i often get asks asking me about things related to Japan or the Japanese language and from time to time i write spontaneous posts related to my experiences in Japan. this page is a compilation of some of those posts.

disclaimer: in case this isn’t already clear, please note that everything on this page and on my blog in general is nothing but my personal opinion / experience / etc. no more no less.

note: this page has been ported over as-is from my Tumblr blog and has yet to be optimized for this site. please bare with me…

※ relevant tags of interest: #セクマイ, #lgbt in Japan, #aces in Japan, #nonbinary in Japan, #trans in Japan, #Tokyo Rainbow Pride etc (see below)
※ for more posts about my personal experiences / thoughts / etc related to Japan, see: #外人の目から見た日本
※symbols: 🚩: resource post // 🉐: Japanese language post // 📼: video post
========== INDEX ==========
1. General LGBTQI
2. Asexuality
3. Gender
4. Race: Being Black in Japan
5. Other
===========================

GENERAL LGBTQI

YouTube Pride Academy 2017 at YouTube Space Tokyo (July 2017)

“ever so aptly timed with YouTube’s second attempt at spotlighting LGBTQIA YouTube with the hashtag #ProudToBe, the first ever Pride Academy was held at YouTube Space Tokyo today. the name of the event itself being a play on one of YouTube’s programs for creators, Creator Academy.”

🉐 excerpts from a Japanese books on queer theory about sexuality & gender (May 2017) [日本語あり]

“…happened to find two used books on gender studies / gender theory that not only ① explicitly discuss binarism and how society ignores those who are neither of the binary genders (male / female) nor either of the binary sexualities (gay / straight)– there’s also ② explicit mention of asexuality and the alphabet soup where the acronym LGBTIAQ is used and I is defined as “Intersex”, A as “Asexual” and Q as “Queer”.”

🉐 botched allyship & language barriers #TRP2017 (May 2017) [日本語あり]

“ie. that time when a women’s sex toy store promoted much needed awareness of diversity at Tokyo Rainbow Pride, but due to incredibly poor research on their part as well as a language barrier that is not their fault, inadvertently ended up spreading damaging misinformation about intersex people, polysexuality and ‘skoliosexuality’, among other things.”

Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2017: FESTA (May 2017)

photos of Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2017.
→ see also: #TRP2017 and #tokyo rainbow pride for posts from years past

🉐 めんどくささレベル5強 (December 2016)

“one of my least favorite things to do is attempt to explain in Japanese to a (usually LGB) cisgender Japanese person that…”

LGBT awareness on Japanese TV? ha! (February 2015)

“there i was, doing stuff on my computer completely ignoring my tv when i look up to some celeb guessing at what LGBT stands for…”

🚩 “Any recommendations for meeting or making friends with other trans/non-binary either Japanese or gaijin in Japan?” (September 2016)

“since i don’t know whereabouts you live, the bulk of my advice is going to be rather generic and mostly about online stuff. when it comes to meeting people and making friends, be they gaijin or Japanese, the internet is your best resource imho.”

story time: an experience at a “lesbian night” event at a local gay bar (September 2016)

“i had a good time, but awkwardness was awkward and culture shock was shocking, as always in Japanese LGBT spaces.” [ + commentary ]

transphobia / transmisogyny at a local lesbian event (July 2016)

“THIS is why i almost always end up having to go all the way to Tokyo to participate in stuff, because the most (seemingly) active part of the LGBT community here (the lesbian community) is so goddamn transphobic…”

📼 QAC 42 – Yokohama Rainbow Festa + Tokyo Meanderings | Tag Along (October 2015)

“Yokohama recently hosted its first Pride event, Yokohama Rainbow Festa! i decided to go and bring you all along for the fun. 🙂 it’s super rare that i find things for ace, non-binary and other lesser-known orientations at a Pride event…”

news story about an interracial gay couple getting married (October 2015)

“…an American and Japanese same-gender couple trying to get married in Japan. about how for the American it was so frustrating because same-gender marriage had finally been made legal in his home country, but here in Japan wedding agency after agency kept refusing them…”

LGBT education on national TV? ldon’t expect much (February 2015)

“seriously 日テレ. it’s great that you spent 1 minute educating people, but you also spent 1 minute making light of the subject.”

