November 19, 2003
Every foreigner you find happily living in Japan is an exceptional person. Not everyone is likable, but they are definitely out of the ordinary.
Living abroad requires a sense of adventure, a willingness to learn, and either a flexible open mind, or a seriously strong sense of self. Most gaijin living here are also intelligent—dummies need not apply for international assignments. Anyone who comes to Japan without those attributes seems to find their way home as quickly as possible.
Because everyone is interesting, I find myself surrounded by a cast of characters ready-made to populate a comedy: the glamour queen; the frantic freelancer; the party animal; the downtrodden sensei; the struggling artist; an insane business owner; the boy next door; some privileged expats; and the Japanophile.
So when you read in the credits of my first feature, “the characters in this film are fictional and do not represent any person living or dead,” please know that it’s only partly truthful…
Posted by kuri at November 19, 2003 12:49 PM
Quote: “the glamour queen; the frantic freelancer; the party animal; the downtrodden sensei; the struggling artist; an insane business owner; the boy next door; some privileged expats; and the Japanophile. “
Do we get prizes for guessing to whom you are referring in the above? Can people be in more than one category?
But I agree that it is a very mixed crowd with a definite bias toward the intelligent… Also, there is just something special that happens when a person has the guts to remove themselves from their comfort zone and moves to another country.. but then for lucky people like me, their comfort zone followed them here!! (^^)
There’s definitely overlap for people and categories. But not prizes for guessing—it’s too easy.
When I drafted the list, I looked back at it and thought “Oh my, those are all MJ!” so I added a few more characters. She shouldn’t have all the fun.
And there are also those unhappy characters that spend their time in Japan complaining that Japan is Japan and not where ever they’re from. One tries to avoid them. They don’t last long. They certainly aren’t exceptional. But they always seem to be around. Sometimes they provide comic counterpoint, but usually they’re just annoying.
OMG, I was not aware that “downtrodden sensei” was a character type! This has made my day. All that’s needed now is a t-shirt with an appropriate logo and fancy typeface.