My experience in Japan

As a child, I would live in Japan for a month once every four years, but the only time I’ve lived there as an adult was when I worked as an English teacher for two years. Thinking back on that time, because I was half Japanese and understood Japanese, I feel like I was searching for something different from those who go to a completely different country and find their new environment interesting. Up until then, I thought of Japan as my mother country, but I wanted to try seeing Japan from a different perspective than I had as a child. Other half-Japanese people I know have also gone back for a year or two. All of us feel the same way, and are seeking something. I don’t know exactly what that something is, but it’s something we want to experience.

I lived in Japan 12-13 years ago, but I remember feeling like I stuck out. Kids would point at me and shout, “Foreigner!” and I’d internally think, actually, I’m half Japanese~! Back then, we didn’t have GPS, so when I stopped someone on the street to ask for directions, I’d have to ask three times before getting a response. I thought it was unfortunate that people rejected me based on my appearance. I didn’t want them to be so afraid of me.

When I returned to Japan this past summer, we went to a bakery and my four year old son said, “I want melon bread!” The man at the bakery responded, “You’re speaking Japanese, even though you don’t look like you should be able to!” (laugh) I know that thinking like this is common, and there’s not all that much I can do about it, but I can’t help but think that it’s so old-fashioned! How should I explain this to him…? It’s the 21st Century, please get used to it? There’s times I want to say the same thing to Canadians too. Remind them that it’s the 21st Century.