There have been, and are, several reasons for this site. But I think ultimately the reason I created and still write in this site is to help me work out stuff by writing, and I just so happen to do it publicly sometimes. I need to do that now. So, here we go.
If I were to give a word to how I have felt throughout my entire life, I think I would use the word “isolation”. The Japanese word “gaijin” really does encompass in many ways how I feel about the world that I happen to find myself in. Alien. Foreigner. Not belonging. I’ve tried to find many places and situations in which I fit, and they never worked out. Eventually I just stopped trying, and have tried to make my isolation work for me. I’ve actually had, if not some success with that, at least some pretty good ideas on how to do that. So it’s not all bad.
Clearly, in hindsight, anyway, studying Japanese was another way of trying to deal with that sense of isolation, and it failed, as it was always doomed to. You can’t fix being a gaijin by trying to find acceptance with a community of gaijin. That’s the utmost in stupidity. Yet, here I am.
As I’ve mentioned (much in this post will likely be a rehash), I’ve also observed that many otaku or weeaboo are trying their hardest to also ameliorate a similar sense of isolation by a sense of community founded in a common interest – that of being gaijin. That’s also rather silly on its face, but it seems to work for them. Shrug.
It doesn’t work for me, though. Acceptance through common interest isn’t acceptance. It’s shallow. I guess it can be a springboard into deeper friendships, but it, by itself, is worthless. Being an otaku would be just as worthless as any other form of acceptance I’ve subconsciously tried, and failed, to find.
I also think I understand some of the more obsessive behavior of weeaboo/otaku now. Not that I have any desire to emulate it, but I understand it. When you can’t find acceptance from the outside world, you start to make your own. So you overlay a personality on your favorite anime or idol characters. They’ll accept you if they come from your own imagination, right? That’s where the concept of waifu and husbando comes from, and also why idols are so carefully crafted to be the way they are. They’re a blank slate that socially isolated people can overlay their own desire for acceptance onto. And they have to play to that! That’s why handshake events are so fake. They have to let you pretend. It’s the rules. That’s why poor Minegishi Minami cut her hair! She violated the cardinal rule of being an idol: don’t give the otaku fan any reason to think that you don’t accept them. And spending the night with a man is certainly a violation of that rule!
What part of the human experience is not a plea for acceptance?
If you think about it, that’s where religion comes from too – the idea that you’re accepted by God. Many different possible routes to that acceptance exist, obviously, some being more healthy than others. You’ve got all the different sects of Christianity, with different ways of understanding what your relationship to God is, Islam, with a few ways of their own, Judaism, which is a bit more nationalistic or ethnocentric… you’ve got Buddhism, which basically says “what acceptance? Deal with it.” But it’s all about making things right in a world where nothing is made right. But at the end of the day, religion fails too. Death takes us all.
Identity and acceptance are so intermingled as to be nearly inseparable. One comes from the other, and it matters not which is causative.
So what from now? How does one not be a gaijin, even in one’s own body?