9.10.2010

Saving Japanese Girls from Creepy White Fetishists

So I'm in Global Buddies, a program put on by my university's Study Abroad and Office of International Programs. Basically, we are buddies to foreign exchange students who are on our campus for the Fall Semester. I have a Korean buddy named Hwamok, a junior in Political Science at Youngsei University in Seoul (University of Seoul's rival of course). We had met earlier in the week and have hit it off, mainly because I was the first foreigner to speak to her in my limited Korean. We are both the 3rd of 4 children (two brothers, one sister) and both like 2PM. I am teaching her American slang and she is teaching me Korean slang. Also, as an active member and Parliamentarian in Black Student Union, I am taking her to a lot of our events.

But to get to the point, we were at The Mill restaurant for a Global Buddies Dinner where some of the American buddies met their foreign buddies for the first time, many from China, Korea, Japan, France and Germany. I talked to two American buddies, Jessica and Adri (who I think was a woman of color) as we were waiting for our buddies to arrive. We hit it off and made plans to take our buddies shopping at the mall as an event.

Basically, I met my buddy and wandered around meeting some other Korean buddies who were slightly shocked I knew so much about their culture, music, movies, and customs even though I told them I had been to Seoul. They all wanted me to go to their Universities when I told them I plan to study abroad there again next spring.

After my buddy had to leave to go to a Christian student organization (even though she is NOT Christian, and the White girl she was going with told her that one of the only ways she could learn English better and meet friends was through the Bible. I told her to go once, then never meet the manipulative, ignorant hussy again), I moved over to talk to this Japanese girl, Hanura, who was talking with Brad, this really sleazy, privileged White man who was eyeing her. She and I hit it off as well, learning that she is from Tokyo and that I went to Kofu 5 years ago when I was in 8th grade. Brad was kinda shocked, telling her he was surprised that she was talking so much as she was really quiet when they went to Chicago. She claimed she was tired. I also got to meet these amazing Chinese girls as well as another Japanese girl, Ayaka.

Then he and this other really creepy, socially awkward White man who I guess was also taking Japanese invited us to this Japanese Student Association meeting for Japanese majors, which I thought was legit because my friend Jane is a fourth year Japanese Language major and is in it, and I had gone to a Sushi making night. I also decided to kill time because it was 20 minutes til my Black Student Union Executive meeting.

So when we got to the building, the Chinese girls wisely left and it was me, Ayaka, Hanura, and these two white men. We go up and enter the meeting and it is nothing but 4 other white men who were straight up salivating at the fact they had real live Japanese women in their midsts. I was not comfortable at all, and neither were the Japanese girls.

While these men were talking to each other, clearly excited over this new prospect, I continued to talk to Hanura and Ayaka. I related the time I spent all my 100 yen on the picture booths that are popular there. They agreed and Hanura proceeded to take out her agenda book that had her pictures in it. Then Brad comes over, takes it and looks at it, and then gives it back to her. Uh, Ok? Then he fortunately moved to the other side of the table.

I took out my phone and typed "you can leave with me if you want"and they nodded. I was NOT going to leave them alone with these men. It was 8:30 and we stood up and said it was time to leave. The members agreed and said that it was a slow night and there were usually more people. We all got into the elevator and the poor girls were huddling in a corner, looking uncomfortably down at their feet, holding each others' hands. The creepy guy was like "why are you guys in the corner, there's plenty of room". I told him we were fine.

When we exited the building, the Japanese girls grabbed my hand and we were like a couple of Japanese school girls skipping down the street. But these men, Brad and the creepy guy who are both in the program, kept following us, trying to awkwardly start a conversation with these poor girls and would probably have kept following them if I was not there. The crazy thing is, they were parked on the other side of the Pentacrest and were clearly trying to get at these poor girls, who were way too polite to say "Fuck Off". I made a decision to take them to the Memorial Union where my BSU meeting was being held in order to get them away from these men, and then get them on the bus to their dorm.

As we were getting closer to the Memorial Union, I grabbed their hands again and I told the guys "I'm taking them to meet my friends, have a good night", in a definitive tone and walked them across the street. The guys were really disappointed-they got the hint- and mumbled good night.

As we were now alone, the girls thanked me. I said, "There was no way in hell I was going to leave you girls with those creepy white men who see you as a docile stereotype. No way. You do not have to thank me at all." The crazy thing is, they were actually warned by their advisors in Japan to stay away from these types of White men. Yes, their reputation for stalking poor Japanese girls precedes them that they have to warn Japanese women IN JAPAN to watch out for these men.

