Tall Black Japan 5: Touchdown in Tokyo

by Joseph Bonney

I’VE MADE IT TO JAPAN!!! The short flight from China felt like an eternity as I was nearing the land of the rising sun.  But it was an exciting journey nonetheless. It felt so surreal, it hadn't quite hit me that I was in another country.

Again, like in China, people were divided between がいじん (gaijin, foreigners) and natives.  But I managed to skip the whole immigration process due to my approved Japanese entry visa (I later found out that this wasn’t normal, the custom officials might've just felt bad for me).   The best part was when I was leaving customs and giving security my Japanese residency card, he looked at me inquisitively.

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“さんねん?” (sannen, 3 years in reference to my Visa stay).  

“はい" (hai, yes)  I responded “えいかいわ” (eikaiwa, English teacher)

He gave me a smirk of approval and let me through.  Then after a quick detour to my suitcases, I went to wait for my trainer to pick me up.

Something that I noticed at the airport was how willingly Japan was adopting Western culture. Such as the Starbucks, large array of Kit Kats, and even the models in photos appeared to be Japanese people who could easily pass as Caucasian (an occasional site, but still often enough that it was noticeable).

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Though the Japanese are very friendly and supportive! When I was in need of sending my luggage to my school, even when I was being slightly difficult and needed a partial refund, they were super helpful!  They did everything courteously and with what felt like a genuine smile and attitude. It was welcoming.

Stay tune to hear about the places I visit and seen while I stay in Tokyo!


Joseph Bonney is a contributing writer to Human Influence. Originally from Central Texas, he moved to Japan to teach English. Follow him here, on Insta (@joebonesart) and on Twitter (@JoeBones21).