My name is Cameron Ohara. I make negative positive.
I am a gaijin (a “foreigner” or “outer person“) living in Japan. Here, I am an outsider. I am an underdog. Hey, we all have something that puts us outside the box, outside the norm. We are all gaijin at one point or another.
Believe me – I know. No matter how far I sail this Red Island, I will still have orange hair and a “high nose” – it will still be assumed that I do not know (or cannot understand) Japan and its language, culture and norms.
But I believe in understanding. I believe in connecting with people on a mutual level, and understanding the world through their eyes. I believe that the looks I get from passengers on the Kumamoto Rail Line are not telling me to get out; they are asking me for an in. I believe that the wide birth I’m sometimes given by my Japanese coworkers is not out of distaste, but out of respect.
Thinking in this way has allowed me to tear down the cultural barriers. In fact, I have often been told by coworkers and friends that I am “More Japanese than an actual Japanese!” (「日本人より日本人!」). People sometimes ask me if I have Japanese heritage. I have come to understand Japan so well, that I even wonder if I was in fact Japanese in a previous life! And thus I have made the Angry Gaijin Blog’s goal to understand Japan from Japan’s point of view.
* * *
Let’s put it a different way. Let’s say that there are two kinds of Angry Gaijin, and that depending on the time and situation we are all either one or the other.
The first comes to Japan and is (understandably!) struck with culture shock. This Angry Gaijin is near horror-struck at just how much Japan differs from their Home Country. This Angry Gaijin becomes scared and, well… angry and upset at what (s)he doesn’t yet understand.
The second Angry Gaijin has overcome the culture shock, understands the culture and traditions of Japan, and is comfortable with the person they are. This Angry Gaijin is not angry at Japan, but is instead frustrated at the sheer amount of misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Japan.
Which one would you want to be?
* * *
I believe in the outsider, and I believe in the underdog… because I believe in myself. I believe that when you put someone down or call something stupid, you are openly admitting that you have been unable to understand. I believe that we are all gaijin at one time or another – but what does it matter? What matters is taking the negative and turning it into the positive.
And with that I bid you welcome! Please enjoy your stay at Angry Gaijin. Use your out to get in!