🉐 ビアン用語: ネコ/タチ=WTF (November 2014)

it really really bothers me, the usage of ネコ/neko and タチ/tachi within the Japanese lesbian community. as far as i can tell, it’s very similar to the usage of femme and butch (respectively) in the West except that femme and butch have long since evolved beyond focusing on bedroom roles, while ネコ/neko and タチ/tachi still focus heavily on whether one is “passive” (ネコ/neko) or “active” (タチ/tachi) in the bedroom.”

📼 being a gay foreigner in Japan (January 2014)

“in this episode of Bと1B, Bobby & his friend from France discuss being gay in Japan vs in America and in France. it’s a really interesting conversation and a lot of what they say (which is totally one-sided in that it’s 100% from foreigners’ POV, obviously), rings true to my observations living in Japan…”

see also: #lgbt in Japan or #セクマイ

ASEXUALITY

🚩🉐 could you link a website that fully explains what asexuality and aromanticism are and how they differ in Japanese?” (August 2017)

”…this site has the simplest and most concise explanation that i could find in Japanese. not only does it explain what it means to be aro ace, it debunks the common misconception that aro aces are emotionless or cold, touches ever so briefly on…“

🚩🉐 commonly used ace terminology in Japan (July 2017)

“what commonly used terminology there is regarding asexuality is mostly imported and translated directly from English…  that said, compared to the extensive terminology that exists in English to describe various identities / orientations on the asexual spectrum, there is significantly less terminology available in Japan and even less that is in “common” usage…”

🚩🉐 on the discrepancy between “asexual” in English & Japanese and confusion regarding demisexuality (May 2017) [日本語あり]

“if you’re unfamiliar with ace terminology in Japanese, it may come as some surprise to you to know that Aセクシャル / アセクシャル, the Japanese word that is phonetically equivalent to and derived from the English word “asexual”, does not mean what “asexual” means in English.”

Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2017: ACES & ENBIES (May 2017)

photos of ace and non-binary people at Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2017.
→ see also: #TRP2017 and #tokyo rainbow pride for posts from years past

🉐 re: the asexual main character in the manga “Miss Kiryu Doesn’t Know What Love Is” and word usage in Japan (April 2017)

“if any term is used as an umbrella term among Japanese aces for aces in general at present i’d say it’s most notably Aセク(シャル) / asexual and not 無性愛 / museiai, even though both are also used to refer to aro aces specifically. that said, it is still common among Japanese aces to…”

“I was wondering if you know of any articles or websites about what it’s like being ace in Japan from the perspective of any ace people who are natively Japanese?” (August 2016)

a collection of links to Japanese and English content.

🉐 “Is asexual generally used by all aces on the aromantic spectrum or do arospec aces who sometimes feel romantic attraction (such as grey aromantics) typically prefer to use nonsexual?” (July 2016)

“i can count the number of times i’ve met or heard of a Japanese person actively identifying in some way as gray or demi on one hand. generally speaking, awareness of nuanced ace & aro spectrum identities / orientations is hardly a thing among Japanese aces…”

re: 『[4コマ]☆AセクシュアルとAce(エース)☆』 by Chii  (July 2016)

“once again i randomly came across another one of Chii’s 4-koma comic strips about asexuality on Twitter and my reaction to seeing it has me feeling guilty and torn. ;( the comic introduces the term “ace” (slang for “asexual”) to Japanese readers and then explains how it’s connected to aces in playing cards. it also introduces readers to the concept / association that’s been floating around English-speaking ace communities of each suite being associated with specific orientations / identities…”

Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2016 musings (May 2016)

“a long and rather pointless post in which i write out some of my thoughts and experiences along with photos from last weekend’s Pride in Tokyo.”

