November 7, 2004 – BBQ in the park

After work I went to an impromptu BBQ in the park near my apartment. Palmer organized the BBQ, and invited some of his Japanese friends and NOVA teachers. When an Australian plans a BBQ, you know it’s going to be good.

Ooka park is conveniently located on the other side of the 7-11 across the street from Ooka City Plaza. Usually in Japan, any space with a tree and a bench can be called a park. Ooka Park actually has some grass, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, and picnic tables. It would count as a park in Canada as well.

Palmer plays on a local recreational basketball team. One of his basketball teammates is named Yao, a half Ghanian, half Japanese man. Yao’s features are not Asian at all, except for the shape of his eyes. Since he was born and raised in Japan, he carries a Japanese passport and speaks the language fluently with a perfect local accent. People who don’t know him take a look at the tall, dark skinned man and assume he is a foreigner. He enjoys surprising people who can’t believe that he is a Japanese citizen.

Japan is a very homogenous society, but as international marriages continue to increase (slowly), there will be more Japanese people who don’t look “Japanese”. It should present some interesting challenges for Japanese society.

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