Thursday 12 January 2012

Foreigner awkward alert

I don't live in a country town, but I don't live in a huge city either. I'd say the immediate area where I live would be classed as a small town and about 15 minutes bike ride away is a small city... It's hard to explain, but I know a lot of the people I see around my area every day, but it's not like we're all best buddies or anything. I have my 'aisatsu group' the folks who are nice enough to have acknowledged my existence before so I always give them the courtesy of a hearty 'good morning' or 'hello'. I don't see many other foreigns around, in the small cities on either side of me I'll occasionally see another foreign, but generally, the supermarket I go to and my immediate surroundings are foreign-free. Sassymoo is probably the closest one to me, which is good, if there has to be another alien in the vicinity I'd rather it be a friend than some arse white guy who turns his nose up to anyone who is not a Japanese fan girl with a willing and open fanny.

I also live right next to an army base. Now if this were an American army base I'd probably have way more stories to tell and way better access to good food. However my army base is only Japanese soldiers. It's good for bringing in students, and as I can see the well-built boys running around the base from my house, makes lovely eye-candy too. Army boys are totally my type: built, sporty and usually up for drinking/adventure. Of course I'd love to flirt with the army boys more, but they usually steer clear of me, an army student once told me some of her friends wanted to hit on me but they were sure I was an army wife and would have a/both testicles removed if they hit on a Superior's wife. Plus, ahem, I'm happily married and all. Damn waste actually.

Anyway, I'm dreaming of army boys when my point is slipping further and further away! This month, a huge influx of American troops are coming to the base to do 3 months of training. This means local shop keepers are shitting themselves as they want the extra business but can't speak a word of the Queen's. Two new students last month were bar staff who wanted a bit of English so they wouldn't be totally lost when a bunch of thirsty soldiers came in looking for a cold one. One of the local bar staff who is one of my students asked me if I would help her translate their menu into English and I said no worries, although it was harder than I thought, translators, how the fuck do I put こんやく田楽 into English, I wanted to say shit smeared in miso shit, but I restrained myself. So we spent an hour writing her menu out in English but I probably should have just done the fried stuff and left "Octopus guts" and the like in Japanese, give them a surprise. There was still half a page left, so nice English teacher that I am, I said I'd finish it off that night and drop it in to her bar, I shall redeem my free beer for this service when I no longer have a tiny human growing in my belly. So I did, but when I walked in, I was instantly hit with a wave of panic as every face sitting at the counter was.... foreign. They all swivelled around and I was lost for words, which is fucking bizarre! Why would it make me nervous?! I gave my student the menus and tried to make a hasty exit but a noisy old man who had been bothering the soldiers was now fascinated by me and why I was bowing and apologising as I shuffled out the door in an extremely Japanese manner. He yanked my arm, his beer breath hitting me in the face just making me want a beer even more and started quizzing me on why I spoke Japanese.

Luckily my student seemed to sense my awkward vibes and told the old guy to stop harassing me and let me go. I really don't know why other foreigns in the vicinity make me feel awkward, maybe it's just that I'm so used to being the only one that I know how to do the routine in Japanese? But it made me realise I'd have to man the fuck up and get over it, at the end of the month my little area will be crawling with yanks, in my conbini, my supermarket, my running course... (I'm blowing into a paper bag as I type!)

Still, maybe a hot American soldier will sweep me off my feet for a lovely fling!? Well, maybe lug my pregnant arse off my feet, sweep would surely be impossible, even for a macho soldier...


  1. Hehe, I'd say you're turning Japanese. :-D Already dreaming of foreigner-hunting even!
    Maybe some time in Oz is overdue. ;-)

  2. "Some arse white guy who turns his nose up to anyone who is not a Japanese fan girl with a willing and open fanny." Hey! I resembled that comment, once. Please forgive us our first year, but don't forgive us much more: the first year is being male; much more than that is being sad.

    I've had a similar moment to your bar story. Spent a summer learning Mandarin at a Mainland uni. One morning I stumbled into the bathroom, turned on the light (waited for the cockroaches to scatter) looked in the mirror and jumped back. WTF?! Oh... that 'Waiguoren' is me... (same kanji as 'Gaikokujin').

  3. "sweep would surely be impossible, even for a macho soldier..."

    How about just getting thrown over the shoulder and carried caveman style? I could do that even up to the third trimester ;)

    Sex with a married pregnant woman...
    That's a taboo on a taboo.....very appealing and awesome!!

  4. Bet my salary man husband is happy there is no army base near here. To you think all that well toned male flesh wil be running about shirts off as it gets hotter? That would be something to look forward to in summer......... Drool.....

  5. Haha, Chris, you're a machine.

    Maybe the awkwardness is from having to talk to people you would never normally talk to in your home town or anywhere really, just because they are one of 500 million or so people in the world that speak a somewhat similar language and look similar to you (i.e not asian).

    Anyway, fingers crossed the new influx results in some more business for the school at least.

  6. eheheh... funny story.

    i think every foreigner who lives in japan for a certain amount of time, especially in an environment with not too many other foreigners around, we kinda start thinking like we're japanese a bit. i mean, not really, but, when you go about your day seeing only japanese faces, and then suddenly a bunch of white ones pop up, it's weird! it's a shock to your routine and it's normal that it feels awkward! i mean heck, just going to the airport and seeing all the foreigners and the staff who speak to me in english weirds the shit out of me!