Insignificant truth about us

By littlesweetfish No comments

A few years after I saw Madame Butterfly, I was in Tokyo to go to university. I took English lessons outside the school to prepare for the study abroad program. The English conversation schools were plenty in Japan, hiring teachers from the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia. The teachers of the school I had chosen would tell me their school was the most decent, and the more commercially advertised ones had teachers with questionable backgrounds. I wondered how qualified they had to be if all they did was talking in their native language, but I appreciated they took pride in their professionalism.

One teacher, a white man from California, told me in some context or other that his fiance was Japanese. He said he loved her because she was not like other Japanese women. He said she told him when they first met that she was not like other Japanese women, so not to treat her like one. He said that was when he fell for her.

I offered him an acknowledgment, but I was hurt he basically said we were unlovable and that his fiance dissociated herself from the rest of us.

How much did he think he understood about Japanese women? If he thought he knew about us, that was the imaginative presentation of us by the West, like Madame Butterfly. His comment implied his contempt toward us. He may still abhor the rest of us but his wife, but I believe the truth was that she was different from HIS PERCEPTION of the Japanese women, not Japanese women in real life, who were as unique individuals as women of any nationality.

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