By Natalie Laber
This past winter, for the first time since I began my tenure on JET, I returned for the holidays to my native shore of California. It was a welcome change in climate – from a miserable -3°C to a balmy 15° – but being home for the first time in eighteen months made for a considerable case of reverse culture shock. I didn’t mind, for the most part, being finally availed of all the necessities I’d missed so dearly for so long (In-N-Out, decent Mexican food, my darling cat).
But in the odd moments when I found myself gyaku ni missing Japan, an obnoxious persona emerged from deep within my soul and sought to invoke the ire of all those around me.
Her name? Weeaboo Nat. Her catchphrase? “This would never happen in Japan.”
A parking garage sensor malfunctioning and causing a thirty-minute traffic jam “would never happen in Japan.” Piles of litter lining the highway and sidewalks reeking of hobo urine “would never happen in Japan.” People being total jerks and cutting me off as I tried to change lanes on the 405 “would never happen in Japan.” And my forgetting which side of the steering wheel all the controls were on and mistakenly setting off the windshield wipers when I meant to hit the turn signal? Would certainly never happen in Japan!
Weeaboo Nat’s favorite pastime was making sweeping generalizations about Japan/America anytime something wasn’t going her way. Her favorite way to start a sentence was, “This is so weird, ’cause in Japan…” Her favorite mood was scornful superiority. All in all, she was basically the devil, and I knew I had to exorcise her.
It was a long and bloody battle, but finally I managed to banish the weeaboo possessing my body back into the depths of hell where she belonged. I guess there’s really only one thing to be learned from my story:
Anime was a mistake.
– Hayao Miyazaki
– Natalie Laber