Mini-Bible-Philosophy-Worldview Study (21) Of The Day- On Fake People And Being True To Yourself
Verse Of The Day
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles. (Matthew 7:16)
“Always sleep with one eye open. Never take anything for granted. Your best friends might just be your enemies.”- Sara Shepard, The Lying Game
“A person’s character is shown through their actions in life NOT where they sit on Sunday.”- Navonne Johns
“True character arises from a deeper well than religion.”- E. O. Wilson
Questions For Discussion
Do you have many friends who make promises they don’t often keep?
Are you a person who truly listens to people when they are speaking?
Would you be afraid to listen secretly as your close friends talk about you?
Do you believe God speaks to people?
The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords. (Psalms 55:21)
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:5)
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. (James 1:26)
Commentary- On Onsen Gaijin And The Masks People Wear
Craig note- Of course, not every person is who they appear to be on the outside, especially while living abroad.
Again, I am not throwing every foreigner under a bus. But, this is a problem that I and countless other expats have experienced here over the years. It’s important to address such things in life.
On Searching For Geisha
I knew little about Japan before coming here. But, I knew what a geisha was. The prospect of meeting a real one was something I sought out to do early in my time here.
Of course, there is no better place to go than the Gion District in Kyoto. So, I went one Sunday afternoon with my camera in hand. And, to my surprise there were countless geisha.
I asked several of them if I could take their pictures. And, they kindly obliged.
I came back to my little apartment with a scan disk full of pictures. The next morning I met my friend at a local café. I was excited to show him my prize. He flipped through my pictures, and he put my camera down.
“Dude, they’re fake.”
“How can this be?”
Then my great friend pointed out that several of the geisha were wearing tennis shoes with a swoosh courtesy of Nike.
I was crushed. But, he was right.
“Onsen geisha is a term referring to Japanese geisha, or entertainers, who work in onsen (hot spring) resorts or towns. The term onsen geisha has a negative connotation in that the term has come to be synonymous with prostitute. This is due to several reasons.” (wikipedia.org)
On Meeting Genuine People
Later, I booked a tour to meet a real geisha. But, my original mistake was an eye-opening experience. Too, it was an important lesson in understanding that not everything and everyone is as it (they) seem(s) in Japan.
This has been especially true in my interactions with other foreigners.
Over the years, I have encountered some wonderful foreigners here. They have been men and women of impeccable integrity, character, and reliability. Most of them I am most proud to call my great friends.
But, there is this other group of foreigners who possess none of those admirable qualities. At times, it is clear early on that such people have more than a few screws loose.
And, they are best to be avoided.
Yet, these days I find a growing number of young and old foreigners I encounter who are content to be onsen gaijin. These expat charlatans put forth an often all too well crafted façade of being stand up people.
To be sure, it is believable. But, when push comes to shove, and you need them, they are nowhere to be found. Basically, intentional or not, they are terrible folks.
Perhaps, that should be forgivable if not forgettable. We are only human. But, in the fish bowl that is Japan, it is not.
I live here, too, dude.
Yet, these same AWOL foreigners come running to me every time trouble arises. And, you make no mistake, they are not asking me, “Hey, how was your day?”
It was pretty good, by the way. Thank you for asking.
When did relationships between people become so one-sided in nature?
One supposes it has always been so.
Still, in the end, I find myself struggling to freely reach out to other foreigners. And, that is a shame. For I am certain, there must be some nice foreign folks out there.
Alas, if only my camera could take pictures of expats on the inside, my foreign cohorts might be a bit less like: “onsen gaijin.”
Grey, Grizzled, and Gaijin