There is a problem.
It occurred to me when America walked into our meeting earlier today wearing a kimono. He asked me if I was ‘daijoubu.’ Oh, I thought, he must be interested in learning my language. “Nah, I can learn all the Japanese I need to from watching anime,” he said, dashing my hopes and heightening my anxiety.
He talked about Jrock and cherry blossoms throughout the meeting. He offered me Pocky. “Please get serious, America,” I told him. My worst fears were confirmed when he invited me to his ‘Nartuo viewing party’ and said he’d be serving only ramen and mochi ice cream.
Upon further research, I was appalled.
I understand and fail to be surprised by your interest in my language, traditions, and cartoons. However, your cultural fetishism makes me… uncomfortable, at best. Imagine this scenario, if you will:
An extra-terrestrial lifeform visits you. You share glimpses of your culture with him, and he likes it. He picks up on specific things–slang, fast food, and old Western films. He starts injecting words like “swag,” “dude,” and “bro” into all of his sentences even when they don’t make sense. He refuses to eat anything other than McDonald’s and apple pie. When out in public, he always wears a cowboy hat and boots and greets everyone he meets with a very try-hard, “Howdy y’all!” He won’t shut up about how cool rap music is, and listens to it loudly while driving (and this really annoys the other drivers).
He ends up forgetting that you’re a person. That you’re more than a fun language or a kind of TV show or a type of food. He doesn’t honor the struggles you’ve been through, nor the historical accomplishments of your people. Therein lies the problem.
To end in a language that I know you will understand,
~nyaaaa ^-^ Please respect my culture XDD arigotou gozaimasuuuu!!! ~
Check out Behind the Scenes for a fun explanation of this story’s historical and political references.