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Paparazzi

June 14, 2010

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.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2010 3:35 pm

    Dude, I got the same thing when I was in China. Beijing was one thing, but in Xi’an where we spent most of our time, we never saw other white people besides us. We got stared at all the time. I remember this one trip we took to this mountain. One girl in our group, on top of being American, had blonde hair and blue eyes, so she got more attention than we did. These two huge guys wanted to take a picture with her and JUST her. lol

    I also remember one time when my host student and I were walking toward the entrance of her apartment complex there was this little child in the playground area we had to walk through and he/she was like “WAI GUO REN! (foreigner!)” I lol’d.

    The Chinese students at school loved practicing their English with us. They wanted to talk to us all the time. In any other setting, a lot of what they did would be considered creepy, but in China it was just cute.

    One sort of failish thing happened, though. The teacher who was with us got confronted by the police because someone in her apartment building called them and was like “There’s a foreigner here!” Nothing bad happened, but it was kinda dumb. :/

    This one time, we were visiting a museum and a group of Japanese students were there and my friend and I were like “HHHHNNNNNNGGGG!!!!” because they had cute uniforms and were just full of adorableness. The girls were like REALLY stoked and they were being all cute. It was morning, so my friend and I were like “OHAYO GOZAIMASU!” and they got all happy and said it back. It was so awesome, XD.

    • June 23, 2010 9:27 am

      Sometimes it’s hysterical how badly people throw their necks out of whack trying to catch a glimpse of you! haha I’m sure you got a LOT of stares in China! XDDD But you’re so cute… I’d stare at you anyway right here Tayrawr! ❤

      • June 23, 2010 1:15 pm

        Waaaauuuuu :3

        Yeah, but we got used to it. By the time we went to Beijing, we were like “WTF? WHY ARE THERE SO MANY WHITE PEOPLE HERE? UGH!”

  2. June 23, 2010 1:27 pm

    haha truuuuuefax! I totally spot “gaijin” in Sapporo ALL the time. I end up being just as surprised and the Japanese people. haha Sometimes we give each other knowing glances… haha

  3. September 3, 2010 2:33 am

    That’s kinda cool. When I was younger I wanted to live in Japan, but now I just want to visit someday.

    • September 16, 2010 4:18 pm

      What part of Japan would you like to see? It’s a great place! You should definitely come for a trip and see how you like it! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

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