Conversation 3/16/09 – I hate waking up mad, too

This conversation took place between myself and my boy EZ yesterday. Actually it was via my blog comment area but I thought it noteworthy enough to make a post out of it.

EZ: All right, here’s my amateur translation of Sora’s blog post (currently with no comments). I apologize for any errors:

“So I decided to sneak a peek at Loco-san’s blog after a long while. It was the one that introduced me to THAT (当) Blog and this video . Although he has had this experience back in NY, in Japan he has it much worse, saying that he goes through this terrible thing ten times a day, every day. The purpose of this article is to raise the problem of how he cannot hold this kind of dissatisfaction with Japan, especially in light of the fact that foreigners exist throughout Japan we find this type of behavior strange. There is much to learn from the blogs that allow open comments and don’t block opposing opinions since there are a whole lot of opinions to be had.

Of course, such dissatisfaction is good to say and must be said. However, you must take care on how you say it. If you made the same video, you would just get more antipathy in Japan since the seeds of fear for black people have already been planted.

If you are going to relate your opinion, you must stress that such avoidances makes you unhappy. Also, a good shortcut is for black people to make the impression to more and more Japanese people that they really, really want to speak Japanese normally with them.

The Japanese have made firm opinions that all black people are the same as Westernized black people, based on the actions of some black folks, and this is wrong. There are good and bad images of black folks available. Hollywood films and foreign newscasts will show black people as the same and over blow unusual characteristics. Because of that, there are negative opinions about black people in Japan. There are a whole lot of people that have not met a real live black person.

I think that even if there wasn’t such a history concerning Westerners, if black people in Japan were to give the impression that they are against Japanese people, then this new image will just take hold again. If the discussion among the population spreads, as well as the cultural exchange, then a lot of the images might change, however, the opinion that Japanese people have of black folks will probably remain low for the years to come.

Recently, Mr. Loco made a post that included a videos his students graduating from middle school. The way he made his greetings without seeming bewildered was pleasant to see. This is the way black people, or any people for that matter, should relate to these kids. This goes for relating to adults as well.

However, cursing them and calling them hicks won’t open those doors.

Please say the following to the Japanese in their own language: “Hey, Japanese people, if there is anyone among you that looks at us black folks and runs away, doing so will make us very unhappy. We are just like you and we just want to get along.” Because I believe in the Japanese, I think just doing this alone will change things.

It would be good if the government or the administrations would do this, I think, the government and administrations are not as quick to act as we wish. Since we can’t see through a Westerner’s eyes, these tragic events will continue to accumulate. Of course, the media neither investigates it or pays attention to those incidents.

It all starts with a small voice. I’m sure that people that will cooperate will come. From that small voice they will gather into a bigger voice.

However, you must first get the Japanese people to join you. You must appeal to the hearts of the Japanese people. What you did will only inflame the passions of the Japanese people and turn them against you.

Because of that, the calls to cooperate from Debito’s blog are no good. Because of the reasons that can be found here ( http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kentanakachan/e/b06c3f2855a31c29161d62e486a03ad1 ) and the other things that he has written, and his is the only blog that is willing to cooperate, the sincerity and fidelity to this issue is held in doubt. It will just give another reason for all of Japan to hate the foreign-born.

In order for the Japanese society to someday be able to understand, or if possible, to be able to bring about the effect that you desire, by all means, work hard at studying the Japanese language because we really desire that.”

So what this dude is saying is that he also thinks Japanese folks should be mollycoddled when being called out on their racism and ignorance? Fuck that! If they won’t stand for that bullshit themselves (unless they do) then why should we stand for it?

All right, I guess I’ll make a deal. At first, I’ll get on the teevee, get all weepy and pull a Rodney King “treating us like criminals makes me saaaad! We’re just like you, can’t we all just get along?” and see if that sort of groveling to be treated as a human being actually works. If it doesn’t, then it’s back to kicking asses again, whether they like it or not.

Fuck, I shouldn’t wake up mad like this.

ME: YO EZ! My Man, 50 Grand! Thanks for the translation!!!! Otsukaresamadeshita… WOW!
Yeah, you said it, man, it’s a call for more mollycoddling. But, you know what…I’ve been doing some thinking (yet again, long and hard) and I’ve decided that I’m not going to fuel my anger, or allow them to fuel it anymore…enough is enough. The Iceman has cometh! I’m going to re-focus my energy on something more productive and let them be. I know it won’t be EZ (-; This issue is very complexed, and I’m hardly in the emotional shape to tackle it head on as much as I’d like to. I think my issues here are as much a result of the racial trauma I experienced back home as it is anything the Japanese have done, so for the time being I’m just going to deal with my own trauma, and if i can resolve that then I’ll be in a healthier state and better able to see the issues I’m having with nihonjin clearer, you know?

