Thursday, April 16, 2009


This post is a shout-out to Jinki, my new favorite cat in Tokyo.

A few weeks ago, my housemate and her friends dragged me to an all night party at a club in Aoyama. The cover was pretty hefty and two of the girls in our group didn't have ID's. Despite that no one in all of Japan cares about the drinking age and that the girls looked well over 20, they still wouldn't let us in. While we were considering what to do, a young asian guy popped his head out of the club, whispered some secret asian talk to the bouncer and ticket guy, and a minute later we were all inside. Completely confused about what was going on, I just smiled and nodded as we were hustled in.

While waiting for the rest of the crowd, Jinki, the guy in question, looked to my friend and said in Japanese, "you have a gaijin." Typical, I thought. The word isn't all that polite and its usage reflects the huge split between natives and foreigners. 

He then pointed to himself. "I'm gaijin too."

I've liked him ever since.

Jinki is Taiwanese but grew up living between Japan and Taiwan. He is a very cool guy and quite a socialite. Even though we have no common background whatsoever, the fact that both of us are treated like foreigners here in an odd way makes us compatriots.

Jinki pulled the same joke again tonight. We were at a bar in Ikebukuro with some Japanese friends. Two girls came over and sat down. He introduced me as "Mr. Gaijin," and then pointed to himself. "I'm Mr. Gaijin." The girls had a laugh figuring out what flavor of asian he is.

1 comment:

erindgr8 said...

regarding japan's total disregard for drinking age requirements, see this picture: