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Arudou Debito - !!?

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I am not going to make this too long, and get right to the point.

I just find debito.org yesterday and have been reading through a number of essays here. I don't know what to say. Although I respect his right to freedom of speech, and it is ok for everyone to have their own opinions (and he certainly does), I find it infuriating that in in almost everyone of his essays he "toots his own horn" so to speak.

debito is to smart for this. debito's japanese is so good. and so on and so on. It is always other people complimenting him (his mother, university friends, jaapnese police) complimenting him, but stilll... is this necessary to put in your essays?

I dont know. Maybe the whole "debito arudou" thing that bothers me the most. I think it is great that you got a place in Hokkaido. i think it is great that you are so happy. But to change your name (which I guess is fine) and then to INSIST that people call you by it? That just seems kind of weird. Who are you? who do you want to be?

Im a little frustrated, so I cant write anymore. i will try and rethink a little bit more and post again.

Does anyone get where I am coming from?

sj

ps. shouldn't it be debitto.org and not debito.org?
 

thomas

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Hm, I was always impressed by Debito's zeal and dedication. Also I don't mind a bit of narcism if it's well deserved. Look at the issues, look at what he delivers. He was fighting against windmills of bureaucracy and denseness and brought a lot of them down.

I cannot recall Debito ever complaining when I had called him "David" in private mails. I guess if you study his website it is pretty obvious that he has already chosen who he wants to be.
 

Maciamo

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For my part, I am happy that someone like Arudou Debito fights for the rights of foreigners in Japan. I guess the notion of "rights" has originated in Western countries and it is only normal to see Westerners defending them.

I don't know what's wrong with changing your name. He didn't even really change name, but just wrote it in kanas and pronounce it like Japanese would. It's for the sake of adaptation in the country in which he has decided to live. So Japanese people would call him Debito as they have always done since he landed in Japan, and English speakers probably continue calling him David.

Hmm, why isn't it Deebiddo instead of Debito ? Just easier to write I suppose...
 
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while i certainly applaude debito for his crusade on equal rights for foreigners in japan, i can kinda see what gohki is saying here. i'll go out on a limb and say it something to do with a kind of "elitist" attitude that seems to eminate from his essays and from his website in general. but at the same time, what he's doing over there is great and he's living the life he wants to live, so all the power to him for that.
 
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thanks thomas...i just went to the site....

i seriously doubt signs like 'japanese only' still exist. do they?
 
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No offense, but isn't it pretty damned childish to be criticizing someone for changing their name? Who cares? People do it all the time. And as has been pointed out, he hasn't really changed it but just romanized the Kana pronounciation of his name.

I've read a few of his essays on his site and I never got the impression that he was tooting his own horn too much. I thought they were quite readable and it was very interesting to hear about his experiences.
 

Mike Cash

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jerry4 said:
thanks thomas...i just went to the site....

i seriously doubt signs like 'japanese only' still exist. do they?
They do. Every day I drive right by one that is plainly visible from the road.
 

Kintaro

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FHP is right, Some Chinese and Koreans have balked because their name choice wasn't acceptable or something.

Seriously, if I had someone complain to me if I chose Kintaro over Grant, I think he'd receive a nice earful from my part. But this is from David to something phonetically close, and is convenient to write in kana. Mainly the Arudou bit, I mean, you must really not see it well if you dont understand that ニ但ニ停?ケニ檀ニ脱ニ達ニ停?愴誰ニ停?ケ -->ツ ニ但ニ停?ケニ檀ニ脱 is not only convenient (so he found kanji to cover for those kana. Big deal. Write Aldo to protest. He might even like that.) but who here usually gets to turn their last name into a nickname that becomes their current real name ? I think this is pure jealousy, because he can, you probably can't, and I know for sure I couldn't shorten mine.

As for the push for human rights with a twist of narcissist lemon, I can rarely think of men or women with even half the charisma he has. Overcompensates any form of egoism he chooses to use either for literary style or as a de facto attitude.

EDIT: Oh crap. I just noticed this thread is years old. My fault for supposing this subforum was a little more active :(
 
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Racist Banner Looks Frayed
They too complain of a rash of "No Foreigner" signs. What's more, they are determined to take legal action against the "racist" offenders. But when one checks out the claims, invariably it is a situation where some unfortunate Japanese proprietor has suffered severe damage or loss at the hands of foreigners, and does not want to see a repetition.
 
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And if the propritor suffers damage and loss at the hands of a Japanese would he ban Japanese from the shop?

