Friday, January 1, 2010

Won't Miss #101 - "the gaijin bubble"

Note: actual gaijin bubble not pictured. This is a model that was displayed on the Fukutoshin line (and I have no idea what it is).

People like to talk about what they call "the gaijin bubble" and the fact that they believe some (or many) foreigners in Japan live in one. The premise is that, if you live in Japan but are not inhaling Japanese culture through every pore and have any desire to enjoy aspects of your native culture on a regular basis, you are living in such a bubble. A desire to eat cheese regularly, socializing with English speakers, and watching DVDs of shows and movies from your native culture are indications that you're a bubble boy (or girl). The truth is that, when one is immersed in a very different culture, it is exhausting and stressful. That not only applies to foreign folks in Japan, but Japanese folks living in other countries. There's nothing wrong with surrounding yourself with known comforts in your private life to sooth the stress of being enveloped by a culture which rejects you or misunderstands you at every turn.

I won't miss the derisive and judgmental talk about foreigners living in a "gaijin bubble."