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Saturday, March 3, 2012

One month left...

Got some really supportive comments on the last post, so I thought I'd give you the latest news, most of it good:

The Saga TV show I work with has put up some money and some equipment so that Yuri and I can do some filming ourselves, and I can turn my "Bobby's Kitchen" cooking segment into a "Bobby's WORLD Kitchen" cooking segment.

It'll air once monthly, and we'll be sending in weekly updates with pictures of where we are and what were working on, and I'll do my best to be available for phone commentary when the show is on. It's gonna be a little bit of work to do all the filming and setting up on our own, but it's nice to have a little bit of money coming in, and to be able to keep doing TV stuff. Makes me feel better about my chances of continuing down this road when we get back.

Also, there's a magazine called "Be-Pal" that's running one of my recipes this month. They've agreed to let us write a VERY small monthly column with pictures and stories about outdoor activities or outdoor cooking in other countries.

So that's all very encouraging.

And I've become more convinced that the timing for the trip is as good as it could be.

By which I mean, I'm about ready for a break from Japan.

There's going to be something really relaxing about still being able to do TV, but having full control over what footage gets used.

I know that I'm only on TV in the first place because I'm a foreigner, but I get really tired of having it reinforced regularly by the directors and other personalities. In the time that I've been working as a reporter, I've gained confidence and gotten better at it. There are a lot more funny conversations or interesting parts that the directors could choose to use in the final cut... but more often than not, they get chopped in favor of parts where I made a mistake in Japanese, or had to ask what something meant.

Then, on one of the live shows, I usually come out and say a quick greeting in English ("Good morning! How's it going? I'm Bobby Judo!") before jumping into the cooking stuff. The other day, to switch things up, the director said, "Just do it all in Japanese today." So I did. And the other reporters said "When Bobby says it, it sounds like English, but that was actually all Japanese!" WTF people.

And on a personal note, I'm exhausted with an excess of Japanese friends... if you're a foreigner here, you probably have experience with this, but you get a lot of people who think that you're friends based solely on the fact that they LIKE you. It doesn't require that they know anything about you, or care about you, or what you want, like, or are interested in. As long as they like you, you're pals.

There's one guy in particular who I was really trying to get along with. He's nice most of the time, and he goes out of his way to invite me to things, or takes us out, comes by the restaurant regularly. But in the end, he's had lots of time to get past the whole "Yay, I've got a foreign friend!" thing and just... be normal, but he can't.

Yuri and I went out to eat with him and his friends the other day and we were talking about something completely benign. An employee who got in an argument with another employee, then walked out and never came back. And he said "Bobby, as an American, what do you think?"

And I was like "What? What does that have to do with being an American? Why can't you just ask me what I think?"

It doesn't seem like a big deal, yeah, but I've already told him a number of times "I really don't like feeling like my value to you is as your gaijin friend." He doesn't care that it bothers me, nor make any effort to either understand why or stop doing it, and that tells me that he's not really a friend.

Plus, last night, he came to the bar for his birthday, and insisted that I drink and eat with him, even though I didn't really want to. I tried to politely refuse, but after a certain point, it becomes rude, so I had a couple of beers and some cake.

And then he started going on about how I was getting fat, and grabbing my stomach, and talking about how he was in better shape when he was my age, and how I was definitely going to be a fat old man.

It was clear I was annoyed, so I excused myself to do some work, and then later he started hassling me for not finishing my beer or cake. So on top of the "Japan/Gaijin" dichotomy, he can also just be a straight up douche.

Unfortunately, I have way too many "friends" like him.

On the plus side, they've made me feel a lot better about getting away for a while.

Before I go, I'm gonna do my best to upload a handful more YouTube videos.

Yesterday I posted a behind the scenes look into making one of the Bobby's Kitchen segments. Check it out if you have the time:


Derek Blais said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Derek Blais said...

It sucks to hear that some of your interesting points don't make it on the air. You're not the only one to experience this though. I see it happen to Japanese born and bred celebrities, too—often on (J) variety TV. A cheap laugh takes priority over an interesting or different point of view sometimes.

Take a break, bro. Ease out and come back recharged.

Maze said...

I hope that "Bobby's WORLD Kitchen" becomes a hit! 応援します!

RecoveringCatholic said...

I lived in Osaka for 4 years in the late 80s and had an American friend whose Japanese was REALLY good. It obviously intimidated a lot of his Japanese colleagues. Many, many Japanese people have this inferiority/superiority complex with regard to Americans or Europeans and in their eyes their language (with all the nuances that English doesn't have) is something that supposedly makes their culture superior, so when a 'gaijin' shows any mastery of it, it strikes the ego/core of who they think they are. This kind of pettiness is hard to put up with on a daily basis! Ganbatte ne!

Bobby Judo said...

Thanks for the encouragement. It's interesting to get some extra perspective on all this when you run into Japanese people living or traveling abroad and see how they function outside of their country... maybe I should sit down and write about that one of these days.

Natasha Spernick said...

Bobby- I LOVE your blog. I speak Japanese to a JPLT 2 level I guess you can say and You're level of Japanese is very inspiring!I have lived in Japan for a few years and I have the same problems with what I call Gaijin Otaku. They befriend you to take pictures with you like a puppy in a purse. It gets to be overwhelming but you're doing great things so keep that in mind!
My passion is Japanese language so I hope to be at your level soon!

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