Thursday, March 10, 2005

Preface and Postscript to Foreign Competition Part the Second

Click for Enlargement

This is back in 1990 when I did have my own gaijin gimmick. I was the 青い目の新聞少年; the Blue-Eyed Paper Boy. At the time, this gimmick was enough to earn me a spot on the front page of 東奥日報 (tounippou—Aomori’s number one paper), the very paper I delivered. It made me so famous that when I walked into an out-of-the-way family store in Hirosaki a few year’s later, the shop keeper’s wife exclaimed: “You’re the Blue Eyed Paper Boy!” I replied: “Yes, yes I am; How much for this Ghana bar?” Now, that is all forgotten. I’m just one more of the 6,000 plus JETs sprinkled liberally over the Japanese countryside. When I was a little kid, I thought English was a private form of communication known only to my family and useful for talking about people in front of their faces. When my family got out of the car in rural towns, hundreds of kids would swamp us shouting “peace” like they were hippies at the Woodstock festival and we were The Who. Now I am lucky if kids notice me even enough to whisper insults about foreigners to each other behind my back. Gaijin inflation has taken a brutal toll on my life.