Differences between living in Oslo and living in California as a Japanese person

This is my first entry in English here. If you are one of a few readers of this blog, thank you!! I am curious how you reached my blog.

So I am a Japanese woman born and grew up in Japan. I lived in California, USA for 4 years and am currently living in Oslo, Norway.

It has been one week since I got here in Oslo, so I would like to write about the differences I have found about how I was feeling in California and how I am feeling here.

I learned in California that Japanese women have an very interesting reputation. There is a weird humor that Japanese girls are easy to pick up. And unfortunately I found it sort of true. For many Japanese women having a foreign boyfriend is like carrying an expensive brand bag. Therefore some girls go out with foreign men even if they cannot speak English (nor the men can speak Japanese). I do like cute looking guys, but I do not think I could ever be with someone I cannot communicate with. Thanks to these girls, there is a very shameful fact that many men in California believe that they can take Japanese girls home so easily whenever they want. I asked a few of my American guy friends and they all admitted that this kind of belief does exist.

Also, those who pick up Japanese girls are often nerds whose images of Japanese girls all come from animes and mangas, if not ones who are just desperate to sleep with whoever.

Let me pause here to emphasise that this is not all the cases and there are true couples who love each other not because of the race but because of real love.

So anyway, when I came to Oslo I was reluctant to meet people online thinking that only the “creepy” guys would contact me, but because I did not know anyone here, the only way to make friends was thorough online. In fact, my worries were totally unnecessary. People I met through Couchsurfing.com were totally awesome and cool. I was surprised that none of them even knew about this reputation of Japanese women. Through the conversation I had with them, none of them ever mentioned anything about Japanese women. They were only purely interested in meeting people from all over the world. They were actually rather not interested in Japan at all! haha.

 

Another thing I noticed is that Oslo is very safe and peaceful. There are homeless people begging you for changes and stuff here as well, but I never hear people screaming by themselves, shouting to others, or see people fighting on the street. And I do not worry about carrying a backpack on my back instead of holding it in front at crowded places. People told me there are some pick pockets here too so I will keep being careful but I do not need to use extra nerve.

 

One last thing is that I never feel discriminated here. Well at least not yet. In California, there is still discrimination against Japanese people, more of less. For example, when I ate in relatively good restaurants with my Japanese friends, I was often given a bad table with no view or the broken heater and when I asked for a different table, it was often rejected. But when I was with my American friends, the waiters/waitresses were always very friendly and kind. Well, the fact they change their service depending on the customers’  race already shows that their restaurants are not good, so it is their problem and not mine. But it did affect my sensitive emotions. Another example is that at help desks or any sort of service counters, here nobody changes their attitude towards me for having a flat face, speaking English with an accent or speaking extremely poor Norwegian. When I was in California, I was always unintentionally ready for an unfriendly survice, probably my body remembered my past experiences and naturally tried to protect me from feeling hurt or disappointed.

 

I wonder, is it because California has so many foreigners that people are fed up with us because they have negative experiences with us? Oslo does have many foreigners too but I see only a few Japanese people, so maybe they just have no special (positive+negative) impressions of us at all?

 

I am happy hare that people see me as a person, not as a “Japanese” person. But ironically, it also makes it more difficult for me to make friends because they look at not your nationality but your personality, so as I am a boring person, nobody is willing to talk to me until I initiate. HAHA. I will see how I can beat my introverted personality and how many friends I will make in the next 3 months…

 

In the end what I want to say is that I absolutely LOVE California despite all this and it is my second home forever. And I hope Oslo will be my third home!!

 

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