Life Studies Blog (Old)

June 04, 2005

Trip to Hawaii (by M)

I have just returned to Osaka from Honolulu, Hawaii. I will talk about my trip to Hawaii later. I attended a conference at Hawaii University. I had my fingerprints taken at the Honolulu Airport. This was my first experience because this was my first trip to the USA after 9/11. My fingerprints were registered in the state's computer. I don't agree to the system like this, but there was no other way to enter that country.

Photo: Hotel room

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  • Masahiro,
    I don't agree to a system like that either. I certainly didn't 10 years ago when I was living in Japan, and had to provide finger prints to the Japanese Immigration department just because I was a foreignor. I suppose both examples are driven by fear of the unknown !!

    By Blogger Ben, at 3:01 PM, June 17, 2005  

  • maemuki,
    Thank you for your comment. Japanese fingerprinting system for foreigners (for alien registration) was abolished in 1999. This was good news for them, but now we have to register our fingerprints when entering the US. This is for every foreign visiter even if their purpose is sightseeing. Aren't there any anti-fingerprinting movements in the US?

    By Blogger Masahiro_Morioka, at 8:48 PM, June 17, 2005  

  • Masahiro,
    Not sure about the US as I'm not from there. Though in the light of the current government and rise of patriotism over there, I wouldn't be suprised if there's many who are against it but afraid to speak out. Great to hear that fingerprinting in Japan for gaijin has been abolished...appreciate the update.

    By Blogger Ben, at 4:19 AM, June 19, 2005  

  • maemuki,
    I am sorry I mistakenly thought that you were in the US. In Japan fingerprinting was ablolished, but foreigners staying over 90 days should carry certificate of alien registration. It is often said that the word "gaijin" sounds very discriminative to foreigners. How did you feel when you were called gaijin or gaijin-san? Many Japanese might think of the word gaijin as a neutral expression, I suppose.

    By Blogger Masahiro_Morioka, at 4:52 AM, June 19, 2005  

  • I'll jump in here, if you don't mind, about the "g-word!"
    I've been living in Japan (as a foreigner) for almost 12 years now. At first, the word "gaijin" bothered me a little. I didn't know why it was so important for people to categorize me like that. When Japanese people ask me what word they should use instead of "gaijin," I tell them "nothing." Why do they need to use that word to describe me, anyway? Instead of saying "that gaijin," they could just say "that tall woman with brown hair!" :)
    Many foreigners I know are VERY sensitive about being called gaijin. As for me, now, I really don't care at all anymore. In fact, I go the opposite way and often identify myself as "gaijin" right off the bat. I embrace my gaijin-ness and revel in the differences!
    ...of course I reserve the right to change my mind tomorrow........

    By Blogger jennifer, at 9:40 PM, June 20, 2005  

  • Hello, Jennifer. Welcome to this thread. As you ponited out, many Japanese are inclined to distinguish themselves from other foreigners in their everyday life. One reason might be that they unconsciously believe that their ancesters have been living in Japan for a long period of time so they are comrades for more than thousand years, but in reality, as you know, this is not true. Another reason would be that they want to distinguish people who understand Japanese language and Japaese "rules" of living or communicating from people who do not understand them. And it is interesting to think to whom they talk "gaijin-san". Do they speak to Chinese or Korean people "gaijin-san"? I am not sure but probably it is rare, isn't it? So this might be connected with their ideas about European-American people that should be distinguished from Asian or Japanese. My guess may be wrong. I would like to know other ideas.

    By Blogger Masahiro_Morioka, at 11:22 PM, June 20, 2005  

  • gaijin...person from the outside..regardless of whether it is used for chinese/koreans or not, the attitude that people of asian countries are different from Japanese, is apparent enough from some of the Japanese bosses I've worked for. As long as an us and them mentality, a clash of ideologies/culture/philosophy (ie japanese vs gainjin, american democratic vs the other), exists, there will always be conflict born from the opposing dualities. Fingerprinting in Hawaii is just a symptom of one of the many conflicts in our wonderfully turbulent world...gosh it's time for my favourite reality TV show, "Big Brother"..betta go.

    By Blogger Ben, at 1:17 AM, June 22, 2005  

  • So I just started reading your discussion on fingerprinting immigrants. Are you aware that the Japanese government is planning on bringing this policy back? Read Japantimes online article about it here:
    Japan seems to be copying the U.S.' post 9/11 policy. I'm curious to hear what you think about this.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:32 AM, August 23, 2005  

  • Thank you for your comment. I read that article and I don't agree to that policy. They say they never use the acquired information for climinal investigation, but I don't believe it. Some important information will be secretly used and forwarded to the US or other allied countries sooner or later. The same will be true of the US. Now the US has a plenty of information about fingerprints of travellers around the world who have once visited America. Don't you think that this is juicy information for a certain group of people....?

    By Blogger Masahiro_Morioka, at 5:50 AM, August 23, 2005  

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