Since my friends- beautiful Black women who also compose BSU's exec board- had not arrived yet, I took Hanura and Ayaka upstairs as the Black Greeks were putting on their information session for those interested in joining a Black Fraternity or Sorority on campus. So it was me guiding these two shaken up Japanese girls into this event to meet some of my friends...and they loved it. They felt very comfortable there and were really fascinated to see the Black Greeks strolling and doing their signs and calls.

I explained to them what the Black Greeks were and their traditions. "Do they do this every week" Hanura asked.

"No..." I said. "But if you guys want to come to Black Student Union events, it is very much like this. We watch movies, do cultural events, watch the football games at the Afro House, plus free dinner on Sunday since the cafeterias are closed."

They were thrilled and I told them I would definitely let them know what was up. I walked them across the street to catch the bus and we exchanged numbers. I hugged them and told them to have a great night.

I put this up as my facebook status, and one of the Chinese girls I had met earlier, Mary, responded and said "you are Hero, you are Angel for saving those Japanese girls!! He is terrifying all asian girls...creepy..." I told her that if they bother anyone again, I will tell the Program organizers because these girls are in a foreign country and I will not stand by as they are allowed to be made to feel unsafe and uncomfortable. The ironic thing is, we were given pamphlets at that told us how to make our buddies feel comfortable. Clearly, not being a sexist, objectifying ass was not on it.

19 comments:

  1. that situation sounds pretty scary, good thing you were around.

    "After my buddy had to leave to go to a Christian student organization (even though she is NOT Christian, and the White girl she was going with told her that one of the only ways she could learn English better and meet friends was through the Bible. I told her to go once, then never meet the manipulative, ignorant hussy again)..."

    i have to say something about this. the Christian union at my university (which was in England) was very active within the international student community. i was a member of the Anglo-Japanese Society and there were people like the White girl who suggested to Japanese students that reading the Bible was the best way to learn English.

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  2. Hanura and Yuoki

    While this is neither here nor there in the context of the discussion, their names are weird as hell.

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  3. Like I said, they would have been scarred for life. Good looking out.

    I have something to say about certain "Christian" groups like that, but is so nice at all so I shouldn't say it because I know thee are some decent ones out there. I just meet the cult-like ones or hypocrites.

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  4. There are some great Christian groups on campus, but I don't like the ones like this one that make it out to be the only way you can make friends. She should have said it's a great way to make Christian friends or something like that, because she is counting on her unfamiliarity and lack of English skills to get her into a Christian group. Not cool at all

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  5. I was reading this entry and shaking my head the whole time. What would've happened to those girls if you weren't there? I shudder to think about it.

    It's good that you were present to offer your support and make them feel welcome. I'm sure it made all the difference and they will not forget your kindness and decency.

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  6. But these men, Brad and the creepy guy who are both in the program, kept following us, trying to awkwardly start a conversation with these poor girls and would probably have kept following them if I was not there.

    Makes you wanna douse yourself in Clorox.

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  7. i realy can't stand people like that; people that feel they have the right to know you and won't take a hint! what wierdos...

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  8. Good Lord, my skin is just about peeling off. D: The worst thing about this is that those assholes will just try that shit with some other girls who don't know how creepy they are.

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  9. Utterly creeptastical. WTH is wrong with them? I'm surprised they didn't bust out with "me so horny, me love you long time." They seem like the type.

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  10. It is really disturbing to hear about Americans blatantly trying to manipulate and take advantage of international students like this. Both the Christian fundamentalist recruitment woman and the Asian fetishist men were completely out of line. It shows just how common this thing is that they have to warn them in Japan about this when they study in America. How you don't mind if I ask about the demographics at your university? Are there a lot of non white students? A lot of international students?

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  11. @Modest-goddess
    I'm at school in Iowa, and although we got a large influx of minorities with a record enrollment of the class of 2014, with minorities and international students making up 13 percent of the class, overall we are still definitely a minority on campus.
    It is disturbing the disrespect going on by these two Americans in our program, but the vast majority of the American buddies are great. I'm reiterating that those two creepers need to be kicked out. It's incidents like these in which I think the Global Buddies program would benefit with more buddies of color to protect against this privilege and predatory practices.

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  12. I am not surprised. It is always privileged, socially awkward white men who feel uncomfortable with women that try to prey on these girls they only know about from effed up Anime and other "weeaboos." The crazy thing is once they find out these girls are real people, their Docile Asian Girl (always girl, never woman) fantasy is dashed and they become even worse. I've read accounts from white men complaining about how Asian women born in the US are "too Americanized" and how they need to get one as soon as she arrives and other disgusting things, it's sad.

