Friday, February 16, 2007

Feeling two feet tall...

Last night, Bridgit and I decided that after our rough week of work we needed to do a little karaoke. There is nothing like a rousing rendition of "Lady Marmalade" and "You Oughta Know" to get the weekend started off with a bang. So, I took the bus to her village of Yomitan and after a little sappy movie time, we headed out to blast our lungs in the privacy of our own karaoke box. We took a taxi to an establishment that she had been to with her teachers and knew when we entered that something was off. Once the young kid left and got an old woman, we knew that we were going to be turned away because we are ... Americans. And it isn't because the directions are in Japanese and they are worried about our enjoyment of the karaoke experience. Even with Bridgit's excellent Japanese and telling her that we are teachers, not military members, she refused to allow us entry. It was utterly frustrating, embarrassing, and surprisingly upsetting. I have never been discriminated against and I know that this example is minor in the whole scheme of things, but it certainly did not make Okinawa any more endearing to us.

Thus, we found ourselves in another taxi going to a place close to her apartment that she had talked her way into before. As predicted, the man at the desk attempted to refuse us admittance, but after more pleading, he told us that it was a "secret" and ushered us to a room. Of course, we don't want to get people in trouble. We just want to be able to sing Hanson with the rest of society! We enjoyed our time, but the experience left us bitter. I have heard of restaurants on the island that have "No foreigners" signs on them, although have not encountered any of this attitude in Chatan. These sort of hard feelings between the Okinawans and Americans seem to be elevated lately. Last weekend, there were mass protests outside of Kadena Air Force Base against the arrival of some stealth fighters that were going to be visiting the island temporarily.

Recently, I have been unbelievably annoyed and offended as I read random articles, forums, etc. online mocking Americans and the typical "Ugly American" routine. I could write a whole other blog about the hypocratic nature of these other nationalities (not Okinawans this time) who are apparently refusing to look at their own histories and their own "not-so-pretty" moments in world affairs. Yes, we as a country have faults. We have citizens who are, let's face it, an embarrassment. But I am tired of those of us who get out and see the world, who are aware of not only "America" but other facets of world affairs, are constantly being the punching bags of others and can't defend ourselves because then we are even "uglier." But, anyways, it's Saturday morning...and I want to enjoy my day...enough.

As I sang last night (or warbled...or massacred), "You don't need a Weatherman to know which way the wind blows." (Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues)

4 comments:

Kenneth Griggs said...

One bad apple, as they say. Next time mention Nanking and jazz it up with your "rapist" wit...

Joyce said...

why dont you try having bridgit tell them that you british or australian next time? if they ask for id tell them you dont have any. i think you could get in for sure with that.

Joyce said...

PS. kenneth, okinawans had nothing to do with nanking so such a guilt trip wouldnt work... in fact the japanese military raped tons of okinawan women and forced them into prostitution during WWII.

Rachel said...

PPS: Welcome to the world of Rachel and Ken's humor.

And I didn't bring my oversized Union Jack flag with me to drape over my shoulders or a red sign with the word "COLOUR" on it in order to prove my "Britishness."

Guess I'll just have to be a bloody Yank. Blimey.