No matter how long you are in Japan, you will always be asked the same questions:
- Where are you from?
- Do you like Japanese food?
- Can you use chopsticks?
The more adventurous Japanese will ask you questions about your home country:
- Is summer as hot as in Japan?
- Do you have cherry blossoms?
- Do you speak English in England?
All these questions were recently asked of me by the dental assistant, just before I had my teeth drilled.
I can’t take it anymore!
I understand that because I’m a foreigner, people are interested in where I’m from and what I think of Japan. I am always courteous and answer politely, with a few well-practiced jokes included, but what I really want to say is…
Oh god! Here we go again! Leave me alone already! I don’t care where I’m from, so why do you? Of course I like Japanese food, what do you think I’ve been eating for the last decade? Can I use chopsticks? Yes, and I can spell my own name, too! Hot in summer? Al Gore says it is. Cherry blossoms? Now you’re getting desperate for conversation! English in England? Well, duh!
Now, I don’t mean to be rude, but it just never ends. I could be here when I’m 70 and still be asked the same things. At this stage of my life, I am really put off by these kinds of questions, despite the good intentions of the person asking.
What I’d like people to talk to me about
Normal things. Ask me if I watched that new drama, Hokaben, on Wednesday night. Talk to me about sport, politics, my favorite shopping mall… ask me about my family here and what it’s like being a dad. Ask me about my plans for Golden Week. Let’s chat about the new paper recycling rules, or what they are building by the golf course. Anything but chopsticks, natto, or a country I remember very little about.
Any of you feeling the same way?