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  1. #1
    Member runner's Avatar
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    Would you change your name and become 100% Thai?

    I've just been reading this guy's blog and I'm left wondering what made him do it (in Japan, not Thailand). I see his reason for becoming Japanese i.e. to buy land (presumably he hated the idea of it being bought in his wife's name), but why also change his name to a Japanese name?

    I wonder if he has considered facial surgery too

    This website is about life in Japan from the viewpoint of one American-born writer residing in Sapporo, Japan, both before and after he became a naturalized Japanese citizen. It may interest people who want to know more about Japan, and how it affects residents who have the appearance and/or status of non-Japanese.

    My name is Dr. Arudou Debito, formerly David Christopher Aldwinckle, born 1965 in the United States, Permanent Resident of Japan from 1996, and naturalized Japanese citizen from 2000. Father of two with a Japanese woman and employed for eighteen-plus years as a tenured associate professor at a university in Hokkaido, I bought land and built a house out in the countryside in 1997, which was the main reason I took Japanese citizenship.

    debito.org » WHAT?S DEBITO.ORG?

    He writes articles for the Japan Times too. This one is quite good.

    Time to burst your bubble and face reality
    BY DEBITO ARUDOU

    DEC 3, 2014

    I want to open by saying: Look, I get it. I get why many people (particularly the native speakers of English, who are probably the majority of readers here) come to Japan and stay on.

    After all, the incentives are so clear at the beginning. Right away, you were bedazzled by all the novelty, the differences, the services, the cleanliness, the safety and relative calm of a society so predicated on order. You might even have believed that people are governed by quaint and long-lamented things like “honor” and “duty.”

    Not that the duties and sacrifices necessary to maintain this order necessarily applied to you as a non-Japanese (NJ). As an honored guest, you were excepted. If you went through the motions at work like everyone else, and clowned around for bonus points (after all, injecting genki into stuffy surroundings often seemed to be expected of you), you got paid enough to make rent plus party hearty (not to mention find many curious groupies to bed — if you happened to be male, that is).

    Admit it: The majority of you stayed on because you were anesthetized by sex, booze, easy money and the freedom to live outside both the boxes you were brought up in and the boxes Japanese people slot themselves in.

    But these incentives are front-loaded. For as a young, genki, even geeky person finding more fun here than anywhere ever, you basked in the flattery. For example, you only needed to say a few words in Japanese to be bathed in praise for your astounding language abilities! People treated you like some kind of celebrity, and you got away with so much.

    Mind you, this does not last forever. Japan is a land of bubbles, be it the famous economic one that burst back in 1991 and led two generations into disillusionment, or the bubble world that you eventually constructed to delude yourself that you control your life in Japan.

    You don’t. Unless you marry an elite whose family funds your whims, you’ll discover that as you get older, opportunities narrow and doors close.

    The first major life stage might be getting married — so easy to do here. Then you’d better lose the Peter Pan lifestyle and find a way to support your sudden kids. Or you’ll never see them again after the divorce.

    Then you finally land that steady job that might lead to a career. But it’s hard enough nowadays for Japanese in their 20s and 30s to land secure employment (let alone climb the corporate ladder), so why should Johnny Foreigner cut in? Even if you manage to, people often assume tokenism and don’t take you seriously. The bamboo ceiling is pretty impenetrable.

    But what about your trusty Genki Gaijin shtick? You’ll look jolly silly doing it as a geriatric, playing the perpetual dancing monkey, never the organ grinder.

    Finally, as is true for everyone in Japan, the older you get, the less wriggle room you have in your career. Good luck comfortably changing jobs in your 40s or 50s. Most of the influential and reasonably self-actualized people in Japan are elites who spent their lives marrying into connections and cultivating Old-Boy networks, awaiting the right time to be catapulted into the next generation of leaders. NJ OBs in powerful positions? Unlikely.

    Part of that is by design: Enough NJ live the life of Riley and assume the future will take care of itself. After all, for their fellow unambitious and unobtrusive Japanese corporate drones, it will; except that they will likely live a pre-designed, boring and “normal” workaday life taken care of by the state.

    But for NJ, given the recent court decision about their welfare benefits, the perpetual weakness of their contract employment, and employers not paying into their pension systems with impunity, a “normal” career is not at all guaranteed. NJ have to be vigilant at an age when everyone else seems to be partying.

