I first heard that song on "Austin Powers," and I love it, but beyond those lyrics I know nothing about it.
After nearly one year of living as a minority in Japan, you start to take inventory of "the looks." By that I mean, the various expressions with which strangers check you out and make sweeping decisions about your character and your place in life after a 2-second glance. Sometimes they stare much longer than 2 seconds, but the judgment is clearly passed in 2 seconds or less. After thousands of strangers give you these looks, you start to become outside the outsider, or outside of yourself, and you see the entire situation from another point of view. You look for a way to amuse or entertain yourself while patiently enduring the gazes you can otherwise do nothing about. You start to notice a pattern. And then you start to categorize all the ways people see you before they know you.
- The Alien. What is that thing? I've never seen anything like that in my life. Is it hostile? What is it doing on my street? Should I be afraid? Can it eat rice? Has it heard of chopsticks?
- The Foreigner. Look at that girl, she is white, but does that mean she's from America or France or Brasil? I think Brasil. None of it really matters, because she's not Japanese. She is different, different, different. If I don't look at her maybe I can forget that she's different.
- The Invader. Foreigner. Damn foreigner. You don't belong here. Go back to wherever you came from.
- The New Species. Hmm, that's interesting. Don't see one of those every day. In fact it may be the first time I've ever seen one like that. Sure is interesting. Kind of nice to look at. I wonder what it eats. I wonder what happens when you poke it right there.
- The English Teacher. Ah, she must be an English teacher. Typical.
- The Exotic Babe. Whoa, a white chick. Dude. Whoa. A white chick. Do you have a boyfriend?
- The Princess. She is so white, it's like she's from a fairy tale. I can't believe people can have skin like that. She's so beautiful. I wish I had skin like that. She looks so refined.
I'm sure there are a few more that I'm forgetting...but when you hear people whisper as you walk by, or when they look at you so long and hard you think they've turned to stone, or when they take 1 second to decide they don't want to sit by you on the bus, language barriers and lack of words don't matter anymore. The messages are clear.