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Pet Sins June 2001

The experience of European-descent expatriates in Japan

People here just drive me crazy. A lot of times they just want to talk to me so they can practice their English. Once I went to a party, and people I did not know were trying to get their pictures taken with me, or trying to get their children to pose for pictures with me. Just like Santa Claus at the mall or something. I try not to hang out with Japanese adults anymore.

Everybody wants me to be in their 'clique' because I am the foreigner. Once I offered to introduce a Japanese boy to my Australian friend because they both played the guitar. And he said, "Oh cool, it would be nice to have some foreign friend to play guitar with."

It never crosses their mind that this might be a weird motivation for making a new friend. It is like you're being friends with the color of someone's skin, and not with the person herself.

European American woman teaching English in Japan

I enjoyed my time in Japan, but I was so glad to be home. Over there, I felt I was treated like a thing, not a person. People were always trying to get to know me just because I am American.

A
2000