is it bad to be an outsider?


Have you ever felt like an outsider? I feel like an outsider all the time. When getting off the plane, there was a Japanese salaryman in front of me. The cabin crew said to him “Okaerinasaimase” (welcome home in Japanese). Then it was my turn, the cabin crew said “Welcome to Japan.” I felt like I didn’t belong here. I think the reason why it happens is that I’m mixed, even though of course not always the problem is the appearance that I am half Japanese and half Latina if you will… I’m pretty sure you have felt like an outsider despite being mixed or not, but why? Is it even a bad thing to be/feel like an outsider? What makes you feel like one? Are you making anyone feel like one? I’d like you to think this through with me.

今までに自分が部外者だと思ったことある?ゆかはよく周りに馴染めないな、って感じることがあるよ。飛行機から降りるときに、CAの人が前のサラリーマンに「おかえりなさいませ」って言ってて、自分の番がきたら「Welcome to Japan」って言われたことがある。ここは自分の居場所じゃないんだ、とその時思った。一番の原因は、自分がハーフだっていうことだと思う。(もちろん原因はいつも見た目じゃないと思う。)ゆかは日本人と南米人のハーフだ。でも、ハーフじゃなくても部外者だって思ったことは、きっと何人かの人はあるはず。部外者って悪いことだとみんなは思う?なんで部外者だって思うのかな。もしかしたら、他の人を部外者に思わせているかも知れない。この様なことをみんなも一緒に考えてくれたら嬉しいな。

What is the concept of an outsider? If you’d ask me, outsiders are not the ones that get ignored. They are the ones that get the most attention just because he/she is different from the majority. Have you watched “Get Out” “I, Tonya” or “Call Me By Your Name”? The main guy, Chris from “Get Out” definitely got that sort of attention that made him feel like an outsider at his girlfriend's house party. Tonya got the attention of judges for doing unique performances, but yet didn't get high scores and felt like she was the one to be hated. Did Elio from "Call Me By Your Name" get that kind of attention from his family or friends when they knew he was gay? I watched these movies from the point of view of these characters. Not like when I was watching “Get Out” or “I, Tonya”, I didn't feel uncomfortable watching “Call Me By Your Name.” How about you guys?

部外者の定義って何?個人的には無視される人じゃなくて、多数の人と違うからって目立つ人のことだと思う。最近公開された映画を例にすると、「ゲット・アウト」とか「アイ、トーニャ 史上最大のスキャンダル」とか「君の名前で僕を呼んで」。「ゲット・アウト」の主人公の黒人男性、クリスが自分の白人の彼女のホームパーティーに行ったとき、黒人だからって妙な注目を浴びて、部外者と感じたと思わない?「アイ、トーニャ 史上最大のスキャンダル」のトーニャも今までにない様なアイススケートの演技をして、審判の注目を浴びたけど得点は稼げず、彼女は自分が嫌われるべき人間だと思ったけど、「君の名前で僕を呼んで」のエリオはゲイだと知られてからも、家族とか友達からその種の注目を浴びたと思う?感情移入して映画を観ていたら「ゲット・アウト」とか「アイ、トーニャ 史上最大のスキャンダル」とは違って「君の名前で僕を呼んで」は観ていて部外者のように扱われて嫌な気分になる事はなかった。みんなはどうかな?

Maybe it’s my big smile that makes me different from “others.” Maybe it’s my nose ring or belly piercing that makes me different from the people around me. Perhaps the music that I listen to or the way I dress could be what calls their attention. I don’t want to be an outsider and it's not like they stare at me to make me uncomfortable. But I still feel like I’m left alone and that very feeling is real. Why do I feel that way? I think it’s because I’m afraid. Afraid of what? I’m afraid of stepping outside of tradition. I’m doing something that the majority doesn’t do. Doing simple things like having my septum pierced or not entering a university right after graduating make me afraid. No one that I know has done it and it terrifies me because it terrifies others. Tradition is being interrupted because there is an exception. Most people follow tradition, what your parents have told you. Step one foot out of that tradition and it’ll drive them crazy and that, in turn, will drive you crazy.


Now let me ask you again, is it bad to feel like an outsider? Good, bad… who cares? Maybe I’m asking the wrong question. But don’t you think that tradition should be broken someday? Everything changes. People change too. Society needs to be flexible because no one wants to be left out. To be flexible, we need practice. We need to stretch everyday after taking a shower…But for real, we need outsiders. Don’t you think stepping out of your or society’s comfort zone is like stretching…I mean breaking the fear we have? Does that fearless society makes anyone an outsider? Don’t you think we need to get used to the exceptions for a society to be flexible?

みんなは部外者って悪いことだと思うかな?もしかしたら質問が悪いかもしれないな。善し悪しも決めなくてもいいかも知れない。伝統っていつかは変化して行くはずだと思う。仏教じゃないけど、ものってなんでも変わり続けるよね。時間が経てば、人も変わり続ける。社会はそれに合わせて、もっと柔軟にならなければ行けないと思う。柔軟になるためには毎日、風呂上がりにストレッチしないと…っていうのは嘘だけど、部外者って柔軟になるのにいなくてはならない存在だと思う。 自分や社会の習慣から抜け出すのってストレッチする(恐怖をなくす)のと同じな気がする。恐怖のない社会に部外者なんているのかな。例外があるからこそ、社会が柔軟になれると私は思うな。

What can we all do to have a fearless society where everyone feels like they can do whatever they want without feeling like an outsider? I only have the right answer for myself and it won’t probably make any sense to you! You need to find your own answer if you want one! As for my answer, we all need to be an outsider to achieve that goal. If we are all outsiders then I think there’s not gonna be any concept of “outsider” because there’s not gonna be “insiders” and the relationship between us is going to be super flexible. So, let us all step out from our comfort zone. Travel somewhere. Wear that dress that you’ve hesitated to wear because it’s not “your style.” Encourage people to do whatever they truly want to do. Be a role model for your friends and everyone around you. Did this make any sense? I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

じゃあ、どうしたら恐怖のない社会を作れるだろう。ゆかは自分なりの答えしかないから、たぶん意味不明だよ。笑 もし答えが欲しければ、みんなもみんなで答えを探してみてね。私の答えは、みんなが部外者になること。もしみんなが部外者だったら、部外者も内部者もなくなって、社会がちょー柔軟になると思わない?だから、みんなで部外者になろう!社会の習慣から踏み出して、本当にやりたい事をやろうよ。どこかに旅行して、自分のスタイルじゃないからって外にきれなかった服を着て、身の回りの人の見本になろうよ。みんなが好きなことをできる環境と雰囲気を作ろうよ。みんなの答えや考えも聞きたいな。

Illustrations and Images by Yuka

English Edited by Lisa