Living in Japan has it’s “charms” but sometimes an interaction or experience that might seem funny or cute to one person might be the opposite for another. Sometimes that same interaction with the said person at a different time on a different day can be very perceived different. Life in Japan as a foreigner especially in areas still not used to foreigners is like riding a roller-coaster with your current mood dictating the sharpness of the drops and your patience controlling the speed. Adoring fans watch me use chopsticks…
So here I am on mainland Japan juggling my bags as I make my way back to my rural island after a trip. I’m starving so while I wait on the next leg of my complicated trip home I decide to get some food. I enter the restaurant, get seated, loosen my tie and ensure my luggage isn’t bothering anyone. The server greets me with an English menu (that I didn’t request but it was appreciated), I quickly make my order and soon my food arrives. Then my ears perk up to hear a family seated nearby whispering.
Nearby Fam:He didn’t get a fork, he can use chopsticks, ooh he took up the chopsticks? Me:**breaks chopsticks into two pieces and start to eat* Nearby Fam:OMG OMG OMG he can use the chopsticks! Me:*turns around and raises my chopsticks to them, they all turn away except the youngest (maybe around 8 years old) he gives me a thumbs up and we smile*
I look in the other direction and someone else who was obviously fixated on me quickly turns away when it was obvious they were watching. I start to feel a little annoyed at the attention. Do they think being able to use chopsticks is a special ability? Maybe they think I eat with my fingers back in my home country? Maybe its not the use of chopsticks but something else they are enamoured by? I’ll never know as I enjoyed my meal while imaging them as adoring fans (sneakily) watching me use chopsticks.
Kirk is a proud Jamaican who started Jamaipanese.com in February 2006 and now lives in rural Japan. He enjoys sharing his experiences learning about Japan, personal milestones in life as well as interests such as photography, gaming and travelling.