I’m never entirely sure how Japanese people feel about foreigners.
On the one hand, they rave about how cute we are, how small our faces are (a good thing), how high our noses are (also a good thing) and other delightful physical attributes we apparently have.
On the other hand they treat us like children; freaking out when we speak Japanese (as if they were our first words), asking if we can use chopsticks and expressing doubt at our ability to do grocery shopping.
On the other hand (yes there are three hands), they think we’re evil.*
Oh, they’d never say so out loud, but the thought is there.
I have one American friend who always has empty seats next to him on trains, I have seen doctors quake with fear when faced with a foreigner, but the most damning evidence lies in our junior high school English textbooks.
For some reason, every single foreigner in those books looks like they are possessed by a demon.
Look at the Japanese teacher. He looks like a nice, friendly, non-soul eating kinda guy.
Then look at the ALT from Canada. That is one evil lady. Even I’m convinced.
And then there’s the evil Indian character. He is clearly luring these unsuspecting students into his demon’s lair.
These lovely Japanese students spend their weekends cleaning and recycling, but the foreigner? He listens to the screams of children. And enjoys it.
On a serious note–and this is something that requires a thesis rather than a lighthearted blog post–the Japanese still have a lot of issues with the way they see foreigners, that they need to deal with before they can take a real place on the world stage.
As a society they have a long way to go with this, but they could start with not drawing all foreigners like they want to eat children’s souls.
It’s a baby step, but it’s a step.
In the meantime I will continue to use all three of my hands to do evil in Japan.
*This blog is a joke. I do not actually believe that Japanese people think we’re evil. Mostly.