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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Can A Japanese Person Return To The Hive?

After recently becoming more aware of the Japanese and what makes them Japanese and why non-Japanese can never truly become Japanese, I have come to question every conversation, every interaction, every date or relationship I ever had with a Japanese person.

And it ain't good.

The Japanese are known for having two sides to themselves, one that is private and one that is public.

No biggie, we're ALL like that.

While us non-Japanese might possibly reveal intimate details about ourselves to a work or school colleague, in Japan it's just not kosher.

"How are you Andoryu-sensei?" I might be asked.

I could simply say, "I am fine thank-you, and you?"

Or, I could be more honest and say that: "I'm not feeling well because I didn't get enough sleep and I am worried that my mom is sick and I think I owe a lot of money to my credit card company."

While some people regardless of locale might claim "that's too much information", to the Japanese, any answer other than "I am fine thank-you, and you?" is considered to be too much information.

Now... (hypothetically) because I am not Japanese and do not know all the ins and outs of things a Japanese person must do to maintain their Japaneseness, IF I am dating a Japanese woman, and she asks me how I am, do give her an honest answer or do I tell her "I'm fine thank-you, and you?"

When I ask her a question, does she give me the answer I want to hear, or the answers that is honest and true?

I suppose it matters, in Japan, on what type of relationship you are in.

Then again... if I, the gaijin/outsider, am dating a Japanese woman... is she already not rejecting her Japaneseness just to date me? As such, does she tell me the honest truth all the time?

That depends on the person (regardless of nationality), and the nature of the relationship.

ONLY because I am looking for stuff to write, have I wondered if my relationship with Noboko was real.

It seems to me that most of the relationships I have ever had in my life are never as real as I thought they were.

It has me doubting me.

I really shouldn't dwell on such things I can never hope to answer, but I am that type of person. I want to know the answers to the riddles of life, the universe, of everything.

I'm naturally curious about things and people and ideas. I may only want to embrace one of those things, but that's just me.

I don't have a photographic memory, but somethings do stick out more than others. As such, I can recall in perfect detail many a conversation I had 25-28 years ago. And not just my words.

I can recall pestering some Japanese with my questions about Japanese society, customs and etiquette. Some would give me that simple, honest answer. Others couldn't and hemmed and hawed and sucked air through their teeth as they wondered if they should give away some national secret. Others merely found 47 ways to say maybe - which I knew quite early on meant "no way" was I getting something I wanted.

For example, I can recall a few Japanese women coming over to my bar table on a Tuesday evening to chat me up. Because I had a pretty good idea why they were there, I wouldn't waste too much time bating around the bush, and would ask if they wanted to come and see my apartment.

As single, female adults... they lived at home with their parents, and as such still had a 11PM curfew on weeknights. Fug... even Noboko had one.

Anyhow... since I wasn't wasting time, any valuable sack time, if they said "maybe", I knew it wasn't happening and just enjoyed my drink and remaining time with her at the bar.

Actually... it used to annoy me to no end that Noboko, who was in her mid-20s and the sexiest woman I had ever known, would tell me at 11PM that she had to go home to make her midnight curfew.

It's why, when she would sneak over to my place after work ensuring no one saw her, as soon as she got in through my door, she would jump into my arms, and wrap her legs around me and have sex as soon as we could.

Time was a premium.

That first time she slept over for the entire weekend, I thought - holy smokes, she's defying her parents!!! I really am going to marry her!

Apparently I was her girlfriend Niki who lived in Tokyo, because that's who she told her parents she was staying with.

It seems fascinating and strangely sad to me that an entire populace spends its entire existence pretending to be someone they aren't.

Forever having to hide their true feelings and desires less the hive mind find out they are actually an individual.

Even before I went to Japan, I had a tee-shirt printed with my favorites lines from a Monty Python movie, The Life Of Brian.

Brian, being confused for a messiah, tells the group of people hanging onto his every word:

"You're all individuals!"
The crowd chants back, "We're all individuals!"
One man pipes in, "I'm not."

That's Japan. It's so funny and ironic... and dammit you just want to help them escape their brainwashing... but it's Japan... its their Japaneseness...

It's what makes Japan such an interesting place... it's the people who create the culture and architecture.

The only thing Japan need concern itself about, however, is whether or not it can still maintain the hive mentality... the uni-mind (to quote from Marvel Comics' Captain Marvel), when its citizens are able to see via social media outlets what the rest of the free world is doing.

You can't suddenly stop it, or else you become similar to North Korea or China, for example, in their attempts to maintain the status quo within their respective countries. It's how you maintain the power you perceive you have.

I think the Japanese attempt to maintain its Japaneseness while still allowing it's people to see and experience the outside world is fracturing the psyche of its people.

While those Japanese who have broken with the hive to date a non-Japanese (or marry one), or who have traveled abroad to study for a year or more, or even those who speak and use English within Japan... they have gone against the strict codex of the hive.

They have disregarded the Japanese society in favor of individual "gain" or "accolades" or "advancement".

Even when someone comes back from the "dark side" those individuals are still treated differently by the rest of the Japanese group - whichever one they belonged to.

I wonder about Noboko. After dating me - and many Japanese people were well aware that we were dating and more... was she welcomed back to the Japanese hive? Was she shunned? Treated differently, and by that I mean poorly?

She was already above the usual age for marriage. She had already said no to an arranged marriage to a Japanese guy (before my time). She spoke English extremely well. She had dated a foreigner and had sex with him, because why else are you dating a foreigner (the implication is, for the Japanese, that if a Japanese woman is dating a non-Japanese man, then she must be having per-marital sex, and is thus a "slut". It doesn't matter that the majority of people are doing the same thing, it's just that she got caught "dating"... and worse "dating a foreigner".)

Regardless of her hive transgressions, she went back to the hive... but was she accepted?

I'm not taking the blame for this... there is no blame. I just wonder and hope it worked out in the end for her.

Ever heard that too much knowledge is dangerous?

I don't buy that for a second. But it does make me think.

Andrew Joseph

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