In America or Australia would a sign saying 'No Asians' be ok?
 

Mal

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Personally, I think Debito is a bit of the classic self-concious nerd. I think somehow moving to Japan for him gave him a bit of confidence and then his exploits really boosted him up a great deal. He probably feels pretty good about himself - and you know what? He should! He seems to be doing a damn fine job of expressing the disdain many foreigners have for Japanese ethnic discrimination.

Of course I come from a society where if I put up a sign that said "No Japs allowed" I would probably get punched in the face where I live. Obviously this wasn't always the case, but hey this is the version of America that I grew up in so for me the idea of racial equality isn't something new that I've had to struggle with, its something thats always been there.

Debito, if anything, seems like an honest man. I bet if you were to ask him if he felt that he sometimes had to struggle to propperly address people he would agree. From his writings it seems he always follows a certain pattern - that is, comming on a bit too strong at first, then being able to take his lumps, admit it when he is wrong and he never seems to argue an indefensible point. Maybe he doesn't have the greatest personality for influencing people (but I don't think its that bad actually, I've seen much worse), but his facility for logic is top notch.

Oh also, the whole thing about him changing his name - The guy is a Japanese citizen now, its not entirely odd that he would change his name at all. Here in the States there were literally millions and millions of immigrants that changed their names when they entered the country. For instance I worked with a Taiwanese who's name was "Max Chern". I know damn well his name isn't Max ;) (Infact he told me that he was a fan of the Mad Max movies - and in retrospect that is kinda cool).

One thing that I find sad is that his wife had agreed to take his surname, but because of the hassle of crap that Japanese government has, she had to change it back to her maiden name and now his kids are also named that as well. It may seem like a little thing, but for many men (myself included) its sort of a humiliating blow. We already know that the mother has a larger claim to the children because she birthed them, by giving the child your surname you're sort of bonding with them, affirming to yourself (and them) that "this is my child". Its one of the earliest and easist ways for a father to establish a connection with his children. Sure its probably a cultural anachronism, but it does actually serve a good purpose. It's sad to see that this simple joy was denied him because of the Japanese governments stupid and incensitive beaurocracy.
 
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I have to admire the guy's zeal,

and sure he's a bit full of himself, but like mom always said if you don't think you're great no one else will.

As for his cause I lived in Japan long enough to be naturalised, but my purpose to be there was to make sure my 3 children spoke Japanese and appreciated the Japanese part of their heritage, I never intended on making Japan my permanent home, so I probably was a little less sensitive when it came to the little discrimninations. My kids went by my wifes maiden name in the local schools and when I did some volunteer work that made the local paper my name was given as my first name and my wifes maiden name....... I was a bit miffed but smiled and looked the other way. Is this guy over the top? Ya probably, but it's guys like Debito, that are over the top that will drag Japan into the position socially she should be. I never felt like there was a conspiracy to keep me down and felt welcome in most every situation I chose to participate in while in Japan, but the same cannot be said for some of my neighbors from Peru who spoke very little Japanese and were looked down upon by many of the local citizenry. I was offended more than once when I heard a conversation about how those foreigners were not to be trusted, when they saw I was listening they always said "Kento san wa mochiron chigau n desu." And I think they meant that, but it still offended me and I always let them know it did.
 

Mal

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I was offended more than once when I heard a conversation about how those foreigners were not to be trusted, when they saw I was listening they always said "Kento san wa mochiron chigau n desu." And I think they meant that, but it still offended me and I always let them know it did.
Sigh... just goes to show you that no matter where you live, its always "all-right to be all-white".

Sort of pisses me off a little bit, because even though by some genetic fluke I am a certified pale face, my surname is actually Hispanic (my paternal line is from Mexico). I was always kind of pissed off that people would give South Americans or Blacks a hard time and let me pass because I looked like a whitey.
 
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I'm not sure it was racism, those Peruvians were all

of Japanese ancestry(they had to be to get work permission that's a whole different thread) I think it was more economic they were VERY poor and worked in a ball bearing plant while I had a good job, nice clothes and was married to the daughter of one of the most respected men in the community
 

Mal

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of Japanese ancestry(they had to be to get work permission that's a whole different thread) I think it was more economic they were VERY poor and worked in a ball bearing plant while I had a good job, nice clothes and was married to the daughter of one of the most respected men in the community
I dunno about this, looking Asian doesn't necesarily carry alot of cachette in Japan. For instance one of my friends I met in Japan was a Japanese-American. Girls would find out that he was American and instead of the normal "Ooooooh! Kawaii!!!" that they give me, they would be noticibly non-plussed.