I mean I sat back and read a little James Baldwin (perhaps the most eloquent and intelligent man to deal with such issues) and Langston Hughes and WEB DuBois and then re-read some of the things I’ve been writing and I noticed some similarities but a big significant difference. They mostly came at the challenge the way Sora-san suggested. They Mollycoddled white people, sometimes. And sometimes they threw haymakers with the force of a Typhoon. It was all about timing, and knowing yourself, and knowing your target very well. Plus they were driven by the kind of passion that can only be derived from fighting for one’s home. And, while I live here, and pay taxes and have vested myself as much as one can in a place that one has no idea when they will leave, this is not home. The truth is, though I’ve been living here a few years, and i think I know Japanese people well, maybe I don’t know them as well as I should. So, I’ve decided to take a pause for the cause. Of course I’m going to continue writing…I love this too much to give this up…but, I too hate waking up mad. It’s bad for my digestion and my constitution and my general disposition, and so I’ve decided to go a lighter path for a while.

It’s funny though…I came to this epiphany a couple of days ago and I actually feel different already. I saw the same shit on the train today and my body tensed up but my mind was like “Yo, Dude! Chill!” The words actually almost came out my mouth. And you know what? I didn’t act out (well I did elbow this one asshole who was determined to keep his briefcase between us regardless of my efforts to avoid it coming in contact with me) I didn’t plot my literary assault (something I’m prone to do I’m sure you know) I simply chilled…and told myself something to the effect of “it must be a bitch being Japanese: intimidated by anyone and everyone, afraid of people who are not like you, stuck on a rock in Asia because your culture has made you unsuitable to survive off of it, afraid to look at or stand near a woman for fear of being accused of being Chikan, afraid of not being early for work and not staying late and not going drinking afterwards for then you may be labeled uncooperative…”etc etc. I looked around me and for the first time since I’ve been here…THE VERY FIRST TIME…I felt pity. It’s an awful feeling, feeling sorry for people, and I hated it. I’ve never really felt pity for people before, at least not healthy people anyway. But, maybe that’s it. Maybe I just realized that they are not so healthy, and neither am I. They’ve been traumatized by their society the same way I’ve been traumatized by mine. Mutually inclusive trauma…They see danger in my black skin…I see racism in their black eyes… They’re afraid of what they don’t know, and feel secure within the folds of the familiar, and I’m afraid of being persecuted and dehumanized for that’s what enabled the atrocities that have occurred throughout my life and our history in the US and I feel secure fighting against evil even if in some cases it’s only a delusion of persecution…
Yeah, EZ, I’m at a point right now where I just want to step back and NOT see what I want to see, or what I don’t want to see, but simply see what it is…and deal with it one moment at a time.

It’s the damnedest thing. I’m even having trouble articulating it…but I will, you can count on it. Whatever this is I’m going through, it’s changing the way I view myself and the people around me, for sure, and I think in a healthy, productive way.

But it could be that spicy (tasty) ass Ramen I ate last Friday…who knows (-;

PS: And thanks again for breaking down that post for me…
You are the most righteous…or you got too much free time on your hands between filling prescriptions and what not LOL


EZ: Nah, I ain’t filling no prescription yet, just applying to pharm school. If that 98th percentile PCAT score doesn’t put me in, then I’ll apply as a JET.

But you are right, though. Being an underemployed bum that I am, I do have too much time on my hand

But shit, though, wow. Hear you talk, you must have achieved the enlightenment of a Jesus or a Jackie Robinson. I don’t know if I’ll ever be that strong, I’d probably be binging at Roppongi bitching and pissing with the Army brothers stationed there.

ME: Tempting…bruh…tempting…sometimes the call of Roppongi (or shibuya or Kabukicho) is like a Siren’s cal lol

Shit, 98 Percentile??? you should be in no sweat.

Loco lite

Lyte as a rock

15 Responses to “Conversation 3/16/09 – I hate waking up mad, too”

  1. 1 ItAintEazy
    March 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I thought your reply needed to be it’s own post. Once again, all you professional translators feel free to rip apart what I did, I can take it.

    • March 17, 2009 at 9:07 pm

      Man, your translation is on point! Shit, you should get paid for this!
      Nah man it’s people like you that helped a brother make it through to the breakthrough so nuff respect to my Brethren EZ

      Loco Lyte

  2. 3 Bored in Kanagawa
    March 17, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Those were absolutely beautiful words! Keep it coming this Loco Lyte is actually more enlightening and uplifting. and EZ, man please you are so in there.

    • March 17, 2009 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks BIK! Loco Lyte. I like that! (-;
      Yeah, anger will only get you so far. And then you’re just an old man screaming at traffic or clouds.


  3. March 20, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    I like what you said about feeling pity for others. It’s a shitty feeling, especially if our feelings of pity are misguided. But, being able to feel pity once in a while is better than being so hardened that you never can, right?

