Tag Archives: racism

Book Review – Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. Sorry about that. I’m not giving up on this blog or Exploring Japan. It’ll continue. But right now, I’d like to share my review of Baye McNeil’s book Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist. Enjoy!

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

himynameislocoHi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist is  part memoir, part social commentary written by fellow Japan resident Baye McNeil.  He talks about his experiences ranging from his childhood in New York, his time in the Army, and teaching English in Japan.  But throughout this book, there is one common theme: racism.

He starts the book off with something most foreigners in Japan experience, the empty seat on a train.  It’s quite obvious that the reason is that he’s a black man in the homogeneous Japanese culture.  He returns to the empty seat several times throughout the book, sometimes as an enemy, sometimes as a friend.  He talks about his experience with racism not only in Japan, but also growing up and living in pre-911 New York.  But it’s not all about racism against him, it’s more about how he and everyone else in the world has…

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Congratulations to Japan’s World Cup winners!

I’m not a soccer fan, but I am very happy Japan won the Women’s World Cup. This should be a huge morale boost for Japan, which is still feeling the effects of the earthquake and tsunami. What I am disgusted about is how many Americans on Twitter and elsewhere have been badmouthing Japan with comments about Pearl Harbor and racial slurs. Honestly, grow up and take the loss like an adult who doesn’t dwell on the past. It’s a great thing for Japan to have this win.

On a related note, I wasn’t upset and insulting Americans when the Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks to win the Stanley Cup. Boston deserved the win. Japan deserved this win.

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Japan isn’t perfect

Before I explain, let me just say that I love Japan, and I love living there.  I find that my life is far more interesting and fulfilling than it was in Canada.  However, there are some people around the world who seem to hold Japan in high regards as the most ideal place to be (I’m looking at you, Japanophiles and foreign anime otaku).  Japan is just like any other country.  It has social problems (suicide, public drunkenness, crime, racism, etc) just like any other country.

Last night, I had a pretty negative experience in Tokyo.  I won’t go into too much detail, but I’ll outline what happened.  On a train platform, a man was talking on his phone and backing up, nearly running into me.  I made a remark in English that people should be careful about walking backwards, as this was the second time that day that someone did that.  He must have overheard me because around 30 seconds later, he came up behind me and pushed me toward the tracks and started yelling at me.  Then he kneed me in the leg and yelled at me some more.  He was either drunk or thought I’d be an easy target as I’m a foreigner in Japan.  Well, he didn’t push or hit very hard, as I never experienced any pain.  He was just trying to intimidate me, rather than hurt me, I think.  But in any case, what he did was physical assault.  Since I’m a calm person, I just walked away and never saw him again.  Inside, I was furious at him.

This was an isolated incident, and was just the act of an idiot.  It coincided with the 65th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War of World War II, so maybe he was one of those nationalist extremists in Japan.  Who knows?  But if he tries this again with someone who isn’t as calm as I am, he may run into a lot of trouble and a lot of hurt.

There are idiots everywhere in the world.

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