Migrant workers in Bore airport vol.1 ~ Fading Japan
A bus had run on the mountain road in Ethiopia for half a day. Finally
it stopped at a restaurant in some local town for lunch break. Unfortunately
tables were full. 'Well, I can sit somewhere and have a cup of coffee'
I thought glancing inside of restaurant. Somebody called me "China!"
I saw three men at the table were waving to me. It must be the sign they
have an extra seat.
A bunch of beer mugs were put on their table. And they were all done at
midday. "China!" Once again one of them called me patting a vacant
chair. It seemed to be my seat. From my experience the rough attitude was
not expression of hostility but the hospitality. So I smiled and sit on
the chair as they said.
"Hey, What do you want to order? Wanna no meal? Beer?" Saying
like that one guy ordered in stead of me. After introducing each other
they asked me for the first time. "Chinese, uh?" I said "Nope"
"Sorry men. Korean, uh?" I shook my head. "Indonesian?"
Hey, I wanted to ask them what's the point they guessed I was Indonesian.
"Hey, where are you from ..." I irritated in my mind 'Oh! you
guys are missing the important one in Asia, uh?' It seemed the correct
answer wouldn't come out forever.
"Japan"I said."Ah, you are" Then they get start searching
some tips about Japan. "Car, electronics ... Japanese products is
No.1" One guy fished a cell phone from pocket and put it on the table.
The mark on it said 'Samsung' Another guy thought twice watching it and
said "No, the most reliable one must be the made in Korea now"
"No it's Japa ... well, you must be right it's Korea. But Japan surely
comes after that" The first guy. Then the youngest man said "No,
No2 is Taiwan" Everybody thought about it for a while and agree with
that. "So which is after Taiwan? Malaysia or Singapore? China?"
"Oh, come on. We are surrounded by the made in Chinas. Although the
quality is not so good" I was not in on the conversation neither did
Japan. One of them noticed it and said to me. "Oh sorry, my friend.
Any way Japan is the first country which was once flourished in Asia"
"Yeah, Yeah" Everybody's nodded. "Here beer comes. Now once
again guys. Cheers!""Cheers!"
It's not joke. I used be called "Yo, Chinese come over here!"
in same way twenty years ago in Japanese economic bubble era. However the
reaction was deferent when they knew I was Japanese. People lined up honorable
words for Japan. In the pre-Internet era, their imagination for Japan grew
with no limit. The country and technology was a subject to envy.
But time's change. People know Japan is a yesterday's hero. The internet
distribute the latest information even to the end of the world. And Japan
is fading out from the people's memory. That's not only in Ethiopia. I
feel it all over the world these days.
" Pit-stop " Ethiopia 2012