Christopher Kovacs lives at the outskirts of Seoul, South Korea. Read Kovacs’ article about foreign residents and workers in Korea, and visit his blog “Waeguk is not a soup”.
A lot of the stories and observations he records remind me of foreigner’s lives in Japan, actually; not so much because there are in fact many similarities between Japan and Korea, but because of the mindset that gradually builds up when you’re living amongst, well, not openly outgoing and not particularly passionate people that believe they’re forming a monocultural society and therefore assume you’re as different as difference can get. And treat you accordingly. Or at least you assume that they do. Or … get the picture? Endless loops of trying to figure out what’s going on, by definition unsuccessful (whence the loops are endless) because every single bit of experience in everyday life is open to as many interpretations as you have dust particles on your socks. Moving in and out of circles of other foreigners, occasionally enjoying the shared feeling of “the Japanese all hate us”, then feeling cheap about that feeling because it is a cheap feeling, then moving away from these circles only to then feel cheap for that cheap feeling about the cheap feeling … get the picture? Sounds familiar?
Suppose it should.