Being the “Bad Japanese”

Not being able to speak flowing Japanese when you look Asian, is a big no-no in Japan. Especially when your name is uber-Japanese. There is no “gaijin (foreigner) card” to be used here.

At train stations, I get stared at by the train conductor when I ask where the nearest train to Shinjuku is, because of my broken Japanese.

At the convenience stores, I have at least two old Japanese guys who stare at me while I struggle with the printer and scanner. Which is right next to the erotic pornography magazine section.

I’ve never really had the hated gaijin speech until last week, when I was out with my friends and an old Japanese lady yelled at us to “go back to [your home] country!” I honestly didn’t feel that bad, because my own country is supposed to be Japan, but I realized how much different I was in how I acted against other Japanese girls. And I realized how much attention this brought to myself in Japan, a land of harmonious unity where no one is allowed to blow their nose in the train (I’ve done this once, and got a lot of unwanted stares).

But it’s true. I am, essentially, the failed prototype of a Japanese.

I can’t speak my own country’s language,

my skin color is more tan than any Japanese guy at the beach,

I go make-up free while the rest of my classmates wear blushes so pink that you think they’re blushing at every guy,


my stocky frame against my average height makes me more of a clump than a fragile butterfly,

I wear casual fashion choices instead of pastel dresses and frilly blouses,

my skin is shown so much to the point that you can see my muffin top in the summer (in a land where women wear skin colored tights even when wearing shorts),

my hair is floppy and free despite many other women struggling over intricate hair tutorials and wearing metallic bobby pins to keep it in place,

and I am not too loud to say I am free-spirited like a foreigner but am direct enough to tell a person that I don’t understand a word of what they said.

Most importantly, I am cynical. To the point that I may not have a resting bitch face, but I don’t giggle every time I’m talking to a guy.

And I guess this makes me unacceptable for the Japan dating pool I guess because so far I have never been hit on or even scheduled a Tinder date with a Japanese guy, and one time a guy told his girlfriend that “my clothes were too tight to wear on a body like mine” at Shibuya. What’s frustrating is that comments like these basically crash down every single confidence I had, because on that day I thought I looked nice. Sexy. Strong.

I had my makeup done by my friend, wore a tight dress that hugged my curves (belly rolls included), and sprayed on my favorite perfume. I was club-ready.

I’m not going to end this with a feel-good message to love yourself because it is a lifelong process. Keep on trekking, I guess. Shit like this happens.


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