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April 23, 2007



I'm not really a speaker. Like you said, I'll mainly say a greeting to people who make eye contact with me. I think I should start doing it more. Like the "new" site layout, though it seems a bit too white...


wow...that's interesting. Well, I haven't been to Japan yet (two more years!) but I wouldn't consider myself a speaker. I'm not the type of person who would initiate a conservation, but if someone talks me to me, I would respond back. However, I don't agree with the person who said that all black women in tokyo are like that. They can't generalize a whole group of people, just because they had some bad experiences...


Hey there!..See, you can already tell I'm a speaker lol. And yes, I grew up in FL...trained as a child likewise to speak. But I speak now, not out of compulsion, but out of my natural desire to respect and recognize people, esp. people of color.

I graduated from a predominantly white university...my career in technology lacks many colleagues of color....So, in a world of subtle invisibility, an unexpected hello from your own can make a difference...if only a small one.

Mary Whitsell

I'm definitely a speaker, and I think you're right about the southern thing. My mother was from the South, and when her relatives all came out to see us in California it used to embarrass us to death how friendly they were to everyone -- and how unnecessarily polite they were too, all those ma'ams and sirs...

When I first arrived in Tokyo, in 1979, there were so few obvious foreigners, black, Asian or white, that we all tended to greet each other on the streets. I'm white (largely), and black foreigners were rarer (especially women) but only snobs, whether white, black or whatever, didn't say 'hi' to other obvious foreigners back then.

By 1985, this had virtually stopped as by then there were so many foreigners of every description all over Tokyo that saying 'hi' to all of them would've been a headache. I know it couldn't have lasted, and it would have been silly for everyone obviously not Japanese to greet each other (and time-consuming), but I missed that camaraderie all the same.

I've lived in Sendai (2 years) and Tokyo (13 years), plus one year each in Kyushu and Yokohama... Nice to meet other foreign residents of Japan, even if only virtually.


I'm not a speaker. Born and raised in Brooklyn, I now live in Atlanta (9 months). Everyone here is always speaking. It was uncomfortable until I traded in my ice grill for a good morning. Last month I went home for the first time since moving and said hi to some random person on the street, and they nearly tripped and fell staring at me in confusion. I even heard someone whisper I was tourist! Now that I think about it maybe there is something to this. Every Chinese New Year I go to Taiwan to visit my wife's family. And sure enough if I run into another black guy from the states I always say hi. I think it's more about seeking out the familiar. When I was reading up on other blogs from white Americans in china, they had similar issues. Some hated the fact that Americans would speak to them on the streets or trains simply because they were both Americans. Others hated the fact that Americans didn't speak to them. I guess it all boils down to personal preference.


I agree with mikole to an extent, it can boil down to personal preference, but I think it is a cultural thing as well. I currently live and grew up in New York City, and quite frankly people do not talk to strangers here, and if you do you are considered a tourist. I remember when I had a conversation with my friends and all of us who went to the South or the Midwest, thought it was so odd that people down there were so friendly to strangers.


When I went to Japan last winter, I was a mixture of both. I "spoke" (more like hailed, "Ave fellow Black") to a few Blacks and even a few crackers. I had a handful of conversations with a few Blacks (mostly American or canadian) and even some crackers from Germany, Austrailia, Canada, and the USA. In the USA, I rarely "speak". I nod to any person that I know, and only talk to those that I know. I would certainly not drum up a conversation with a total stranger at home.

However, I made sure not to speak to some Blacks, and especially some crackers and even filthy spics that I saw when I was there. I saw a Black guy with a half breed baby. nodded to him, and the gave me the stink eye. He must have low self sesteem, and since his wife was disowned for marrying a Black (as is customary in all panface yellow monkey societies, and most spic/honky societies) he wants to take it out on another Black. h well. Idiots have no purpose in the Race.

Margot Andrews

Lil Mama! I just have to comment on this -I just had a conversation about this same topic with my brother. Ever since moving back to MD I've been struck with the difference everyone in the south greet each other- "hi & hello all day long. I took the metro to Dc a few days ago and said good morning to five different people-two did not respond, one did a double take and finally mumbled a response. My children have had the same experience at playgrounds-Marley is so friendly and says hi to everyone but the kids here look at him like he has two heads. Adults are think its "cute" that he is so polite & respectful-which offends me. I don't think we have to have a conversation with everyone you encounter but a good day or hello would be nice. We are so guarded & distrustful? of each other that good manners has been lost. Sad chronicle of our time.


I think in Tokyo I was a cross between a speaker/smiler. If we (myself and the stranger who just so happened to be black in Japan) maintained eye contact for at least 3 seconds, eventually one of us would speak -- usually it was me! lol. but i never felt like i was obligated to do so. i DID feel obligated to at least acknowledge them for some reason. and i was able to accomplish that a lot of times without ever having to open my mouth. just a smile or a simple nod was sufficient.

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