As I have been sporting my notoriously cool and avant-garde kimono in the communal showers at campus, I must say that I’ve noticed some looks. ‘Fair enough, it is kind of a fashion statement’, I thought. But then, I realized that fashion couldn’t have anything to do with it, since the Chinese are among the most daring and creative fashion slaves I ever saw. Other outfits sported in the showers include: fluffy pyjamas with flowers+ spongebob squarepants+ rainbows+ teddy bears in the girls department, and latex down jackets with prints on them+ uggs+ fake hipster-glasses in the boys department.
Suddenly it hit me: they be hatin’ on my kimono because it represents Japan! And duuuude, do they hate Japan.
During a teaching session at the school I work(ed?) at, my awesome colleague Paulina from Poland corrected her 15 year old student when he pronounced ‘Japan’ wrongly. This is apparently the conversation which followed:
Student: Oh, but it does not matter anyway.
Paulina: How so?
S: Because soon Japan will soon not exist anymore.
S: Because China will destroy it.
The political issue about the D- islands is a really hot potato here, and I’ve even seen Chinese world- maps without Japan on them. To us laowais, it might seem exaggerated and hysterical at first; but I’m telling you, I’ve been to the museum of Japan’s employment of biological warfare on China in Harbin, and there, you get the picture. The only thing which is comparable in horror would- I guess-be the Holocaust, which Europe and the world have tried to digest since the 40’s. China and Japan have not processed their relations in such a way at all, and there is a real tangible sense of hatred toward the island state to the East.
Our lecturer told us once: ‘In China, we have this saying: “Everyone should be respected. Laowais (‘strangers’, like me) are humans too. Everyone is. Apart from the Japanese!”’
With that said… I bid China farewell as I will travel in the Philippines and in Hong Kong for 3 weeks as of tomorrow. Can’t wait!