Foreigners, especially westerners, often struggle to integrate in Japan. This is evidenced by the prevalence of “gaijin pubs” dotting Japanese cities, packed with white faces almost any night of the week. It’s a place where they can be themselves and talk to people who “get them.”
I’ve been on a journey recently exploring why we foreigners have such a hard time feeling at home in Japan. Some people have cited in-group/out-group mentality or simply “racism.” But while there’s plenty of xenophobia to go around in Japan, and certainly old prejudices don’t help foreigners feel at home, that’s certainly not all Japanese.
And while ingroup/outgroup can be part of the it, I think another huge component of the struggle is in a fundamental difference in communication.
Some of our readers know that the building we moved into shortly after coming to Japan was called “Noah’s Ark.” Over the time we’ve resided in Noah’s Ark, I’ve taken an interest in the story of Noah, and we’ve seen some fun parallels between the biblical story and our own lives.
While school stretches year round for me here in Japan, I’m thankful that the YMCA rewards our dedicated study with lengthy breaks between terms–breaks that enable to us to catch up on work, hobbies and do a little traveling. We have a some great photos from our trips we’ll put up in another post, but for […]
When I was a kid, during the summertime my Dad used to take the family camping or on day trips out to one of Michigan’s many lakes. We would bring the boat along and go tubing, swimming or just hang out and barbeque on the shore. On one of these occasions, we went out to Gun […]