🉐 re: 『[4コマ]☆ノンセクシュアル☆』 by Chii  (May 2016)

“in the linked comic and in various blog posts, Chii makes it a point to note that while both ”nonsexual” and ”asexual” are often collectively referred to as ”asexual”, that people often confuse ”nonsexual” and ”asexual”…”

re: NHK ハートネットTV: 無性愛と非性愛のこと (May 2014)

“stumbled upon this post on NHK’s “Heart Net TV” website. for those who don’t know, NHK is essentially the PBS of Japan and “Heart Net TV” is the website of a TV series aimed at supporting those going through difficult times in their life, covering topics such as depression, domestic violence, bullying, illness and more. someone recently posted this on their website about asexuality…”

🉐 frustrations re:Aセクシャル (asexual in Japanese) (April 2014)

“things that i have found online about asexuality in Japanese make me think that “asexual” (Aセクシャル or 無性愛) in Japanese has taken on a different meaning compared to “asexual” in English. a meaning that i don’t want associated with myself and i feel like would be hard to combat given my Japanese ability and the fact that certain concepts don’t even exist or aren’t common in Japanese language/culture itself.”

see also: #aces in Japan or #Aセクシャル

GENDER

🚩🉐 “how do you say ‘demiboy’ in Japanese?” (July 2017)

“i’m afraid that i haven’t come across a Japanese equivalent (or even approximate) to “demiboy” (or to demigenders in general), but…”

Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2017: ACES & ENBIES (May 2017)

photos of ace and non-binary people at Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2017.
→ see also: #TRP2017 and #tokyo rainbow pride for posts from years past

📼 QAC 56 – Non-Binary In The Workplace: Job Hunting In Japan (March 2017)

“please not that this video is not a ‘how-to’ on finding a job in Japan. rather, i talk about my own (limited) personal experience the job market in Japan in terms of navigating names when your actual name differs from your current legal name, navigating Japanese standards of “professional attire”, being forced to reevaluate things like HRT and “activism” outside of the workplace, etc.”

🚩🉐 thoughts re: first-person pronoun usage in Japanese (March 2017)

i don’t use any particular set of first person pronouns ( i / me / my / mine) because i’m not comfortable using any of them. rather, i use various different pronouns or no pronoun at all depending on the register i’m speaking in, the situation i’m in, who i’m speaking to, how i’m feeling…”

“once again i get home from work, turn on the TV to see a panel show doing a special featuring trans women…” (February 2017)

“despite the title of the special, shown on the top left of the screen as「13人のオネエ大集合」 / “Gathering of 13 Trans Women”, it was actually 13+ guests divided into three groups: gay men, cross dressing gay men and trans women…”

🉐 re: National Geographic’s “Gender Revolution” (Japan Edition) (January 2017)

just got the Japan edition of National Geographic’s special issue “Gender Revolution”. bearing in mind that i haven’t actually sat down and read through it yet, here are a few snaps along with my initial impression.”

🚩 alternatives to transmisogynistic lesbian bars in Tokyo (January 2017)

“this is not the first time that i’ve heard of someone having this experience and i suspect that i might even know the event that you tried to go to. it’s incredibly frustrating how a lot of LG(BT) spaces / events in Japan are gendered, binarist, cissexist and / or transphobic…”

🉐 one of many examples of why navigating セクマイ / LGBTQIA spaces in Japan can be painful at times (October 2016)

“the word セクシャリティ, which is a loanword taken directly from the English word “sexuality”, is commonly used in Japan (more specifically, in the Japanese セクマイ / LGBTQIA community) to indiscriminately refer to both orientation and gender…”

🚩🉐 “How do I tell someone I’m non-binary in Japanese?” (September 2016)

“if you just want to say “i’m non-binary”, you could say: Xジェンダーです。 that said, if you want to be more specific (and if any of these happen to describe you), you could also say…”

🚩🉐 “Are there any (commonly used?) gender neutral pronouns in Japanese like there are in English?” (September 2016)

