minami oosawa

anonymous asked:

It's funny that you pretend to know everything about Japan, when you're not even Japanese. You're a foreigner obsessed with Japan like most Americans are, except you took it one step further and went there. You're a gaijin and nothing else and most Japanese probably detest you.

Ahahahahaha, oh boy, I was just waiting for an Anon like this to show up. And there I was already thinking the critical levels of idiocy on this website had possibly gone back, but, nope, you showed up, Anon. Welp, time to play a game of BS-Buster!

It’s funny that you pretend to know everything about Japan, when you’re not even Japanese.

I am a student of Japanology, also known as Japanese Studies, the field of studies usually studied by future diplomats, communication-scientists, translators and many more job fields specialized in allowing the cultures to communicate fluently with Japan. I have studied for 7 semesters, one of which I spent in Japan and I am about to spend a second semester in Japan. I have absolved courses on Japanese Language, History, Culture, Society, Minorities, Religion, Literature and more. The staff on my faculty is mixed and has at least 6 native Japanese women, several of which I have been taught by in courses and lectures before, so a lot of the things I state here come from these women. I never had trouble with my studies, have been noted as a very critical, interested student by my lecturers and could have gotten my bachelor one semester ago, but held it back in order to carry out my exchange stay in Japan, which is necessary to gain the expertise needed to carry on the studies into the Master courses. I successfully gained a scholarship on the Tokyo Metropolitan University, which would not have been possible if the staff of my faculty hadn’t vouched for my qualification for such a stay. As such, I detest your statement immensely. 

The idea that one can only understand a culture by being fully part of said culture is ridiculous and a crucial misinformation race-separation-elitist spread to further their cause. It furthers misunderstandings, hatred, and bad relationships between nations in business, economy, tourism and politics. It is also ridiculous, since “culture” is, in fact, fluent and you can never draw clear lines between cultures, only roughly group them, same as languages. For this reason, the cultural sciences have been contributing to help people communicate between the cultures, making use of their fluency to improve understanding. In other words: Without people like me, there would likely be a WHOLE lot more trans-cultural troubles in this world. Discredit my field as much as you want, us humanities students are used to being discredited, but don’t pretend doing so makes you especially smart. Trust me, it doesn’t. Smarter people than you have failed at logically discrediting the humanities before, with much better arguments.

I have never pretended to know everything about Japan, in fact, I rejected several questions I received on the basis that I had neither experience nor studied, reliable knowledge on the respective subject. It is, in fact, IMPOSSIBLE to know everything about Japan, even for Japanese people, as there is simply too much to know and claiming all Japanese people were the same would be a crude, horrible generalization which has no place in an academic field. Or would you go and claim you know everything about *your* culture? My special field is youth/pop subculture, but I still have to learn a lot in that field. I also know a lot about the subjects of femininity and minorities, since I took optional courses on them and have repeatedly discussed the subjects in seminars and with Japanese friends of mine. I would never call myself an expert, but I DO know quite a bit about what I’m talking about.

You’re a foreigner obsessed with Japan like most Americans are, except you took it one step further and went there. 

Isn’t it nice, how you compare me to American people when the closest I have ever come to even stepping onto American land in my whole life was a visit in an American Military Base in Japan? Congratulations, you just proved my point about Americanocentrism. If America is what you immediately feel the need to compare me to, it just proves my point that you cannot put anything into a context other than the American context. Either that, or you are actually not American yourself and just really clumsy about your choice of words, in which case you don’t really have a right to claim to know what Americans are like by your own logic, so: Congratulations for not stopping to think before you hit “send”. 

Should you be Japanese (which I kinda doubt, but, hey, it’s a possibility!) then you’re not the kind of Japanese person I try to usually associate with anyway (as exposed by your use of the word “gaijin” but I will get to that later), since I am really not interested in the separation of the cultures and building of walls, as the extremist right-wing peoples propagate. Maybe it’s because I was born out of a cross-cultural marriage and thus owe trans-cultural thinking my life, but I’m never gonna agree with the idea that cultures should be separate, shouldn’t try to explore each other and never mix. 

Obsessed? Why, yeah, sure. Most passionate scientists are obsessed with their subject. Unhealthily. I am like that, I will not deny that. However, the difference between my obsession and the kind of crazy obsession where you idealize everything to the utmost is that I am obsessed with learning, critically analyzing, seeing the light and shadow sides and finding out how they connect and are to be associated and what exactly the *spectrum of tendencies* within the culture is, rather than finding “absolute facts” that pretty much say X=X, because a culture of people is always a SPECTRUM and trying to find undeniable facts that apply to every individual within said culture is unprofessional and, to be frankly, just plain stupid. The exact kind of stupidity that tumblr just loves to indulge in, so, congrats for proving another of my points! 
I am obsessed with Japan, but I do not idolized the country. I stopped doing that when I was, like, eleven years old. I do not wish to change my name to “Hikaru Momoba”, dye my hair pink and move to Tokyo to work as a Mangaka, because then my life would be ‘perfect’. That’s just dumb. Japan is a society and culture like every other and deserves to be viewed and studied and communicated with as such, and I am frankly sick of people either absorbing it into their own cultural context without critically thinking about the implications, or raising it onto a podium and worshiping it. Has humanity forgotten how to be critical? Oh wait, that’s just the internet, silly me. Except it isn’t. 

