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06 October 2010 @ 20:44
The Japan 30-day Meme: Day 12  
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Day 12 - Describe a fail!gaijin moment, where you did something wrong or completely misunderstood because you couldn't ~read the air~ or just plain had no idea what you were supposed to do because you weren't born and raised here. Describe a gaijin!smash moment, where your foreignness was to your benefit.

My first epic fail was during the second time I visited Japan. I was in -- I think -- Akihabara and I saw a big sign which said "doujinshi". I congratulated myself on knowing the kanji and went inside.

What I didn't know was that in doujin culture, the types of doujinshi have a very clear line between them and the type for men is the default. There's "doujinshi" (hentai) and "doujinshi for women" (yaoi). So basically I'd just walked into an anime-flavoured porn shop. It only sunk in when I picked up a book with Bridget from Guilty Gear on the cover.

On the same day, I was trying to find Animate (there was little English language information online in those days) and so I stopped off at a little wooden shack covered with posters of anime girls. It was -- can you guess? -- another porn shop. They were very helpful though and I visited my first Animate thanks to them.

I had another fail the other day when I was looking for the ENTA version of Lawson Ticket, which is a free magazine covering musicals and stage plays, and I could only find the LIVE version, covering concerts.

I took it up to the register, pointed to the section on the front where they mentioned the other version of the magazine. It was the first time I read the whole thing and it said, "ENTA and LIVE versions have... now been merged into one magazine!"

So it went something like this: "Sorry to bother you, but do you have the ENTA verssAARRRRGHHHAAFHDGETRE$##$#%#$%52fl@[; Sorry! There used to be two magazines, didn't there? Thank you!"

I was glad I'd already paid for my tickets.

Gaijin!smash is pretty much gaijin!fail from a different angle, when people step in because they think you're too stupid to deal with things yourself.

Some people see the extra openness some Japanese offer foreigners as a form of privilege -- they are more likely to touch us, stroke our hair or make comments about our bodies. This is a privilege I could do without, but a lot of people welcome it, are flattered by it or at the very least don't feel able to object strongly to it.

I guess one positive thing I can say is that performers are more likely to notice my friends and me at live events. For example, at Tenimyu, four foreigners standing amongst 4996 Japanese people will get a second look. Some seem happy to have overseas fans and have reacted more positively than I would've ever considered -- Matsuzaki Shigeru springs to mind. Others seemed like they were suffering from extreme meiwaku -- and I'm not naming names there.

The Japan 30-day Meme:

Day 01 - A picture of you "in Japan". (doing or wearing something "Japanese")
Day 02 - Describe your neighborhood in Japan.
Day 03 - Most interesting person you've met.
Day 04 - What's your favorite place that's not in any of the guidebooks/lists of places to visit?
Day 05 - Which, if any, Japanese mannerisms or expressions have you adopted?
Day 06 - Food that you swore you would never eat but now love (or tolerate).
Day 07 - Which Japanese words do you use in English? (hanami, shinkansen, etc.)
Day 08 - Are you a Herbivore or Carnivore? S or M?
Day 09 - Favorite stores/shopping centers.
Day 10 - Something about Japan that sets it apart from anywhere else.
Day 11 - What did you find most overrated and underrated about Japan?
Day 12 - Describe a fail!gaijin moment. (Where you did something wrong or completely misunderstood because you couldn't ~read the air~ or just plain had no idea what you were supposed to do because you weren't born and raised here) Describe a gaijin!smash moment .(Where your foreignness was to your benefit)

Day 13 - Something about Japan that sets it apart from anywhere else. -> What's your favourite live event you've attended in Japan?
Day 14 - What is the hardest thing about living in Japan versus your home country?
Day 15 - Weirdest food item you've seen, and weirdest food item you've actually eaten.
Day 16 - How you realised you'd acclimated to Japan. (if you have)
Day 17 - Your karaoke top 5, your sushi top 5, your conbini top 5.
Day 18 - Post some amusing/cute/faily purikura.
Day 19 - Your favorite Japanese character(s) and Gachapon/UFO Catcher toys
Day 20 - Favorite Japanese festival or folklore.
Day 21 - Favorite and least favorite Japanese fashion trends.
Day 22 - Your favorite Japanese saying or kotowaza (proverb).
Day 23 - What is something you have/do in Japan that you wish you had/could do in your home country?
Day 24 - Your favorite Japanese slang or borrow-word (外来語), e.g. セフレ "sex friend"
Day 25 - Most interesting vending machine find.
Day 26 - What's your favorite/least favorite train line.
Day 27 - Place you avoid going to if at all possible.
Day 28 - A picture of you looking like a weaboo/A picture of you trying to blend in and failing.
Day 29 - What's the thing you [will] miss most about Japan when you leave (either on vacation, or move away)?
Day 30 - Did Japan meet your expectations, both good and bad? What has been the most surprising thing about Japan for you, or the thing you least expected?
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