Foreigners flocking to Japan
I don’t like to see too many foreigners in Japan. I feel like Japan is my country and who are all these strangers? First, I came here partly to get away from them. Second, every English speaking foreigner here is a competitor for my job. Third, most foreigners here are noisy and stupid. Fourth, travel, like sports, is immoral, so what the hell?
Maybe it’s just my imagination but already since the announcement of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games going to Tokyo made in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 7, 2013 I think I am already noticing more foreigners on Tokyo streets. Who are these obnoxious monkeys? More young people - maybe people coming here as English teachers in order to position themselves for 2020. But that seems kind of far-sighted for young people. Maybe they’re just overseas-trekking sightseers. And more middle aged tourists, too. At least one Japanese acquaintance agrees with me. She says that she, too, thinks she notices more foreigners in Tokyo, a phenomenon that she likewise associates with the 2020 Olympic decision.
But assuming for argument’s sake that my observation is true and there are in fact more foreigners here since before the Olympic announcement it could be that more foreigners have come to work and visit only because of Japan’s heightened publicity, not because they want to position themselves here with a plan to benefit somehow from the Olympic show. Maybe they just want to see the place they’ve been hearing about.
Where do they stay? If they are just sightseers passing through then they might reside in one of the many ‘Guest Houses,’ or ‘Gaijin Houses’ around the country. I stayed in one myself for an incredible year back in 1991-2. (I mean “incredible” in a bad sense, because no right-thinking person wants to stay in those hell holes for more than a few weeks.) There is one near my home, a branch of the well-known Sakura House hostel chain. If they are longer-term visitors, like English teachers on a one-year contract then their employers might put them in a pre-arranged apartment. I did that, too, my first year here. You need a Japanese guarantor to co-sign a lease in order to get an apartment, so it is difficult for unemployed newbies to find a place to live. Foreigners are also heavily dependent on their employers for their work visas, adding to the problems with that system - that the young foreign employees are so totally dependent on their companies - businesses like the large chain English conversation schools GEOS, AEON, or the even worse dispatch companies - that they are virtual slaves. Been there. Done that. Technically Japanese law does protect foreign workers. But it doesn’t work well in practice. We are disposable resources used and abused by profit-seeking capitalists who casually disregard the law with impunity. Newcomers beware!