You’re a gaijin and nothing else and most Japanese probably detest you.

Your use of the word “gaijin” exposes you as someone who likely read 1-2 articles on Japanese society and thought that makes them smart, so you are incredibly hypocritical with this whole message. As “gaijin” is an offensive word, since it literally means “outsider”, as in “someone who doesn’t belong here”, most Japanese outside of the Anonymous Internet Culture of 2chan and the likes use “gaikokujin”, which is a far more neutral term for “foreigner”, and has far less negative implications. 

Of course, again, there is also the possibility of you being Japanese, in which case, read above, I do not want to associate with the mindset that would freely use the term “gaijin”. Though, if you are that kind of Japanese person, it makes me very surprised at your fluent English, since these people (in any culture) don’t usually invest that much time into perfecting their foreign languages, so either you are very linguistically talented (which would be such a waste of talent), had a different reason for learning English, or, most possibly, you are simply not Japanese either. In which case, why are you using the word “gaijin”? Because you don’t know the implications and/or are just trying to sound pointed and smart. That’s why. 

Also, “most Japanese people probably hate me”. Hah. You know, funny story. When I went to Japan, I was scared. I thought I would face troubles and discrimination for my nationality and not-yet-fluent Japanese. Oh boy, was I surprised when I actually arrived. In my half year in Japan, I was faced with FAR LESS racism than I am faced with typically in everyday life in my native Austria. I have no idea if it’s because I blend in well with the Japanese crowd (My body height and skin tone are closer to the Asian than the European, thanks to be being an European/Arabic mix), but I think many people simply don’t realize I’m a foreigner until they look me directly in the face. And even when they do, I don’t usually face trouble for this reason. It’s probably because I live in Minami-Oosawa, an area used to exchange students thanks to the University, but I was treated as every other customer in the stores and people did not treat me strangely on the streets. On Campus, I was frequently adressed in the cafeterias, asked where I came from, how I liked Japan, where I learned to speak Japanese, for how long I have been in Japan (and most people expressed surprise that it’s only been a few months and told me they judged me as far more experienced with the society and language)… I even had older men look at me in amazement before and ask me how I learned to use chopsticks like that, since they were surprised a “gaikokujin” could eat rice with them. I dunno about “most Japanese”, but the Japanese I have met were most generally far less xenophobic than you seem to assume, rather, many seemed fascinated by the fact that someone would invest so much time into studying their culture and trying to treat it with respect. Even as I went into different areas of Tokyo. Ginza, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Hachioji, I was met with kindness everywhere I go and people would frequently express happy surprise at my ability to speak Japanese, even though my grammar sucks. The only place where I *did* receive weird stares in certain shops was, surprise, surprise, Akihabara. Yes, our “beloved” Otaku Mekka. And even there it was only in privately owned stores which’s owners seemed like they were permanently grumpy. I have yet to move outside of Tokyo. Maybe I will be met with more animosity there. And if so, so what? People are not an hive mind. They can think what they want. If they don’t want to associate with me, I don’t want to associate with them either. Simple. But I have yet to encounter a single Japanese individual who outright didn’t want to talk to me, so your “hypothesis” is vastly unfounded so far. 

While I am not a very social individual and really bad at keeping up relationships, I *do* have some friends in Japan, who I frequently spent time with outside of classes and exchanged experiences and cultural ideas with. It was always highly interesting and taught me a lot. I also have one best friend, with whom I got onto “-chan” name basis (Which SHE initiated by asking me to change name basis, not me), with whom I spent many happy afternoons shopping in Tokyo and many happy evenings fooling around with our bought goods in our rooms. Never was there even a hint of discord or dissent between us and she even invited be to stay at her family’s place in summer and wants to come to visit me in Austria one day.

Additionally, the person who made the original rant of the post I responded to which most likely brought here was a Japanese trans-woman, and she thanked me for my contribution before she deleted all her posts once more and left this god forsaken site for good. 

Guess what? Trans-cultural communication is possible, is interesting, is intellectually challenging and is FUN if you invest into it. Your assumptions offend me on a deep level, since they discredit the bonds I have forged and the effort I have invested. Frankly, you are the kind of individual I do not want to associate with. I just felt I needed to get all this off my soul, because, really, I need something to present if I ever get more of these messages. There will be more. I know this is tumblr.

But for the next week, I’m just going to block-delete all further messages of this kind I get. I have no wish to communicate with you. Keep living in your sad, generalizing, barrier-filled reality if you want to. I will keep living in mine.

That would be all.