All this happened, more or less...

My name is G and these are the true stories of my adventures.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The 3rd Degree (Revisited)

It has come to my attention that since I switched the host for my blog, I have gained vast numbers of new readers who have unfortunately missed out on all the charming content buried deep in the vaults of my archives. In order to remedy the situation, I've decided to take some old archived blogs and blow the dust off of them. If you've been with me since the beginning, don't fret -- there's still plenty of new content to come -- but this should help new readers catch up and give me a chance to organize the promised new content so it can be inflicted on *edit* released to the public in a timely fashion.


The 3rd Degree

originally posted 6/12/07

No matter who you are or where you come from, the Gaijin-in-Japan experience comes standard with a few essential pieces. This is so much the case that at least one semi-famous gaijin blog is written entirely in the second person because the author finds it safe to assume whatever happens to him in Japan might just as easily happen to any other foreigner. Perhaps that's taking it a step too far, but the truth is that some things are just part of the gaijin way of life.

One of these inescapable gaijin experiences is The Third Degree. Regardless of how many days, months, or years you spend in Japan, approximately 93% of the natives you meet will get to know you by asking you the following questions (with varying levels of English mastery): "Where are you from?"; "Do you enjoy Japan?"; "Can you eat Japanese food?"; "Can you eat nato?"; "Do you miss your home?"; and the king of them all, "Why did you come to Japan?"

This question is annoying for two reasons. One -- you have answered it seven thousand times already since your plane landed. Two -- you have no idea what the answer is and have to throw together some new bullshit every single time. After about two months of improvising, I actually sat down and tried to remember why exactly I did come to Japan and figure out how to express it clearly and eloquently. I gave up.

I went to Japan for the same reason most foreigners do: to be there. It doesn't sound like a very good reason, but it's the only real one. Jobs and studying and relationships and expanding cultural horizons are only excuses. I went to Japan because I couldn't stay away. Gravity, tides, and adventures -- there's no avoiding them. When the time is right, it is, and when you have to go, you do.

People very rarely ask why I came home, but the reason is the same. It was time. Time for a new season. Time for a different adventure.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

actually I am wondering if you have any tips for teaching in japan. My email address is if you could email me that would be nice. I can let you know more about my questions and situation in the email.

thanks ryan