An interesting question was asked before a group of black professionals in Tokyo, a few weeks ago. The question-- "Why do Foreign Women Come to Japan?" I found the question to be surprising and fascinating (not being sarcastic) in so many ways...
Every month, a group of black professionals working and residing in Tokyo have a networking event/dinner. We discuss, laugh, share experiences and all of that stuff. Good times. I've attended for the last two months and have enjoyed myself. I have especially enjoyed the conversation.
On this particular Friday, a group of about 15 or so met in Shibuya at TGIF. I believe the conversation began with a comment about the abundance of Japanese women hiding from the sun using black parasols. One black male commented that he felt offended and that he felt these women were truly saying is that they didn't want to be brown like him. I didn't get engage myself in this conversation much, because to be honest, I really don't care about black parasols or the women who use them as an accessory.
Anyway, the conversation developed throughout the evening and the most interesting question was asked, "Why do foreign women even COME to Japan in the first place?" [Activate Sista in Tokyo conversation engagement] I replied, "What do you mean?" The question asker commented, "Well, I just think foreign women have it bad here. So why even come?"
Hmmmm... Interesting question right?
First-- I would simply like to point out that I personally don't feel that I 'have it bad' here. I enjoy my life here in Tokyo. So, I found this question to be funny, surprising, and really insightful. You see, after speaking with him, I learned that he felt pity for foreign women in Japan. And, this sentiment was similarly echoed among other men in the group. One man even commented, "SiT, if I saw you on the train, I would want to come and sit beside you and ask you if you were being treated okay, how are you handling things here, etc." I was in shock! "Really!?," I asked. Wow!! That's pretty interesting huh?
A few weeks ago, one of the Sista in Tokyo commenters posed a question to me, "What are your dating options like in Tokyo?" I always find these questions to be most interesting because I receive them from both men and women. Similarly, I also find questions about my boyfriend's nationality to be interesting. Second to the "Where do you get your hair done" question, the racial background and nationality of my boyfriend is the second most popular question. People just want to know... it's cute :).
Sooooo back to the story... Upon further discussion, it was discovered that most of the men felt that foreign women in Japan didn't have many dating options because they probably weren't found attractive by Japanese men, because Japanese men are not as forward as foreign men, and most of the foreign men wanted to date only Japanese women. In addition, they felt that because Japan was more sexist than our home countries that we must always be treated poorly and unfairly.
Interesting perceptions right? So, the overwhelming reply to the title question from the women present was, "Why not come to Japan?" It was pretty much a shared sentiment among most of the women present that we do not base life/travel/or career choices because of perceived opposition we may come across or how much 'booty' we'll have access to once we arrive.
Anyway, the conversation moved on-- and we had more beers, laughs, and food. Good times-- but what an interesting question right?
What do you think?