You Foreigners Don’t Understand

Some people annoy me to no fault of theirs because when I take a step back and look at the situation, the assumptions they make are probably valid. But I don’t like it when people simply assume my lack of knowledge in something by virtue of me being a foreigner.

“Wow! You know how to use chopsticks!?”

Excuse me. I think the Chinese invented the chopsticks.

Being around mostly Japanese people most of the time, I use Japanese as my main language of communication. Sometimes during a conversation when they say something that I find doesn’t make sense or requires more information or if I’m shocked and repeat the word, they would assume I don’t understand the word I just repeated.

A most recent conversation went like this (a couple of hours after I requested a colleague to send me a file I needed):

Colleague: すみません、まだやってないです。あとでお仕置きね。 (I’m sorry I haven’t done it yet. I’ll receive punishment later.)
Me: お仕置き!?(Punishment!?)
Colleague: グーグルで検索して、「おしおき」の意味 (Look it up on Google what oshioki means)

If I weren’t a non-Japanese, that conversation would’ve ended with laughter after my response. But because I’m a foreigner, the default assumption was that I didn’t understand what “oshioki” meant and was given the advice to look up the word on Google. If I don’t know a word, I will ask what it means. Don’t direct me to Google as a default response. Not only does it demean my knowledge, it also shows your lack of interest in explaining it to me if I indeed do not know the word.

I seem to be getting angrier by the day. Perhaps the best solution is for me to take up anger management classes and get my shit together instead.


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