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Thursday, July 19, 2012


The privilege to criticize Japan

Ushiku, Ibaraki

I was amused to read Roger Pulvers' Counterpoint article July 8, "The sorry state of affairs in Japan is enough to turn WGs into FGs."

Far more common than "frozen gaijins" or "whingeing gaijins," in my experience, are FFJs — "flip-flop gaijins." These are foreigners who usually have been living in Japan for some years (many are English-conversation head teachers) and consider themselves to be the privileged sempai (seniors) of more recently arrived gaijins.

Their exalted status apparently gives them the right to make observations and criticisms of Japan. When a "junior" gaijin says one word of criticism, the FFJ suddenly becomes Japan's loyal retainer, launching into a tirade of personal abuse against the junior gaijin. This tendency can be observed in Pulvers' article.

While FGs and WGs who dare to criticize Japan are portrayed as spoilt brats with serious personality problems, the article is peppered with criticisms of Japan from Pulvers himself. Presumably the length of his tenure here grants him that privilege.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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