Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.
A reality, albeit an unfortunate one, is that the majority of ex-patriots one encounters in Tokyo are very left leaning and generally “progressive”. Walk into the English section at Kinokuniya and browse through the books available; Chomsky is the king and it all slides away left from there. Don’t get me wrong, I read Chomsky; read, not worship. But continuing on…
I’ve always found this hilarious considering the location these people have volunteered to live in: Japan. Japan is the most conservative developed nation on Earth. It’s also socially one of the very least progressive places. For example, Japan is 111th in gender equality world-wide. Not third or fourth, 111th. In the realm of immigration, one must realize Japan has no immigration policy, but rather an anti-immigration policy and has gone so far as to pay foreigners to leave. In so far as “Gay rights” are concerned, Japan is around 15th globally, largely due to Japan’s expertise at keeping things “ambiguous” and sticking with the now out-moded former US military policy of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.”
Japan isn’t a socially progressive country and it’s not liberal. What it is and what Japan does provide though, is the ultimate safe space for liberals who are too lazy or just too scared, to express their opinions without much, if any, fear of a debate. This safe space wasn’t even built by them, in fact it’s a product of Japan’s conservative xenophobia. By and large, as proven again and again in legislation and in daily realities, the Japanese are largely anti-immigration and anti-foreigner.
Sure, the new fresh-faced cheery FOB teaching at GABA insists that the Japanese “love” foreigners. Well, yes within the very small sub-culture you’ve embedded yourself, and are in fact trapped in until you learn to speak the language and venture outside of, the Japanese you’re encountering are enthusiastic about foreigners. But this is a sub-culture and not representative of the whole. A good example of this is anecdotal but illustrative: MIXI. I won’t explain what that is/was as it would take too long, follow the link, but I remember being logged on and seeing the largest English language community, at the height of MIXI fame, had perhaps 300,000 members. I was impressed, until I saw the community for people who like pictures of say, cats wearing glasses and smoking cigars, which had 10 million members.
The example is, ha-ha, a joke but I hope it helps illustrate my point…
…and the point is this: Most foreigners here deal with other foreigners, and most of the foreigners are on the left, and this circular social construct means they never need to take a meaningful look at what’s really happening in Japan. Japan is partly responsible for this by insisting on treating most foreigners as semi-permanent guests, as opposed to citizens who should pony-up and take on their fair share of the burden. This is good for those would be social justice warriors, because it means they never need to actually DO anything. Many of these progressives who now lament the current state of the union in America, and live tucked away in their safe space here in Japan, are the same ones who went dashing to the nearest accessible airport in 2011, post-earthquake. When the time came to double down and actually risk something alongside the people and country which had supported them and played host to their squandered better years, they instead went running.
For better or for worse, and always by my own folly, I’ve been put in situations where I did in fact have to take a more meaningful look at realities in Japan and then deal with them.
One such example (one of many) would be my situation in the summer of 2011, which is relevant and illustrates well the hypocrisy of the self-made snowflake. In 2011 Japanese immigration conducted a crackdown and round-up of immigrants who had “overstayed” their visas. If you don’t know already, I was picked up in this round-up. I had multiple legal precedents for being in Japan, had been in touch with the immigration authorities regarding the situation, but I’d missed one phone call from them while away in the summer, and that was it: a gang of cops showed up in the morning and took me in.
Now, during that situation I had guests in jail, all friends, and obviously, I eventually made my way through that. However, at the time and since that time, never once, not one time, has anyone ever said or even hinted that it was anything other than my own fault for overstaying my visa and violating the terms of my permission to stay in Japan.
This includes the dozens of people I’ve seen post on social media, or have heard decry America’s immigration policies, which are far, far more liberal than Japan’s. Nobody ever said “How cruel they were!” in my case, despite the fact that I lost my job, lost my home, inconvenienced many friends and family, incurred several thousand dollars in debt due to violating my lease agreement and had to spend an, at the time, undetermined sentence incarcerated, and then eventually was literally dumped out on the street in Shinagawa with a see through garbage bag full of my belongings. No one has ever said “How dare they!”; No one. In fact, people have told me plainly, people who are very “Fuck your wall, Trump!” online, that it was nobodies fault but my own.
