Everyone knew my full name
November 23, 2022 8:04 AM   Subscribe

Being a "Foreigner" English Girl Born in Japan An interview as part of a series created by Max D. Capo

Jazmine Sachiko Ross is born and raised in Ishikawa prefecture Japan, and despite having both English parents, she only went to Japanese public schooling her entire life.

The whole series is worth watching. For instance, Tiffany's story is captivating.
posted by mumimor (11 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
This is incredibly interesting, thank you! They both seem so charming :)
posted by capnsue at 8:54 AM on November 23

Thanks for this post, it was fascinating!
posted by Chuffy at 11:18 AM on November 23

That was delightful. It was interesting to see how Jazmine's body language changed depending on which language she was speaking.
posted by antiwiggle at 2:55 PM on November 23 [1 favorite]

Jazmine has a reacts-to-comments video up on her own channel (turn on English subs if you're going to need them), from when she met up again with Max. There's another video linked in the description of that one (back to Max's channel) with more discussion from the same occasion - different topics, so worth watching both.

I had seen the original video previously and it's definitely in that category of "why yes, I would be delighted to watch this again". I think I need to dive down the rabbit hole of watching Max's other videos in the series.
posted by BuxtonTheRed at 5:12 PM on November 23 [1 favorite]

First thing the header brought to mind was the fun the actors had saying "Ronald McDonald" in that wonderfully wacky Japanese film "Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald." The name was always spoken in full -- "Ronarudo Makkudonarudo" -- and its tongue-twistiness grew funnier and funnier as the dialogue hurtled faster and faster toward the filmʻs Fawlty Towers-like climax.
posted by Droll Lord at 7:30 PM on November 23 [1 favorite]

There's another series, not as in-depth, Takashii From Japan, where he has brief interviews with various foreigners and mixed living in Japan and mixed Japanese living abroad.

One interesting example is Indian Girl Born in Japan, where a woman had grown up in Japan to Indian parents, then went to college in the UK. After the initial culture shock of moving to another country, she says she felt less like a foreigner in the UK than she did in Japan, her home country!

The Japanese monoculture really has some downsides, especially now that they have an aging population(PDF) and could really benefit from immigration, and accepting the diversity that comes with that immigrant population.
posted by eye of newt at 12:42 PM on November 24

Considering on YT I seem to mostly lazy-watch music, Kitchen Nightmares re-re-repeats and mostly US/Canadian first time responses to film/music/telly/UK culture these days I was surprised when The Algorithm pushed me this a couple of months ago and it's an interesting interview piece. Should probably check out the other parts of the series. Good one to flag up, cheers for the reminder!

(it's all about me, obvs)
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:04 PM on November 24

I’m going to have a different perspective on these videos and things mentioned in the previous comments having lived in Japan for a few years at this point…
I don’t like people being called ‘half’, I guess if you take back ownership of a term and recast the conversation like the ‘queer’ community has it’s one thing, maybe we can eventually think of it as farcical and as separate from reality as ‘muggles’.
Culture differences are real, a western perspective is useful to augment the perception of situations, but what we would call age and sex (and other) discrimination is lawful and commonplace not (just) because everyone is backwards and racist and the country is run by old people. I’ve found that people try to put out their case in the court of public opinion and win in the marketplace of ideas, then, maybe, eventually it’s found to be useful to codify that in law. And that’s about as effective and swift as you’d imagine with messy humans in thousands of years old societies.
Even with the groupthink and social cohesion on display, it’s not a teensy (roughly the same size as Germany with 1/3rd more people, #10 population in the world) island of facism because of an evil empire’s control or design - when she says of course nobody was going to contradict the teacher scolding them for getting worse grades than the born-and-raised-in-Japan ‘foreigner’, I can presume that those schoolmates had no examples of inclusive thought or speaking out. There were no examples of there being a viable ‘outsider’ group to include, those actions or thoughts weren’t options available to them. (Non-ethnically Japanese people living here is barely over one percent of the population, ex-pats and those with non-Asian features are even more rare.) Lectures as a teaching style is the norm, hierarchy and peer pressure is how it appears you’re guided through life here. There’s an old Simpsons where Lisa sets off the ‘independent thought alarm’ - this is not a uniquely Japanese condition.

(Please leave aside the cudgel that Japan has an aging population - they also have health care and elder care people worldwide would figuratively die for. There’s literally day care for seniors so they can still live with the Japanese version of the ‘nuclear family’ and prevent stress on working adults that aren’t cut out for being care providers. They lack sufficient child care and have aging government officials that are clueless and tone-deaf… which is besides the point, government largely doesn’t solve societal problems here - see the theory above.)
‘Solutions’ are easy for other cultures to prescribe, the most positive thing I took away from this is the apparent hope that Ms. Ross felt she could improve her situation. First-hand cultural observations are helpful to build empathy in us, the micro-aggressions I get are nothing in comparison, and these YouTube folks are displaying the energy to at the very least win in that court of public opinion, which most definitely can affect outcomes in the future IMO.
posted by allisterb at 7:49 PM on November 24

allisterb, I think I understand what you are trying to say, but you are assuming a lot.

The reason this hit a note for me and I posted it, is that I was a child who grew up abroad and struggled with my identity. Perhaps I still do. I was Danish, but grew up in the UK and then in Germany where I went to American school, then to Italy, where I was homeschooled, and finally to an English-language school back in Denmark, because I didn't speak or feel Danish.
Obviously, my experience had nothing to do with race, at least not as we understand it today*. And obviously these cross-cultural experiences are amplified in Japan, because of many aspects of Japanese society, but I could recognize so many of Jazmine's experiences.

I think there are many others here on MetaFilter who have similar experiences, or who have children who are growing up like this, and it would nice to share.

*Though, because we also lived in the countryside in a small village, I was absolutely seen and treated as an exotic and unusual person from very far away. I remember when we had about Scandinavia in Geography. It was plain weird, and I absolutely did not want to contradict the teacher.
posted by mumimor at 3:51 AM on November 25

An aside to mumimor: Rygård's?
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:19 AM on November 25

An aside to mumimor: Rygård's?
Nope, Bernadotte's Little House. But my otherwise conservative parents let me choose between them and CIS, and I have many friends who went to Rygård's. I have no idea why I chose Little House. It's weird.
posted by mumimor at 12:15 PM on November 25 [1 favorite]

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