The Trials of Love & Citizenship

Looking for entertainment? Look not further. I asked okaa-san and otou-san how they came to be engaged and guess what? Neither of them had any clue, not a shred of memory on it. It came up because of a tv program where a guy got down on one knee (something they don’t do in Japan) so I asked how they did their engagement. The answer was that that was a great question, no answer and no idea. The hell people? I know that they’re just buds but come on, that had to be enough of an event to warrant remembering. Whatever, I guess this’ll always be one of my (many) mysteries over how their lives ran.

Sorry to get ahead of myself; this happened at the end of the night as my last bit of humor in the day, but I thought it’d be a catchy opening. Before that I ended up grabbing a pasta lunch (yum) with Lizzie and this sweet girl Asuka who I met in my don don class. The whole time we were at the dining place they had this weird pop and video game-remix crap playing softly, then blasting, in the background. No idea who picked it, why, or where they got it but poor-decision making skills people. Get it together. That spurred on talk of clubs in the US, and how not-cool they are despite the media’s consistent glorification of getting wasted, dancing with strangers and likely waking up next to one in the morning – eesh, no thank you. Give me a baking or dance party with friends any day. In the meantime, I think we convinced her that she didn’t need to subject herself to this ridiculous form of ‘fun’ when she visits the US, so I’ll say I feel accomplished.

Once lunch was over Lizzie and I parted ways for me to hit up a nearby clinic in hopes of getting an x-ray. I need this godforsaken thing for my visa to New Zealand, as I’ve been staying in Japan (which has a high incidence of TB) for more than 3 months. Problem is, you need to be tested after 3 months, which has just hit for me, but the visa application can’t go in until you have the results in and all. Which means we’re playing the fun, super-stressful waiting game for this thing. Yayyy immigration policies! NOT. Amazingly I did manage to get the x-ray today, with the radiologist coming in tomorrow to sign off on it. Bless this efficient country, and I mean it. Still stressed but also very pleased.

I came home, briefly, before joining okaa-san at her eigo class. Convo got fun there, and we talked about international marriages, Japanese citizenship and popular anime in Japan at the moment and in the past. Random, right? Turns out the 2 other women in the class (Saki-san, the lovely flower lady, and the other woman whose name I forget but is very pleasant) both adore anime and are very much fans of shows like One Piece, Dragonball and Naruto. It was adorable watching them light up over the shows. Recommendations from them and Kathy were Hana Yori Dango, Liar Game and Jojo’s Bizzarre Adventures. I’ll be googling them later and I suggest you do as well if you want to stay hip and happening on Japanese tv culture. This was shifting from tales of Saki-san’s friend, a Japanese woman, who recently married a nice-looking Indian man. Only when I asked, the man doesn’t speak Japanese, she doesn’t speak whatever language(s) he speaks and while he’s fluent in English she knows very little. So I guess charades is an all-day affair? While Kathy and I couldn’t imagine this crap, having had to do it ourselves a fair bit upon first coming here (and even still, sometimes) Saki-san found it enchanting. C’est la vie, I guess . . . still my nightmare.

This progressed into talking about citizenship, and how ridiculous it is in Japan in my opinion. I’ve been reading a lot about this in my minorities class, and while I’m not claiming the best memory of my many, long readings, I remember enough to knowledgeably say that getting citizenship sucks in Japan. The short breakdown, because it’s late and I’m lazy and if you doubt me/are interested you should really fact-check for more in-depth answers. Here goes:

  • no green cards in Japan. if you’re coming in you’re here on some sort of visa, work permit, etcetera
  • only 1 citizenship, as in renounce all others if you want to keep Japan’s passport. Haafu (half, or mixed-roots) Japanese children, and whoever else falls into these circumstances, must decide upon reaching 20 what citizenship they will claim
  • that being said, many simply don’t report having 2 citizenships and the Japanese gov’t has a sort of don’t ask/don’t tell policy going with that. so while some people renounce it, unless you’re running for major office or something you’re probably fine with an additional citizenship
  • it takes years to finally naturalize. and the rights are limited/different, and there may be another type of word I’m meaning to use and forgetting (there definitely is) but whatever it is the whole thing is difficult
  • it’s also pretty racist. you’re not Japanese without Japanese blood. Koreans who came here during colonization in the 20s/30s and stayed ever since? Not Japanese. But it’s the only home and language I know? Too bad, no blood evidence

There were some other things I may add on later, but for now I’m wiped. Also do check out the missing post from Saturday; pictures are still wonk but the text play-by-play is all updated!

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