Becoming Desensitized

“The funny thing about travel is that no matter how completely you try to leave the country, be it Japan or wherever, the country never completely leaves you. So far, I’ve lived in four different countries – Japan, Vietnam, Spain, Saudi Arabia and now back to Vietnam. Each of those places, no matter how much I loved or loathed it, stays in some part of me – whether it be an impulse to bow to people; shifting my hand back and forth to say ‘No;’ overuse of the word ‘Vale’ [okay] in my Spanish; or saying Inshallah [God willing] when ‘Hopefully’ would suffice.

“That said, I can’t help find less important these days are what I see as little slap fights that emerge over everything about anything regarding discrimination of foreigners. Don’t get me wrong – I know where it comes from; have been hit by it and if someone wants to fight the fight, let them have a go.

“However, when it seems like you could play Mad Libs with countries over hearing about the xenophobia, misogyny, discrimination or whatever about everywhere you travel to, I gotta admit I just can’t care as much about it anymore. You get desensitized.”

Fernando3.JPG
“That said, I can’t help find less important these days are what I see as little slap fights that emerge over everything about anything regarding discrimination of foreigners. Don’t get me wrong – I know where it comes from; have been hit by it and if someone wants to fight the fight, let them have a go. However, when it seems like you could play Mad Libs with countries over hearing about the xenophobia, misogyny, discrimination or whatever about everywhere you travel to, I gotta admit I just can’t care as much about it anymore. You get desensitized.

“Let’s be real, no place is perfect but some places are better than others and some places you just click with more than others. There’s a reason why I’m in Vietnam and not Japan. That said, there’s a reason why I probably look back on those Japan days most fondly. Something to be said for a place that has a fairly liberal visa policy (once you actually get into it, natch), genuine freedom of speech (that is rarely exercised), a semblance of democracy and, all things being equal, quite okay with the idea of subculture and allowing new ideas to coalesce with the old.”

(Fernando is an English teacher who hails from America but has roots in Mexico. He has an MA in teaching and dabbles in film and photography in his spare time.)

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tokyointerlopers

Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

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