anirresistiblysexyperson asked: i get what you're trying to say but PLEASE refrain from making overwhelmingly generalized statements about Japanese people, such as "Being a foreigner is the best way to be wholeheartedly accepted by Japanese people" because it's REALLY indicative of your white privilege and still looking at them as "exotic". It also negates racism non-white people have suffered there. A trans Japanese person has also already responded to that post as well.
To clarify, when I speak in generalizations like that, I am speaking to my personal experiences of living in Tokyo, and while living in a foriegn country was, in part, emphasized by my feelings of culture shock, I don’t see the differences in culture as “exotic” so much as just… “Different.”
I know that white foriegners have privilage in Japan too, but it’s a very different sort of privilage than white privilege in the states… There’s not the same history of oppression that goes along with it. All non-Asian foreigners have it to a certain extent… It’s the privilage to speak horrible Japanese and be told that you’re very good at it, and the privilage to be compared to Barbie and Brittney Spears and be put on a pedestal, and the privilage to be rude and get away with it when ignoring Japanese folkways and mores )like eating while walking or talking on the phone on the train…) and in my case, it included being asked if I will put out for cash, but that’s a story for another day. The point is, I was and will always be seen as an “other” and out-group person to them, but that’s OK, because I didn’t need to be Japanese to feel accepted by them.
And again, being a white foriegner made it easier for me to fit in at school and out on the town because /I/ was exotic to pretty much all of the natives I met. My African-Australian and African American friends had some positive and some negative experiences (the negative ones mostly came from insensitive questions about the history of racial tension in the US) but they were more positive than negative to hear them talk of it. In contrast, my room mates who were Vietnamese American and my Taiwanese friends felt alienated living there because their Japanese skills weren’t super great and people assumed that they were Japanese and somehow illiterate or stupid, so they had a harder time of it. But the OP is also white, and I was trying to communicate to her that she, as a white person, could have an experience like mine and feel welcome and accepted without having to change her skin. She has that kind of privilege too, and that’s why it’s hurtful to say the things she said.
I’d like to emphasize, though, that I did my very best to conform to the norms of the culture… not because I wanted to become Japanese, but because I didn’t want to be a nuisance to the people around me, and, of course, because I wanted to learn about the culture I admired through submersion. I spoke Japanese with as good a pronounciation as I could manage and followed the proper protocol of gift giving and compliment receiving… And was told all the time that it was appreciated. That’s the difference between cultural admiration and cultural appropriation, and that’s why I felt I had to speak up.
Regardless, I am not one to police someone’s identity in general. I just stopped and wrote what I did because in the instance we are talking about, it seemed clear to me that what was going on was racist and culturally objectifying to the friends I made in Japan, and since I felt my experience in high school and middle school seemed to mirror the OP’s, I wanted to give her my perspective and ask that she questions the true feelings she is having.