    I was lurking the facebook of a socially awkward Asian fetishist white guy (he seriously scared me and i discreetly warned every international female Asian student about him) and was connected to one even worse than him. Utterly below average in looks, he surrounded himself with international students and stalked the girls facebook pages with creepy quotes.

    Mary was right, you are an angel.

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  13. @Revolution-Girl
    Thank you. I formally complained to the Program head and they have received many many complaints about him; which begs the question, Why isn't his ass kicked out yet. I think he may have a form of Asperger's or High functioning Autism which is not his fault, but there needs to be boundaries. It just pisses me off that these men feel they have free reign and the program is lacksidasical in not pulling him aside and asking him to leave the program. They are babying him and not the women who are the victims. Ugh I'll keep you updated. I'm not trying to be an Angel, just a pissed off woman who stands up for these women.

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  14. @ Revolution Girl

    I've read accounts from white men complaining about how Asian women born in the US are "too Americanized" and how they need to get one as soon as she arrives and other disgusting things, it's sad.

    I read on Model Minority years ago where an Asian American woman's boyfriend dumped her saying, "You're not Asian enough for me." When she saw him again sometime later, he had new girlfriend, (Japanese, I think) who wasn't from America, and who had "yards of hair."

    @ Bcbgrl33

    They are babying him

    At the expense of the women's safety, no less. 'Cause, you know...that makes sense.

    White privilege, y'all...ain't nothing it can't ruin.

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  15. Okay...there is a comic out there by the name of Charisma that seems to celebrate/glorify the whole 'loser white guy who can't get any girls back home goes to Japan and finds that all the girls there love him' meme. Just...eww!

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  16. This is all too familiar. I'm apart of two orginizations for helping international students (one is for mentoring and the other I do orientations for incoming international students) and the mentoring program was putting on an Asia night and there was a seemingly tipsy white guy who showed up literally shouting "I LOVE JAPAN" etc. (aka I love Japanese girls). The way those guys were in there stalking the girls was insane. On top of that they were embarrassing themselves by accidentally hitting on the Asian-American students and when they found out the girl was AA they were embarrassed but still moved on to the next. And the girls were no better just more subtle. I had a girl I knew from a number of Japanese classes who put in great effort to get to know every student in my classes BUT me, magically become my bestfriend when she saw how I knew all the foreign exchange students (I was doing my Teaching English practicum at the time so alot of them were my students). She went on this long ramble about how American guys are just not attractive or lame and wanted me to introduce her to this Japanese guy I knew. However I'd like to say there was a Blasian couple there, I'm actually cool with the girlfriend now. It was nice to know my now ex and I weren't the only one on campus. Speaking of my ex when I broke up with him I mentioned it to my friends and they were all "WHAT OMG! WHY?????" It's just another guy to me but whatever beside my ex was more my type than theirs (he had tattoo's and facial hair and they like more K-pop looking guys). they were also a bit shocked how the Black girls seemed to keep getting Asian guys to hit on them but the white girls kept striking out. Usually it's the ones who are all K-pop/J-pop/Anime all day that strike out so hard. I even tried helping one once, the Korean guy she was into didn't like K-pop at all so I told her try asking him about Druken Tiger, House Rulez, Clazziquai (the guy happend to be a fan of all musical acts I suggested), nothing came of it though. My advice, don't be creepy.

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  17. K I agree with you and all, but why do you keep bringing up the creepers' race?? Aren't there creepers in every race? I'm not trying to attack you or anything but it seemed like you were aiming this at Caucasians, like saying "white people are this" "or white people do that". For me, I've met unlike able people of all races, and maybe the white people you met were creepy but not ALL are like that. Technicalities are annoying eh? You probably didn't me it in that way, I was just looking into things too much. Anyways I hope you and your friends don't run into anymore creepers! =)

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  18. Joining this conversation really late but yes, it was important to bring up those creepy guys race, Unknown.

    Because that race is a very big perpetrator. Their ignorance (willful or not) and privilege is so huge and for the most part, unchallenged, that they get away with shit like this and more thinking it's legitimately ok. Once more, if you question any of their actions, they never stop to reflect if they have, in fact, acted wrong, and instead opting to place the blame/guilt on everyone except themselves.

    I'm saying this as a mixed Asian American woman. I've had those experiences. I have been followed, several times. Those guys were ALWAYS white. Not black. Not Latin, and certainly not other Asians. All the creepers were always white.

    It gets to the point where you don't even want to say "fuck off" because it will be taken as flirting/dirty talking and suddenly it's *my* fault the dude can't control himself or understand basic communication.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! What's your name?

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