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January 20, 2006


Herman Paris

What a great blog. When I was in Tokyo I experienced a similar "invisibility". I bet you would experience the same feeling in other places that have a homogeneous population. If you are a foreigner and you move to Brazil or France, the folks there will expect that you learn the language and assimilate into the local culture. Then basically you are one of them. But the opposite seemed to be true in Japan. People expect that you will not speak Japanese or understand the culture, and that you will only be in the country for a short time. No matter how much you learn the language and culture, you will still be an "outsider" to a certain extent.

Depending on your personality, that could either be a good or a bad thing. I enjoyed it, but I can not exactly describe why it was appealing. Perhaps I felt an extra degree of freedom by being able to live within(or on the outskirts) of a society without being bound by the social/cultural expectations required of every day Japanese. . . what do you think?

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