Monday, October 29, 2012

Won't Miss #500 - being a "gaijin"

While living in the United States, I am just a person. While living in Japan, I was turned into a "gaijin". This is an identity that was assigned to me by the Japanese and is given to everyone who does not suit the definition of "Japanese".  Even people who are actually Japanese, but don't look it, are given this identity. I've spent the last 23 years of my life being defined by my "otherness" . It has made me feel less than human and objectified for a very long time. There is no pride in being a gaijin and there certainly is no community support among foreigners for the difficulties involved in being slotted into this identity (as my many posts about the negative attitudes toward foreigners by other foreigners illustrates). There is only the feeling that you are an outsider.

I won't miss being a gaijin and, by coming home, I'm starting to feel like "just" a person again.