Which, I completely agree with.
But, where were all these social justice warriors then?
Now, with social media especially, it’s easy for anyone to whip up a tweet pontificating about how “brave” some group of people are, and to expound on the faults of the easiest target on planet earth: The United States of America. There’s no easier target for ridicule as there’s no other issue, or collection of issues, on which one can so effectively mount the podium and proceed with coitus interruptus, basking in the glory of virtue confirmations golden showered down upon you by other like-minded, non-action taking evangelizers who, borrowing from Nasseem Taleb, have no skin in the game.
Although I often disagree with people heading to this march or that protest, I can at least respect their commitment to something beyond themselves. You, however…you untested and unchallenged opportunist of the lowest order, performing the moral equivalent of purse snatching from a grandmother, and then attempting to leverage this into some kind of light you are entitled to shine?
Well, you can Virtue Signal my balls, Gaijin. We both know, because you’ve already shown your true colors, when the safe spaces fracture and fall apart, you go a running.
As a conservative American who has lived years in Tokyo, I certainly agree.
The worst part is that the more liberal ex-pats seem to really enjoy Japanese culture for the very elements that make it conservative. And I’m not sure they grasp the ironies inherent in doing so. The preservation of Japan’s traditional heritage and ethnic homogeneity in the face of globalization, its lack of immigrants, its mercantilist economic protectionism, the generally passive and staid nature of even the most progressive Japanese–these are all parts of Japanese society that contribute to the nation’s uniqueness and (on the surface) sense of stability.
Exactly. It’s all Japan’s CONSERVATIVE practices which allow this ultimate Gaijin safe-space to exist.
Maybe one of your best posts, and with a Nassin “Nicholas” Taleb quote to boot! Cut and Run is part and parcel for Snowflake SWJs and the where ever the wind may blow them shithole drifts they pile into. It is so much easier and far less riskier for them to blame you for the immigration “pogrom” conducted than stick their chicken necks out – risking their personal little cocoon, delusioned as it is. Keep on keeping on brother!
Keeping. Only way to be at it.
“Many of these progressives … are the same ones who went dashing to the nearest accessible airport in 2011, post-earthquake. When the time came to double down and actually risk something … they instead went running.”
Am I misreading, or are you implying that the flyjin population was overwhelmingly made up of liberals?
I count myself a liberal. I didn’t leave Tokyo. One of my liberal friends was away on business on 3/11, but returned to Tokyo within two days.
More than a few of my conservative friends left for southern cities, or quickly got out of the country all together. Among my foreign friends and acquaintances a roughly equal percentage of conservatives and liberals got out. Most of those that left quickly, left for good within a few months. This is all anecdotal, of course.
First, the title of this post I think makes very clear it’s a subjective rant. Second, although I tend to use “liberal”, “left” and “progressive” interchangeably here, they aren’t necessarily so. However, as of late, based on the use of the language in popular media, I thought it was fine to employ this mechanism, however I have friends who are liberal though are not progressive as these are two separate positions, despite being lumped together more recently. If I was making a clearer statement it would be this “In my personal experience, newly hatched social justice warriors who’ve appeared recently in my social network sphere, have in the past, displayed an acute lack of back-bone when it has come to getting up and doing something about what they now seem utterly committed to and enraged by.”
In even simpler terms, I’m fucking annoyed with Johnny-come-lately and his new found, 45 year old, utterly devoid of risk, incessant virtue signaling.
