Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yuki's Dad, Who Took Care of Us After We Fled to Fukuoka

There is this derogatory term going around town - actually I already wrote and posted about it, but then, immediately afterwards, decided to retract it for two reasons:

1. I got insecure because I didn't know if it was any good or if it was sounding too preachy.
2. Ian said that by just talking about it, you will only give it more credence.

Anyways, a few days later at dinner, Yuki began talking about a mutual Japanese friend of ours who came to her birthday party… That friend confessed to her that after the quake, all her foreign friends/co-workers began bouncing. She was angry then (and I think still angry now) while wondering the whole time:

What about me?

Well, “What about me?”, or 「私は?
・・・」 in Japanese, turned out to be one of the most reoccurring questions after the quake (even if it was only thought about and not necessarily said aloud)...

Yuki's Dad at Korean Barbeque (Ian treated)

Therefore, I think it’s time that it should be commented upon. So here is my retracted rant (sorry, if it sounds preachy):

“People are calling foreigners, who had left Tokyo during the crisis, fly-jin, which is a play off gai-jin, the Japanese word for foreigner. For the foreigners who did come back to town, their Japanese friends and coworkers, who stayed behind, probably were delighted to have the chance to use that term as a joke… but under that chuckle there was no doubt, a bit of hostility and a feeling of superiority lying there.

In a way, I can understand this negative feeling because I felt it briefly when my own friends were leaving me and everyone else in Tokyo behind… but eventually I too succumbed to the pressures of the times and fled for safer grounds... But, in the end, this hostility is really just pettiness- pure and simple- because there is no right or wrong when you’re dealing with a disaster; and fleeing your home is never an easy thing to do; and the fact that someone flees for their own safety, or their family’s or friends’ sake should never be considered wrong.

Basically what it comes down to is that flyjin does not mean a foreigner who takes off… It means coward. And the people using these words have already subtly and mentally dug themselves into a separate faction, where it’s now Us vs. Them. But I wonder if those Us people actually think that they are in the same group as the people in Tohoku because from what I have been reading about that place, where the tsunami and the quake actually did damage (leaving it more fucked and busted than Cameron Diaz’s face in Knight and Day) is that everyone still living there has never been closer or more unified than ever before... which should put anyone who even considers using the term flyjin as a joke to shame.”

*Sorry, Cameron Diaz!

*And as much as I love talking shit on white dudes in Japan because it is fun and the majority of them are sleeze bags, there, of course, are always two sides to a coin. (Suprisingly, some white dudes are pretty decent people.)

*Also it's true that there was a mass exodus of foreigners,which was all over the media, but there was also a mass exodus of Japanese people living in Tokyo that also fled for their hometowns in Southern Japan as well.


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