(this ain't gonna reveal the best side of my personality, so don't read it)

I'm currently working in a Japanese company. I am not Japanese. I am also new to this company and their way of doing things. Thus I expect to be told what to do. I am not the type to buck at authority - on the contrary, I much prefer being told exactly what needs to be done. That way I can do what I need to with confidence, not worrying constantly about whether this is the way to do things.

But do I need to be told not to wash the dishes with the cloth we use to clean the windows? I do not. If I am washing the washcloth in the sink, why then does my colleague jump to the conclusion that I might be doing just that? Does she think that in Gaikoku, people routinely clean dishes with dirty window-cleaning cloths? Moreover, even if she does believe that, does she have to assume that after living for six years in this country I still wouldn't know any better?

This is just the latest in a series of these, by the way. I will be doing something innocuous, and she will say "oh, god, you're not going to [do something nobody would ever do, no matter where they come from], are you?"

I love Japan, which is why I decided to spend my life living and working here. But like everything, it is not without its flaws. People who treat me like I am a stupid child do not earn places on my most-loved list. The fact that they do so because I am foreign also doesn't earn them places on my not-racist list.

And it never used to bother me, you know, when I'd only been here for a little while, but yes, after six years I can use fucking chopsticks. After majoring in it for four years in college and working a job surrounded by Japanese people for five years, yes, I can speak Japanese. After writing a dissertation for said major on the morphology of Japanese, Korean and Turkish, yes, it is safe to assume that I can at least read one or two fucking kanji. Complimenting me on that is insulting and condescending. I'm supposed to be your colleague, not some mentally deficient clown for you to take pity on. The idea that I am special because I mastered something that you also mastered is nothing more than a way of putting yourself on a pedestal, and it's all part and parcel of the endemic soft racism that plagues this country. Japan is "special".

It doesn't help that there are many aspects of it which are special. Like I said, I love it; that's why I am here and will continue to stay. But god, I've lived in a lot of places, and I've never found any nation whose people feel the need to so routinely phrase their sentences "In our country, you see, we do it this way."

And don't even get me started on visa applications.

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