As a foreigner in Japan you stick out. Especially so where I live, it not being the first pin on many tourists maps. This adornes you a bit of celebrity status, not an A-lister- one of those ones you know the name of but your not entirely sure what they do. This is especially true when you go to traditional Japanese festivals and events- people wondering why you are there and what you think. Often, ‘people’ roughly translates into ‘TV crew’. I have been filmed and interviewed for TV three times during my time in Japan, and I don’t even speak Japanese.
One recent occasion was at a laughing ceremony, at which two different film crews asked for interviews and we accidentally ended up all over the evening news. I stood looking uncomfortable and a little confused in the first interview, before gracefully bowing (literally as well as figuratively) out of the second to take some pictures of my friends stumbling for something coherent to say in Japanese.
alessiaepifani February 7, 2012
dear winegums, you are so right!! 🙂 three years ago, during the summer, I have been in India for some volunteering projects! we lived in the countryside in the South of India, a place, as you said, that it is not “the first pin on many tourists maps”. So local people are not used to see Western people. I was really struck about their “warm” welcome: when we joined them in the celebrations we “had to” have the only seated places on the chairs (not the oldest people) and every time we got off the jeep we were surrounded by children and adults as if we were Bollywood stars!! I felt so weird, maybe not so at ease! I wondered a lot about this over that experience and for this reason I smiled when I read your post! so great sharing! thanks!
winegums February 10, 2012
It is great sharing 🙂 Sometimes its a little uncomfortable being a celebrity and getting special treatment just because your different. It can have it’s perks though! It’s great going to work (I’m a teacher here) and being a bit famous. Especially the little elementary kids. They are cute as buttons and are so excited to talk to me 🙂
alessiaepifani February 10, 2012
really? are you a teacher there? it’s amazing for me! it’s my dream! first of all to be a teacher is my main dream, then it would be great to be a teacher in a far place like your, or in India or somewhere similar! how did you do to get it? did you join a specific project? (can I ask you all these news?! sorry for my impetuous curiosity!)…so good work!! cheers!
winegums February 11, 2012
I am a teacher here yes! I am here on a thing called the JET program. It’s run by the Japanese Government, they pay for you to come over and teach kids English and about other cultures. It’s a cool program and they look after you really well- http://www.jetprogramme.org/ Working somewhere like India would be amazing too. Are you training to become a teacher? What would you want to teach?
alessiaepifani February 16, 2012
It does sound cool! really happy for you! I have always dreamed a program like this for me! now I am living in London (for few years), but I am trying to become a teacher in my country (Italy). Actually today it’s a really hard commitment to get this in Italy. But I don’t want to give up hope! I can teach art or literature, but my main care is the educational relationship with children. It is to work with students that I love! And for an experience like yours…why not, maybe in the future! good luck for everything! (Again thanks for the sharing!!)
winegums February 17, 2012
Definitely don’t give up the dream! There are lots of qualified teachers over here on the program and also lots who are going to go to school to become teachers when then get home, it’s an amazing introduction to teaching. What are you up to in London? I like Japan, but I do miss it and can’t wait to be back home 🙂