Thursday, March 10, 2005

Foreign Competition Part the Second


It used to be that in Japan just being gaijin was enough. You could be loved or hated solely on the basis of your gaijinhood. Sadly, it would appear that gaijin inflation in this country has brought about a state of affairs in which an aspiring Charisma Man (don’t miss this link) must come up with some sort of gimmick as well. Like the gaijin professor above who can sing perfectly in the classical Japanese style

. . . or this bald gaijin dude instructing Japanese talk show girlie boys (yep, even the one in a skirt is a guy) in the intricacies of a martial art developed during a less effeminate period of their nation’s history. (Alas, girly-man has overcome samurai-man and hijacked Japanese fashion and pop culture).

I am admittedly a small calibre gaijin. I will never be competitive at the national level in the high stakes gaijin market. However, I have found a new niche to exploit. I have begun training hard for next year’s Hebiura Elementary School 歌カルタ (uta-karuta) Tournament. I promise you, I will never again be utterly defeated by local seven-year-olds. Defeated, maybe, but not utterly defeated. And yet, I have a miserable foreboding in my heart that there are already thousands of gaijin better versed in the hyakunin-isshu than I could ever hope to be.