    Another part is the shocking realization in many NJ (especially in those brought over during the 1980s Golden Age of Kokusaika (“internationalization”) who are now reaching late middle age and retirement) that they were working under a delusion: They were never seen as a colleague in the workplace. More as a pet.

    This became evident as younger Japanese co-workers, who had less qualifications, time or experience in the company, got promoted over them. After all, what self-respecting Japanese wants some NJ as their senpai (senior) in the workplace? Suddenly, despite following all the rules, NJ didn’t get the same rewards.

    So, after a quarter-century in Japan, I get it. And here’s what you oughta get by now:

    If NJ don’t do something outside the bubble they’ve lived in so far, they might end up as some anonymous dead gaijin on a gurney, unremembered and unmourned, merely cremated and disposed of by authorities unsure of your next of kin. I’ve seen it happen — an accelerating number of times.

    Why? Parables such as the one about “boiled frogs” come to mind (i.e., the frog who never noticed the temperature of the water around him rising until it was too late to jump out), but more insightful is what Pierre Bourdieu called the “illusio,” i.e., the belief that the great lifetime “game” we all agree to play is worth playing, and the fiction we collectively choose to follow is reality.

    The fiction we have been accepting as reality is: Japan will treat NJ equally as long as they play the game by Japanese rules. This shows a sore lack of self-reflection about the NJ’s place in Japanese society, where those rules are stacked against them properly assimilating. It’s not because NJ always elect to be treated like guests. Guest treatment is in fact the default.

    For example, have you ever noticed how difficult it is for NJ to become established in Japan’s essential, respected and licensed jobs — e.g., as doctors (and nurses), lawyers, engineers, administrative-level bureaucrats, etc.? Instead, where are they consigned? Factories, education, tenuous entrepreneurship, contracted tech, as nonadministrative corporate drones, and in entertainment. These jobs are basically fungible and expendable. And they are the default.

    That’s why NJ must learn how to become “hosts.” By this I mean that they must offer Japan something that cannot be dismissed as a mere trifle or token effort.

    That skill must be precious enough that NJ residents can choose to deny it to Japan, should they ever want to reclaim their power, self-respect and dignity. The NJ who exclusively do what Japan needs, and who cannot be replaced with a Japanese substitute (for example, people acting as indisposable ambassadors of Japanese knowledge — e.g., Ed Reischauer, Donald Richie or Donald Keene), can hold their skills hostage and become secure, respected, even immortal.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but face reality: What do you have to offer Japan? I’m not asking if there is something you do well; I’m asking: After all these years, is there something that you can do that Japan positively cannot live without? If not, then Japan can easily live without you, and you could be headed for the gurney.

    No doubt people will decry this column. Look, I “get” that too, for it’s a natural part of illusio maintenance. People trapped in their bubbles will fight to their last breath to avoid having them burst. Facing the reality of their perpetual second-class caste status would force them to admit that they made a mistake by submitting to Japan’s default subordination processes — that they traded their entire life for something that they ultimately found no stake in.

    Criticize away if that makes you feel better. It’s more comforting to play the game and party on. For now. But as your twilight years approach, you’ll look back in anger and wish you’d created a different bubble. Japan as an entire society does too, what with all this wasted human potential, as it fades into international irrelevance.
    Time to burst your bubble and face reality | The Japan Times

  2. #2
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    Delusion pure delusion...why else? Nut job, look for him on any trains you may take.

  3. #3
    cnx37
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    Definitely yes, provided you can access all the privileges associated with it.
    I have no association with my country of birth nor any privileges associated thereto.

  4. #4
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    No way, never.

  5. #5
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    ^^Not happening here cnx...

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    I think Terence Boonawandobumiaboomboom sounds wonderful.

  7. #7
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    If I was a girl I'd happily change my name to Tittyporn, always loved that Thai name.

  8. #8
    Member runner's Avatar
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    I wonder if he has regrets

    Admit it: The majority of you stayed on because you were anesthetized by sex, booze, easy money and the freedom to live outside both the boxes you were brought up in and the boxes Japanese people slot themselves in.

    But these incentives are front-loaded. For as a young, genki, even geeky person finding more fun here than anywhere ever, you basked in the flattery. For example, you only needed to say a few words in Japanese to be bathed in praise for your astounding language abilities! People treated you like some kind of celebrity, and you got away with so much.