I'm not saying their economic status didn't have anything to do with it, but there definately is a bonus for being a Caucasian (And extra points for being American) in Japan.

It's like this at home too. You see, I am part Mexican (like I explained), but I don't look like it. I've been with people who know that I am part Mexican, but then will go and say some completely insensitive Mexican bashing statement right infront of me. Then they'll look at me and go, "Oh, but I didn't mean you."

It's hard not to draw a parallel between that behavior, right?
 

Maciamo

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TheKansaiKid said:
of Japanese ancestry(they had to be to get work permission that's a whole different thread) I think it was more economic they were VERY poor and worked in a ball bearing plant while I had a good job, nice clothes and was married to the daughter of one of the most respected men in the community
The Peruvians and Brazilians in Japan (most of whom are of Japanese ancestry) have some of the highest crime rate of any nationality in Japan (see this article and check the police stats for the Peruvians, who are not in the list, but similar their crime rate is similar to the Brazilians). That somewhat makes me laugh. I am also white and usually well-dressed, but was checked 6 times by the Japanese police, including 3x the same week and near my house (although the only foreigners in the area are all Western expats). I'd really like to tell those Japanese cops that after all the Japanese commit proportionally 15x more crimes than Westerners, and that some the worst criminal in Japan are the South American of Japanese ancestry . I often heard Japanese people say that Japanese people who have grown up abroad, even keeping their nationality, are not really Japanese anymore (and cannot be trusted as much as true Japanese born and bred in Japan). I now understand that it could be due to the poorer South American nikkei, whose crime rate is so high. Anyway, if the police pisses me off, I'd just like to let them know that crime in Japan is mostly a Japanese problem, and that they had better suspect each others than Westerners. The Japanese police's behaviour make me feel so much contempt for these policemen, that I see them as the heir of the Japanese Imperial Army, who was resolved to conquer the world and show Japan's supremacy. If most Japanese are not like that, I feel that some policemen really are.
 
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How many totally drunk guys do you see near a station every night?

Some of these guys can hardly walk but the police never hassle them, an Australian friend of mine got hauled in to the station in Osaka near the Tennoji station, he called me on the phone to talk to his arrestors, they said his crime was "walking barefoot in public" I told them this guy was gainfully employed and we really needed him at work tommorrow and they let him go, but it still cracked me up how they were taking care of the "GAIJIN THREAT"
 
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mabui

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I was wondering...It is the older generation that kinda has a problem with foreigners, right?
Becuase the newer generation seems okay with foreigners. That's all they really want to communicate with. Not just american, other countries too. And some of them are interested in sub-cultures, like hip-hop culture. Some of them want to talk to black people only, and they say that they're interested in black pop culture, but sadly it's most likely for the wrong reason... (< I have a problem with rolling off topic)
In a nutshell, is it a problem between generations?
 

Bramicus

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I was looking at the web site. Personally, as a libertarian, I think private businesses should be able to exclude anyone they want for any reason. Likewise, boycotts against establishments that discriminate should also be allowed. Eventually, the places that do not discriminate will flourish, as long as the population of the country is enlightened.

But I digress. I was thinking about the signs that say "no foreigners allowed unless accompanied by Japanese escort." It would be funny for a Caucasian Japanese citizen (or longtime resident, or even non-resident but who is fluent in Japanese language) to go to one of these places accompanied by, say, an American citizen of Japanese ancestry who speaks no Japanese. Imagine the comical situations that could ensue!
 
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gohki said:
I dont know. Maybe the whole "debito arudou" thing that bothers me the most. I think it is great that you got a place in Hokkaido. i think it is great that you are so happy. But to change your name (which I guess is fine) and then to INSIST that people call you by it? That just seems kind of weird. Who are you? who do you want to be?
A lot of people change their names, and for a lot of different reasons, so my question is really, So what?

While the site really isn't my cup of tea, I'm sort of commited to the idea that certain things are beyond my control and I'm a bit too old to dedicate my unhappiness to fighting them, I also don't see what you call his self-obsession, and maybe it's perhaps that you feel, HOW DARE he change his name to a nationality other than one he was born with, he has no right...

What he writes about is far more interesting than the countless ammount of glassy eyed JapanFanBoy sites, perhaps people who live ANYWHERE like to imagine that they ultimately seek racial tollerance and understanding, rather than bigotry and ignorance...

What would you rather have his name been, Joe Smith? Whitey Whitestein?
 
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