    • March 23, 2009 at 9:13 am

      Billy-san, thanks as always for the shout.
      It is a shitty feeling isn’t it? I’m not sure the only two options are feeling pity or being hard, though. I think not feeling pity is a showing respect for another’s humanity and recognizing that the human experience is replete with good and bad. To feel pity requires a bit of condescension, the presupposition that your state is superior to or better than another’s. I would rather be hardened than feel superior to anyone. But, we (humans) are taught by our respective cultures that ours is the best way, the civilized way, the way humans were intended to be, and that is the problem I think. If you remove that programming, I think pity is removed as an option altogether. Why pity isn’t considered a deadly sin, I don’t know.

  4. March 21, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Sorry to hear you are having a shitty time. You are clearly a good, thoughtful man. I can’t offer any deep insights into the best way forward, but I would say hate only begets more hate. The antidote is love. What can I say? As MLK said, the old way of an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind. He didn’t say the odd jab in the ribs to an ignorant fucker wasn’t out of the question though… jab away, but find that space in your heart to forgive the idiots. Sermon over.

  5. 9 Qcue
    March 25, 2009 at 5:52 am

    My 2 cents,


    Check this out, A Japanese TV show with NY black people…………

  6. March 25, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Qcue-san, good looking out! It’s this kind of shit that….
    anyway, what you gonna do? It”s like the Japanese version of “Birth of a Nation” playing right into the mindset of the typical Japanese fear…traveling abroad minding their business, snubbed by some white man for their poor English and mugged and nearly raped by some young black savages. The Japanese nightmare. No wonder they act the way they do. Boys over Flowers is one of the most popular shows!

  7. 11 P
    March 27, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Loco, hana yori dango is dumplings over flowers or rather chosing the practicle over the beautiful I think. Anyway here’s a rather random ramble for you.

    I read some of the posts over at sora san’s blog. I’ve always hated racism in any shape or form. Its an ugly part of human nature to fear the “different” and band together with the “same”. There are idiots abound in any country.

    I think your pity is just another crutch. A better crutch than anger but a crutch all the same.

    . I’m sure that you have some Japanese friends who you exempt from this pitty. I try not to start sentences with “the Japanese are” because I don’t like sweeping generalizations. Just like I don’t like to hear外人は or 欧米の人は. Sometimes people won’t sit next to me on the train in the only available seat on a crowded train but sometimes I’m glad of the extra room. In one of Sora’s posts there is mention of Japanese people in the US making an effort to blend/fit into society over there. Maybe its easier when you don’t stand out so much. This is where my frustration stems from. Its the reason I hate the ikinari eigo syndrome so much.
    But after 8 years over here I think my love hate relationship with this country isn’t much different to the love hate relationship that I have with England.
    I think my lowest point was when I lived in the sticks. I was cycling along the road. An old guy came around the corner and literally fell off his bicycle in surprise at seeing a foreigner. I can laugh about it now but I was pretty down for a while afterwards. Maybe the guy had never come across anyone who wasn’t Japanese.
    When my grandmother was a little girl I think Britain was predominately white. I remember her telling me she’d been to the market and she couldn’t get to the counter because of all the Darth Vaders. It took me a while to realize that she meant the muslim women who wear the black robes and veil. I wouldn’t describe her as racist, maybe not exactly PC but not racist. Her parting words for me when I was leaving to come here were “Be careful over there luv, you know they don’t cook their fish, I’ve seen it on the telly”. I tried to explain that there are cooked fish dishes too but in the end just agreed to be careful.

  8. 12 Jim
    March 30, 2009 at 3:42 am

    Maybe you are already aware of all this, but jumping out from your post above to other links and googling some of the references I ended up on this wikipedia page about Debito Arudou which I found very very interesting and to the point of some of what you are discussing.

    Maybe you have already written earlier in your blog about the whole controversy referred to on this wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debito_Arudou about his references to “Gaijin” being used in Japan as “Nigger” is used elsewhere. I am curious how you felt about that analogy?

    Having been to Tokyo and other parts of Japan several times over the past few decades, reading this also made me very curious about the present state of clear public posted discrimination against foreigners? I have seen quite a few “Japanese only” signs in Japan and am curious if there are still as many as there once were? My favorite of all time that I saw myself was a “Club USA” or “USA Club” in Tokyo that had a “Japanese Only” admittance sign beside the entrance door.

    Do you think that the arrogant, public “there is no reason NOT to be prejudiced against gaijin and we are not ashamed to say that we are” attitude is fading at all these days in Japan or not?


  9. 13 Yasu
    April 2, 2009 at 2:53 am



  10. 14 Rune
    April 10, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Hey Loco

    Wasn’t able to find the video of your students graduating in your archives (which are bloody hard to navigate btw). Could you post a link here.


    • April 10, 2009 at 10:35 pm

      Sorry Rune, had to pull that video…
      Not sure how to ease navigation but I’ll look into it.
      Thanks for reading, hope the navi issues don’t deter you too much


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March 2009

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