    Mind you, this does not last forever. Japan is a land of bubbles, be it the famous economic one that burst back in 1991 and led two generations into disillusionment, or the bubble world that you eventually constructed to delude yourself that you control your life in Japan.

    You don’t. Unless you marry an elite whose family funds your whims, you’ll discover that as you get older, opportunities narrow and doors close.

  9. #9
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    Yes, I think I'd change my name to Watdar Fukisdat.

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat Boon Mee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buriramboy View Post
    If I was a girl I'd happily change my name to Tittyporn, always loved that Thai name.
    Pornstar has a nice ring to it as well.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnx37 View Post
    Definitely yes, provided you can access all the privileges associated with it.
    I have no association with my country of birth nor any privileges associated thereto.
    As it would be difficult to use comparatives with these scenarios - every situation and individual will be different from the next, having no correlation.

  12. #12
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    I'd happily change my name to stupid Buffalo, if it gave me a passport.
    Used to be that bastard in the prison, who cares.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by runner
    Would you change your name and become 100% Thai?
    I'd rather let Terry suck me testicles orf (and I wouldn't like that at all...).



    CNUT.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by buriramboy View Post
    If I was a girl I'd happily change my name to Tittyporn, always loved that Thai name.
    What is stopping ya from becoming a girl?

    Ya seem kinda girly already.

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    He could change his name to Tittyporn Suksawad.

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE="runner"] David Christopher Oldwinckle[/QUOTE

    what a cock!

  17. #17
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    I did work once with a bloke who had to turn Muslim to marry his Indonesian paramour.

    They insisted he take a Muslim name so he chose.... I shit you not.... Saddam Hussein.

    And they were ok with it.

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat Boon Mee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    I did work once with a bloke who had to turn Muslim to marry his Indonesian paramour.

    They insisted he take a Muslim name so he chose.... I shit you not.... Saddam Hussein.

    And they were ok with it.
    What a cun*t...

  19. #19
    'ello 'ello 'ello Luigi's Avatar
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    As long as I keep my Australian and Italian passports, sure. Having a Thai one as well, only a bonus.

    Only little-men simpletons bang their chests along side their worn-out nationalistic drum.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luigi View Post

    Only little-men simpletons bang their chests along side their worn-out nationalistic drum.
    Yeah, not the most intelligent of notions.

  21. #21
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    So how is it working out for him?

    Asians are getting nose jobs and other facial enhancers to look more Western and this guy is going the other direction.

    Yeah, I bet they embrace him fully as their brother

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    I did work once with a bloke who had to turn Muslim to marry his Indonesian paramour.

    They insisted he take a Muslim name so he chose.... I shit you not.... Saddam Hussein.

    And they were ok with it.
    I new a fella in the same boat, he chose Mohamed Assif

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lancelot View Post
    So how is it working out for him?

    Asians are getting nose jobs and other facial enhancers to look more Western and this guy is going the other direction.

    Yeah, I bet they embrace him fully as their brother
    Just as you embrace anyone that isn't from your esteem model.


  24. #24
    I am in Jail

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    Yes, I'd like to be considered 100% thai and change ny name to Thievinginanebullshittingslykuntaporn, by deedpoll

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by runner View Post
    I wonder if he has regrets

    Admit it: The majority of you stayed on because you were anesthetized by sex, booze, easy money and the freedom to live outside both the boxes you were brought up in and the boxes Japanese people slot themselves in.

    But these incentives are front-loaded. For as a young, genki, even geeky person finding more fun here than anywhere ever, you basked in the flattery. For example, you only needed to say a few words in Japanese to be bathed in praise for your astounding language abilities! People treated you like some kind of celebrity, and you got away with so much.

    Mind you, this does not last forever. Japan is a land of bubbles, be it the famous economic one that burst back in 1991 and led two generations into disillusionment, or the bubble world that you eventually constructed to delude yourself that you control your life in Japan.

    You don’t. Unless you marry an elite whose family funds your whims, you’ll discover that as you get older, opportunities narrow and doors close.
    I'm sure there are lots of people in Thailand in a similar situation...You spend 20 years teaching English then you have no way to play catch-up with social security payments.

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