And now for something Japanese

Well, sort of. I’m home sick for the second time this week and, aside from the fact that I legitimately am ill, my constant battle to get someone to acknowledge that I’m not fit for active duty and excuse me (so to speak), makes me feel kind of like Yossarian from Catch-22. I’m currently re-reading Catch-22, if you’re wondering. See, I’ve been sick since Sunday, but they’re refusing to give me notes for more than the day I go to the clinic, so every other day I’m back to get another single day of sick leave. I suffered through work yesterday, but today it just wasn’t happening, so I went down and, surprise surprise, got yet another one-day note. If I’m still sick tomorrow? Well, we wouldn’t want them to start missing me.

But the title promises something Japanese, so I thought I’d let you know that I’m going to Tokyo this weekend! It’s going to be my last trip this time around, since I’m leaving Japan on 7/31, so despite spending most of the week laid up by viral plague I’m doing it anyway. I should be fine by Friday. While up there, I will go see my host family (after coming up with a good excuse for not staying with them out in Saitama – it’s not practical this time, but I know that they’re going to be sad about it) and also have a meet-up with the lovely Sara Mari from Moments Like Diamonds! I’m really looking forward to it and I will definitely take pictures and try to make an interesting blog post out of my last little weekend adventure before returning to the States.

Unfortunately, I still don’t have train tickets because I’ve been out of commission, so I’m going to have to drag myself to the JR station later. I just want free seats, I don’t need a seat assignment or anything (why pay extra for it when I’m traveling alone?), but I still shouldn’t leave it till the last minute, just in case the train I want to take is really popular this weekend. You never know and it’s already a little ギリギリ.

The second Japanese-y thing I want to mention, because I’ve come across it a couple of times recently, is the myth of the perfect foreigner. The myth of the perfect foreigner goes something like this: if you live in Japan but still seek out foreign things, have a lot of foreign friends, and don’t do everything you possibly can to assimilate (the foreign community can be kind of like the Borg that way), you are a “bad” foreigner and not worthy of being here, unlike the perfect foreigner who has of course completely embraced all aspects of “real” Japanese life. This annoys me to no end for three big reasons: 1) it’s wrong, 2) it’s extremely judgmental, and 3) as far as Japanese people are concerned we’re all equally foreign. There’s no such thing as real Japanese life and there’s nothing wrong with taking comfort in your own culture. It’s exhausting to live somewhere foreign and wanting things from home to unwind is healthy. But there are a lot of people who think that’s the wrong way to live here and I’m tired of it.

So consider that a PSA from me: do your part to stop perpetuating the myth of the perfect foreigner because it’s not good for any of us. We’ll all be just a little happier if we stop striving for something that is completely unattainable. Seriously.

But, that aside, I am pretty psyched about Tokyo. Should be a nice weekend!

ETA: Did not go get train tickets. I stood up and got vertigo, so I’ve decided to take my chances and go tomorrow. Worst case scenario, I have to wait and take the first train Saturday morning. It won’t be the end of the world.


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