Have you ever heard Japanese people say the word “Gaijin”?
Gaijin 外人, which means “A Foreigner” in Japanese, but depending who uses it, which context or situation you are in, it could be interpreted as “an outsider”. Personally I am not a fan of this word.
Yesterday, I got one email from university saying ” I am sorry but, this part time job is only for foreign students, so we don’t accept any other Japanese students.” ~ That part time job was about helping junior high school students to get to know foreign cultures, as well as to help them with their English. I found it weird as to they turned me down because of my nationality not based on my international experiences or my English skill. They didn’t use “Gaijin” but I have got the feeling where they treat foreign students as someone special in here. well. I also had thought this way until I went abroad back for the first time.
My first abroad was to Australia, where people from all nationalities are living together. As a Japanese born and raised in Japan in her entire life, that was a novel experience, when I took on the bus I always could see people who have different skin colors. Then I realized that, the word ” foreigner” can’t exist here. They all have the historical background in outside of Australia, unlike we Japanese being in the motherland since we were born. What I mean by “Foreigner” in this context is that people who look differently among other people. Technically I was visiting there as a foreigner according to papers, I didn’t feel like I was an outsider. Australian people did not treat me as someone special, which I really liked it. I clearly remember this feeling still now. As you might live in a more diverse country (I assume), than Japan, so maybe its not something you are unfamiliar with, and I am not trying to be on behalf of Japanese, in Japan where most of us are the same nationalities it was something new. Since then I started to feel it weird to use the word “Gaijin” as there are no conceptions here in this world.
What shocked me these days is what is happening in America among people who have different skin colors. I am not trying to get into American politics, but in this era, where people are strict about any movements that are implying the discrimination, it is sad to know that a politician is allowed to talk about it and let alone, many people supporting it. It makes me think a lot. I have always thought that America is cool in a way where it is multicultural yet they live together is the same country, sharing the different cultures. Not only this, but the UK wanting to get out of EU as we call Brexit, that happened this year makes me worry that this world is torn apart.
We all share this earth together, and it doesn’t matter which part you are from to me as long as you are being nice to other human beings. I sound a bit cliche but I believe in it. Using the word gaijin makes me uncomfortable because I feel like that we should distinguish people according to their backgrounds or nationalities. This idea is something unique only for the isolated country, so i do not blame my country for it. Just I wanted to write this down as quick reminder and thought. One day I hope that more people will start to see people as a person equally in the first place without any biased judgement.