Sunday, May 16, 2010

Nihon jin?

Hello Kyoto!

Erica here.

Sorry for the large gap between now and our last post. Golden Week has come and gone and with only a month left we've been running around trying to cram as much fun in as possible before we leave!

During my time off in Golden Week, my friend Stephanie came to visit and travel Japan with me. Many foreigners living in Japan have said that sometimes they receive quite a bit attention unwanted attention such as being stared at on the train. I have never had this experience because I look Japanese and just blend right in. Things only get awkward when random strangers come up to me to ask for directions, which interestingly occurs quite often. I can usually understand what they are saying to me and on rare occasions I even manage to point them in the right direction, but most of the time I resort to saying, "Ano..gomenasai. Wakarimasen. Nihongo wa chotto..." which translations to "Umm..sorry. I don't know. My Japanese is a little..." At which point you see the shock register on their face.

But during Golden Week, I got a taste of what being stared at because I'm a foreigner feels like and here's how it happened. My friend Stephanie, like me is Chinese - Canadian so while we were on our adventures, we looked like 2 Japanese girls on vacation. This held up until we started talking to each other and whether we were on the train, in a restaurant or on the street people would blatantly stare at us. Some even had their mouth hanging open. I kid you not. I won't say everyone had this kind of reaction, some glanced at us curiously a couple times as if trying to confirm we were speaking English. I suppose it is a strange sight to see 2 people you thought were Japanese, in Japan, speaking English rapidly with each other. You don't really expect that to happen and when it does I suppose it is quite shocking and you can't help, but stare. It was interesting to see these reactions, although by the end of our trip we were feeling a little tired of being stared at every time we spoke with each other. But now that my friend has left, I can go back to blending in on the train everyday. That is until someone asks me for directions =_='

Some pictures from our adventures!

Stephanie and I at Kinkakuji

Osaka Castle!

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