Why I'm Glad the Internet is Fairly New


This link is making its way around teh inter-tubes this morning. It's a teenage girl who is coming out as "trans-ethnic", because she feels she is Japanese, not a white American.

I could just shrug and say "Trans-ethnic? Whatever." and pass on by, but her idea of being Japanese is so weird.

"I’m a typical Japanese girl who loves Japanese pop culture and society and the ancient traditions still manifest in Kyoto."

Very few Japanese people I know, but especially very few girls are manga-obsessed and / or care about the "ancient traditions" of Japan "still manifest in Kyoto". Whatever that means.

"I know that in Japan because of my skin color I will be looked upon as a foreigner, and that’s why I plan to live with a host family. After getting rid of the western-ness I may accidentally have acquired, I’ll be a normal Japanese in every situation, socially and culturally."


"[Japan is] as close to perfect as I’m ever going to find, and it was shocking to me that humans could create something so wonderful. Japan gave me faith in humanity while I was a depressed child who hated America and had no hope because of the meat industry." <-- yeah, speaking as a vegetarian in Japan, you've got a huge eye-opening coming at the hands of your host family. Particularly if they take her out to a ホルモン restaurant.

Her idea of being Japanese is, despite her protests, not significantly different than that of any American otaku teen who's never been here. Basically, she sees it as a Disney World for otaku. Except that's not the reality, and for those who actually make it here, the reality of Japan sets in pretty quickly and depression frequently follows. Not because Japan's awful (hell, it's my favourite place to live), but because they have unrealistic expectations and they've invested so much in the fantasy.

At the end of the day, though, this girl is 15, and what I wrote above is not to take her down a peg, but to make the point that young people today have it harder than we did. (Get off my lawn, you kids!)

When I was in Canada this winter, I found a lot of my old writing, and much of it was just as dumb, if not dumber, than this. The saving grace is that pretty much anyone who came into contact with my writing of that period has forgotten it. At least back when I was 16, if I wrote something stupid, there was no internet to make sure that people would remember it forever.

However, not just coming out as "trans-ethnic", but as "trans-ethnic" to a fantasy culture that doesn't exist may end up haunting this girl for the rest of her life, especially now that it seems to have gone viral.

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