Sunday, April 18, 2010

Won't Miss #157 - gaijin ignoring gaijin

I wrote an article for Tokyo Journal at one point about a phenomenon which every foreigner ("gaijin") will experience sooner or later (likely sooner) when visiting Japan. If you see another foreigner on the street and smile, wave, say hello, or nod, at least 30% of the time, if not more, the other foreigner will ignore you. This happens for a variety of reasons which I spent 800 words saying in my article, but let's just say that people have their issues. A woman with a baby in a stroller who sees another woman with a baby may smile or make a comment because they both share the status and experience of "mother" and neither sees it as inappropriate, but God forbid one foreigner smile or say "hi" to another while waiting at the crosswalk for the light to change in recognition of their shared status.

I won't miss dealing with people who believe small acts of kindness or common courtesy that recognize their shared status as foreigners in this land are burdensome.