“in English, “gender neutral pronouns” generally refers to third-person pronouns used by one person to refer to another person. in Japanese, third-person pronouns aren’t used anywhere near as frequently as in English […] Japanese suffers from a different (but still similar) problem when it comes to first-person pronouns…” 

🚩 Why Transgender People In Japan Prefer To Be Told They Have A “Disorder”“ (ie. transmedicalism & enbyphobia in the Japanese trans community) (August 2016)

“while i don’t agree with everything in this article (from how things are presented or worded to more factual things), this article is still representative of the sad truth that i’m continually navigating as a non-binary person in Japan.”

re: 『[4コマ]☆Xジェンダー☆』 by Chii  (August 2016)

“…sigh. you know, i really want to be happy about these LGBTQIA 4-koma comics that Chii is doing to try and help raise awareness for lesser known genders and sexualities, but gah. i just can’t. because i suck.”

gender non-conformity sure does make for good entertainment for cis people, huh Japan? (April 2016)

“so, i randomly turned on the TV and came across the typical Japanese team quiz show, this one hosted by members of the popular band SMAP. they were in the middle of a segment titled 「ジェンダーレス男子・女子、境界線は?」 / “Genderless Males/Females, What’s the limit?”…”

transphobia & non-binary erasure in Japanese media (March 2016)

“on Twitter i live-tweet my frustrations with various things i see on Japanese TV, including how trans and non-binary celebs are treated. the downside to this is that tweets quickly get lost in my timeline and then it’s a pain in the ass to dig them back up if/when i want to reference them, so putting them here.”

one more reason why i went abroad was because it was a trip for myself…” – Fumino Sugiyama - laph FTM Magazine Vol.10 (November 2015)
see also: #trans in Japan and #nonbinary in Japan (or #Xジェンダー)

RACE: Being Black In Japan

reacting to antiblackness towards a mixed race person on TV (September 2016)

“aaahhh, more annoying Japanese TV […] to make things worse, they sat him next to another half Japanese person. this half Japanese (but light-skinned) person who’s also lived in Japan all her life and can’t speak any English. still, the difference between the questions she got and how she was treated was night and day. meh.”

story time: when “African” is more important than “American” (Aug 2016)

“today’s random conversation was yet another awkward conversation to add to my ever growing repertoire of awkward conversations that i’ve had in Japan. by now i have enough content to write a book out of it lol…”

📼 Snapchat rant about reading books with black characters (July 2016)

“… a rant about how uncomfortable / exasperating it is as a black person reading books etc with black characters in it to my young Japanese students”

“I felt way more asexual and dysphoric in Italy than in America. Do you experience these changes in intensity when you travel?” (March 2016)

“oh my god yes. a million times yes. gender norms, like social norms in general, are very much tied to culture, which means that they differ from culture to culture. on top of that, when you’re immersed in a culture that’s different from your own, the differences can exacerbate how one feels about the norms of the culture you’re immersed in…”

western bullshit travels & comes out of the mouth of babes. ugh. (November 2015)

“i swear, my students have said some of the most offensive shit in my classes and i’m sure all of it is just them parroting things that they’ve heard from somewhere else…”

🚩📼 Black in Japan Documentary (September 2015)

a documentary NOT BY ME that interviews 8 black people from various countries about their experiences in Japan.

“Hi, I’m also a black agender person from the states. What do you think about the treatment of black people specifically in Japan?” (January 2015)

“i could respond to this with a really long winded answer, but i’m tired and should be in bed, so i’ll give you an abbreviated one!”

see also: #black in Japan

OTHER

Re: Yuri!!! On Ice & that annoying thing that anime & fandom does (December 2016)

“…so, i’ve just started watching Yuri!!! On Ice (i’m only 3 episodes in), but already there’s something that’s kind of annoying me about it.”

📼 “a Snapchat rant in which i mini-rant about one of my misogynistic adult students” (July 2016)
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