Thursday, April 5, 2012

Brainwashed Foreigners?

Japanprobe has a good piece on "brainwashed foreigners".

I don't know, precisely — introspection is notoriously error-prone — but I don't feel I fit either of the Foreigner types characterised in this piece.

I meet "clean-room" people now and again, though the most common variant seems to be the cultural one: young people in love with manga, J-pop and the rest, and expects Japan to be a gleaming futuristic sci-fi backdrop to their own transformed lives; a chimeric refuge from the mundane society they are running from. When they find out Japan is just a country like any other — when they realize they never left their own problems and insecurities behind — they feel bitterly betrayed.

The "Yakumo" type would be people who see and love Japan as it really is, warts and all, and simply want to live their lives here. I'm certainly closer to this "type", but I'm not sure how well I fit here either.

I didn't come to Japan because of Japan after all — I got a job and it happened to be located here — and I ended up staying because of a single Japanese person, not because of Japan itself. Now I really do enjoy living here in Osaka in particular, and I hope we will stay here for many more years to come. If push came to shove, though, we'd probably be about as happy in my native Sweden or in any of a dozen other countries.

(Reposted on Google+)


Shou said...

Your articles are always very interesting. You are absolutely right, there are many of those "Japan-crazy" people. I have to admit, I used to be that way too but after a lot of years and after growing up, I realised that Japan really is a country like others, it's totally different from my country, sure but also has bad sites and negative aspects. I'm still very interested in Japan and it's my fav hobby but with all its aspects, not only Manga and J-Pop :)
Wish you a nice day :)

Jan Moren said...


It's not a criticism! If anything it's more of a general warning: don't idealize a place (or a person, or an ideology or whatever), or you'll inevitably be disappointed when you encounter reality. And that may in turn make you reject something that you might otherwise have greatly enjoyed, drawbacks and all.