No, I’m not writing about Lady Gaga’s song — though I do enjoy it.
Sometimes I forget that I’m different here. Right now, Nicole is here, so I’m chit chatting in English all day! This is rare for me here. I’m loving it.
I asked her to bring American music with her because my ipod charger got left in Florida and when my old laptop crashed, it took most of my itunes with it. So she and I have been driving around, speaking in English, singing American music at the top of our lungs… and being the silly girly sisters we are.
It doesn’t feel like I’m strange or sticking out because I feel so comfortable and at home. It’s also difficult to tell you’re different when it’s your face or skin that makes you stand apart. I’m used to me. So I don’t feel weird.
But here in Nihon-land… you just don’t see too many white girls. Here in Hokkaido, there may be under 500. Sapporo, Hakodate, and the bigger cities may have more gaijin (foreigners) but out in the middle of nowhere, where I live, I assure you Nicole and I are the only two white girls around.
This has caused some ruckus.
The other day we went into the mall and walked into a purse store. There was a group of three guys at the register talking. The minute we walked in they started talking about us, pointing, smiling, and gawking. Everywhere we went it felt like their eyes were borig into the back of our heads. It was hysterical. It didn’t make us necessarily feel out of place, but it was strange knowing that every single movement we made was being watched, studied, and discussed. I’m used to it already. I’ve become accustomed to the trailing words of kawaii~~~ (meaning cute!) reaching my ears as I pass by. I’m accustomed now to hearing the ever constant dialogue between people when I’m spotted.
Japanese Person 1: Eeh! Gaijin da! –Oh! It’s a foreigner
Japanese Person 2: Ah! Hontou da! –Ah! It really is!
I usually either ignore it or turn and smile.
It happens so frequently that I usually don’t even realize it that often anymore. But now that I’m back in American mode with Nicole, it’s becoming so much more obvious to me. When we went to Lake Touya yesterday, we rode a boat to the center of the lake and walked around the islands there. Everything was beautiful. On the ride back, there was a beautiful middle aged woman who saw us and tried to speak a little English to us. She said she would take a picture of us together if we liked. It was very nice of her. She kept cooing kawaii~! To the two of us. She was simply tickled pink by being able to speak a little English to us.
Later, as we stood on the top of the deck, we were spotted by a group of middle aged men from an unknown Asian country. (I knew they weren’t Japanese, Chinese, or Korean as I can easily identify those languages) We think they were possibly from Thailand. They waved to Nicole and kept staring and smiling at me. They were so much older that it felt a bit strange. So we walked all around the boat and as we were exiting, the men suddenly grabbed us and pulled us.
Please don’t be alarmed, we are and were perfectly safe, but it was definitely awkward.
They wanted to take pictures with us, but didn’t speak any English, so they just pulled us into the picture with them. At first, Nicole and I were in the middle as two guys stood on the outside, with their arms around our back — O.O
Then they shook our hands and kept talking really fast in their mystery language — haha.
We were completely startled and began exiting the boat when they pushed their other friend forward to get a picture with us too. He aslo shook our hands… and be began to rub mine. I’m hoping this is some custom from his country I’m unaware of. haha
We were awkwardly laughing the whole way back to the car. Then, their tour bus drove by and they energetically waved goodbye to us out the window.
It’s so strange, and it often feels like I’m a celebrity here. Most of the time people are super friendly and just excited to see me. Other times, it feels like paparazzi.