Lack of language skills

Lack of language skills Having patience in Japan, being both Acculturation Preserving traditional Japanese culture New Year's food Japanese are more accustomed to foreigners

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At that time, I think Japan was still used to “Foreigners just cannot speak Japanese.” And anybody that looked Japanese should speak Japanese. So if I go out with friends, say, five of us are sitting at the table, basically I’m usually the only one that can’t speak Japanese and everybody else can. And so I’m sitting there, but the waiter is looking at me, and talking to me, and I’m like, “Uh, what’d he say?” And after a while, I got used to it, so it’s like I just…he’s looking at me and let everybody else order. You know, then finally…one time we went to…I think it was a little vegetable market and my sister and I were with my mother and we were talking and I think the man was trying to talk to us and we didn’t know what he was saying. All of a sudden, he started getting mad at my mother. Get that, getting mad at my mother. And later, we were like, “What was he so mad about?” She goes, “Oh, it’s because you girls didn’t speak Japanese” and he was getting mad at her, like, “Why don’t you teach your kids how to speak Japanese? They don’t understand Japanese? Why are you in Japan?” You know, they couldn’t relate. “You look Japanese but you don’t speak it. Now something must be wrong.”

Date: September 3, 2003
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Interviewer: Art Nomura
Contributed by: Art Nomura, Finding Home.

FindingHome identity language multi racial prejudice

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