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.
For those Americans who have had the experience of studying Japanese (or any foreign language), they can understand that is no easy task. Some would go so far to say that among the world’s most commonly spoken languages, there are no two tongues so different in grammar, form and use than English and Japanese. With […]
Super Speed Exactly three weeks ago, I was in a rush to change trains in the early morning hours when I lost my balance on a staircase. I was in quite the hurry to make the next train, so using my Flash-like supernatural speed, I attempted to use the last step of the staircase to change directions […]
Hello friends! Thank you for your prayers for our safe trip – we’ve made it to Japan! You may be wondering what Erich and I have been up to since landing. Our last post was over a month ago! It’s been a crazy past two weeks—let me tell you the highlights of our experience. こんにちは！たくさんの祈りを感謝します。無事に日本に着きました！日本に着いてからのエリックと私の状況についてアップデートしたいと思います。 Table […]
Recently I was honored with two speaking opportunities — one at the Japanese Worship Service in Battle Creek, MI and the other at our home church, Moran Park in Holland, MI. Last weekend Pastor Bob Herman was speaking on John 6 (the multiplying of the loaves and fishes), and in discussions with him leading up […]
[box type=”note”] An approximate transcription of a few stories I shared at the Japanese Language Worship Service in Battle Creek, MI on Saturday, October 19, 2013. [/box] Introducing Erich & Emi Good evening. My name is Erich Boileau and this is my wife Emi. I’ve been part of the Japanese Christian community in West Michigan […]