Meet the other half

The other day I was doing some winter clothes shopping at the local Uniqlo store when something peculiar happened. For the past couple of weeks I have been living in Dazaifu (Fukuoka prefecture), a small, yet historically relevant village where the ‘Asian-other’ population (Korean and Chinese) is rather large, while ‘Western-looking people’ are almost unknown.…

The dangers of the world outside

As a post-scriptum to my previous post, commenting on the difficulty encountered by the condition of ‘otherness’ of the foreign scholar operating within the Japanese field, I wanted to share something that popped up on my laptop screen right after I closed the WordPress window. It’s an anti-virus advertisement showing up when visiting websites hosted outside Japan. The…

Tora no o wo fumu otoko

Like treading on the tiger’s tail, such is the condition of the ‘foreign’ researcher studying anything related to the Japanese culture. Sure, our non-Japanese opinions are kept in high regard, as the gaze of the ‘other’ is fundamental in the constitution of identity in every society, and all the more so in the Japanese society. The foreign opinion…