Gaijin Is a Racist Word

This is a topic I’ve never wanted to write about but now it seems like the time is right. If you live in Japan, people will call you gaijin. I’ve always accepted it and not cared much about it. I knew it had racial overtones and wasn’t a polite word, but I actually like my outsider status and I’m happy to be a non-Japanese.

The problem is that my kids get called gaijin. This is going to be a problem their whole lives and in a society where bullying is epidemic, it worries me a bit.

So, is the word gaijin a racist word? The answer is: Yes. Continue reading

The Longer You Teach in Japan, the Better It Gets

I just ran into a guy the other night that I used to work with many years ago at a crappy eikaiwa school. It was weird because I’d totally forgotten about that place, and just seeing him brought back all of this crazy trauma. It reminded me of an alien abduction movie I saw where the abductee has a flashback and curls up under a table at a party and sits there in a fetal position shaking.

I was like that guy under the table.

The eikaiwa was run by a madwoman who suffered from acute paranoia and thought everyone was stealing from her. She made my life a living hell for a good six months before I had enough and quit. Continue reading