you don’t have the skills or credentials to warrant getting a good job or raise & just bitch & create a bad reputation for the rest of us foreigners trying to make a legit life for ourselves here then GTFO!!! If you’ve got them them ask for a raise, promotion etc & back it up with data!!! I did & got a nice raise in monthly salary: From 350,000 yen/mth raised to 540,000 yen/mth for English teaching/Interpreting/translation @ a Niche Chemical manufacturer!!! We negotiated back & forth but I backed it up with data of the market for my Job description & achievements over the years!!! If you ask & can back it up with data then, you get but if you don’t ask your position & salary will remain low/stagnant especially in Japan where raises are very gradual or non-existent!!!
What about all of the Japanese people that are obnoxious, disrespectful, annoying pieces of garbage?
I think that applies to the whole human race.