This evening I was waiting at Tajimi station for the train. I was just minding my own business, listening to my iPod and trying to figure out a particularly tricky Sudoku puzzle. In my peripheral vision I saw someone coming close to me, so I glanced up to see that an older Japanese gentleman had approached me. He started to ask me something, but then it clicked in his mind that I wasn’t Japanese. So he nodded, waved his hand and walked to the man just ahead of me in line, took a good look to assure his nationality and then asked his question, which I only heard part of, but sounded a lot like “Is this train going to…” The man seemed satisfied with the answer and got in line behind me.
The small miracle in all this is that while just minding my own business at the station, I actually passed for Japanese until someone took a good look. I’m not saying that I want to become Japanese or that I want to desert my American heritage or anything, but when you live in a homogeneous society, sometimes all the looks can get a little tiring. So, it gives me a small amount of relief to know that I don’t always always stick out like a sore thumb here. Sometimes I can blend a little bit. Maybe I’d have more success if I wore my rock star sunglasses. Hmm…people would probably just think I’m in the Japanese mob then. Oh well, can’t win ’em all.