Musings on Immigration


Today I read probably one of the most scathing accounts of Japan’s immigration policy that I’ve seen. It had a lot of very valid points about how unfairly people from South America or Southeast Asia have been treated under guest worker schemes.  I do agree that Japan will have to “getdafukover” its gaijin-phobia if they are to even remotely maintain population levels, and I do have a healthy distrust for all of the registration and tracking that goes on here. But scroll to the bottom and you find that basically, the author, like many others who live here, is butt-hurt that simply existing in the country for long enough doesn’t automatically entitle him to any kind of continued special treatment, including preferential visas under the new points system which is portrayed in the article as an overarching qualification for everyone who tries to extend a visa… except the policy is un-apologetically elite and not meant for everyone. Then he whines about how he doesn’t qualify. Neither do I–yet. But I’m working on it.

I think a big contributor to long-termer’s culture shock in Japan is that, for the first two years or so (maybe more like five if you’re a straight Caucasian male), you’re treated like royalty–that is, until the point comes where one must proverbially shit or get off the pot. Leave, or start pulling your weight. Although I do have the grievances mentioned above, is it really so bad if a country prefers that its immigrants actually contribute something beyond being willing to settle for a boring, dead-end job that pays just enough for them to spend their weekends getting wasted at the local faux Irish pub whilst letting their dutiful Japanese wife handle all the big, bad kanji. And while we’re on that topic, heavens forbid anyone actually have to learn the language!! Nooooo!!! What an insurmountable barrier of discrimination! Nooooo! We should continue to be entitled to high-paying English teaching jobs in which we do dick-all just for having been born to English speaking parents in an English-speaking country! How DARE Immigration expect such basic levels of assimilation of us! As if the immigration policies of their home countries are the paragon of internationalism and tolerance (Arizona, anyone? Germany? Iceland?)

It’s not that we’re being treated differently from Japanese; it’s the shock of going from dancing on a red carpet to being treated exactly like them (i.e. expectation of contribution) that gets to us. They have hoops to jump through too, just as I would if I were to repatriate. Yes, I’ll be the first to admit to a bad case of recurring butthurtitis every now and then. We’re all susceptible. But you know what? Instead of whining about how unfair it is that we have to work twice as hard to be seen as half as worthy, maybe all we can really do is say “Challenge accepted.”


i’m saying no.


Because this isn’t right for me. It’s not you, it’s me. Because I can’t make the kind of commitment you’re asking. Because the job doesn’t justify a move to the most expensive city in the world. Because I’d actually be happier making lattes in a place where I know people and in a job I can easily leave.

The answer is no.



I feel better.

ok, that was a bit convoluted.

that hooker story is actually about me. no, I’m not an actual hooker; I’m using the world’s oldest profession as a metaphor for teaching English. sigh. yeah, I was made an offer that’s difficult to refuse (especially given the fact that it’s the only offer on my table right now). definitely a step up from what I was doing pre-Master’s, but… ugh. I didn’t get 2 Master’s degrees to be a fucking secretary.


one last dance with Mary Jane

Once upon a time, there was this hooker. Let’s call her Mary Jane. She got along all right whoring, but after a while she decided she didn’t want to do it anymore, that her real talent was hairdressing. So she went to a hairdressing school, did well, and graduated. Normally, all would be well, except she had a slight speech impediment that she’d have to overcome before she could become a full-fledged hairdresser.
While she was working on this speech impediment, along came a rich businessman who was kind of like Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, except Asian. Anyway he offered Mary Jane a job as his full-time escort. The pay was much higher than what she had been getting as a common street corner trollop, and there were health insurance benefits and free breakfast and lunch as well. In fact, the pay and benefits were better than she’d get as a hairdresser, and the businessman didn’t mind her speech impediment either. In fact, he found it very sexy. She knew that she could really use the money that this businessman was offering, but she’d be pretty much locked in for at least a year.
“No, no, no…” she shook her head. “I studied too hard, spent too much money on that certificate, and have come too far to go back to whoring. I just can’t go back… but fuck, I’m 30 years old and have no house and no money. What the hell should I do?”