As far as I can see, fear of the unknown or unfamiliar is everywhere in Japan and ingrained in to the culture, the people and the attitudes here. Of course, this is a generalisation and I realise that this doesn't go for everyone, paired with the fact that I speak out of my arse quite frequently, feel free to ignore my ramblings if you wish.
I see it everywhere though. When I make exotic (and when I say 'exotic' I mean like say, Indonesian rice or Indian curry, not sheep's testicles marinated in cow's blood and seasoned with a splash of squirrel semen.)food and my in-laws instantly turn their nose up at it because it doesn't fit what they're used to. When I say something out of the ordinary 'customer-staff' spiel to a supermarket lady and a look of sheer panic crosses her face before she realises she is actually a human with a brain that can function independently. When a child is so programmed to being used to seeing and doing the same shit every day that they give me an anxious glance and feel the need to hide behind their mother's skirt and say "Oooooo outsider!"
And even though these things seem weird to a lot of people, they don't really bother me that much, mildly irritating st worst I'd say. More good food for me, more opportunities to freak out supermarket ladies with my spontaneous conversations and more chances for me to make monster faces at the kid when their mum isn't looking.
I don't really care until it becomes a problem for me, like when dog-fucker insisted I restrain myself from having an opinion on Kimutaku's sexual orientation and mental health. Then it gets annoying. Then I have to start telling people to go back in to their pit and fist fuck their dog.
But I'm noticing it in little different ways the longer I live here, the most recent. My candy stash.
Now, as you can see, there is a shitload of good choccie in here, I bought these especially from Costco because you can't find Twix in your local conbini, I run an English school, and Twix and Milky ways are, as far as I'm concerned a damn nice cultural lesson! And do you see that pathetic white shit-looking lolly on the top-left? That is a Japanese candy that someone gave me, (despite knowing I'm on one never-ending diet) any candy I am given either goes straight in to my son's gob, or straight in to the pumpkin to fatten up some other poor bastard. So there is a lot of the Costco lollies, and a few Japanese lollies scattered in there too.
And I kid you not, every single fucking kid who I offer a candy to goes for the Japanese ones first. And I couldn't see why at first, the foreign ones are better packaged, more expensive and in my opinion, much better tasting. But of course they don't usually see them in normal Japanese stores so how would they know? So I tell them, I say "I recommend a Twix, they're really good and you can't get them in Japanese stores usually!" And I found this little sales pitch for Twix were making the little buggers more determined not to try them! The would dig their pudgy little hands in deeper and deeper, probing for what was comfortable, familiar, safe. And for the first time in a long time, the need to be safe annoyed the shit out of me! I go to the trouble to get something new and different and they want to stay with what they know? Why do I bother then? The same thing happened last Halloween when I got 3 massive pumpkin pies, it wasn't normal or safe, so I ended up eating pumpkin pie until Christmas. Not that I was complaining, I love pumpkin pie, but I'm not buying the"Japanese tongues aren't suited to strong flavours" bullshit.
I think this is sometimes why I stay with Ryota, he's not typically Japanese in the safe way. He has tattoos, he hates working, he's an obnoxious arsehole. But I honestly think I'd rather all that than a safe guy. Fuck safe, we spend our lives being safe and what are we going to die with? A pension and a grave that my kids have to wash off every year?
Right in the arse.
I'm keeping the Japanese candy in for the moment for research purposes, but I may smash a pumpkin over a small child's head if I don't take it out soon.