Foreigners in Japan are evil …
…at least what Tokyo Shinjuku ward belives. They have put out a very nice brochure about how to behave as a foreigner in Japan: English (local copy) and Japanese (local copy). Nothing in there is really bad, but the tendency is so clear that it makes me think – what on earth do you believe we are doing in this country?
Now what is so strange on that? And if you have never lived in Japan you will probably not understand. But reading through this pamphlet I felt like a criminal from the first page on. If you don’t want to read through it, here a short summary:
- The first four pages (1-4) deal with manner, accompanying penal warnings for misbehavior.
- Pages 5-16 deal with criminal records, stating the amount of imprisonment and fines for strange delicti.
- Pages 17-19 deal with residence card, again paired with criminal activity listings and fines.
- Pages 20-23 deal with reporting obligations, again ….
- And finally page 24 gives you phone numbers for accidents, fires, injury, and general information.
So if you count up, we have 23 pages of warnings, and 1 (as in *one*) page of practical information. Do I need to add more about how we foreigners are considered in Japan?
Just a few points about details:
- In the part on manner, not talking on the phone in public transport is mentioned – I have to say, after many years here I am still waiting to see the first foreigner talking on the phone loudly, while Japanese regularly chat away at high volume.
- Again in the manner section, don’t make noise in your flat – well, I lived 3 years in an apartment where the one below me enjoyed playing loud music in the car till late in the night, as well as moving furniture at 3am.
- Bicycle riding – ohhhh, bicycle riding – those 80+ people meandering around the street, and the school kids driving 4 next to each other. But hey, we foreigners are required to do differently. Not that any police officer ever stopped a Japanese school kid for that …
- I just realized that I was doing illegal things for long time – withdrawing money using someone else’s cash card! Damned, it was my wife’s, but still, too bad 🙁
I accept the good intention of the Shinjuku ward to bring forth a bit of warnings and guidance. But the way it was done – it speaks volumes about how we foreigners are treated – second class.