Agree with you on this. By the way were you shitfaced when you wrote this, sounds like one of my rants when I’m in similar state. Going back to 2011, I have one particular memory of that time. A couple of days after the shit hit the fan, I got a few local foreigners together and set up a collection are to eventually fill about 10 vans and trucks with essentials to take north for the survivors.We concentrated on instant meals…no power, so a bag of rice was about as useful as tits on a chicken. Clothes blankets, medical supplies, in general stuff which could be of instant use and was relevant to their plight. Upon delivery to the hard hit areas, we literally watched the self defense forces picking up our delivered supplies and taking them out for dispersal, in many cases we actually handed the stuff directly to survivors who were overwhelmed with gratitude at receiving needed supplies.This was about 6 days after the tsunami and as yet the national government and even local governments were still held back by roads and rail having been destroyed, but also by their own red tape which even in this situation still raised it’s ugly head to the point where my local government were in fact collecting bags of rice among other things but by the time they had it delivered, we had already run 2 to 3 delivery runs up to the affected areas. Amazingly this actually incited bad feeling against us for acting so quickly. I even read a comment, which i still have on the pc from some girly stay at home wife, that we should have stayed out of the governments way and let them do their job of delivering supplies. Fuck you lady, the government couldn’t even get there until they formed committees and selected staff to run them to collect and distribute relief.The people who we gave out relief to didn’t give a furry rats arse who was giving it to them, they were just glad to get it.
We did this simply to help people who were in deep shit without any thought as to the whys and wherefores. I did the same as I would have done had it happened in my own country. I live here for better or for worse so its home, therefore I treat it as such.
A lot of Japanese people can’t wrap their head around this way of thinking, I guess similar to the rats who jumped ship on the first flights out, while bleating to mummy on their phone, that it is so terrible. Most of them didn’t even see the truly terrible side of it all.I tell you it brought a tear to some of our eyes, seeing what we saw making those delivery runs carrying relief supplies. Looked like the aftermath of a war in some places, complete with the bodies.
But enough on that, a little on the immigration. I remember back in 1995 the local Foreigner’s drop in place, set up by the local government when the hot potato was “internationalization”, used to have invited guests to talk to groups of both Japanese and foreigners about life in Japan. Once they got the local immigration officer to do a blab about his job etc.,..Big mistake, the first thing he comes out with to the amazement of all present, was…”My job is to keep foreigners out of Japan!” That pretty much said it all and ensured that any future visa stamps I would need would be obtained from the area head office, definitely not his local office. Over the years, heard many tales of confrontations with him from other expats.
Finally, in all honesty if I had known 20 years ago what I know now of living in this sometimes illogical,bureaucratic, xenophobic mess they call a society, I would have kept my pecker in my pants, not got married and had children and probably be happily existing in some other mess. Once I had children, I believed that for once in my life, I should take some responsibility and bring them up to the best of my doubtful abilities. The only thing that keeps me sane is getting out on my motorcycles at any chance which I do with somewhat similar thinking expats and Japanese friends, to death do us part.
I once worked with a guy from New Zealand who spent his entire year when I knew him complaining about Japan. I used to tell him, no-one has a gun to your head, so if it is really that bad, fuck off home.My gun was of my own making…children, I live with it
I wasn’t drunk while writing this, I’m simply annoyed. I also didn’t write it to express in some way that I’m a good person because I am not. However, I can say that I’ve stood by the few principals I do have, and when tested, I didn’t flinch. That’s all I’ve got really. My clock here, my families clock here, is ticking. Once there are enough chips on the table, and probably before there are, we will be moving on. But, one thing at a time. Thanks for the comment.
I don’t count myself as a saint or anywhere remotely close, but same goes. For a few things in life I will step up to the plate, so I think I know where you are coming from. Any ideas on the next location? Mine would be warmer, less people, nice beer! Will miss your outlook if your clock hits zero before mine.
I think we have, barring some amazing shift in fortunes, another year. Maybe a bit more. I would like to be gone by 40. That’s 1.5 out. We have a bun in the oven so, it put the breaks on an early departure which was already planned. So, do that, then time to PCS. I’m with you, warm, beach, beer. This line from Spy Game: Put away some money so you can die someplace warm and don’t ever touch it. Not for anyone, ever.
Been here off and on since 1971. Emigrated from Britain. Took Japanese nationality in 2014. Could and should have done it ten years earlier. Japan ain’t perfect but it’s a damn site better than Britain to say nothing of the shithole country that I grew up in (the U$A).
Anyone who has complaints about Japanese immigration officials should try dealing with US or UK officials as a foreign national. The worst experiences I have had with immigration officials has been in the US.
Came because the bara thumbnail made me think it was porn, came anyway.