Ruxandra Duță: That’s what I’ve uh, noticed as well. Actually the foreigner community in Japan is kind of divided into two: it’s the people that want to assimilate and the people that don’t want to assimilate. And the gap is massive. And I’ve actually- there’s this bar in the city centre where I always go. And there’s a lot foreigners going there because it’s a very western style bar. (Mm hmm) And over this- these couple of months that I’ve been going there I’ve met a lot of foreigners because well, everybody loves talking. And I’ve met people that don’t want to assimilate. And it’s just- It’s insanely difficult to talk to them. Because, it’s just I don’t oh- I just- it frustrates me so much, how you can live in a country- And you decided to come here by yourself it was out of your own will. And you don’t want to learn the language, you don’t want to try the food, (Oh) and anything like it. It’s just…
José Cruz: Isn’t that amazing? (It’s insane) Some some of the greatest cuisine- (Exactly) unique cuisine here. (Yeah) I remember a guy, um he didn’t- probably didn’t even have this issue of assimilation in his mind because he didn’t understand that he was going into a new culture, (Yeah) or he didn’t know that that meant. And um, uh at one point he was here maybe about three or four weeks. And uh I noticed that he kept going to the same restaurant for dinner every night. (Ah) So, “don’t you get tired of eating the same food?” Yeah well you know, it’s beef and a bit of rice and something that I can eat,try something else, (Yeah) like some fish and stuff?” Well no, not really. I don’t like fish. And I go (Ah) “You came to Japan (Yeah) and you don’t like fish?” And he said, “yeah well, I didn’t know that that’s what they mostly ate here”. “Seriously? you didn’t know that?”
Ruxy: How can you think so? It’s an island.
José: But what did you think they ate? Well, I thought they ate like Americans do.
Ruxy: Oh my. Yeah, mind blown.
José: Just one, just one- one thing though about the assimilation. (Yeah) I would love to be able to assimilate more into this country (Mm) but I’m not allowed.
Ruxy: Yeah. That is- There is there’s the gap.
José: There’s a certain point where this country doesn’t want you- that’s a- it’s like a third or second gap. (Yeah yeah yeah) It’s- the country doesn’t want you to assimilate.
Ruxy: And there’s also a difference that I’ve noticed in the assimilation of people that come from Asian countries (Ah) and the assimilation of white people. (Yeah yeah yeah) or else like black people as well. (Yeah) It’s- I’ve noticed. And so I have a Filipino friend and I notice the way uh, Japanese people talk to her and how they talk to me. (Oh yeah) So they talk to her and they expect her to know excellent Japanese and everything even though she comes from Cardiff as well. (Mm hmm) So her Japanese is just the same as mine. (Mm hmm) But when they speak to me they speak slower; use simpler words. And it’s just- Man! She’s Eng- She’s Welsh. She comes from- I mean she was born in the Philippines (She’s Welsh) But, yeah!
José: And and I get the(Yeah, of co-) I get the same thing. So when my male, you know, quotation marks white friends (Yeah) uh complain, I just I, I- There’s only so much that I say- You don’t know, you know, haven’t lived my life (Mm) You just back off. (Yeah yeah) But like, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, I don’t know what you’re bitching about. Try walking in my shoes for a little while.
Ruxy: Yeah yeah. Exactly.
José: Because I get exactly the same as your friend there. (Yeah)
If you were to live in another country, would you try to assimilate?
In what foreign culture would you find it easiest to assimilate?
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José Domingo Cruz
Vancouver, British Columbia
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