Our first day in Tokyo, after lecture, we toured the Meiji Shrine in Shibuya – breath-taking! The flourishing forest stole my heart immediately. I felt a profound calmness while walking along the greenery.
I even worked up the courage to approach one of the shrine maidens for a picture. So, I said, “Shashin onegaishimasu?” (“Could I please take a picture?”). Her nods were so slight, I didn’t read them at first. But, my cousin ended up taking our picture, and we thanked her.
Shortly after, my group was trying to decide where to go for lunch before exploring Harajuku, when a Japanese man walked by with a camera around his neck and stopped at me – only me! – and asked for a picture. He took a couple, thanked me, and walked off. Everyone in the group, including me, were like, wtf just happened? It was pretty lolzy. There were nine of us, but only two of us – my friend and I – were (noticeably) black. <– This is relevant, I promise.
The same thing happened in Akihabara! A small handful of us were lolzing around outside a sex shop (that sex shop is an entire story in and of itself – I’ll discuss it in a future post, haha) when another Japanese man walked by and asked me if he could take a picture. Only me. And then he thanked me and walked away. We were starting to notice a pattern.
So then. Way, way, later on in the trip, we’re heading from Nagoya (where we met our Japanese friends from Aichi University) to Toyohashi (where our host families lived), and while walking up the stairs, an older Japanese man nodded to me and said, “Kawaii! Kawaii!” (“Cute! Cute!”)
My super kawaii chocolate self loves you, too.