Things I wish I’ll never hear again in 2015
Japanese are said to be nice. Polite. Restrained. So when they make a comment or ask you a question you somehow find offensive or intrusive, you have to be forgiving – after all, they don’t know any better.
But it’s tiring.
Seriously, one doesn’t need to go to Tokyo University to realize how offensive or annoying these statements/questions sound. Come on guys, you are hosting the Olympics. Foreigners will flock Japan. It’s about time you change your ways. Think a bit before opening your mouths, you know? It does go a long way.
1) “You are so cute. You look Japanese.”
I get this.Like a lot. As if the only good-looking people in the planet are Japanese.
2) “How old are you?”
I don’t ask for people’s age. I find it rude and irrelevant anyway , unless, of course, it’s the law enforcement or shop wanting to know if I’m of age to buy liquor. But come on, if I don’t ask yours, don’t ask mine. Simple as that.
3) “How old is your husband?”
Again, why do Japanese ask me this question? Oh let me guess. Because they have an image. A stereotype. That Filipinas as “young” as me must be married to a 69 year old Japanese ojiisan – that’s how I escaped poverty, huh? A gold digger waiting for my husband to kick the bucket. Wrong. But even if it were right – my husband’s age is NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS. Like your husband’s(wife’s) age is NONE OF MINE!
4) “Wow, your husband is so young!”
Japanese can’t help express the utmost surprise when they see my husband. Which reinforces my assumption that indeed, in their minds, the image of my husband is 69 year old man whose children are older than me. It’s really irritating, because I don’t go exclaiming “Wow, your husband is really young!” to the Japanese ladies who introduce me to their husbands. But to be fair, I also hear Filipinos exclaim this when they meet my husband. Not sorry to disappoint. But really, can you keep your comments to yourself?
5) “How did you meet your husband?”
“Oh, you must have met him at the KTV.” – This is what most Japanese have in mind when they ask this question. They think they can actually disguise their assumptions by asking a seemingly “innocent” question, but I’ve been asked this question one too many times, it cannot be a coincidence. Nope, wrong. It’s dangerous to stereotype.
6) “Why don’t you speak Japanese?”
Why is it that if you look Asian, there is a bigger pressure for you to speak Japanese? Well here’s the answer : Because I don’t want to. Life is a whole lot easier if you’re the stupid “nanimo-shiranai” Gaijin.What about yourself, why don’t you speak English, considering you’ve been studying forever?
7) (to my husband) : “Osakans have an accent when they speak English.”
Oh yeah? Like Tokyoites don’t?
8)”Can you eat raw fish?”
Yes. We do have our own way of eating raw fish. This is Kinilaw (ceviche).
9)”You like pork, don’t you? After all, all Filipino dishes are pork.”
I don’t eat pork. And no, contrary to what you’ve heard, we eat a lot of seafood. Seafood is actually cheaper there than here. This fish is less than JPY500 / kg.
You can also buy lobsters at JPY 2000/ kg. In case you don’t know, General Santos exports tuna. We export seafood to Japan.
10) “Oh you don’t eat pork? Are you Muslim?”
No, not at all. I don’t have religious reasons for not eating pork – I just don’t like it.
But come on, you do know that Jews don’t pork either ? Why hasn’t anybody asked me if I weren’t Jewish?
11) “Filipinos can’t swim.”
Again, you’re talking to the wrong Filipino here. Take your stereotypes elsewhere!
12) “You support your family, don’t you?”
First off, it’s NONE OF YOUR GODDAMN BUSINESS. Second, it’s just wrong to ask this question. It’s like asking for someone’s salary – which is impolite,intrusive and just plain rude. Third, so what if I do? (Actually, I don’t!) The problem I see here is that Japanese have this invisible list of things that they tick off one by one in their heads, so you fulfill their image of what a “Filipino female” is like and prove them right. The problem is, it’s really offensive when they try to make you fit outdated or completely distorted image. Imagine if we do it the other way around. Oh you’re 33 and unmarried? Something must be wrong with you. Oh you’re a Muslim? Do you have a bomb strapped to your chest?
Happy new year!