I hate to be the angry, African-American male because it’s so stereotypical, so let’s not say I’m angry, let’s say that I’m frustrated. So my co-worker asked me about my weekend. I told him that I didn’t do so much, and out of common courtesy I asked him “How was your’s?” He proceeded to tell me how he hung out with one of the other non-Japanese teachers. Being that there are only three other non-Japanese teachers, I couldn’t help but feel a little left out. There was a student party early Sunday, that I couldn’t go to (because I’m saving money), and not all of the non-Japanese teachers went either. What bothered me so much is that the teacher who invited everyone wasn’t even at the student party. If he’d been at the party, it wouldn’t have been a big deal, because he would’ve just been inviting the people who were at the party…a natural progression. He invited a former teacher and the new staff member without telling me anything. To be honest, this is like the fifth time it’s happened. “Hey Donald have you tried this ramen restaurant? ________ and I went last weekend.” In my brain I was thinking “No, I didn’t…you guys didn’t f**king tell me about it.” But on the outside I was just like “Hmm, that’s nice.” I’m sure they were just drinking beer and that’s cool, but it would be nice to get invited to things sometimes. But these days I feel like because I’m getting left out of so much, I’m starting to withdraw from my co-workers. It’s like a double-bladed problem.
Another issue. I moved here in January of 2008, and I am currently the senior foreign teacher (fancy way of saying I’ve been there the longest) at my job. I come to work, and do the best I can everyday. We have to do a bit of sales at my job and we form teams to do it. There is a head teacher that oversees the team and helps to plan a sales strategy. I am on a team with two caucasian males. I used to give my input but now I don’t try at all. I can say an idea and my head teacher will completely ignore what I’m saying. But if one of the Caucasian teachers agrees with what I’ve said, then she’ll be like, “Yeah that’s a good idea.” I thought maybe it’s just a group think issue, but any time one of the other teachers gives an idea, she seems to be all ears. I’m sick of that sh*t. I may be African-American, I may different, but my ideas are every bit as good as anyone else’s.
Being here really makes me miss music from back home. At karaoke, it’s not hip-hop and R&B that people are singing, it’s rock-and-roll, it’s the Beatles, it’s the Doors, it’s David Bowie… I didn’t listen to these bands all that much, unless it was some kind of documentary on MTV or something. I miss the soulful singing of Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Musiq Soulchild, the hip-hop lyrics of A Tribe Called Quest, Common, Talib Kweli, and Mos Def. I could mention these people and no would no who I was talking about. I do have to thank my co-worker Marisa, though, because it was here idea to get tickets to the Summer Sonic 2010 concert and she watched A Tribe Called Quest with me (even if she wasn’t interested in the music). I, in turn, watched Big Bang (a Korean boy band) with her. I don’t mind reciprocating, I like doing it. But it gets under my skin when people make no attempt to understand the things I like at all.
One thing I’ve wanted to improve is speaking my mind. I think it’s time say something to these people. I’ll think before I speak, but if I don’t say something, they’re not going to understand why I’m upset.
A bit frustrated,
Donald Ash is an Atlanta, Georgia-born, American expat who has been living in a Japanese time warp for the last eleven years. While in that time warp, he discovered that he absolutely loves writing, blogging, and sharing. Donald is the creator of thejapanguy.com blog. Wanna know more about this guy? Check out his "What's Your Story" page.
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