One of these things is not like the other…

Tonight I have a potentially tough topic and I would hope anyone reading this takes it with an open mind.

I will never blend in while I’m in Japan.  I mean this in the sense that I will always be “gaijin” (a foreigner or more appropriate perhaps – an outsider ).  Even with all of my tattoos covered, dark hair, and ability to mimic the social ques of those around me, I will always stick out like a sore thumb.  To be clear, Japanese people have always been amazingly warm and friendly to me.  That being said it is a very strange feeling to be the odd duck to the extent that 99% of the people you interact with and see in a given day are all homogeneous…and not at all like you.

Every time I see someone who looks as though they might speak English walking down the street a part of me inside wants to spring forward with a dopey grin and shout, “hi!”.  I passed a man on the way home tonight and wondered if he felt the same way.

Anyone who knows me also knows I have a serious love of Japan and the people.  This post really has nothing to with either of those things.  It is more about inclusion and having those awkward moments to stretch how you think about situations and those around you.  Diversity is beautiful and appreciating the uniqueness of the people around you is a gift not only to yourself by to the greater good of the world as a whole.

Maybe everyone should have an experience where they are the odd duck, the one thing that isn’t like any of the others.  That type of experience helps to re – frame how your brain works.


3 thoughts on “One of these things is not like the other…

  1. Masaki Suzuki says:

    I hear you. I’ve been there too. My friend from the northern part of FL once told me that when he lived in Guam for his work, he felt like he was an outsider, though as you know, Guam is a part of the US. He said he now knows what it’s like to be a minority. But at the same time, this sort of experience makes you tough and gives you a new perspective. Hang in there!


    • AK says:

      I keep forgetting you spent a bunch of time there. I imagine it was an exceptionally similar feeling. As you said though, an experience I wouldn’t change for the world and one I think will stay with me always.


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