Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Living Among Munchkins

As a foreigner, I stand out. I expect to be watched, stared at, followed (by kids), touched (by old ladies), run away from (by kids) etc. Most Japanese, of course, don't understand what life is like as a foreigner in Japan. One exception is my fiance. He totally gets it. He is constantly asked "Anatwa nihonjin desuka?" meaning "Are you Japanese?". He is constantly watched, stared at and run away from (by kids) all because......he is tall. He looks Japanese . He speaks Japanese. He is Japanese. But he is also 197 cm or 6 ft 5 inches tall. This is pretty rare in Japan.


He constantly has to be careful about hitting his head-but it happens all the time. He has to bend to get on and off the train. Leg room is an issue and shopping for clothes.....a nightmare. He wears a size 13 shoe which isn't huge in Canada as you can buy that size at any store....but here...might as well be a size 22.


Though he hates shopping here, he really needed a shirt for work so we went into a shop. The clerk looked (up) at him and said the familiar word "oki" meaning "big". We asked that he be measured for a shirt and the guy looked around and found the ladder. I'm betting that the ladder has never been used to measure someone. It was such an amazing thing to see which is why I took this picture. It says everything, doesn't it?






7 comments:

Kari said...

Wow, 6 ft 5 in is really tall! There are a lot of tall people here too. I guess it's not as bad because tallness is seen as a good thing. Do Japanese people look down on people different from them?

sofia said...

Hey Kari,
Being different is not seen as a good thing in many cases. There is a saying that goes something like " the nail that sticks up gets hammered down".In Japan it is all about the group and not the individual. 6 ft 5 is tall but nobody stares in Canada (my brother is 6ft3) but in Japan...truly he is huge. I tell him to be proud of his height but it is hard for him.

bunny-parfait said...

Wow, that's tall. It's probably even harder for a tall woman :X Also, I've heard that nail saying lots of times, it's one of the things I associate most with that country ^^;;

maiko said...

oh, i know about those shoe sizes! whenever my sister would go looking for shoes off-base (we're half japanese, dad was in the military), she would hardly ever find anything with her u.s. size 9 (now 10!) feet XD

sofia said...

Hey Bunny-parfait! Yeah that saying drives me nuts!! Standing out is so not a good thing here and he can't help it! But actually it is worse when we are together....people treat him like a foreigner! They will actually ignore him and talk to me which just kills me cause I am a white Canadian....nothing Japanese/Asian about me! I actually tell them (in Japanese) that he is a Japanese. Then they apologize to him. Quite amazing!

sofia said...

Maiko. I wear size 9 too!!! It is impossible for me to shop which I expect since I'm the foreigner but it makes me sad for my honey since he is Japanese but he might as well be a foreigner since he can't shop here either!! Can't wait to go to Canada in the summer where we can both shop!!!

shoe addict said...

Love the pic! And yes your husband is super tall, no matter where you live!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails